When you think about important aspects of business, you probably didn’t think of record keeping immediately. However, it is one of the most crucial facets of running any business, whether you’re a digital marketing firm or a printing business.
According to some experts, the cost of a single data entry mistake can be as high as $100. Multiple mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars. Not having an efficient record keeping process can have serious repercussions on your business and cost you more than just money. Here are some common record-keeping mistakes you need to watch out for if you want your business to run as smoothly as possible.
1. Relying On Employees
People are fallible, that’s just a fact. Your employees will mess up and occasionally forget to upload crucial files to your accounts or photocopy the wrong documents. Although you should trust them, that doesn’t mean you leave your record keeping entirely up to them. You should always make use of digital methods as backup plans in the event an employee fails to back up their data manually. There are programs for archiving apps like Salesforce and other software that will let you rest easy.
2. Not Having a Schedule
Regular data backups are essential because you have no idea when there might be a blackout or a theft that could render your original data inaccessible. Work with your employees to come up with a reasonable schedule for your data backups. An hourly backup schedule can be a little excessive, particularly if you run a small company. A daily backup can be optimal if you make plenty of files every day. For other cases, backing up your data every two days can be enough.
3. Keeping Records On-Site Only
While you should always have access to your files, leaving them in your office all the time is a mistake. You don’t know if there’s going to a flood or a theft that could render your office storage space or devices inoperable. Choose a reliable off-site facility for your data backups. A secure storage unit is ideal for physical records while a server farm or similar facility is perfect for your digital information. Inspect and assess these facilities thoroughly before storing your data in them.
4. Having Only One Copy
Always have more than one copy of your information. Aside from the original, you should ideally have one other copy for off-site storage. If you prefer, you can have two copies: a digital copy for off-site storage in a cloud computing program or server, and a physical copy for on-site archives. These redundancies will help you locate any important document immediately, should you need to produce it.
5. Not Digitizing Physical Records
Physical records are essential, but they also don’t last very long. A paper document can get torn, have coffee spilled on it, eaten by insects, or set on fire at any point. If you have physical documents, you should begin digitizing them immediately. Photocopy documents that are still legible and scan them into your computer. Transcribe documents or take photographs if you need to. These will be invaluable in preserving them for the future.
6. Not Having an Indexing System
Bad data entry and record keeping can cost you time, which translates to lost earnings. One insidious way it can do is by wasting your time sifting through records because you don’t have a reliable indexing system. An indexing system means you have an organized way of storing your files as well as naming them in the first place. There are plenty of indexing systems you can find online. Just find one that suits your business’s needs and employ it rigorously.
7. Hording Files
While keeping extensive records is a good thing, sometimes, you may go overboard with record keeping. Hording every single scrap of paper and email your business sends out and receives is going to lead to bursting storage spaces and waste of your time. Thoroughly assess each scrap of data you want to archive and determine its importance. This will be essential in ensuring you don’t clutter up your storage spaces. You should also bear in mind that you have to regularly get rid of data just as you accumulate it. Once a month, designate a day to comb through your archives and delete anything that’s no longer relevant to your business.
Record keeping is an important aspect of running a business and mastering it is a challenging endeavor. Identifying and avoiding these mistakes is a great first step into streamlining your data management and record keeping processes.