Records management checklist

Records management checklist

Records management is a simple yet crucial process for any business. It is a process which is often overlooked, and when done properly, can save money and reduce the hassles associated with paperwork. Use this checklist as a reference to make sure you have all your bases covered when it comes to proper records management.

1) Plan out your document needs. Are you looking to free up space in your office? Do you need to store financial data securely? How about medical records or x-rays? These are just a few of the many reasons why companies require record management. Meet with a record management specialist to learn which new space and money saving techniques can improve your business. Your records management specialist will typically inventory the records you have, determine which records you need to keep, and for how long. Records management is not just about off-site storage; it’s about the total control, security and accessibility of your records. You may be surprised to find that many of the documents filling your office in fact do not require long-term storage. For these files, ask your records management specialist about secure file destruction via shredding or other means.

2) Develop a records management plan. When and how often documents are created? Where do they come from? Do these documents need to be stored? If so, where, and for how long? How and when are documents tob e destroyed? These are all questions which need to be answered in the records management plan. Work with your records manager to create a plan for documents over their entire life cycle. Your records management firm will account for each item from the time it is created up until its destruction.

3) Coordinate access to records. Talk to your records management provider to set up a pick-up or delivery schedule. Also inquire about delivery times, and the possibility of a “rush” delivery. Business records often contain data which is confidential, or which poses a security risk should it fall into the wrong hands. Specify with your records management firm which individuals will be granted access to which records. Assign only the most trustworthy people to handle your records.

4)Track and manage your records inventory. Your records management facility should give you an inventory of all the items stored in the off-site warehouse. Recently, some of the better records management facilities have begun to offer online web tools – computer programs to track, inventory, and access your records instantly.

5) Stay in contact. with your records management company. Some documents need to be stored for several years, and some items, like xrays and medical records - need to be stored for a lifetime. For security and peace of mind, contact your records management firm periodically to keep up with the latest developments.

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