Our first post of this series shared some preliminary steps that records mangers can take in the early stages of a merger or acquisition.
This second post in our series outlines the next major steps: the pre-integration inventory and audit.
Pre-Integration Inventory and Audit
This stage starts after the deal has been signed and will help you understand, in detail, what you are getting. In this phase you will conduct a detailed inventory and audit of:
- the records management program of the target company
- the records collections themselves.
Auditing the Current Records Management Program
It is likely that one of the biggest tasks you will have in handling the integration of the newly acquired file collections will be to standardize the application of RM policies, processes and controls across all file collections. Before you can start the integration you need to understand the records management status quo within the target organization.
Below are some of the questions that will help you document the current state, identify the key gaps, and any potential risks associated with the existing records management program.
- Is a records management or information governance program currently in place?
- How long has it been in place and what is it based on?
- Is the program fully documented and available for review?
- Does a records database exist? How is it updated? How current is it?
For a complete list of the questions, download our Records Management Playbook for Mergers and Acquisitions.
Conduct a Detailed Inventory of All Records Collections
Now that you have an overview of the program as a whole, you can start to explore the current state of the individual records collections.
Here are a few of the key questions to guide you as you audit each collection:
- Do individual files contain all the documents required for operations and for legislative compliance?
- Do individual files contain duplicate copies or unneeded past versions of documents?
- Are physical labels (content and format) consistent with user needs and filing best practices?
Once again, you can find a complete list of the questions in our mergers and acquisitions playbook.
In next week’s post we will look at the heavy lifting phase of integration and how to conduct the ongoing monitoring and adjustments after the integration is complete.
- Download our M&A Records Intake Assessment Tool for the full list of questions you want to ask during your inventory and audit.