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Record Management 101

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

I did not realize the value of proper record management until the authorities came a-knocking with a demand note bearing a 14-day notice period for my company to provide proof of payment for an array of taxes due from 2003 – note that this demand note was being issued 15 years later, in 2018! Failure to provide proof of the same meant that we would have to pay the said amount again (yes… and with interest of course!). While we were confident that we had paid our dues and promptly started looking for the proof of payment, it became apparent that this was going to take quite some time to find all the requisite documents; our tax advisor recommended that we file a letter of objection prior to the expiry of the deadline – the catch was that the objection approval came with a request for one-third payment of the total demanded amount! Needless to say, this exercise was the beginning of a free weight-loss program…

How do we avoid such situations? Having recently ventured into the field of document management, I would like to share some lessons that I have picked up to keep you cool, calm and collected under the pressure of demand letters, court summons and any other urgent demands for records:

1. Implement a record management policy detailing the filing, storage and retrieval processes as well as the document retention period.

2. Recruit a trained record management professional to sort, file, label, index and where possible, scan all documents

3. Invest in a proper archive room i.e., with metallic shelves, fire-suppression equipment, access management, rodent control and CCTV cameras

4. Invest in an archiving software that enables easy storage, retrieval and reconciliation of document movement

Alternatively, you can outsource all the above to a professional under a Service Level Agreement – the choice is yours😊

P.O. Box 79958, Nyerere Road, Plot No. 140, Kipawa, Dar es Salaam

Tel: +255 788 009 555 ; E-mail: ; Website:

By Paul Muhato

Managing Director

Top Archive Tanzania

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