Records Management in Business Organization

Records Management in Business Organization

Records Management  – The ever-increasing volume of records being created as well as the rapidly increasing costs of maintaining these records necessitate the utilization of efficient records management.  The smooth functioning of an organization is greatly dependent upon the efficient utilization of information.  For any business organization to survive, progress and to continue in existence, there must be records of the part issues, events, stories etc., which must be kept and also maintained.

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This is further buttressed by Oliverio and pasework (1977) that all records will be important to the contained successful operation of your firm.  The records become part of the memory of the organization.  Not only do the record provide the history of the transaction but also form the basis for future decision.  Records refer tot he informational documents utilized by an organization in carrying out its various functions.  It is generally used in the office to refer to documents, specific information and data which form the basis of an organization’s operations and transaction.  Types of records commonly utilized include forms, letters, memorandums, reports and manuals, minutes of meetings.  It is also used to refer to those documents from which a business organization derives its legitimacy, powers and substation like acts of parliament, memorandum of association, certificate of incorporation etc. records management is one of the fundamental functions of a record officer in an organization.  It is therefore the art and devices employed to capture and control and the records of an organization.

Elendu O. Elndu (1985) described records management as a means of making use, controlling and the disposition of records so that the systems work efficiently and economically.  This means that the basic concept of records management involves the control of recorded information from the original creation to the ultimate disposition.  The records cycle beginning with the creation of records involves use, maintenance, preservation, protection and finally disposition.  In the same vein, records management programme refers to a system designed to control and administer the organization records.  Every business organization receives all sorts of records every working day, there is no doubt that if these records are not properly taken care of, the whole office space will be flooded with papers and this will eventually cause inconvenience for the workers.

According to Denyer (1994) he said, it is  the foundation of a good filing system that when records become inactive they should either be destroyed or transferred to a reserved storage.  Records management is not concerned with the technique and facilities for data manipulation but it focuses its attention on the captured data and means and methods for its efficient capture and later exploitation.

There are three principle functions of records management, these are clearly spelt out in the Encyclopedia of management (1973) as follows:-  adequate records management system programme deals with three aspects of organizations records handling, creation, maintenance and disposition.  As said earlier in this study, these principle functions are also the basic concept of records management covers all devices and means used to obtain data or information, keeping and safe – guarding it is an easily retrievable place and manner, produce it when required and protect it until it is no longer useful and therefore disposable.

All business firm keep records.  this is true for small, solely owned business, such as Eme’s Retail Store, as well as for giant corporations, such as consolidated breweries Plc. Business keep records for three major purposes:

  • To operate the business on a day-to-day basis for example, companies must make sure that customer’s orders are filled and that bills are sent promptly.
  •  To manage and control the business efficiently, mangers must know how much business the company is doing and how much it costs to do the business.
  •  To prepare reports for shareholders and government agencies.  For example, most companies file income tax returns more than ones a year.  Although the amount of records keeping varies with the size and type of business, all business must keep records of certain information, or data.  The collecting, classifying, summarizing, reporting and storing of the information is called data processing.

The people and machines used to process data are called data processing systems.  There are three basic ways to process data:

  • Manual Data processing: – With this method all the work is done by hand, usually by a book – keeper.
  •  Machine Data processing: – With this method adding machine and calculators are used to process business records.
  • Electronic Data Procession (EDP): – This method uses electronic computers to process data quickly.

Most data processing system today combine at least two of these methods.  None of these systems are totally automatic.  Since some of the work must always be done by hand (manually).

What is a computer: – A computer is an electronic tool capable of accepting data, interpreting data, performing ordered operation on data, and reporting on the outcome of these operation (Gary 1986).

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The data that a computer processes may be numbers, letters or   even sounds.

It is turned into electrical impulses so that the computer can sort it, change it, or do arithmetic with it.  For example, when we add two numbers, we are processing them in a specific way.  The computer cannot decide for itself what to do with the data on information given to the computer, it is a machine.

 Data and Information

The term information is often used as if it were just another name for “data”.  Data refers to a collection of unprocessed items, which on their own do not convey any meaning. Whereas information is the outcome of processed data items.  A data item may be defined as the smallest unit of named data having a definite size (e.g. the number of characters that comprise it).  Data and information are illustrated below:









Chidi is eighteen today

He lines at 111 Aba Road

The city bus is 16 yards long

Joy and James are related

Enugu is in Enugu State

There are 12 months in a year


By this process, otherwise meaningless pieces of data item are logically organized to convey information.  Data processing is a process of converting unprocessed (raw) data into information or into a definite meaningful result.

Concept of management information system (MIS). Management information system (MIS) is a mechanism designed to collect, combine, compare, analyze and disseminate detain the form of information.  Management information system seeks to gather data in accentual location where it can be meaningful processed to generate information for managerial decision making.  It provides managers with a structured means for presenting past, current and projected information gathered from various sources.  A properly functioning management information system provides such information on a continuous basis (Arther Bedcian 1986).  For any information to be of value, it must be timely, that is within, the line frame it is needed by the recipient.  It must be accurate, this mean the degree of absence of error in information.  It must also be accessible – the cast and speed with which information can be obtained.  It should also be free from bias, there should be no alteration or modification in order to influence recipients.  And above all, information should be clear to the user, that is, it should not be ambiguous.

        Establishment of MIS:

The establishment of management information system requires the efforts of managers at all levels of an organizations may take several years to complete.  The real test of an MIS is its ability to provide information of value that people will use.  The steps followed in establishing an MIS as described by Burch et al 1984 are as follows: –

  Step One:  System Planning:

First step calls for a requirement survey.

A comprehensive description of information needs should be prepared from the intended user’s a formal statement of what is gained by establishing management – formation system.

Step Two: System Design:

This step includes the technical task of development.

Necessary task typically include structuring necessary data base, defining information flow, and determining report   requirements.

    Step Three: System Implementation:

As system specifications are decided in step two, the job of making it happen, now becomes the primary concern …..

Equipment must be purchased, facilities renovated, necessary data – processing resources obtained, and information system personnel hired and/or trained.

        Step Four: System Evaluation:

The forth step which never ends allows an organizations management information system analysts to assure that a system is accomplishing the goals original set in step one.  This is the time for refining modifying, and adding to any aspects of a system design that may become problem areas.

Records management takes cognizance of the organization and layout of the office, size of the firm, scope of operation of the firm, adequate filing system, the comprehensive knowledge of all complex technology of information management, availability of essential equipment and trained personnel t operate the system.

The efficiency of an organization largely dependent on the effectiveness and efficiency of its records management system.  An effective filling system is a prime requisite for a successful operation.

An incorrect and obscure filing system can cause delays in obtaining information, thereby resulting in delays of some opportunities.

Incorrect filing system can also lead to outright cancellations of appointments and orders which ca lead to huge loss of money and goo-will.  Also the loss of a document can also precepitate wrong decisions which can mar the existence and operations of the organization.

But if the records of an organization are well kept, quick and accurate decisions are enhanced since the data or information are easily accessible ad quickly supplied. In that case, the management has all the facts on its finger tips before embarking on any decision, the management can also art or re-art to any situation promptly, this saving various opportunities, time and money.

With the increased importance and use of records management, Carl Heyel (1973) classifies all records and documents of any organization into two broad categories namely: transaction documents and reference documents.  Under transaction documents, we have orders, invoices, cheques, services supplies etc. this forms over 75% of all total records.  Reference documents on the other hand consist of reports, research data, marketing information, books and brochures, legal documents etc.

These documents are meant to show the way in order to minimize errors on the part of the organization.  The emergence of data processing has resulted in new application in the storage and retrieval of information.

Before organizations utilized data processing, storage and retrieval of information involve tangible documents, but with data procession, a considerable amount of information is stored on magnetic tapes, drums or disks, by a process known as electronic filing.

These new methods of storing and retrieving information that have been developed and add new dimension to the records management function.  Dallas and Thumpson are of the opinion that computer have made tremendous impact on office work since they can internally store programmes and provide security on processed data (information).

Indeed, the invention of computers and other electronic devices has brought about a kind of revolution in records management system.  Taking cognizance of all the above points enumerated, this project was focused on the investigation into records management in Consolidated Breweries Plc.  This inquiries were based on the effective operation of records management in order to ensure accountability and minimize frauds and embezzlements.


Consolidated Breweries Plc. was incorporated o 26th November, 1970 under the name Independence Brewery Limited, by the then Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC), the investment are of the government of then Former Eastern Region of Nigeria.  The construction of the first brewery commenced on 1st December, 1968.  And was completed on 30th September, 1969.

On 19th December, 1969, the brewery of Lager Beer commenced and in November of the same year, Consolidated Breweries Lager Beer i.e. (33 beer) was launched into the Nigeria market.  It begar producing its second product – Royal Malt in 1972, thereby becoming one of the breweries producing Malt in the country as at that time.

On 17th June, 1975, the company change its name to Consolidated Breweries Ltd.  As a result of the reconstruction of the country into States, the ownership of Consolidated Breweries Limited passed from the east central state government s to the Imo State Government in 1976 precisely.

Consolidated Breweries Plc. became a publicly quoted company listed on the Nigeria stock exchange in 1978 when Imo State Governments holding was reduced to 51% of the company equity.

In 1980, the shareholding of Imo State Government was reduced again to 25.5% of the company’s equity.  The Imo State Government holds 8.9%, the company has about 2500 Nigerians shareholders holding 90.1% of the company’s equity while 90.1% of the company’s equity is held by Non-Nigerian Association and Citizens.

Consolidated Breweries Plc. is in the beverage industry and its objective is to continuously satisfying the requirement of consumers with high quality beverage.  The company’s products are 33 Lager Beer and Royal Malt.

Consolidated Breweries Plc. receives technical assistance from Holsten Braner AG Hambung especially in the area of new improved production processes and equipment, research into raw materials constant equity assurance and innovation marketing technique.


According to Carl Heyel 91973) a properly developed records management programme is a comprehensive and orderly efforts to control creation, maintenance, and final disposition of all the organization’s records without regards tot he form and manner I which they are created and retained or to the circumstances of their creation or accumulation.  Owing to the above statement, the organization finds it difficult to process and retrieve all the information effectively resulting into various lapses every year.  It is either that some files are omitted or files are misplaced.  In the organization, filing system is extremely difficult.

The office has not been able to cope with the requirements for maintaining an efficient filing system.  G. Mills and O. Standford (1979) stated that the maintenance of an efficient filing system is one of the perennials problems of the office, and its solution demands of the office, and its solution demands understanding of principles …

That is why a careful study of the files reveals instances where one person’s name appears in different files in the organization.  This has a very serious financial and administrative implications.


The objectives of this study is to investigate into records management in some selected business organization in Consolidated Breweries Plc. specifically this study aimed at:

  •  To examine the process by which records are dealt with in the different organizations.
  •  To find out the qualifications of the workers in charge of handling records
  •  To find out whether or not training were given to them before they commenced duty
  •  To assess the way documents are stored
  •  To identify the factors responsible for poor records management
  •  To suggest remedies based on the findings.


The success and failure of any organization depends to a large extent on its ability to keep and maintain effective records management.  Records need to be kept and well managed for easy and timely retrieval.  The ability to store records could not be easily retrieved when needed. Management of records makes it possible for documents to be preserved in an orderly and tidy manner so as to ensure that such documents remain neat and readable in the years ahead.

The modern society has grown into complex network and the size of the globe and the distance form one location to another have been so much reduced by technological break – through (computerization).  It is hoped that the result of this research will provide organizations possible solutions to the problems which range from employment of untrained/unskilled personnel, provision and maintenance of equipment as well s maintaining standard filing procedures.  The researchers have as a result chosen to analyze the filing system of some organizations, educate the management as well as the filing personnel themselves.  Secretaries who are mainly involved in filing will find the outcome useful and it will enable them vice means of improving and developing better filing procedures.


This study is intended to identify the following:

  • What are the processes by which records are dealt with in your organization?
  •  What are the qualifications of those in charge of records?
  •  Were you trained by your organization before you were assigned to this responsibility?
  •  How do you store records in your organization?
  •  What are the factors responsibility for poor management of records?
  •  What suggestions would you proffer to remedy them?


The research study is limited to two organization in order to properly study their records keeping as related to the business activities of the organizations.  Limitations suffered by this research includes that of time available for the investigation as no full day is apportioned during the week for the project alone.  Also the researchers suffered from financial constraints as the cost of everything is now on the increase:

Transport fares due to duel scarcity, cost of stationeries etc.  Some of the respondents were uncooperative by refusing to accept questionnaires or answer questions in detail when interviewed.


The study was delimited in scope to records management in Consolidated Breweries Plc.


Filing:              The arrangement of files in a cabinet in anorderly way e.g., ABC or 123, alphabetically r numerically etc.

Filing Equip:            File folders, cabinets, selves, boxes or other devices for storing and keeping files.

Filing personnel:      Those staff who actually operate the filing system.  This include filing desks, records management officers and supervisors.

Hinches:                  A suspicion that something is untrue or is going to happen

Records Management

Programme:     A comprehensive schedule of procedures designed to handle the records management process of an organization.

Procedure:               Steps to be followed to accomplish a given task.

—-This article is not complete———–This article is not complete————

This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic



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                        Record Management in Business Organization

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