Inaccurate recordkeeping can be risky for nonprofits

May 13, 2013

Inaccurate recordkeeping can be risky for nonprofits

Record-keepers at nonprofit organizations have a lot to track of on a daily basis; donations, fixed expenses and salaries are just a few things they have to juggle while also looking into financial forecasting for the next six to 12 months. Keeping this in mind, it may be smart to use a records management program to help reduce risks.

A new study from Canon Business Process Services, a provider of managed services and technology, showed only 15 percent of executives surveyed said their organization has implemented a risk assessment to determine appropriate retention periods for their records. Failing to have a strategy for records retention could make an organization vulnerable to litigation or miss out on untapped opportunities. 

"Whatever records management strategy an organization adopts, the goals should be clear," said Elizabeth Halaki, chief marketing officer at Canon Business Process Services. "Our current and previous surveys indicate that companies want their records programs to help mitigate compliance risk, leverage proven technology and better control their information assets."

Records management strategies must improve
Thirty-eight percent of respondents admitted to not conducting a needs assessments that could help solve problems for the organization, but these initiatives are the only thing that could help with records management. The days when nonprofits keep books by hand are coming to an end, and organizations are using digital processes instead.

One place where records can be stored is the email inbox of record-keepers, giving them quick access to the information they need, while also providing the opportunity to log on from anywhere. Email can be a permanent record, and nonprofits decision-makers can create folders for their messages much like they would a filing cabinet, if security measures are in place. By learning how to better keep records, nonprofits won't be scrambling come audit time.

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