For all legal firms, the amount of documents passing through and being retained in the office on any given week can be substantial, and with these large volumes come the issues of ensuring secure storage and easy-access filing. These challenges bring a number of issues that must be tackled to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the firm:
- Costs – From the cost of the labour involved to the cost of any associated printing, small fees can soon start to build up when taken cumulatively.
- Time – Processing of documents can take a considerable amount of staff time – time that would usually be better spent on other more proactive activities
- Waste – In addition to the costs of printing and disposing printed documents, paper-based document processes are wasteful in terms of the environment, something that all legal firms need to consider in the 21st century.
- Accuracy – Particularly when under time pressures, accuracy rates when manually inputting data and information from received legal documents may be variable, and in terms of critical information, sometimes even a small error can be catastrophic.
- Accessibility and archiving – Of all the documents coming in to the office, many of them may need to be accessed frequently, while others are likely to be required to be retained for long periods of time.
PDF software – A better workflow solution for law firms?
Fortunately for solicitors and law firms, as well as providing an increased amount of information and data to process, the digital age has also brought better document solutions for dealing with this inflow. PDF software is one such tool which has the ability to revolutionise your law firm’s document processes and workflow. In fact, a single piece of software can provide many different benefits to your firm:
Reduce storage space and waste
PDF software makes it possible for you to reduce the amount of paper filing space you need dramatically, and eliminate waste. All documents can be scanned as they come in and filed electronically, either on local hard drives or via the cloud.
Store documents securely
As data security is often important for law firms, being able to protect your documents and prevent unauthorised access is often critical. PDF software such as PowerPDF allows you to securely encrypt documents and apply a password so that they can only be accessed by authorised personnel. It is also possible to restrict printing and sharing with others, and documents can be electronically signed to ensure that they have not been edited or otherwise tampered with.
Ensure high accuracy
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology means that rather than just capturing a flat image of your documents, you can actually store a copy that retains all text and numbers as a searchable and editable field. Doing so can remove the inaccuracies of human-based scanning, making it easier to instantly locate information. This information can also then be imported directly into database software, spreadsheets and other programs as required.
Save time and resources
By automating your document processes you can free up large amounts of time that might otherwise have been spent by lawyers and legal secretaries inputting data. This in turn can increase the profitability and efficiency of your business, and the ability to archive large amounts of documents without the need for physical storage space has clear benefits.
Provide easy access remotely
In an increasingly agile legal office environment, the ability for solicitors and others to be able to access relevant legal documents wherever they happen to be in the world can provide a significant boost to your workflow management. When scanned, these documents can be instantly uploaded to cloud-based services, so they can be accessed online by anyone with the right credentials.
With so many benefits, it’s perhaps easy to see why a growing number of legal firms are using PDF solutions in their workflow management.