Records managers are on the front lines of managing risk for their organizations—and they’ve got their work cut out for them.
With complicated retention schedules and the looming possibility of an audit always present, records management involves far greater effort than making sure documents are filed in a safe place. Here are three major records management challenges facing organizations today.
Making Records Easily Accessible
Knowing where a record is located and how to find it in a timely manner is easier said than done—especially when you’re searching for information across the enterprise. Organizations can simplify records searches by:
- Digitizing records so that they are viewable on computers, tablets or smartphones
- Applying metadata to records, so that they are instantly searchable by record type
- Using saved searches to quickly perform routine searches for a specific type of record
For example, the Town of Palm Beach, FL, uses enterprise content management (ECM) to easily find records associated with revenue bond documents. It assigns an informational tag to each bond document, and searching by that tag returns all documents related to the bond.
Complying with Retention Schedules
Organizations have a wide range of record retention schedules to comply with based on the industry they are in and the type of records in question. Regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the US Department of Labor—among others—can impose strict fines for failing to follow the rules.
In order to comply with retention schedules, organizations can use electronic records management systems to enforce consistent, organization-wide records policies including:
- Auto-filing newly created records according to industry regulations and corporate policies
- Automatically retaining, transferring and archiving records based on the record type
- Grouping records in series based on their retention and disposition schedules
Preparing for Audits
Throughout the records management cycle, organizations are constantly subject to audits. They need to prove to regulators that they have been retaining records in compliance with their legal retention schedules. To simplify audit preparation, organizations can use ECM to:
- Monitor system events, such as login and logout, document creation and destruction, password changes and more
- Log user actions taken on smartphones and tablets
- Generate audit reports that specify the time, user and changes associated with all system modifications
For example, investment advisory firm Hanson McClain easily prepares for audits by using ECM to track the creation, deletion and modification of the documents stored in the repository. Even if a document is deleted, IT can still locate it, find out who deleted it and restore it in the repository.