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Records Management: Creating a System That Keeps Your Business Efficient

Category: Trends

Recording and saving every traceable piece of information is a common business practice. From receipts of payments and client databases to relevant vendor information, every piece of data could be important for business operations.

The amount of data passing through an organisation can be overwhelming, especially when information begins accumulating rapidly. It can be a challenge to figure out what records should be preserved and discarded. There might be difficulty in looking for relevant information buried in piles of data.

How can you make sure you have the information you need when you need it? Establish a good records management system.

How Records Management Helps Your Business

Records management makes sure that important records are classified and preserved, and that non-essential records are disposed of in a timely manner and in accordance with established guidelines.

A records management system also helps evaluate the progress of an organisation and preserve its history. Previous records show the direction of an organisation and help determine its strengths and weaknesses. Well organised information assists management in deciding how the business can advance its long-term goals.

In times of dispute, records act as evidence. Proper records management allows easy retrieval of documents that are essential for dispute resolution.

An effective records management system also reduces volume and storage costs. According to the United Nations’ Archives and Records Management Section, only five to 10 per cent of an organisation’s records has lasting value. With proper management, you control the growth of information and retain only those that are relevant in the long-term.

Creating a Records Management System

There are various ways to develop an efficient records management program, and its execution depends on several factors based on your organisation’s model. Consider the size of your office, the laws and regulations the organisation has to follow and management schemes that make sense for how information is created, stored, used and destroyed.

When creating a records management system, take note of the following factors:

Process Creation

A records management system is more than sorting files into proper places. Before organising your records, conduct a complete inventory of all the files you want to manage. Create a thorough procedure of how you want the files to be managed and assign employees who will be in charge of each step. This keeps everyone on the same page of the records management system and reduces mistakes that lead to the inefficiency and loss of data.

Storage

Determine how best to store and manage your records. When implementing a hard-copy storage system, invest in heavy-duty storage like industrial storage cabinets, filing cabinets and modular shelving. Make sure to have a disaster recovery plan in place to reduce issues in the case of natural disasters, like earthquakes and fire.

If you’re keeping numerous files and office space is an issue, opt for a secure off-site records storage. This allows you to maintain hard-copy documents while freeing up space in the office.

There is also an option to use a cloud storage system, eliminating the need to store paper documents. Files are scanned and index, making them easier to find and manage.

Disposal

Create a records retention program to determine how long certain records should be stored and the conditions under which they should be destroyed. This plan helps reduce the risk of legal issues caused by older documents and decreases the storage needs of old and unneeded information.

No matter what industry you are in, records are important in supporting the ease and efficiency of business operations. It’s necessary to have an organised records management system so that you find the information you need when you need it.