In this blog Lawrence Evans, an Associate at Board Intelligence and former City solicitor, explores the advantages of electronic board portals for law firms.
Read any survey exploring law firm priorities and two factors will invariably crop up. Firstly, how to offer more services to their clients to stand out from the crowd. Secondly, how to protect their own and their clients’ documents. Most firms are hunting out new technologies to assist with these aims. Good board portals will help with both – but are they really worth it?
Stand out from the crowd
With many law firms seeking to offer more to their clients than traditional legal advice charged by the hour and with the increased regulation facing many industries, providing outsourced company secretarial services has become a popular add-on for many firms.
Most firms already offer incorporation and dissolution services, a registered office function and form filling services to ensure compliance with the latest legislation. But many are taking the extra step to provide a board meeting management and board pack administration function, setting themselves apart from other law firms but also putting themselves in competition with other outsourced company secretarial providers and fund administrators.
In this competitive market, clients’ expectations are on the rise. Whether or not you use a board portal for your own firm’s meetings, if you’re supporting more than a handful of clients with their board information needs then using reporting technology is a necessity.
A good portal will give your clients instant access to their board papers, allowing them to read and annotate with ease. But it also allows you, as the central function pulling together the packs, to efficiently manage the collation and distribution process across a small or large team – saving you precious time which can be used to expand your offering to more clients and make this part of your business more profitable.
Protect your clients’ information security
It’s widely acknowledged that email isn’t secure, but how many leaked papers will it take to stop PDF board packs being emailed to directors?
By using a board portal to distribute your clients’ (or your own) board materials, you will be helping fight the cyber security battle that is gathering pace. Board portals remove the need for board members to carry physical papers or to save confidential documents on a local desktop – the good ones are a powerful shield in an organisation’s information security armoury.
Are board portals worth the investment?
Firms are rightly wary of implementing technology for technology’s sake and where its immediate benefits are unclear.
A board portal won’t define your firm’s strategy or grow your outsourced company secretarial offering on its own. But if you’re supporting multiple clients with their board reporting needs, a board portal will save you time and money – and is a better solution than using a document management system not built for this purpose.