4 Steps to Improve Your Records Management in the New Year

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News Year's Eve fireworks display
After you celebrate the New Year, it’s time to set new goals.

A new year means it’s time to set new goals.

Taking actions to ensure your records management program is organized and compliant helps boost productivity and minimizes risk throughout the year.

Here are four steps to get you started.

Review document retention schedules

Adhering to accurate retention schedules is crucial for successful records management. The schedule is a policy document that details how long information must be kept, the reason for retention (fiscal, legal, historical), and includes guidelines for how to dispose of records that are past their useful life.

Different types of documents have different retention requirements. You need proper guidelines for all your files. This increases internal efficiencies and helps safeguard you in the event of an audit.

The start of the year is a perfect time to review retention schedules. You may discover that you need to update your schedules due to changes in regulatory requirements as well as changes in the function of the records or how they are used within your business.

If you find that your system is disorganized it’s a good idea to seek out a professional records management company that can help you create proper schedules and index your files for better inventory management.

Also, if you do not already have one, you’ll also want to create an online database to enable ongoing monitoring of retention schedules.

Properly dispose of expired files

All files that are past their retention requirements should be properly discarded. That means secure and compliant disposal.

Keeping records beyond their useful life opens you up to exposure. Even if you don’t need the files anymore, someone can still get to them, and that can lead to information breach. You may also fall out of regulatory compliance which can lead to sanctions and fines.

Using a simple office shredder is not enough, and it’s certainly not the way to go if you ever need to prove proper destruction. A professional NAID AAA certified shredding service gives you the highest level of security and privacy protection for your document disposal. You’ll also receive a certificate of destruction that proves your shredding was done in compliance with information destruction laws. The certificate helps protect your company in the event of an audit or legal action.

Reduce clutter and regain space

Paper clutter is more than just a nuisance. It makes you less productive and costs you money. Wasting time looking for seldom-needed documents takes time away from more important tasks. Decreasing space needed for file cabinets reduces overhead expense.

When you have documents that you must keep for retention purposes, but need only on an infrequent basis, you can save money by storing them at a professional records center. Make sure you choose a company that has high levels of security, fire control and other systems to protect your items from disaster and theft.

You’ll want to know that your storage company can quickly retrieve and deliver your documents when you need them. Companies with scanning services provide additional convenience to help streamline your work processes.

Monitor your records management program

Proper records information management is more than a once a year deal. It’s an ongoing practice. Check your processes on a regular basis to verify the program is running smoothly. Ask the people who need access to your records for feedback on what’s working well (or not). Update procedures as needed.

DocuVault provides records information management services to the Delaware Valley. We can help you with all of the steps noted above, and more. Visit our Contact page for our phone number or to send us a message.

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