If you eFile regularly, you are probably familiar with the document envelope found on many eFiling services — and that it can take a very long time to fill.
But the envelope on one service may take you longer to fill than the envelope on a different service. States like California, Maryland, Texas, and others have multiple eFiling Service Providers to select from, and each one may approach the envelope design differently. Finding a design that best matches your needs may reduce the time you spend filing significantly.
Here, we will discuss what to look for in a service to help you find the right envelope for you, and a few tips on how to make the most of any envelope you encounter.
How can the eFiling Service Provider Affect Envelope Upload Times?
Technical metrics like site speed and query times matter to a degree, but eFiling Service Providers (EFSP) mainly affect upload speed through their design and feature set. A poor or dated application design will slow you down regardless of your internet speed or the hardware on either side.
But the design quality can be hard to recognize if you don’t know what to look for. So here are a few questions that help determine if an EFSP will meet your efficiency needs.
Can You Upload Multiple Documents at Once?
Some services only support uploading a single document to the envelope at a time. It’s not a massive problem if you only need to add two to three documents but isn’t ideal for complex cases, where you may upload dozens of documents for a single filing.
If you can upload multiple documents simultaneously, that will save you a lot of time in comparison. Uploading multiple documents at once can turn a dozen clicks, or a hundred clicks, into one. Also, it reduces the likelihood of mistakes, like uploading the same document twice or skipping one during the process.
Can You Drag and Drop Documents into the Application?
Many filers are accustomed to navigating their directory through the application, but it’s worth testing a drag-and-drop envelope interface if you can. This allows you to simply place files from your already open file explorer right into the application, avoiding unnecessary directory navigation and clicks.
Another complication of this feature is the ability to drag and drop, but only one file at a time. It still is faster than traditional navigation, but not dramatically so. This feature works best when paired with multi-file uploading to save you maximum time.
Does the Service Help You Fill in the Details?
Every document you upload has a set of required details to fill out. Most details need manual fill, but some can be automatically added based on the document title. Specifically, the document title can be taken from the file name of each document, depending on the service. If this autofill is available, that will significantly lower the amount of data you need to write into the app manually.
Can You File and Serve Simultaneously?
If the service provider allows for simultaneous eFiling and eService, you only need to fill the envelope once. If the service requires separate transactions for filing and serving, this process may effectively take twice the time.
These questions should help determine if the eFiling Service Provider is hurting or helping. The more ways the service helps you, the faster filling the envelope will be.
Are there Strategies for Uploading Faster on Any Service?
If you’re not in a position to change your eFiling service provider, or don’t have multiple options for your jurisdiction, you can still save some time by getting your side right.
- Name your documents appropriately and descriptively. You’re less likely to re-upload or skip a document if you know what you’re uploading, so match the filename to the document’s title instead of just a hash number/random name.
- Gather documents locally before uploading anything. Try to have everything you’re adding to the envelope located in the same directory beforehand, so you don’t need to hop from one folder to another to find what you need.
- Seek out training/documentation. Even if the service isn’t optimal, familiarity will go a long way. Almost every service should have training available, or at least documentation. With those, you can learn new keyboard shortcuts and more to improve your speed in navigating the app.
Staying organized and avoiding mistakes will help you waste less time, no matter the service. But realize that even if you do your part perfectly, the service is equally if not more responsible for how long filling the envelope takes.
How We Approach the Envelope
For our File & ServeXpress platforms, we’ve spent a lot of time considering the envelope, as many of our users regularly complete complex, multi-document filings. Our drag-and-drop multifile upload interface takes place on one page and autofill data for each document based on the file name. For them, that means less time rooting through directories, looping through menus, and entering data, leaving them more time to consider other aspects of each case.
You can learn more about File & ServeXpress by selecting your state of operation and clicking the link below.