Peter Huber was Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of various companies in a global context for 15 years and, before that, for 10 years in consulting and banking. Today, Peter Huber is the owner of Huber CFO Consulting AG and advises his clients on topics related to CFO competencies.
Dear Mr. Huber, you have a long career as a financial director and today you offer your expertise to various companies. You are regularly confronted with legal issues and legal documents. What are the legal challenges currently facing Swiss SMEs?
From the CFO’s perspective, I can say that the challenges have changed continuously and at an ever-increasing pace over the years. Today, I can see that – to give you an example – the volume of legal requirements and documents that a Swiss SME has to deal with has increased considerably. This is due, on the one hand, to the increasing density of regulations and, on the other hand, to the growing awareness of the parties involved and their requirements with regard to contractual regulations.
How are companies reacting to these new challenges?
Let’s face it: small and medium-sized enterprises are faced with a flood of legal requirements, while at the same time they generally lack the necessary resources and know-how. In practice, there are two possible solutions. On the one hand, for legal issues, comparable old business models are used. However, this simple way of proceeding often leads, at first glance, to poor quality because the relevant documents are no longer up to date or do not quite fit the case, or manual processing by non-lawyers leads to inconsistencies and errors. Overall, this approach is therefore an inefficient process with a sub-optimal outcome. It is obvious that a lot of time is lost in the process.
What does the second approach look like?
The second option is to consult a lawyer. This is sometimes also done for relatively simple standard documents. This variant is of course associated with high costs for a company.
Let’s talk about Approovd. How can Approovd concretely help Swiss SMEs to meet the above mentioned challenges?
Approovd works according to a guided process in which the right questions are asked in the relevant context. In this way, anyone, including non-lawyers, can draft a quality contract that contains the most recent legal provisions and guarantees completeness. The preparation of contracts is faster, easier, in most cases cheaper and there are possibilities for digital collaboration. Finally, creating contracts is more fun than manually rewriting old document templates because of the greater ease of use and user experience.
How did you generally perceive digital change in the legal services sector?
We have seen in other fields and industries that the digital work methodology has worked very well, especially in the COVID-19 era. I’m convinced that the legal services sector is also experiencing a digital boom. In my opinion, however, Approovd will not replace the lawyer, but rather take over the complementary but repetitive legal work of a small business.
A last word?
Thank you very much. I would like to call on all SMEs to take a bold approach to new digital approaches. Resistance to trying something new is notoriously high. But with my CFO glasses, I can say that digital tools such as Approovd enable more efficient processes and can therefore contribute directly to cost reduction – with a simultaneous increase in quality.