In brief - DocuSign technology revolutionises property sale
The benefits of moving to e-contracts include reducing staff
hours spent on contract preparation and administration, saving
enormous amounts of paper and other associated costs, and ensuring
the documents' safety. However, accepting the inevitability of
digitising office processes will require a change in business
DocuSign technology greatly improves efficiency and reduces
risk of human error
The Colin Biggers & Paisley (CBP) property team has slashed
costs but dramatically improved the efficiency of its sales
contract production, transmission, receipt, storage and archiving
processes by digitising its contracts with the DocuSign software
With one of the largest project conveyancing groups in
Australia, the property team is responsible for preparing and
processing thousands of property sale contracts a year. During high
volume conveyancing projects, CBP processes sales of as many as 200
apartments in a day. With contracts averaging around 600 pages, and
two copies of every contract required, this has previously resulted
in up to 240,000 pages of contract documents being circulated in a
The amount of time and resources required to manage paper
contracts during high volume conveyancing projects was staggering.
With these enormous volumes of paper, the costs of printing,
scanning, filing, archiving and couriers were running into hundreds
of dollars per contract.
On top of that, every contract needed to be manually checked and
cross-checked by paralegals before and after contracts were entered
into. This checking process required hundreds of staff hours and,
due to time pressures on staff, there were constant concerns about
staff growing tired and missing errors, such as pages being left
out or details being overlooked.
Moving to e-contracts managed using DocuSign's digital
transaction management technology means eliminating the need to
manually check each page in every document. Instead, once the
master contract is set, each contract's front page is checked
Purchasers can then read and sign their individual contracts on
any internet device, no matter where they are in the world, and
soft copies of completed and signed contracts are automatically
available to all parties for download.
E-contracts cut staff hours and costs drastically, increase
This e-contract process has reduced the time our staff spend in
preparing contracts and administering them by over 90%. In
addition, hard costs of printing, scanning, filing, archiving and
couriers are done away with altogether.
But this is not just a cost-cutting exercise. Contract security
is paramount for any legal practice. DocuSign technology ensures
that a finalised contract is secure and cannot be changed without
detection, which makes e-contracts safer than paper.
Shifting our entire conveyancing practice over to the e-contract
system will take time, but since our introduction of the DocuSign
technology in September last year, e-contracts have been used in
the sale of 184 apartments in a single Sydney building, 600
e-contracts in total have so far been entered into, and e-contracts
are scheduled to be used in upcoming projects comprising no less
than another 2000 apartments in Sydney and Brisbane over the next
Paperless offices will become a reality as more businesses
A reluctance to embrace e-contract technology is common in the
legal industry. However, with a new generation of clients showing
little interest in paper communications, the switch to e-contracts
across all practice areas is now a priority.
The ability to go paperless doesn't differ from practice
area to practice area. It's all about changing an ingrained
business culture. Until recent times, legal practices (as with
business in general) have been managed by a generation of people
who were in high school before decimal currency and matriculated
before metric measurements. So it's not surprising that modern
streamlining practices have remained at the "development
stage" for so long.
The world is now a different place and office process
streamlining will surge from here on.
The High Court of Australia has granted special leave to appeal a decision of the NSWCA that upheld an adjudication determination under the NSW 1999.
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