What the Fax? How Technophobia is Holding Your Industry Back

5 min read

Here’s why it pays to #BeLikeAriel and embrace new technologies in your professional services firm.

If you’ve been following Appara on LinkedIn, you’ve likely noticed that for the past few months we’ve been profiling the lives of Lex Luddite and Ariel Apparan, two fictional characters we created to highlight how technology is changing the professional services industry.

Lex and Ariel sit on two polar opposites of the technology spectrum, representing the old and new ways of doing things and the cultural divide currently running through the corporate legal, real estate, tax planning, and estate planning professions.

Lex Luddite is a technophobe who is stuck in the old ways of legal practice management – they complete documents by hand, they have clients come on-site to sign packages, and they still send important documents by fax.

Ariel Apparan embraces legal tech and is changing the course of their career and legal practice management with new thinking, new processes, and new technology. Ariel completes documents digitally, enabling them to work fully remotely – instead of cutting a vacation short to head back to the office.

Here are just some of the ways that Lex and Ariel represent the sea change that technology has created in professional services firms.

Compare and Contrast: How Digitization Has Changed the World of Professional Services

Professional services industries like law, accounting, tax planning, and real estate all have one thing in common: They all involve extensive paperwork and manual (for now) processes.

Whether it’s transaction planning, client records, or legal agreements, there’s no shortage of paperwork and manual processes involved in serving your clients. For most of modern history, that work involved literal pen-and-paper solutions. Drafting and printing contracts, manually signing documents, sending out packages in the mail, and redoing everything from scratch if there are errors. 

Worst yet is handling every aspect of that process manually, from drafting to signing. Whether it’s checking documents for errors, planning transactions, or something else, pen-and-paper methods mean doing everything by hand.

Now, though, digitization has removed the need for manually processing your records, as well as the need for pen-and-paper documents entirely (if allowed by law). You and your team can digitally sign documents and complete entire transactions paperlessly and effortlessly without ever being in the same room as your clients.

Moreover, these new solutions are more secure than ever. Instead of having to worry about your team leaving important documents on the bus (it’s happened before), you can trust in ISO-accredited digital security measures to keep your records and your clients’ information safe.

Lex and Ariel are great examples of these trends and the way technology is changing how professional services firms conduct business.

Lex uses PowerPoint and confusing hand-made drawings to communicate complex transactions. Ariel uses clear, functional drawings that immediately generate documents for their clients. 

Lex relies on sticky notes and manila folders full of papers to keep track of passwords and other important information. Ariel uses 2-factor authentication to automatically save passwords to a secure digital vault, so no password ever gets forgotten.

Mindset Reset: The ROI of Viewing Technology in a New Light

If your firm is behind the times technology-wise, you’re missing out on a world of productivity-boosting tools and profit-raising tactics that could help you stay competitive. 

How, for instance, might your firm benefit if you could process more client files in less time with AI-assisted document generation and records management solutions?

How much money might you save on mail processing fees (and time) if you could send packages to clients digitally instead of via snail mail?

How much time could your paralegals and support staff save if they could manage documents digitally instead of having to search through filing cabinets full of paper files?

For RDM Lawyers of Abbotsford, British Columbia, that answer ended up being: A lot. 

Check out our case study to learn how RDM Lawyers used Appara to 2X their incorporations and process files in 75% less time.

Are You a Lex, or an Ariel?

Digital transformation has fundamentally changed the professional services landscape. Clients now expect their providers to be digitally literate and to use emerging digital solutions; that’s why adopting new technologies like secure cloud-based records storage and transaction management solutions can help your firm stay competitive. Your competitors are already using emerging technology to gain major advantages in the marketplace; they’re adopting the Ariel mindset. And if you’re stuck in the past like Lex, you’re missing out on a sea of opportunities to cut costs, boost productivity, reduce errors, make employees happier, and show clients that you’re forward-thinking.

That’s why it pays to do a digitization audit. Review areas of your practice that are time-consuming or costly. How might digital solutions help you to reduce those costs and cut the amount of time you spend on menial tasks? How can technology free you up to focus on the matter-specific work you love?

Like it or not, the world is changing. You can either change with it, or be left behind. Clients now expect professional services firms to be digitally literate, and the legal industry is now changing to match that expectation. Forward-thinkers in corporate law, real estate, will & estate management, and tax planning are already using digital technologies to save time and cut costs. The question you need to ask yourself as a leader at your firm is: Are you a Lex, or an Ariel? 

Are you ready to discover how digitization can help your firm boost productivity, reduce costs, and stay competitive? We can help. Contact us today to claim your FREE Appara trial.

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