WHAT ARE RECORDS?
A record may be defined as any information captured in reproducible form that is required for conducting business. For anything to constitute a record, it must have been specifically created by or for the particular organisation using it. Thus to enhance the above definition a business record, must be defined as any information that is, recorded on any physical form or medium, generated or received and maintained by a business enterprise as evidence of its organization, functions, decisions, procedures, operations and internal/external transactions.
Records are preserved for two purposes:
- Information value contained in them – they provide knowledge of what happened, when, how and who did it.
- For evidence/proof of an organization legal existence, functions, activities and transactions. Records enable people and organizations to prove that actions have been taken, commitments entered into or obligations carried out.
Characteristics of a business record
Must be recorded and exist as a record i.e must be tangible and reproducible.
- Can exist in any medium.
- Must be evidence of a business transaction.
- Must contain information that is intelligible to more than one person I.e information in a record must be understood by more than one person.
Whilst records are created primarily to serve the creator or a specific audience beyond their primary use, access to many records is required for use by the public or by auditors and lawyers.
1.1.1 TYPES OF RECORDS
Records can be a variety of forms. Basically fall under three forms namely:
This is information recorded on any form of paper. Such a record is also referred to as hard copy.
- Business forms
- Letterhead stationery
- Index cards
- Purchase orders
- Blue prints
- Computer printouts
Microform – Based Records
- This is information recorded on any type of microform.
- These are hard-copy records that have been filmed and reduced in size on a special type of a film and using special type of cameras to capture the images.
- Such records are called micro images or microforms.
- Roll film
- Aperture cards
Electronic –Based Records
This is information recorded in a digital form.
- Computer tapes
- Floppy disks
- Magnetic tape
- Hard disks
- Magnetic card
- Optical disks
- Cassette tape
Digital data can also be stored internally in a computer (on-line) or externally (off-line) on floppy disks or other magnetic media.