Records are all that’s between your organisation and corruption and failure.

Records are a compensating control for power.

Regulated industries only get power because they agree to keep records.

That’s how it works.

And these days it’s particularly important to understand because every organisation is regulated – by everything from accounting standards to occupational health and safety.

Regulation (or legislation) says that “in order to have this power, you have to exercise it under these conditions”

Every now and then, auditors will show up and demand to see your records – to make sure you are using the power you’ve been given under the conditions required.

If you can’t produce records, they’ll put you out of business.

Records are the compensating control for power. The only way to trust is to be able to verify, and the only really feasible way to verify efficiently is to check records. 

This applies to government agencies as well. 

The only way the public trust, is through the ability to verify.

The only reason Government and regulated organisations get power is because they agree to keep records, when they don’t keep records well, one of two things generally happens – 

  1. Power gets taken away by a regulator.
  2. Corruption and failure forces closure of the organisation.

What happens when you don’t lead records in your organisation.

Is that culture forms around whoever is leading records.

Culture seems to form around one of two world views – 

  1. “Records is important, it’s how we do things here”
  2. “We hate records” and it’s “a waste of time”.

In organisations where records is lead well, a culture that believes in the importance of records forms.

Culture is important because it’s self enforcing. Culture dictates behaviour when no one is around to manage.

So there are only two questions to ask – which world view is leading records in your organisation? Is it yours?

How to pass audit every single time, easily.

Like this:

  1. Review your legislation/regulation/standard and identify everything you need to prove your organisation did.
  2. Identify information you already capture that can prove it.
  3. Develop processes to capture what’s missing.
  4. Implement your processes.
  5. Audit the process regularly to make sure it’s working.

Develop procedures to collate the information you capture into a complete record for your auditor.

That’s it. Everything else is organisational willpower and good change management.

This is part of what records managers do.

Great ones will help you get it right.


  1. Your audits will be quick and cheap.
  2. Your auditors will love you (and flag you as low risk, and leave you alone).
  3. You’ll have a minimum of organisational angst at audit time.
  4. You can focus on making your customers feel great about what you do.

Great records managers are the route to a more sane world for any regulated industry, if only they knew it.