For businesses, it can be difficult to keep up with records. Whether you have a lot or a little, records can quickly consume the office space as well as be disorganized. However, a records management system can help the process of handling documents on the day-to-day.
In the video or transcript below, learn about records management programs that can help you keep track of retention times, clean up the office, and, ultimately, save you money.
Defining Records Management Programs
Records management is devoted to organizing files throughout their life cycles, including from the time of creation to their eventual disposal.
This type of program is a road map to ensure all records are easily accessible, filed appropriately, returned to the right place, and disposed of properly.
Why a Program is Important
It’s critical for a company to handle files properly. Maintaining and storing records is one of the most important aspects of day-to-day business activities. Additionally, having a management plan helps to ensure this process.
It’s important that offices maximize efficiency and maintain record security. With records management programs, you’re able to lay out the different goals and needs of your plan step-by-step.
A common bottleneck with using and accessing records is the time it takes to locate and refile records. It can take a lot of time to find files throughout the office. This inevitability wastes countless hours a year.
To streamline access to records, a management plan should include strategies to improve retrieval speed and organization. Additionally, one way to improve speed and organization is to use an electronic document management system or an offsite storage facility.
A disorganized records management system can lead to multiple copies and different revisions of the same record. To ensure records stay up-to-date and without multiple versions, it’s important to consider the management and tracking of records during storage.
Retention & Destruction Tracking
Many laws, like HIPAA and FACTA, lay out required retention periods for different types of records. To ensure compliance, a records management program should include processes for tracking record retention times during storage.
Although you plan for the best, it’s also important to prepare for the worst. There is always the threat of theft, accident, or other environmental dangers impacting your records.
To avoid a potential loss of important information, it’s important to keep a second copy in an external location. Moreover, this will help get operations back up and running.
Benefits of Records Management Programs
A well-organized records management program can bring along secondary benefits as well. In addition to an overall increase in efficiency, programs account for other records management considerations, like records security and legal concerns.
More Perks of a Program
There are many benefits to a records management systems, including productivity, disaster protection, and legal compliance.
An organized system creates an environment where information can be quickly accessed, records are always up-to-date, and other time roadblocks. Additionally, the refilling process can be streamlined or eliminated completely.
The longer it takes to restore or recover important information the more it costs businesses. Moreover, it can cost the company time as well as money in recovery costs.
Backing up and maintaining a second copy of records in a secure external location is a critical aspect of data protection. There’s an immediate fallback for important records potentially being stolen, destroyed, or lost.
If businesses face legal action or audit, the system makes it easy to produce records in a timely fashion (required by law), and can prevent issues with retention tracking (also required by law).
Plan Development & Implementation
Records management programs aid businesses in improving everyday workflow and achieving better bottom-line results.
To ensure you have an efficient program, it’s important to carefully consider all steps and factors while developing your system.
Start By Planning Your Program
There are several options for an effective records management program. However, finding the best strategy often depends on factors like your business model.
Things to keep in mind include the size of your office, applicable laws and regulations, and whether you need a digital or paper records management system.
Take a Full Inventory
Before you put a new records management program in place, you must understand the scope of your project.
By doing a complete inventory, you can implement processes that coincide with your business as well as the needs of the different types of information you manage.
Decide How to Store
Businesses use several different systems to store and manage their records. Additionally, the best option usually depends on the types of records being managed as well as the business’ workflow.
Document management systems (DMS) and cloud storage are often preferred by those seeking a paperless workflow.
This involves the scanning and indexing of files into a system. Additionally, it streamlines many records management processes along the way. This includes accessibility, tracking retention periods, and maintaining external backups.
Some businesses prefer to utilize a hard-copy records storage system using a secure offsite records storage facility to manage their papers.
Offsite storage can simplify records management as it allows more efficient use of space, provides disaster protections, and tracking of record’s retention times.
Lay Out Retention Times
It’s important to identify and monitor the various retention times for all the records you manage to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
A records retention schedule covers the retention and destruction of records based on their retention period. Additionally, it contains guidelines for how long to keep certain records and the conditions to destroy them.
Implementing the Program
Once you develop a strategy, the next step is implementing the program. After training employees, the records management processes should be integrated into the daily workflow. Additionally, you can update and vise the program when you need to.
Keep a Just-in-Case Copy
It’s important to account for an unexpected loss of data, whether by natural disaster or by accident. In order to counter threats, the most common solution is creating record backups.
In the event of environmental damage, backup tapes and servers can be managed at an offsite storage facility. These facilities include climate-control systems and other security measures. Also, this ensures your records are secure in and out of the office.
Use Self-Audits for Fine-Tuning
It’s important to perform regular audits of the system. This will help discover any inefficiencies in your processing. By documenting issues, you can make changes to the program, and you can update it improve future records management.
Do You Need Records Management Assistance? We Can Help
From records storage and management strategies to information backups, Record Nations can help with that. We try to make the process as easy as possible. Additionally, Record Nations helps find the right solution for your specific needs.
To start the process, fill out the form on the right, use the live-chat button, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706. Afterwards, you’ll receive a free, non-obligatory quote on records management services.