Thursday, March 03, 2011

Good Records Management Is Good Business

Government departments can be a good source of information for business on how to stay compliant with the legal obligations in the local jurisdiction and in this example below, it shows clearly the kinds of documentation that needs to be maintained and managed well. These documents are essential to your businesses well being and need to be managed effectively. Some will need updating at the right time and this can easily be overlooked. 

I was at a networking luncheon recently and heard about a great example of where the right documentation being overlooked can result in ongoing issues that can threaten the complete operations of the business – sometimes without the owner being aware that it even happened. In this case the real estate license had expired and not renewed as it was due. To cover this, the administrations person had ‘doctored’ a certificate with the new dates on it to cover the fact that it was not done in time and of course once this had happened the first time, then they maintained this the following year. When this came to light, the real estate agent had effectively been without a current license for a period of 3 years.  This could have been catastrophic to that business. 

Cases abound where employees either by intention or by lack of understanding can cause problems for a business. Good management of the records in the business should keep a check and good oversight to the operations and administrative issues in a business. Compliance can be a trial for business to manage, but as well as keeping the business ‘legal’ – you can use the need for good record keeping to your advantage too. 
Trying to manage this with files and bits of paper is a nightmare – and puts business at risk of things being missed, potential fines and court actions and more. But this need to be compliant is a perfect excuse to put in place systems to manage your information in a streamlined way,  one that covers your obligations, but also lets you manage more effectively, reduce risk and create a relaxed environment where employees are able to know exactly what they are expected to do, alerts to remind them when things are due so they don’t need to rely on memory or bits of paper, and can be confident that they are clear on what is expected of them and how to do their work successfully.

How do you manage your records now? 

Records Management
Record keeping isn't just good business practice, it's a legal requirement. You are required by the Australian Taxation Office to keep business records for a minimum of five years, in plain English and in a way the tax office can access if they need it.
Business record keeping
In addition to your ATO financial records requirements other government departments require you to keep records relating to your business and employees. 
When setting up your record keeping system you should also file records such as: 
  • contracts, insurance agreements and other legal documents
  • your lease if you're renting 
  • licences and permits
  • employee records including time sheets, copies of pay slips etc
  • safety records e.g. risk assessment for occupational health and safety 
  • any other records which are 'business activity' specific and required by law for the operation of your business e.g. for a cafĂ© your food safety plan
Tip: Write down the method you use for filing so if someone has to do it for you they know how to. As your business grows, this is a job you could give someone else to do. 

Adobe PDF Document

A checklist of business records and how long to keep them, including financial and employment records.

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healthcare records management said...

Thank you for providing the informatiob on records management. I believe that the increase in legislation in this matter is positive, and will help companies handle legal issues more reliably.

lindyasimus said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure increasing legislation is a good thing but I know it is a struggle for a lot of businesses. Fortunately I'm working on a launch of an application that may take the pain away for a lot of businesses that are struggling to manage this effectively. The bonus is they have the tools to run the business more effectively and staff get to know what they are supposed to be doing, with clear instructions, so they can get on with it.

Ruby said...

Yes, businesses should comply with the government’s rules, especially in handling records. It allows companies to have a smooth flow of operations since the government is actually part of a business’s external environment. Whenever businesses create plans, they make sure they abide such laws and regulations.

Ruby Badcoe