If you’ve run a business for any significant length of time, you know that as your business grows, so does your paper trail. Whether digital or physical, the volume of documents required to operate a business can be extensive and is only growing as the world does. A robust and highly-functional records and information management (RIM) system is essential to ensure both convenience and compliance, saving your business both time and money.

Whether you’re just starting to build your RIM system or need to re-evaluate your existing one, read on for some best practices to keep in mind.

Establish Legal Requirements

Documentation standards and best practices change depending on your industry. For example, regulations in food service are vastly different from those governing the legal and medical professions. Neither I or any other records center can keep up with regulations for all the different industries our customers inhabit. Each customer should check with their legal professional for their industry.

Systematize Your Documents

Best practices for file management start with your systems. Establishing standards around the purpose of each document your organization uses, how it needs to be stored, and for how long, will save your company time and protect you from mistakes that can lead to regulatory trouble. Of course, digital records and physical ones may require different systems, or a combination of the two via document scanning.

Index Your Documents

Storing your documents correctly isn’t very helpful if you can’t find them quickly. A crucial piece of any effective RIM system is a proper inventory and sometimes indexing, a process that allows authorized members of your organization to find exactly the document they need, as quickly and easily as possible. Of course, this is easier said than done, prompting the development of several common types of indexing like double key, full-text, and variable lookup indexing. Consulting with an expert will help you customize your indexing solution to fit your business.

Store Your Documents Securely

Storing your documents securely is of utmost importance, regardless of your industry. However, it’s also a considerable obstacle requiring large amounts of space and a robust security infrastructure. That’s why many businesses utilize the storage services of companies like Armstrong — we offer premier storage facilities serving the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, including secure and climate-controlled environments to fit the document storage needs of any business.

Securely Dispose of Unneeded Documents

Once your documents are no longer needed, you’ll need to dispose of them in a manner that mitigates your security risk and ensures that once you’ve disposed of a document, it’s gone for good. Secure document destruction services can eliminate any worries about identity theft or corporate espionage, ensuring that sensitive information never falls into the wrong hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of keeping business records?

Keeping business records allows your business to remain compliant with regulatory agencies, limit itself to security risks, and improve workflow, saving time and money. A sub-optimal record-keeping system can cost your employees valuable time, and open your organization up to unneeded exposure.

What is a good way to maintain records?

An effective records and information management (RIM) system provides clear expectations to employees for how and where to store the correct documents, and offers safe and convenient access to stored documents whenever necessary.

How can records management practices be improved?

Many RIM systems can be improved by an external audit from a record storage professional. A consultation with an objective third party can often radically improve the functionality, convenience, and effectiveness of an organization’s RIM system.

For more information on effective records storage best practices, or to speak with a records storage and management expert, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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