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By Brett Burney
If you are a corporate paralegal, either in-house or at a firm, welcome to an application that can change your professional life. Corporate Focus from Two Step Software enables you to digitally keep track of three underpinning pillars associated with your corporate entities such as governance, ownership information and minute books.
If you are not already using Corporate Focus, then I would bet money you have a profusion of three-ring binders in your office housing corporate minutes and other governing documents. If you really are good, you might use Microsoft Word or Excel to keep track of ownership or stock records in a pretty digital table.
And while you might be a master of the three-ring binder or a wiz at Excel formulas, those skills become trivial when the managing partner or client calls up and immediately demands an ownership report or a copy of last monthís minutes. If you canít find and deliver, your system is worthless.
That is where Corporate Focus shines. I found it to be a refreshingly intuitive application that fixates on a single pursuit, rather than trying to bloat itself with a ton of bells and whistles. Corporate Focus is a relational database that allows you to enter information about a corporation; then edit, view and twist that information all around to retrieve whatever golden nugget you need.
The concept is best explained with an example: Every month you need to prepare stockholder and board consents for your client, but you need to make sure all the officers and directors are correct, along with any other changes that might have taken place in the past month. As long as you enter that information once in Corporate Focus, you easily can merge the information from various areas in the application and quickly print out the consent forms.
Any record in Corporate Focus can have a document attached to it. This is a fantastic feature because any time you enter information into Corporate Focus, you can attach supporting documentation. Imagine never having to scrounge around for a document again.
One of the most impressive components of Corporate Focus is its uncomplicated ability to produce reports, summary sheets and organizational charts. There are more than 100 templates available, and you can customize any of them to your liking. I mentioned the intuitive interface before, but I truly am impressed with its ease of use. Itís clean and the buttons are accurately descriptive. Because of all this, Corporate Focus has a very short learning curve.
Most customers of Corporate Focus pay a fee for Two Step to host their databases in a completely secure location. If you prefer to burden yourself with the headaches of hosting your own information, then you need a dedicated server and a database manager for the project.
Either way, you definitely want to make sure your databases are securely accessible from the Internet ó not only for your own attorneys, but also for clients who want to root around their information. As you can imagine, having Corporate Focus available for your clients could give your firm a distinct advantage over other competitors.
Many firms and corporations have a document management system where they already might store a lot of this information. And while Corporate Focus isnít intended to replace a document management system, it certainly makes a lot more sense to link documents to their related bits of information directly from the application itself.
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