Companies, large and small, produce an overwhelming amount of documents, contracts, records, personal data, etc., all of which are highly significant and necessary for various reasons. Losing track of just one of these highly valuable documents can be detrimental to a company, employer or individual employee. Handling these precious records with utmost security and diligence is a top priority.
Record Management should be a part of every company. There are many ways to store records and documents, but some come at a higher cost than others. In order to begin using a record management system it’s important to know all your available options.
The article, “How to Introduce Records Management to an Organization,” by smallbusiness.chron.com, carefully lays out the steps employers must consider when starting a record management system. Keep reading to see a quick summary of ideas to help you determine the best system for you and your company.
Prioritize your records – The first step involves organizing the current documents you have on file. You need to create lists, choose the level of security and keep track of how to file documents moving forward so that the system remains effective and up-to-date.
- Categorize your documents into three types: documents you need to access daily, documents needed over a long period of time and documents saved for legal purposes. Plus, make note of which documents are private or public, and who has the authority to access those documents.
- Of the documents organized into the categories above, decide which of those can be kept online, near-line, offline and on paper.
- Make a set schedule using Excel, or other spreadsheet tool of choice, so you know when to capture documents, how long to keep the documents on file and how to properly dispose of each document once you can discard them from your filing system.
Introduce a software program – The options available for software programs are numerable. Database management systems, enterprise software, or spreadsheets all efficiently work to track business activity and business analytics, as suggested by the article mentioned above. The more activity you can track the better your company productivity will become.
Save and track document entry – When you add documents to your record management file, it’s important to know when it was added, who added it and how it can be tracked. This information will help the management system run smoothly and stay organized. Data is useless if it is out of date or can’t be located easily.
Transition to digital – With the opportunity to successfully run almost all aspects of business online, it’s a great time to take advantage of all the Internet tools readily available and at such a low cost. Nearly all documents can be stored electronically without penalty; even the IRS is transitioning into a paperless system. However, to be safe, save hard copies of all tax documents for the appropriate number of years as required by the IRS.
Find storage space – For all those documents that you must retain a hard copy of, you will want to find a suitable storage space. Eventually documents will accumulate and outgrow the space you have in your office. Storage units must be fire-safe and securely monitored. Storage spaces can get expensive, so the more you can utilize electronic storage availability the better. These records are just as important as the ones you save electronically, so be sure to keep a well-documented file of everything in an outsourced storage unit as you do for files saved in a database or online.
Educate your employees – Many employees may need access to your document library. To make sure that the documents stay organized and employees can find what they need quickly, you should consider creating an instruction manual for your employees. For those who will have access to more personal, sensitive information, a more in-depth training may be necessary to learn protocols and passwords.
Storing paper is expensive and not necessarily eco-friendly, not to mention how difficult it can be to locate that one specific document you are searching for in stacks of paper. Yet, much of what you store is necessary to avoid legal penalties. Choosing to set up a record management system is one of your best decisions. To learn more about how you can successfully set up the best record management system for your company, please see the smallbusiness.chron.com article for details or contact your BenefitMall specialist today.
Source: BenefitMall, All Perspectives Business Blog, 4/22/16