How To Organize Your Company Records
Filing of records may seem unimportant, but if you add up the minutes and hours lost in retrieving records, they will come to a significant amount in a year’s time. Compound this with the delays other activities suffer due to waiting, then the damage becomes worse. Finally, losing a vital document could cost a company millions of pesos.
While we could only write down a very limited list of what to do to manage your documents, this would be better than having no system at all. Until you find the time and budget to get proper training, it would be prudent to note these tips on handling your documents:
Have standard policies and procedures on records handling. It is important that every department and personnel are informed and well trained on the procedures. The success of any attempt to improve your records and filing management will ultimately depend on the people carrying it out.
Classify your records. Categorize them according to their importance, the legal time they should be kept, and frequency of use.
Digitalize your records. There are times when it would be better to print a scanned copy rather than retrieving the original document to reduce the chances of the original getting lost. A digital file may also help in case you lose the original. It is also easier to search a digital file than a physical document.
Learn the legal period when you must keep your documents. There is a wide variation in the number of years you should store documents. In some cases, there are documents that must be kept forever. Do not guess—find out the number of years you need to keep a document. Keep only what you must and throw out what is no longer needed.
Arrange files both alphabetically and chronologically. Unless you are certain that your records would not become too large, it is best to organize both alphabetically and chronologically.
Check for termite infestation. Termites and other pests like cockroaches could destroy your files. This is especially true for archives that are rarely accessed. By the time you notice the infestation, the damage may already be severe. Regularly check the archives even if you are not trying to retrieve a document. Also have a regular pest control service to prevent or minimize such damage.
Have a logbook for tracking possession of a document. Set up a procedure to document the transfer of a document. Indicate also the number of pages of the document being handled. This will enable you to know who is accountable in case of any loss.
Consider outsourcing your storage needs. There are now companies that specialize in storing documents. These should not be just ordinary warehouse companies because there is a need to exert extra effort to secure your documents.
Records management requires a systematic approach to cope with the volume of paper that arrives daily. Today’s legal environment makes it imperative not to lose an important document. Also, competitive pressure to be efficient adds to the urgency. Do not let this problem pile up in your company.
To know more about this topic, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts a seminar entitled, “Records and Filing Management.” Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133 or visit www.businesscoachphil.com for details.
Click here to view details of the seminar: Records and Filing Management »
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, April 7, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.