Becoming a paperless office is a popular decision throughout many industries, and with the digital age taking over, it is now easier than ever to follow this trend.
Why go paperless?
The benefits of a paperless process seem obvious:
- saving money
- boosting productivity
- saving space
- making documentation and information sharing easier
- keeping personal information more secure
- as well as helping the environment.
That’s a fairly decent list.
So why is the Settlement/Conveyancing Industry – traditionally a paper-based industry – slow to follow?
In fact, small and medium enterprises in Australia, which account for 99.7% of all business in the country, are responsible for sending 6.5 million tonnes of business waste to the landfills every year. Although recycling rates are increasing, Australia’s growing population means that overall waste generation is increasing too. While most governments have established recycling targets to divert waste from landfills, we all know that almost all recycling comes at a cost to society compared to sending waste to the landfills.
This is precisely why paperless conveyancing has the capacity to make a real impact – not only for the benefit of the planet but for the benefit of the company’s bottom line as well.
The beginning of change in the Settlement Industry
In August 2016, Landgate (the statutory authority responsible for property and land information in WA) introduced some changes in an effort to implement paperless conveyancing nationally. Although electronic conveyancing was established in the WA market in 2015 and the use of this channel is steadily growing, only 13% of eligible transactions are currently done electronically.
While Landgate acknowledge the fact that the system does not offer its benefits unless everyone uses it, they insist it can increase productivity, improve the security and integrity of land tenure information, and bring the conveyancing industry into the digital age.
New Mandates in 2017
Landgate has confirmed the electronic platform will be mandated as of December 1, 2017, where all eligible transactions will be required to settle electronically. This will drastically change the way this heavy paper-consuming industry operates.
Although this issue has been divisive among those working in the industry, the benefits are irrefutable. For consumers, this means less waiting due to reduced settlement time and fewer delays, cleared funds available on day of settlement, as well as long-term cost savings.
Businesses will also see streamlined financial settlement and reduction in physical settlement costs, greater transparency for all parties, as well as administrative efficiencies due to electronic lodgement of documents.
Finally, even the government departments will benefit from improved accuracy and reduction in errors, improved transaction security and faster and more efficient back-end processing.
The Future of the paperless Settlements in our industry
The next step of the process towards paperless conveyancing is to require additional eligible document types to be lodged electronically.
With that sentiment in mind, it seems like we might be on the right path. Recycling rates are rising, alternative technologies are emerging, infrastructure is being built, and with it jobs and economic returns. Optimising waste management means more than simply diverting items from the waste bin to the recycling bin. It means learning how to reduce the volume of waste generated as well as reusing items when possible.
KDD Conveyancing Services are proud to be at the forefront of the paperless settlement process.
In fact, it’s the desire to embrace technology and move forward that was a key factor in the decision to create an app allowing calculation of stamp duty and transfer fees on the spot.
Real estate representatives and finance brokers previously carried cumbersome A4 copies of the fee schedule, printed on thick sheets of A4 cardboard. This new app puts everything they need at their fingertips.