Why is Records Management Needed?

Why is Records Management Needed?

We are practically surrounded with records. Whether for personal or business use, there is an accumulation of files, reports, letters, documents and such. Every business, organization and even household generates records, either tangible or digital. Your marriage license, children’s birth certificates, medical x-rays and e-mails may not seem too corporate as with employee files, minutes of the meeting, business contracts and databases, but these are also considered, you guessed it right - records.

This leads us to the conclusion that records are a fact of life. Those papers you see everywhere in the office or the gazillion files stored in your computer’s memory do not seem to be too enticing. Pretty much like taxes and bills, but they are so important that you just cannot do without them. Managing records is paramount. A loss document or a damaged file could affect business. A mishandled information on paper could cost confidentiality agreements. A misplaced medical record could lead to another doctor’s appointment, and no one really relishes that idea.

So what is needed? Records management.

Wikipedia defines records management as, “the practice of maintaining the records of an organization from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction (or in some cases, archival preservation) of records.”

The same can also be said for keeping, segregating, storing, securing, and destroying personal records.

A past concept of records management only referred to the management of records that were no longer used but were only stored, usually in basements or off-site facilities. Now however, records management extends to the general classification of records – active and inactive; current and semi-current; classified or otherwise; or whatever term an organization might classify their records with. Records management is now all encompassing that it includes managing records from their creation to their eventual disposal.

What’s the big deal with this business practice concerning our files and documents? Well, it’s of utmost importance because records management ensures that your records are safe, secure, and accessible. It implements an efficient and systematic control of records from their creation and use, to their maintenance and disposal, as well as the corresponding disposition and receipt of records. And mind you, records management applies to both physical records and digital (or electronic) ones.

It is so important in fact, that many organizations employ records management services and trust licensed records management professionals to do the managing job for them. Records are typically stored, maintained and secured in an off-site storage facility. You cannot and should not be too lax about your private and confidential documents. Hence, it is a wise move to practice records management to ascertain that your records are secure and safe. Your records are part of work that as with every other element in business, should also be managed effectively.

Furthermore, records management is about accessibility. Records should be readily available for your business or personal use. Sure, a file could be safe and well maintained but if it would take forever to retrieve or even locate it; it could be of no use. Documents and files should be easily requested, retrieved and delivered. In other words, in a snap, your needed records should be there. Oftentimes, business transactions require an immediacy for certain records that the slightest delay could cost a client, a deal or dreadfully, money.

Records management helps run businesses without a hitch. It allows for smoother, hassle-free business dealings, and basically help organizations be more efficient and organized. As for personal records management, it certainly makes our lives easier. Time spent looking (or whining) for a loss or misused record is time wasted. Come on, life is too short! Let’s not spend it on worrying about records, which are as essential as your weight but not as enticing as loss pounds. Yes, a fact of life. Effective records management will keep us worry-free.

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