Knowing The Difference Between Documents Management and Records Management

Document management and records management are two different types of organizational techniques. All records are a type of document, but a document is not necessarily always considered a record. Therefore, your document management and records management systems can often work together.

What are Documents?
Documents have an active lifecycle, and the goal is to keep your documents secure, organized, and easy to access. A document is often editable and its contents may change over time, so the ability to share documents easily is important. Documents usually are not governed by laws or regulations.

Document Management
Document management is the system of storing and sharing a businesses document. For example, documents may be stored in file cabinets, online in a document management system, or at an offsite storage facility. The ability to efficiently retrieve, access, and modify these documents is the key to a successful document management system.

What are Records? 
Records are official files that serve as evidence of an activity. An example of a record is anything that documents a business transaction—a contract, an invoice, a receipt. Records must be organized and tracked to follow specific industry compliance laws and regulations. One function of retaining records is to provide an audit trail for a transaction.

Records Management
Records management is a system that will track the activity and lifecycle of the record including creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposal. While records may be archived documents that are no longer in circulation, they still need to be easily retrieved for regulatory compliance. A records management system will also include a retention policy that defines how long a record must be kept on file and when it is appropriate for it to be destroyed.

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