Using document workflow automation allows you to convert the existing types of documents you use most frequently into automated forms. Whether you are a law firm, an accounting firm, bank, an insurance company, or other company that generates documents for clients, you’ll find that document workflow software significantly benefits your company by combining automation with document workflow management to provide organizations with document consistency, save them significant time, and reduce risk.
Types of Documents You Can Create with an Automated Document Workflow Tool
Regardless of how complex your documents are automated document assembly software like HotDocs can help you increase productivity and efficiency, save time and money, and reduce risk with advanced document management capabilities. Common documents that can be automatically created, templatized, and automated include, but are not limited to:
- Statements of work;
- Loan agreements;
- Valuation reports;
- Correspondence, and more
What Is A Document Workflow?
In short, document workflow management is an activity that you repeat through the organization of resources to create a pleading, correspondence, a contract, agreements, and more. With software equipped with automated document workflow capabilities you can eliminate the burden of informal communications, paper-overload, reliance on spreadsheets, and more.
Steps to automating a document workflow in your business
The basic steps to automating a document workflow using automation software include:
- Choose the document you want to automate.
- Know the main stages of the document – this is what is used to create a diagram of what goes in every document and what information is changed from document to document, such as a client’s name.
- Link any related forms.You might link a summons, civil cover sheet, notice of service, response to a request for admissions, interrogatories, requests for discovery, and motions. All documents will have the same parties and will deal with the same basic facts of the case.
- Define any documents that might be attached to the initial document. For example, a complaint always requires a summons, so you might set the complaint as an attachment to a summons and a civil cover sheet for a civil case.
- Automate your documents.
How to Use Document Automation in Your Organization
The ways to use and customize document automation software are seemingly endless and can vary by industry. One organization might automate its various retainer agreements, the other invoice requests. Using a law firm as an example;
If the firm has different practices; family law, bankruptcy, and personal injury; it could customize billing practices for each type – family law might be hourly with an initial retainer; bankruptcy might be a flat fee; a personal injury case might be on a contingency basis.
Each retainer agreement would have much of the same information, including the attorney’s hourly rate, the attorney’s services, costs for items such as postage and copies, and so on. With document automation software, the system asks for the client’s name, the type of case, the type of payment, and the amount. It plugs that information into your digital retainer agreement and creates a version that uses a predefined template, with each case’s unique information. You don’t run the risk of mistakenly deleting words or paragraphs, and you also reduce the risk of having an employee choose an incorrect agreement.
This is imperative when you are drafting pleadings. Since many pleadings use the same legal paragraphs, creating a questionnaire that asks your paralegals questions about the case allows you to reduce the risk of choosing incorrect case law, incorrect legal doctrines, and more.
Document automation software also ensures that every similar document is formatted the same way, which not only gives your organization a more professional look, but makes it much easier for your employees to find what they’re looking for.
Benefits of Document Workflow Automation
The top reasons you should integrate document workflow automation solutions into your organization include risk management, speed, and efficiency.
Have you ever reviewed a document three or more times and thought it was perfect, then sent it on its way only to discover that you misspelled your client’s name?
Using document automation tools, you can ensure any key issues are addressed in the template, and you have one less thing to worry about every time you create a document. You’ll be able to concentrate on the content that applies directly to the form you are drafting. Document automation software also “remembers” that you removed certain provisions for certain circumstances so that you don’t have to go through and manually delete them.
Instead of taking hours to create a contract or other document, generating documents using workflow automation software only takes a few minutes. If you need several documents based on the same set of facts or answers, you can create those documents in just minutes.
And, if you normally have the legal division of a company check the legality of certain contracts, you can avoid that step. When you are able to get contracts and documents to your clients and customers faster, you increase the agility of your business. You also spend less time creating contracts, which gives you more time to work directly with your clients and customers.
Finally, again using a law office as an example, you might have a paralegal create the first draft of a document. Then the document lands on an attorney’s desk to review and sign – and it might sit there for days. You can whittle away that time since the attorney only has to review information that changes in the document – he or she doesn’t have to review the clauses that do not change.
When you create a document template on your computer, like a contract, you often have to go back in and add clauses, subtract clauses, or even change some clauses. Eventually, the template becomes unwieldy and you have an increased chance of mistakes.
Document workflow automation software can keep your documents neat and organized by automatically adding or removing clauses based on your client’s situation. Contracts will have only what is needed for each situation, and your documents will have far fewer mistakes.
If you need to negotiate a contract, this allows for faster negotiations since only key issues are included in the document.
Overcome the Pressure of Price Demands
Respond to your client’s pricing demands easily. Instead of taking extra time to add a clause a client might want, add it with the click of a button. You’ll create meatier contracts and documents without spending a lot of extra time doing it.
Speedy documents make clients happy. Instead of waiting for days or weeks to draft a document or pleading, you can do it faster since your automated document workflow is faster.
Reduce Editing Time
When you need to edit a document, you spend more time on that document’s creation. For instance, you can reduce editing requests between attorneys and paralegals, and from clients with document automation.
Automate Document Workflows with HotDocs
Make an already great office into the best office by automating your document workflow. Send out documents faster, with less errors, and with the proper formatting. Explore HotDocs for more information about how our document automation solutions can help you.