Despite advances in technology, many businesses still struggle to effectively manage their records and data. One study found that about 46% of employees have challenges finding documents. A substantial amount of time is also consumed looking for them.
This often leads to employees eventually recreating documents. Approximately 83% of employees do this. It’s time they could otherwise spend doing more productive activities.
It not only decreases your company’s productivity levels but costs you in the long run. Business record management can help you eliminate these issues. But you must ensure you have an effective record management strategy.
Read on to find out what this entails and the mistakes you should avoid when implementing it.
What Is Business Record Management?
Business Record Management involves the organizing and processing of various types of records in several formats. It can include the following:
- Creating records
- Receiving records
- Maintaining records
- Using records
- Disposing of records
Each record is usually a documentation of various business transactions. This means it will include consumer data, the management of which must adhere to privacy laws.
Types of Records
There are various types of records that a business might have in its possession. These usually reflect dealings with customers, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders. They can include:
- Personnel files
- Legal records
- Accounting documents
- Progress records
There are also miscellaneous records that don’t fit into any of the categories above. These may be documents about diversification, expansion, or other business items.
7 Business Record Management Mistakes to Avoid
Business record management is essential to ensure companies store important records properly. These include fiscal and historical data that must comply with legal regulations and rules when stored. Record management also includes timely discarding of non-essential records.
Your company should have a comprehensive record management strategy to avoid the following mistakes:
1. Not Disposing of Files
Your strategy should include rules that determine what gets disposed of and how. It should involve a policy that states the approval process for the disposal of documents. Once this is clear, employees will know what documents require disposal and what needs to be transferred to an off-site location.
The disposal of unwanted files is crucial, as incorrect disposal can lead to security breaches. Throwing documents out with the regular trash can result in confidential information getting into the wrong hands.
Your company can hire professional shredders to get rid of unwanted documents using special machines. They destroy documents without leaving a trace. You should shred unwanted documents regularly.
2. Keeping Files On-Site
In-house storage might work for smaller businesses. But it can become a nightmare for larger companies. These companies tend to require more storage, and this can become unmanageable as the amount of records increase.
If this happens, it becomes easier to misplace essential documents. Storage at an off-site facility is a great option. It frees up space and facilitates better management of documents.
However, it’s important to choose a site with appropriate temperature controls to prevent the degradation of your documents. The site should also be adequately secured and resistant to any external threats including fire, insects, and rodents.
But even with extensive precautionary measures, natural disasters or accidents can prevent you from accessing your records. Digital storage might be the best option. This allows you to store documents on servers at several sites that you can access virtually.
3. Poor Data Transfer Methods
You might have already caught on to the benefits of online data storage. But are you using the correct transfer methods? GoAnywhere has some of the best secure file transfer software out there This process starts with converting physical documents to digital files. This may also include transferring online files in various formats to PDF documents.
When it comes to working with PDF documents, wkhtmltopdf is a good resource. Whatever method you use, you must ensure the accurate and secure transfer of your files. Remember that managing online records also involves putting measures in place to avoid common cyber threats.
4. Not Backing up Your Data
The protection of your files is never 100% fail-safe. Backing up your data is one way to ensure your information is still accessible, in the event your data is lost. Cloud storage is one of the best options when it comes to backing up data.
Cloud storage is:
- Easy to use
- Easily synchronized
Plus, it gives access to multiple users. You’ll have access to unlimited space, and it’s a convenient way to share files.
5. Non-Indexed or Disorganized Files
Storing your files entails a lot more than just packing them up into boxes and transferring them off-site. You need to have a method to access them easily. Indexing them is one way to ensure you don’t spend days trying to find records, especially if you need them urgently.
It’s also a good idea to hire a professional that can barcode and index your files. This will save you time not only organizing but when accessing them as well.
6. Non-Compliance to Legal Requirements
The advances in digital technology led to the creation of privacy laws to protect consumer data. These laws relate to the storage and disposal of online as well as physical records. Every state has regulations and guidelines regarding this.
Ensure you’re complying with the laws of your state. Non-compliance can lead to litigation and affect your company’s reputation. It’s also important to note when these rules change, as they do so often.
7. Not Training Employees
Training is essential for your employees to:
- Know your company’s record management policies
- Follow the approval process for storage and disposal of records
- Adhere to security measures to protect company data
This will ensure that they don’t inadvertently expose any confidential data. It may entail having ongoing refresher sessions for your employees, especially as privacy laws change.
Getting Your Record Management Right
Proper business record management is a big responsibility that companies must undertake. They must manage and therefore protect information about their employees, customers, and partners. They must store and dispose of these documents efficiently.
This is such an important task that some companies hire a record management team or create one in-house. This ensures they have dedicated personnel to protect the company’s interests as well as that of their stakeholders.
It’s one of the many responsibilities that a business needs to undertake to be compliant with privacy laws. To find out what other requirements companies need to know, check out our Business section.