Dr. Gambari, A. Isiaka
EFFECTIVE DOCUMENTS FILLING
A Paper Presented at a 3-Day Workshop on Productivity
Enhancement For Secretaries, Held at Edgedrive Hotels,
Lokoja, Kogi State.
28th October – 1st November, 2013
At the end of this presentation, you should be able
Explain the Importance of record keeping in the
Identify various types of records;
Describe information processing cycles;
Explaining the importance of filling documents
List some essentials of good filling system
List and discuss pros and cons of different methods
Explain the record cycle
Storage and security of records
What is a Record?
Record is a written account of an event about
individual(s), things or place.
a written document about an action that has
already taken place or an event that will happen
Records are made up of information pertaining to
the series of purchases and sales
records, contract deed etc.
A larger percentage of the working time of the
office personnel are usually occupied with office
The most important aspect of keeping record in
the office is for decision making as well as for
Management, means the act of proper utilization
of resources both human and material towards
achieving the organizational goals and
The Importance of Record Keeping in the
(a) It enables the management to ascertain the
present status of the institution/organization and to
be able to project into the future, e.g. staff
strength, expansion of the business, etc.
(b) Financial position of the organization is
(c) Records kept in the office serves as a guide
during the transfer of baton.
(d) It provides information about the employee
such as qualifications, date or birth, salary grade
levels, promotion and demotion and so on.
(e) It enables the organization to know its financial
obligations such as those it is indebted to and
those that are indebted to the organization or
(f) To make comparison from period to
period, e.g., profit margins of different product
lines or the performance of different firms
operating in the same line of business.
(g) Records kept in the organization help to
facilitate the detection of errors, frauds and
Various Types of Records
(i) Financial Records: These types of records deal
purely with figures such as
sales, purchases, provision of services, annual
reports and financial statements about the
(ii) Record of Deeds: This includes
tenders, contract agreements, execution
(iii) Personnel Records: The staff records include
promotions, termination, retirement etc.
(iv) Students Records: These include
admission, registration, examination, graduation,
(v) Letters of enquiry, invitation, facilitation,
excursion etc from customers and
companies/organizations and/or to outside
(vi) Academic records for monitoring students’
(vii) Medical Records for patients which entails the
medical history of the concerned individual
(viii) Records Pertaining to vehicle Registrations
can be found in the incensing offices across the
(ix) Records about land development and
physical structures are found in the land offices
Information Processing Cycles
This is a chain of activities involves in getting raw
data converted to refined information that would
be ready for final consumption.
Processing cycle involves the following:
(a) Input: This is an act of getting raw data/facts
into the computer system by way of typing with
the means of keyboard.
(b) Processing: Is that of refining the raw data or
pieces of facts that had earlier been keyed into
the computer system through some manipulative
(c) Output: This is the piece of refined information
or document gotten as a result of series of
processing activities that had been performed on
(d) Distribution: Means passing the already
processed information to the needy
persons, bodies or organizations etc for decision
making and policy implementation
(e) Storage and Retrieval: By ensuring safety of the
already processed information for future need or
reference whenever the need arises.
What is meant by Filing?
Filing is a process of systematic classification and
arrangement of records so that they can be kept
safe and be obtainable or retrieved with
minimum delay for decision making whenever
the need arises.
Importance of Filling Documents
(i)security and preservation of documents over a
very long period of time.
(ii) It enables the information to be made readily
available when the need arises.
(iii) It ensures that information are only gotten
through the right channels.
(iv) It tells about how well organized the institution or
organization concerned is.
(v) It helps in safeguarding the assets of the
Essentials of Good Filling System
(a) Compactness: Files must not occupy spaces
unnecessarily, for office spaces are very costly
(b) Accessibility: The location of files must be
made easily reachable; one should not resort to
the use of ladder or table before gaining access
to a particular files or document.
(c) Simplicity: The system chosen should be made
simple for employees to understand without much
stress. Even, a new employee should be able to
comprehend the system without any stress.
(d) Economy: This is to say that, any system
adopted must not be too costly either to install or to
(e) Elasticity: The system to be adopted should be
able to accommodate more files as the
organization concerned grows and more files are
(f) Location: The files should always be located
with minimum delay at all times. i.e by devising the
use of index and other guiding means.
(g) Classification: The most suitable method of
classification should be considered and employed
for example; central or departmental filing as the
situation may demand.
(1) Alphabetical Filling: e.g A, B, C, D, etc
(i) Convenience in grouping by the names or captions that
can be found on the individual files.
(ii) very simple and easy to understand
(iii) It gives a useful provision for miscellaneous files
(i) Require much time to locate a particular file at times in a
(ii) It is usually very difficult to forecast space required to
accommodate a particular alphabet
(iii) Misplaced file may cause confusion and much time to
(iv) Similarity in names can result into confusion
Numerical Filing: With numerical method, each
folder is given a number and the folders are
arranged and stored in strict numerical order.
(i)There is greater accuracy in filing documents
(ii) The index is complete list of the files and can be
used for other purposes
(iii) The files numbers can be used as reference in
(iv) This method of filling does not take much time to
be understood by the new comer.
(i)More time is usually required in reference to the
(ii) Files for miscellaneous papers are not so easy to
(iii) The cost of index and space take up might be
(iv) Transposition of figures would cause a lot of
problem e.g 12334 instead of 12324.
Geographical Filing: The geographical method of
filling broadly categorizes files according to
place, town or location of correspondence.
(i)Convenience in locating files once the
geographical location is known
(ii) Direct filing is always possible
(iii) One get know easily geographical area house
his volume of customers.
(i)Problems exist where the filling clerk has a poor
knowledge of geography
(ii) There may be need for indexing
Subject Filing: This method is the grouping of files
together according to the subject matter or by
topical name of the correspondence in question.
(i)There is always room for unlimited expansion of
(ii) Convenience for reference if the subject is known
(iii) It provides complete information about a
(i)Difficulty in classifying documents
(ii) Liberal cross reference may still be required
Chronological Filing: is the placing of individual
papers in files according to their dates of receipt.
(i)The method is quite simple if the dates are known
(ii) This is good for overall classification, for
example, correspondence could be separated
based on different years.
(i)The method could be unsuitable if dates are not
known or remembered
(ii) Incoming letters might have to be separated
from the outgoing files.
What is Indexing?
Indexing is a device put in place in order to
facilitate the location of record kept in different
The index may be kept separately from the record
to which it refers to.
Alternatively, the other hand that is to say the
records themselves may be so arranged as to be
FFU means the act of seeing that the file is being
attended to by the officer(s) concerned and all
the necessary actions are taken on the file.
(a) To avoid a file waiting for too long without being
(b) This will minimize the loss of files.
(c) If the file is to be seen by more than one
personnel, it will certainly quicken the process
and a few more.
The Record Cycle
As the name implies, this is the 3600 of the records
either generated within the office or that are
received by the office in order to ensure
successful running of the entire organization. This is
further divided into five segments known as
2. Survey and Use
3. Storage and Retention
Who Creates Office Records?
Where Are The Records Created?
When are Record Created?
How are Record Created?
Why are Record Created?
Survey and Use
In order to manage a department very well, a
manager must be acquainted with the
personnel, equipment and information system for
which he or she is responsible.
Hence, he must be able to manage the records
under his jurisdiction, especially very important
ones operating at the inter-departmental
Storage and Retention
This entails, the type of record that should retained
and also for how long. This aspect is further
divided into four classes, namely:
(a) Vital Records: Records that cannot be
replaced if carelessly misplaced. E.g., certificate
of registration of business, legal documents, tax
returns and many more, hence, must be kept in
very active storage;
(b) Important Records: Are records that are very
necessary for the orderly running and continuation
of the business. When such document get
missing, they could only be replaced after
considerable difficulty, time and
money, examples of such documents are
financial statements, sales data, purchases
records etc. these may be transferred to inactive
(c) Useful Records: Are records that are useful for
the smooth and effective operations of the
business or organization. Such record are
replaceable, but their loss would bring some
delay and inconvenience for the organization.
Example of such records are business letters,
interoffice memos, banks statements and a few
(d) Non-essential Records
(d) Non-essential Records: Are records that have
no predictable value for the future of the
organization. Once the purpose for which they
were meant have been fulfilled, such records can
be destroyed. Examples are simple
acknowledgements, public holiday notices, and
season’s greeting and so on and so forth.
There are two methods of transferring files from
active storage to inactive storage.:
(i) The perpetual method, meaning constant
transfer of materials from active storage to
(ii) the periodic method, which has to do with
transfer of records from active storage to inactive
storage at specific intervals e.g quarterly, half a
year or on annual basis.
This is used to indicate the final action that has
been recommended on the retention schedule for
a particular record, i.e vital, important, useful or
(a) Inactive records: If a record is referred to less
than fifteen times in a year, it is said to be inactive.
(b) Semi-active record: If a record is used twice in
a mouth, it can be considered as semi-active and
should be stored in a less accessible drawer.
(c) Active record: If a record is used three or more
time a mouth the record is considered to be
This is an aspect of keeping documents or other
equipment in a safer place so as to avoid
wastage or spillage.
Today, there are several systems available to
offices and organizations such as: Computer
system, Flash, Handset, CD-ROM, etc.
Computer system is the electronic machine that is
capable of receiving data as raw input and be able to
process the data at a very fast rate and then provide
result as an output.
(i)The information or document can easily be assessed
once the file name is known.
(ii) The system does not occupy too much flow space
like is the case with cabinets.
(iii) The documents can be preserved over a very long
period of time, as far as the system remains functional.
(iv) It can only be assessed by the authorized individuals
(i)The system is liable to attack by the virus unless
anti-virus is installed.
(ii) It is susceptible to fire or water
(iii) Unavailability of power or UPS would make the
document not accessible
(iv) Any information that is not backed up could be
This is small object that is used to copy and
transfer information from one computer system to
another system within the same environment or
over a distance without much stress.
(i)It is very portable or convenient
(ii) Document can be reproduced over a distance
without much stress
(iii) Some do possess large memory capacity
(iv) It is usually affordable
(i)It is prone to attack by virus
(ii) It is liable to theft or loss
(iii) It is susceptible to destruction whether by water
or excessive heat
This is a small round plastic plate also used in
copying information from one computer system to
another system. Sometime, this is equally
designed by the manufacturer or the computer
itself housing certain information about the
programs incorporated in the system.
(i)It has some level of durability
(ii) Immune to virus attack
(iii) It is very portable
(iv) Not too expensive
(i)It is prone to theft or loss
(ii) It is very fragile
(iii) Can easily be destroyed through excessive heat
(iv) Any crack on it could render it unusable.
(d). Office Files
These are folders made up of paper material that
are used to house document in the offices and
also to convey written documents from office to
(i)It is costless
(ii) It had durability
(iii) Can easily be comprehended by low level
(iv) Has one hundred percent virus immunity.
(i)So much floor space is usually up e.g file cabinets.
(ii) Can attract so such dust most especially when
not constant use
(iii) Can be destroyed by water or fire
(iv) It is subject to misplacement or theft.
This is an object used for communication between
individuals over a distance.
At the same time the handset has the facilities to
store certain information such as text messages,
record voices, videos and a few more.
Some handsets can be backed up with the aid of
memory card in order to be able to store very
large volume of information such as project,
seminar (USB) etc.
(i)It is very portable
(ii) Ensures security of information, because it cannot
easily be comprehend by all
(iii) Some do possess very large memory capacity
(iv) It could be supported by external memory aid.
(i)It can easily be misplaced, lost, damaged or even
(ii) Some could be very expensive
(iii) Low battery charge can mars its operation.
In a layman language, security means freedom or
protection from danger, threat, theft or worry.
So security of document means measures
adopted by individuals, institutions or organization
to safe-guard their documents or equipment from
falling into the hands of the unauthorized persons.
However, there are several security measures that
are available to organization as per how to keep
records very safe from unauthorized individuals.
Among such measures are:
(i)Very sensitive documents must be secured under
lock and key.
(ii) Separate store could be created to house certain
sensitive documents with reasonable security
(iii) Trust-worthy persons should be charged with the
responsibility of looking after certain category of
(iv) Use of passwords should be encouraged while
filling records on the computer system.
(v) Unauthorized pertaining to some individuals or
organization and a many more
Securing Electronic Documents
Computer virus is a great threat to electronic
A computer virus is a computer program (codes)
that can replicate itself and spread from one
computer to another.
A Virus is not a program itself but is computer
code that is written into a legitimate document or
Your computer can be infected even if files are just
Viruses can be polymorphic
Viruses can be memory/Non memory resident
A virus can be a stealth virus (attach themselves to
files on the computer, and then attack the
Viruses can carry other viruses and infect a
system, and infect with the other viruses as well
Viruses can make the system never show outward
signs (hide changes made)
Viruses can stay on the computer even if the
computer is formatted
Avoiding bait files and other undesirable hosts
(file created by anti-virus software)
How Viruses May Infect Files
Viruses can infect any files, however they usually
attack .com, .exe, .sys, .bin, .pif or any data files.
Viruses can increase the file’s size
Viruses can delete files as the files are run
Viruses can corrupt files randomly
Viruses can convert .exe files to .com files
Viruses can reboot the computer when a file is run
Polymorphic properties (replicate itself)
Various Kind of Viruses
it attack a computer through bypassing normal
protection mechanism. Via software update.
(ii) Logic Bomb:
This is an insider attack in a code segment and is
written by an employee in which after sometimes
if its password is not supplied, the program
(iii) Trojan horses:
Trojans is one of the ways a hacker can gain
access to a target system.
A computer worm is a lot like a virus, it spread
from computer to computer via networks.
Is an independent program that secretly takes
over a system and uses that system to launch
attacks on other systems
A program that repeatedly copy itself which do
not seem to cause any harm to the system but
rather consume resources by delaying its
functions e.g. DOS attack.
Ways to Avoid Viruses
Install Quality Antivirus
Install Real-Time Anti-Spyware Protection (antispyware programs are required to prevent
infections and fully remove those infections
Don’t be tricked into downloading malware
Keep your anti-malware and computer up to date
Perform daily scans
Turn on the firewall (to filter unwanted