What are the outcomes of poor record keeping in a business enterprise?

When it comes to records and information management (RIM), there are several causes of poor records management practices and risks associated with not keeping your RIM program up to date. Overlooking or completely ignoring these risks could lead to serious consequences of poor information management. If you’ve been meaning to tackle this initiative, but haven’t quite prioritized it, or weren’t quite sure where to start, this blog provides a few pointers on where you may want to begin. Below are five areas to focus your modernization efforts on so outdated records and information management practices do not face the harmful consequences of poor record keeping.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Records management Risk 1 So what are the causes of poor record keeping? The first risk you may be taking focuses on ensuring quality. If you’re not being diligent enough about records management protocols, this apathy could become one of the causes of poor records management practices. You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”? And this certainly applies here. Good records management begins with good information capture and filing, especially in today’s fast-paced, document-filled world. If you’re not structured in the data you record, its accuracy, storage locations, and versioning controls, your entire system can quickly descend into chaos from the effects of poor record keeping.

In fact, in a recent survey, 79% of survey respondents reported that they create new documents in their jobs at least several times a week, and 59% of them create them daily or continuously.

Mishandling of Information

Records management Risk 2Without strong records management, even your most reliable workers can expose your organization to legal and compliance risks by unintentionally mishandling documents. For example, have you ever found an important form on the copy machine at the office? Or given files to a co-worker without first checking their permissions? Or maybe you know someone who has thrown away a document or record that was either retained or securely shredded? These poor records management errors can put you and your organization at risk, while implementing a solid RIM program opens up opportunities for you to grow.

Regulatory Fines & Penalties

Records management Risk 3

Whether you manage medical records, legal records, or other forms of personal and financial information, a solid document retention policy is key to avoiding the consequences of poor record keeping. Without it, you risk being fined significantly, especially if you destroy records too soon or can’t produce them during an audit. You could also incur more risk than you should in legal discovery or an at-fault breach by keeping records beyond their retention dates. One example of this happened a few years back to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. when CPUC fined them $24.3 million due to poor records management. That’s an expensive and preventable lesson to have to learn for poor records management.

Damage During Disasters

Records management Risk 4Natural disasters, floods, and fires can wreak havoc on a business, destroying improperly stored documents forever. Critical and irreplaceable records should be stored in climate-controlled underground vaults and in professional records centers in locations chosen for minimized environmental risks. Disaster recovery can save your company from the irreversible consequences of poor record keeping.

Time & Efficiency Loss

Records management Risk 5Poor record keeping opens organizations up to decreasing productivity when employees are forced to track down the information they need to complete tasks. All this time and energy adds up to real costs that hit your bottom line. In fact, some workers claim to spend as much as 15% of their workweek hunting down lost paper documents.

Person at desk trying to manage records efficiently

Don’t let these 5 things listed above cause your RIM program and operations to spiral into chaos. Assess the causes of poor records management practices, establish a plan, regain control, mitigate risk, and improve efficiencies with help from Access. Our offsite storage solutions are designed to keep your documents secure — without hindering accessibility, and our records retention scheduling solution, Virgo, can help you automate your scheduling processes while providing world-class client service.


To learn more, download our eBook:
From Vendor to Partner: 38 questions you must ask your information management provider

Download Ebook Now