We are tempted to say that by being all technological we don’t need human help in our firms and, to a certain extent, rightly so.
In an era where AI, ML, VR, and all sorts of techno-acronyms fill our newsfeed on a daily basis, techno-enthusiasts announce lots of exciting things that are going to “disrupt” our world as we know it.
I am for technology myself, but up to a reasonable extent as I believe it carries its own limits like everything else. After all, we are not perfect so why would our technology be.
Applying this to the field of company secretarial for example – this is where I can express an informed viewpoint – nowadays applications allow you to handle large amounts of data, change details, allot new shares, file forms with Companies House and much more.
But there are at least five things where you need human help as cosec software won’t do them for you. By reading on, you will know what I mean because the software:
1) Will not provide you with advice. Think about it, how many times you had a doubt or needed clarification on a particular matter, on what the procedure was, or what to do if, what to do when, etc... You might have tried to call your software customer service but most likely they replied they couldn’t help with that. Perhaps you also tried hard to google the damned question, but you never came up with a definite answer.
So, in the end you needed someone who knew about the subject, either in-house or as an external consultant.
2) Will not do the work by itself. What I mean here is that even the best software still needs someone who: i) is well prepared in that relevant area, ii) learns how to use the software, iii) spends time with customer service for any technical issues, iv) actually takes care of inputting the data of your clients’ companies v) is able to check if things have been done correctly
3) Will not answer your clients’ queries. Indeed, whenever a client asks you a question you will have to spend the time to look into the particular matter, understand how to best deal with it, respond to your client and quite possibly respond to their additional questions and counter-questions. You know too well that neither your software customer service nor Google will do that for you. You will need, again, a competent professional, either in-house or external.
4) Will not recreate important historical records. The first thing that comes to my mind is the historical share transactions in a company. If you are taking over a company from a previous consultant, which happens quite often as you know, the cosec software will catch all history from Companies House except for that of shareholders. So, if you want the registers to be complete as they should be, you will need a member of staff or an external consultant to input all historical transactions.
5) Will not help you do second filings. Whenever you have incorrect details on Companies House which need second filing, you will have to prepare the forms individually and file them on paper, as the same applies to many other official forms which CH only accepts on paper.
This is some food for thought, even though the list is not yet complete as there would be several other things which software does not do for you - I guess I might dedicate another article for those.
I provide outsourced company secretarial services for professional firms in the UK.