Audit Trails are More Important than Working Relationships

Nine in ten office workers use email over other communication methods in order to secure an audit trail, according to research carried out by Inter-Tel, the provider of voice and data communications. This is despite the research revealing that 86 per cent of respondents thought face-to-face meetings and phone calls enhance business relations.

The increased use of email, instead of more real-time methods of communication like the phone, face-to-face meetings, or even instant messenger or even face-to-face meetings for example, demonstrates a fear of not being compliant or securing an audit trail. However, this can be detrimental to working relationships.

“Business professionals need to step out of their email comfort zone,” said Duncan Miller, a director at Inter-Tel. “In an increasingly compliance-focused world, it seems business professionals use email all the more when they require an audit trail, as admitted to by 96 per cent in our research, in order to ‘cover their backs’.”

In addition, the research showed that 64 per cent of respondents estimate that 80 per cent of their communication is done via email. This is even when an audit trail isn’t even required.

“Today, communications packages are equally compliance-friendly, with phone calls being recorded and instant messenger conversations being logged for example. Workers need to make the most of this,” Miller continued. “Good business practice, which inevitably involves speaking and meeting with your business partners, suppliers and customers, can be damaged by the overuse of email. Providing workers with flexibility in their communication methods, while ensuring the audit trail is guaranteed, will strike the right balance with all parties.”