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Business Jargon and the Records Manager

Following my acceptance earlier this year as a CRM (Certified Records Manager) Candidate, I decided that I would approach the six-exam certification process in measured steps, focusing on each exam topic–and the corresponding exam–individually before moving forward to the next exam. The ICRM allows candidates five years in which to complete certification, so during this summer’s exam cycle, I began with Exam One: Management Principles and the Records Management Program.

Now that I have successfully passed that first hurdle, I revised my slow-and-steady approach to allow for taking more than one exam per cycle. My experience with the first exam has given me confidence that scheduling multiple exams per cycle is a reasonable approach to becoming a CRM. The qualification to this approach is to schedule adequate time to revisit texts and articles that cover each exam topic and take full measure of knowledge in each area of the ICRM exam outline.

Study for the CRM designation is–among many other things–an exploration in jargon. With the inclusion of business, HR, project management, and accounting principles, the ICRM study outline and bibliography underscore the fact that the CRM denotes general business acumen as well as the specialization in records management. Learning the basic vocabulary of various units across an organization may be a useful task unto itself (like learning any new language), but why is it required knowledge for the certified records manager?

Contemporary business and the records that represent it rely on multiple languages to operate. The practitioners of any specialization, from programmers to electricians, use specific language to express the fundamentals and theories of professional practice. Such language may be elevated or confusing, especially to those who are new to or unfamiliar with any given field. In order to successfully manage records in our business world, the records manager must be able to use terminology relevant to both the professional practice of records management and the business practices that result in records to be managed.

As with all areas of knowledge work, the RIM field is in no short supply of its own terminology and acronyms enough for alphabet soup. However, beyond RIM terminology, there are business, management, systems design, communication, security, and IT theories and concepts to study and learn for effective records management. The challenge for the records manager then is to learn the subtle variations in the lexicons of each functional unit of an organization and provide directives that translate for everyone.

At the end of my study for Exam One and my related experience of reviewing the basics of HR, finance, and project management along the way, I solidified my understanding of records management as a staff function that must be communicated to every department, division, and employee in the organization. Knowledge of the principles and language of management, human resources, accounting, and technology helps records managers communicate RIM directives and achieve success across the organization.

To each their own lexicon, I suppose, and in it, the keys to navigate a profession.

Interested in the ICRM?

Find information about the certification process from the Institute of Certified Records Managers

Written by: AGriffin


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