Document Management and Records Management… What’s the Difference?

Document management and records management sound very much alike, don’t you think? However, they are two different organizational techniques that can be used separately or together to help business practices.

Knowing the difference between document and records management helps businesses and business professionals choose the best solution for their needs as well as know what to expect upon implementation.

Documents vs. Records  The term document encompasses paper, electronic forms and files, emails, faxes, contracts, leases, vendor communications, etc. Records are any of those documents that have been made final and are no longer meant to be altered.

Document Management  Document management is the processes of handling documents in a way that enables them to be created, shared, organized, stored and retrieved efficiently and effectively.

Objectives of Document Management: 

  • Reduce lost and misfiled documents.
  • Provide faster search and retrieval of documents.
  • Reduce the amount of physical space used to store documents, such as file cabinets, boxes and shelving.
  • Better organize existing documents.
  • Streamline information and workflow.
  • Allow instant access to documents.

Records Management Records management is the practice of maintaining records including classifying, storing, securing and destruction or archival preservation, which protects fragile historical archives and assures permanent records are accessible and readable for years into the future.

Objectives of Records Management:

  • Control the quantity and quality of records.
  • Simplify the activities, systems, and processes of records maintenance and use.
  • Identify what records exist by records inventory.
  • Apply required retention periods to stored items.
  • Develop and administer policies and procedures.
  • Preserve records throughout their life cycle.
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