In a small business it is easy to forget the importance of maintaining accurate records. These records need to be kept far longer than the time they are active. Even after an order is completed and fulfilled or, in the case of a purchase from a vendor, after you have received and fully paid for the merchandise and service, all records will need to be maintained. The typical rule of thumb is 7 years, however there are certain regulations that may increase or decrease that period. In some professions you are required maintain the records indefinitely.