I’d be confident in saying that most conveyancers will gladly wave goodbye to 2021. Despite it being a successful year for many, with the stamp duty holiday boosting our caseloads, the intensity and uncertainty brought on by lockdown and working from home only added to the demands of an already high-pressured job.
For many, just staying sane and not throwing the towel in was enough. So well done, we collectively made it.
Looking forward, what does 2022 have in store for us all? At Aconveyancing, we put a lot of our big plans on hold in 2021 just to make it through the year. Some of those plans we’ll be looking to pick up again and if there was a positive to take from last year, it was that many of us were forced to embrace the digitisation of the conveyancing process.
In Beth Rudolf’s December article, she discussed the slow and steady approach to digitisation and the recent launch of the Land Registry’s Digital Registration platform, making huge gains in the efforts to achieve a paperless process across the whole industry. This is so exciting but for many, it’s daunting too. We all know that digitisation is no longer “around the corner” but implementing new processes takes time and headspace. It takes real consideration about what works best for your staff – some may adapt to new ways of working quicker than others. And of course the cost implications of new technology, with so many options cropping up on the market, how do you know what your signing up for is actually going to make your employee’s life easier while keeping your clients data secure?
Making the right choice for your business
Making decisions on introducing technology into workflows can be challenging, as many of us are still getting our heads around the paperless processes. We also want to retain a level of personal contact with clients, that’s what builds good relationships and great reputations. Right now, my job is to try and understand new technology as much as possible, to help make an informed decision for the firm. I’m booking in as many demo’s as I can between now and June – so if you’re a tech company looking to trial the best new products, contact me! It’s time consuming, but this is a top priority for us all and we have to make the right choice for our employees. If I get it wrong, it will affect productivity and morale across the business. That requires me to understand the technology, question it’s benefits and trial it in real-time.
Cost and security implications
Striking the balance between cost efficient technology and maintaining the level of security required in an industry like ours is tough. But security will always trump cost-savings because in the long-run, the most secure platforms are an investment.
There are many other considerations – we all have concerns about being overcharged for technology we don’t fully understand, tied into long-term contracts with hidden fees and we can’t risk relying on glitchy platforms.
Do your homework and let’s have an open conversation about what’s working. I am keen to share information and best practice with others in the industry, we can only make a positive change if we work together, not against each other.
The core principles of change management are an effective way to approach the digitisation of conveyancing. Understand the need for change, plan, implement and communicate. Using these four pillars to guide any sort of change is crucial for the success of the project. Last year we reviewed our HR systems and processes and saw this as a good opportunity to get staff thinking about a paperless workplace. After careful consideration, we introduced an online HR portal mid-2021. Making this part of the business paperless it has proved to be an effective way of getting our staff thinking about a digitised work environment.
Make small changes, gradually and don’t fall behind. Beth Rudolf predicted that by 2023, the Land Registry’s AP1 applications will only be taken online – get staff using HMLR’s portal today.
Never mind the uncertainly around house-prices and lending, let’s focus on what we can control – innovation through digital technology. In the long-run, we all benefit from taking this step forward. These are just a few of my own considerations and I will keep sharing best-practice for those who are interested. I’d love to hear how other business leaders are approaching this brave new world of paperless conveyancing.
Natalie Moore is founder and director at Aconveyancing.
for more information visit www.Aconveyancing.com