Introduction to records
Records are items that document the activities of a business or organization. They can be in the form of paper documents, images or electronic, like e-mails.
ARMA suggests keeping records of all of the following:
- transactions such as an order, a payment, or client intake
- decisions that could result in policies or procedures
- research - either scientific or business
- documentation required by regulation or law
- the history of the business or organization
When writing records, try to stick to the facts. Explain things in detail, but don't add in extraneous information. You want the people reading it to understand exactly what you are saying without being flooded with useless information. Also realize that you only have control over the first set of people to receive the document. Subsequent redistribution is out of your control. Anyone can end up with the document.
You should write a record as soon as possible. Do not hold off until far after the event or activity is over, or you risk misconstruing or forgetting vital information. Once written, depending on the type of record, you may be responsible for retaining one copy of the record for a particular amount of time. It is very important that you identify this length of time.
This information and some quotes are from ARMA International pamphlets.