Recordkeeping nowadays is far from the image of old metal cabinets loaded with files sorted in alphabetic order or colour-coded. It’s also a lot different from the days when files were stored in physical format (usually paper) in archive rooms where no one wanted to go dig for information.
In fact, due to the sheer amount of information available each day, a small business would run out of storage space in a matter of hours! Luckily, due to electronic data formats and storage, we now have a wide range of storage options at our disposal. Still, the task of keeping records and managing the flux of information should not be taken lightly.
Today more than ever, information must be easily accessible by anyone who needs it. Companies can’t function without proper data access since most decisions are data-driven. Besides, business intelligence platforms are useless without accurate and high-quality data. Therefore, recordkeeping and record management are tasks that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What Exactly is Recordkeeping Management?
Someone in charge of recordkeeping management will cover activities such as the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposal of records (data necessary for business transactions). This position is needed to keep data easily accessible to decision-makers, executives, employees, and auditors (in case of compliance audits). Therefore, the record manager doesn’t just need to store the data in an easy to search format, they also need to keep track of each data’s position with the storage medium (whether electronic or paper-based).
This goes to show that businesses can’t appoint just anyone in charge of recordkeeping. They will need a person specialized in classifying and storing sensitive and confidential records using the latest technologies and industry best practices. So, anyone interested in such a position should consider taking proper Recordkeeping courses designed by the best instructors in the field.
Types of Data & Documents
Even though we are in the age of new technologies, many companies use a hybrid system with both digital and paper-based documents. In addition, data that comes from the market, via various sources must be sorted out and checked before it’s allowed to enter the system.
Besides, business transaction data comes from a wide range of sources such as memos, online documents, emails, reports, message logs, video meetings and other types of content, paper files, contracts, and so on.
Therefore, each type of data must be categorized and stored according to the best practices accepted by the company. And, while small businesses still use spreadsheets to keep a log of their data storage locations, large businesses must use adequate records management software tools. This kind of tool helps speed up the work and improves the security and processing of data being stored.
Lastly, businesses that require real-time access to data on the field will use electronic devices (such as scanners or GPS-enabled trackers) to introduce valuable data directly in the main database. In this case, the data is immediately processed and turned into reports or predictions by an AI-based system. However, there’s still a need for a records manager to set the system and make sure everything goes smoothly.
Modern Technologies: Pros & Cons
One of the main concerns involving modern technologies has to do with cybersecurity. And, considering the number of data breaches that marred 2020, it’s only natural to be cautious. However, this fear can halter progress, especially in an age when data is the blood of the economy.
So, in order to reach some type of balance, companies must invest in creating effective cybersecurity strategies. For instance, some cybersecurity best-practices for businesses are not difficult to implement but require a wider approach that gets everyone involved in keeping the company data safe.
Overall, both recordkeeping and data security are collective efforts. Everyone involved in the process of business can help out, and the best way to improve is by increasing awareness in terms of data quality and security.
In the end, the pros of using modern technologies outweigh (increased processing speed, better decisionmaking process, faster access to crucial details, safer storage facilities, and more) the cons.
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Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses AU.