eRecording and a Strong Partner Network
July 21, 2021 by
The tax season recently wrapped up, after millions of Americans filed their returns with the federal government. Not too long ago, the only filing option available was a paper form. Perhaps some of you remember, like I do, picking up a form at your local library, filling it out by hand, and mailing it in. Then came the weeks-long wait to hear about the status of your return and, hopefully, receive a refund. Thankfully, most of us can now complete the entire process electronically. According to the Internal Revenue Service, in fiscal year 2019, just over 89% of individual tax returns were filed online. This option benefits everyone: the federal government can process returns faster and with less overhead, and taxpayers get their refunds back in a matter of days.
Just like online tax returns, there is a way to electronically record documents with county offices. This happens through a process widely known as eRecording. Organizations like title agencies and law firms that submit a large volume of documents to counties often partner with eRecording service providers. Providers such as Simplifile, eRecording Partners Network (ePN), and Corporation Service Company (CSC), submit documents for recording electronically to county recording offices. These partner providers are necessary, as they establish the needed integrations and work with the counties’ records management software providers to allow the electronic recordings to seamlessly enter a county’s system in a standardized format. From there, county staff can quickly and securely process recording requests, even those coming from other parts of the country. As of May 2021, more than 87% of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction that offers eRecording, according to the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA). This is good news, as eRecording offers several noteworthy benefits to all involved:
- Time savings. Both submitters and county staff benefit from no longer filling out and processing paper requests and mailing documents back and forth. This is especially true in the case of rejections when documents need to be resubmitted.
- Internal efficiency. Once freed of onerous paperwork, county staff can focus on other, more strategic tasks. Reduced opportunity for human error further results in less manual work.
- Cost savings. In staff time, paper costs, mail service costs, and more, county offices see reduced expenditures with eRecording. An online approach also makes it easier for counties to maintain and balance financial accounts.
- Security. Particularly in an evolving cyberthreat environment, eRecording offers enhanced security for documents traveling back and forth via secure integrations between service providers and a county’s records management software.
- Convenience. Submitters can pay online and work directly with counties to correct rejections in days, not weeks.
The Value of Multiple Providers
Just as taxpayers can choose which vendor to use in filing federal tax returns, organizations can choose which eRecording service provider to work with to submit electronic documents to county offices. The difference is the federal government partners with all major tax software providers while recording offices may only partner with one or two eRecording service providers. This results in some submitters continuing to use paper and mail, remaining locked into a manual, time consuming process. Counties can alleviate this costly hurdle by partnering with multiple or all major eRecording service providers. This is a win-win proposition for all involved and maximizes a county’s opportunity to increase eRecording volume. In fact, a 2016 PRIA paper on eRecording best practices for recorders recommended partnering with multiple vendors. Think about it: Recording offices accept paper documents from in-person submissions, courier service, Fed Ex, UPS, USPS, and more. There is no reason the same logic shouldn’t apply to electronic recordings. The bottom line is increased eRecording volume benefits everyone. I encourage readers to follow PRIA’s recommendation and expand their counties’ eRecording providers network to capture additional online submissions and to maximize internal efficiencies.