Effective Record Management Strategies for Small Businesses

No matter how big or small your business is, having a strategy to manage your records is important. The impact of effective record management on efficiency, compliance, and decision making is significant. If your office is cluttered with packed filing cabinets and misfiled records, you will not be able to reach your full potential as a business. Finding an effective record management system for your business can greatly increase your productivity.

Business woman looking through paperwork at her desk.

Understanding Your Records

The more organized you are with your record management, the more effective your business will be. A poor records management system will make it difficult to locate the information you need. If you cannot access your records effectively, not only will you be wasting time and resources on searching, but you may act on incorrect information. When you build a records management system, begin by categorizing and identifying the types of records relevant to your business. Different information and documents have different values and importance to your business, and when organizing your records, make sure to prioritize the information that is most valuable.

Digitization of Records

Transitioning to digital record keeping systems makes sense for many businesses. Cloud storage can help streamline records management, will save time and money, and will ensure that necessary documents are easily found and accessed when necessary. With the right data security practices, digital records can be more secure than paper filing systems. Digital records make email collaboration easier, electronic signatures can help streamline document authentication, and the chances of documents getting lost, damaged, or misfiled are greatly reduced. Managing your documents digitally on one platform makes it easy to retrieve records. Document management software has the right tools to protect all digital information, making cloud based storage safe and secure.

Data Security and Privacy

Best practices for data security are crucial for any business. Whether you are dealing with cloud based storage or paper files, you’ll want all employees focused on protecting company data. A security breach can be catastrophic for businesses. When developing your records management system, implementing measures is the best way to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive business information. Regular audits of the system, timely shredding of paper documents and secure destruction of digital records, and making sure all staff are trained in best practices can not only protect against potential breaches, but will safeguard your business if a breach does occur.

Regular Audits and Reviews

No matter what record management system you implement, periodic reviews of your data management processes should be part of your regular schedule. Audits ensure accuracy, relevance of the system, and compliance with evolving business needs and regulations. Poor records management can open your business up to legal liabilities. There are federal regulations that require businesses to maintain proper financial records to protect employees and clients from fraud, and in the case of a data breach, having a record management system in place will help protect your business from liability.

Disaster Preparedness and Backup Plans

Although you hope you never have to use it, businesses should always have a plan in place for if and when the worst happens. Fire, flooding, or other natural disasters can quickly wipe out years of records, even if they were stored in an organized way, making recovery a much more difficult process. Developing contingency plans for data loss or system failures is a critical piece of a records management system. Regular and secure backups are always recommended for digital storage, and offsite storage is a good contingency plan for critical hard copies.

Integration with Business Processes

When record management is integrated as part of the day-to-day business operations, workflow is greatly improved. Operations become more efficient, decisions can be made more effectively, and communication and collaboration are improved. As business becomes increasingly digital, traditional document storage solutions built to manage paper are no longer the right fit. To integrate with a digital world, a digital document solution is the right choice.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

Your business may be small now, but you need to find a solution for record management that will grow with your business through the years. Taking your system digital ensures that you will always have the physical space necessary for records storage as well as the secure accessibility that will become necessary when you have more employees that may need access to records. As business requirements and regulations evolve and change, having a digital records management system will ensure that you are always ready for what is coming next.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Every business is concerned with cost-effective solutions for their administrative needs. When margins are thin, every bit of savings counts. Digitizing documents, rather than a paper filing system, will save businesses money. Digital scanning is affordable, easy to manage, and, when outsourced, can even eliminate the long-term costs of buying a scanner and having your team take their valuable time to scan the documents. The cumulative costs of photocopying, printing, and storing add up, whereas the cost of taking document storage digital is very cost-effective.

When you have an effective record management system for all your documents, your office can be more efficient, productive, and effective. Your documents will be secure, you will be prepared for any potential issues with your data, and you will know that you will always be able to access what you need. Keeping online information safe is an ongoing job, and we can help. Contact AccuShred to learn more about how we help businesses keep their data secure.