The other day, a client called me. She was looking for corporate sponsors for a local ARMA event. We said yes immediately because it made perfect sense to support the users that the software we deploy, implement, and manage is purpose-built for. We also think some organizations should show more support to their records managers. Why? Because, as an organization, you benefit from their (often invisible and uncredited) work
Unfortunately, some organizations either underestimate the importance of records management or view this process as a matter of convenience (rather than one of necessity). However, these programs are vital for any org with ongoing recordkeeping, as they offer several advantages akin to productivity and cost savings. Moreover, a good records management system helps ensure compliance and quick access to your most-referenced files.
Records management is important because it ensures that vital records are preserved and supervises records throughout their lifecycle, including compliance with set retention procedures. Ultimately, leveraging records management is the best way to guarantee records with historical, fiscal, and legal impact are accurately identified and preserved and that non-essential records are discarded as often as established guidelines require.
A quality records management program can bring numerous benefits to your organization, from improved efficiency and faster information retrieval to enhanced workflows, minimized risks, and compliance with regulatory mandates. Here are just three (we can think of more) benefits your organization gains when the records management practice is supported:
Are you in a highly regulated industry? With mandated and transparency requirements growing increasingly stricter, it’s crucial for organizations to have a solid record management system in place to ensure they abide by all necessary regulations. And easier, more seamless compliance is incredibly helpful to your agency as a whole, considering enforcement for noncompliance can be quite severe (ranging from legal actions to expensive penalties and possible negative financial impact).
Most agencies don’t analyze the time spent on storing or searching for records, so it’s difficult to know how much time is wasted in the process. But when documents are stored onsite in overflowing file cabinets, there’s no doubt a lot of time is lost while recovering relevant information. Worse yet, after retrieving records, they’ll eventually need to be refiled, which takes up additional hours that could be better used elsewhere within the office. A comprehensive records management system allows your most essential data and details to be conveniently accessed whenever needed. This promotes better workflows and boosts your organization’s ability to handle business on time and ensure service delivery to constituents.
By utilizing a records management practice, your agency can reduce the risks of litigation and/or potential penalties. That’s because a thorough records management strategy can minimize the liabilities associated with document disposal (meaning it dramatically reduces the risk of fines or other disciplinary actions). While most compliance risk comes from documents that are destroyed prematurely, there is equal (or greater) risk in storing documents for too long; records can and should be destroyed after a certain number of years, depending on the file type. If a file is retained beyond when it was supposed to be destroyed, it still must be part of the discovery product in litigation, which can be used against the organization in legal proceedings.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you of the importance of a thorough records management program. Please be sure to thank your records manager!