“Brexit” means legal changes and updates! Whether the UK shifts to an EEC membership, such as Norway and Switzerland have, or a no-deal hard Brexit defaults the UK to trade under WTO rules until a new post-Brexit deal is brokered, there will be far-reaching legal implications.

UK citizens voted to leave the EU in 2016 and, in a classic media oversimplification, there are two well-known potential Brexit scenarios: a “hard” Brexit and a “soft” Brexit. A “soft” Brexit is where the UK and EU reach an agreement and the future of trade arrangements are established before exit, and a “hard” Brexit is where there is no agreement. Real life is always more complicated – even in the case of a “hard” Brexit, there are measures in place to prevent utter chaos, where the UK would default to WTO rules until new rules are established. In the case of a “soft” Brexit, the negotiated parameters for an exit may not be all that “soft”, with the UK having less favorable trade parameters than non-EU states such as Switzerland and Norway.

Predicting exactly how enterprises will be impacted by Brexit is a difficult task. However, the consequences of Brexit for companies can be mitigated with the right preparation: developing well thought-out preparation checklists, having the right software installed, and building the right processes to respond to the looming changes.

Companies in the UK, or who work with the UK, must be prepared for the changes that will come as a result of Brexit, regardless of the form the deal takes. Everything from taxes and flow of capital to contracts, supply chains, workforces, regulatory frameworks and beyond will be changing. Companies will have to be prepared to update all their documentation across these areas. Updating content based on these changes is simple, if enterprises have the right compliance and document automation software.

GDPR paved the way for enterprise-wide legal updates

GDPR is one recent example of companies being caught with their guard down around changing laws which impact business documents. In the case of contracts, small changes to required disclosures led to an avalanche of work, resulting in a loss of both time and significant amounts of money. Any company that did not have adequate document automation software faced difficulties in updating documents across the organization when GDPR came into effect. Companies who did not learn from the GDPR experience are likely to spend a great deal of resources responding to the changes that will result from Brexit.

Document automation tools, such as Templafy, allow mass updates of document templates, help manage template repositories and distribute updated content. Through this, they provide a crucial service for companies that will be impacted by Brexit.

Historically, there have been many regulatory shifts in how enterprises do business and the related legal requirements; Brexit is no different. It’s important that organizations approach these impending changes prepared with the right tools and the right teams.

Read next: Updates to data protection legislation: How to best prepare your company content

Some industries are well-equipped to handle legislation changes

The pharmaceutical industry is one example of an industry that is prepared for regulatory changes which have a significant impact on their workflow. Developing new medicines requires companies to meet complex regulatory hurdles, which can change in the middle of a medicine being tested for human use. Prior to a medicine being released, it must go through clinical trials and randomized trials, which are often multi-year processes, involving thousands of test subjects. It is vital for precise information to be shared with participants in these trials, and exact documentation relating to every step of the trial must be stored correctly. Just one stage of a clinical trial may require thousands of documents be created, shared and securely stored.

Regulatory requirements can change over the course of a trial taking place, resulting in companies having to make mass updates to documents that are required as part of the process. Pharmaceutical companies tend to be avid users of document automation and management tools, so they can quickly react to these regulatory changes without halting the process of a trial. Due to this, pharmaceutical companies tend to be some of the most compliant, and have systems in place to enable them to deal with changing legislation in an easy and efficient manner, meaning they are likely to be less impacted by Brexit than other industries. Other industries may benefit from following suit, and putting in place processes and software that allow for agile change. However, software alone will not resolve the issues of change management in the document creation space – different departments must be ready to work together to ensure legal changes have a low impact on operations.

Which departments are key to deploying the right Brexit strategy?

Service providers and companies that produce goods will differ in how they should internally deal with legislative updates. However, regardless of the company type, some truths are universal - Legal, Compliance, and Procurement departments will play major roles in preparing companies for Brexit.

Legal and Compliance departments are responsible for a company’s ability to meet regulatory requirements, while Procurement is responsible for the acquisition of goods across the organization. Legal and Compliance should ensure that Commercial, HR, and Finance teams are put in the best position to respond to changes by helping them develop checklists and processes. Outside of Legal and Compliance, Procurement teams should also be heavily involved, because of how Brexit will impact the selection of vendors, purchasing contracts, import/export implications, and supply chains. In the case of contracts impacted by legal changes, Legal departments will own the language in the contracts, Procurement will be responsible for distribution and utilization of content, and Compliance will assure that Procurement is following the right processes. The right software is the tool which facilitates how these teams can operate efficiently together.

The role of software in automating legal updates

Mass updates to contracts requires software that allows companies to make required changes once, and then automatically updates the related contracts and documents. Templafy is a platform which provides this tool, through allowing an admin to make a change which is instantly distributed worldwide to all document templates. This is just one way in which Templafy saves organizations a significant amount of time and enables governance of the documents employees are creating.

While document automation tools alone will not solve every issue that is created by Brexit, the ability to quickly update legal disclaimers along with company content and distribute it to thousands of users instantly is a vital tool that will help enterprises quickly adjust content on a global scale. Document Automation tools are an integral part of any enterprise tech stack, and are especially necessary when legal changes are upcoming. With early involvement of Legal, Procurement, and Compliance teams, and technology such as Templafy, it’s very possible for an organization to handle the practicalities of Brexit relatively painlessly.

Legal changes impact your organization. Updating documents to reflect this is a vitally important, but labor-intensive and error-prone task. Changes can now be automated through software which simplifies the process of responding to legal updates and helps ensure compliance. Download our free guide to legal compliance automation to read more about how legal changes impact organizations and how automated compliance software can help.