Implementing a Records Management Program

Tax Professionals Resource
September 19, 2012 — 1,297 views  
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Records Management can be defined as the practice of maintaining, using, and disposal of an organization's records. In implementing a records management program, policies and procedures should be developed stating the scope, objectives, responsibilities, definitions, and procedures of the program.

SCOPE: The scope should describe the overall responsibility of the records management program and should also describe the role of the records manager.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of a records management policy is to make records serve the purpose for which they were created and to comply with the appropriate mandated laws and regulations for the proper generation, filing, storage, and destruction of records in an effort to best utilize space, avoid duplication, preserve historical and vital records and minimize costs. This includes following the proper retention schedules for paper files, microfilm, imaging, and electronic records management.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Responsibilities must be specified for individual offices within an organization or segments of a business.

  • Department heads or supervisors are responsible for developing and maintaining a records management strategy for their individual office or business segment. This includes conducting inventories, updating of inventories, and forwarding inventories to the records manager.
  • The director of information technology is responsible for maintenance of inventories on servers, the backup of electronic records, and also for the development and maintenance of a disaster recovery plan. 
  • The records manager is responsible for the records management policy and procedures, compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, and the destruction of records.
  • The departmental or business segment records coordinator is responsible for the training and dissemination of retention schedules, the completion and filing of the proper forms for the destruction of records, and should be the contact person for any records management questions. 

Individual employees are responsible for knowing the type of records their work creates and the retention periods.

DEFINITIONS: Definitions of records and electronic records should be provided with examples of each.

PROCEDURES: Procedures should be developed for the management of records for each department or business segment and for the compliance of retention schedules. Procedures should be developed for the long-term storage of records, the storage of records for permanent retention, for records awaiting destruction, and for the destruction of records. Procedures should also be developed for the transfer of records to the storage center, for the packing and movement of records, and for the recall of stored records. Finally, procedures should be developed for the management of electronic mail (e-mail), microfilm, and any other document imaging.

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