AGi has seen two recent posts that look at records management in a way that can be helpful for laypersons or businesses that are just starting to get their bearings around the subject.
The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) has a great starting definition for records management drawn from the ISO standard:
ISO standard 15489: 2001 defines Records Management (RM) as the field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of records, including the processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records.
Melissa Strawhecker at Iron Mountain recently posted an amusing anecdote of an interviewee that described records management as “not rocket science.” The whole post is worth reading, but this sentiment expresses something important for small businesses beginning to hold their records management to a higher standard:
The only difference between records we keep at home and records that we keep for business is that, for the most part, we know how long we need to keep the records at home. Bank statements can be shredded once all the transactions are cleared, taxes need to be kept for seven years, I keep receipts and warranties (for big purchases) until I no longer have the product or the warranty has expired.
Business records are a little more complicated… all companies should have a records retention schedule that their employees can refer to and determine how long they need to keep things. The retention periods provided in most records retention schedules are intended to be as short as possible to minimize the volume of records while still complying with all legal, contractual, or operational requirements. Records should neither be kept longer than the periods stated in the schedule, nor should they be destroyed or discarded before the stated retention period expires.