Global Construction Firm Has Complex Entity Management Requirements
With multi-million-dollar infrastructure projects spanning renewable energy infrastructure, telecommunications, and transportation networks, this large public construction & infrastructure development company operates in Canada, the United States, Bermuda, and beyond. The company's portfolio encompasses over 150 entities worldwide, each with many associated regulatory and governance tasks. Still, the company's documentation and compliance processes relied on hard drives, folders, and hard-copy minute books. The company needed to transition to modern business entity management software.
When their Law Clerk and Athennian user joined this company as a law clerk two years ago, she had already helped implement Athennian at a previous law firm, so she had deep experience with its capabilities. "We needed to bring Athennian here, she said. "And because I had already worked with Athennian, I was familiar with the software and the onboarding process. It made it very seamless."
Antiquated Data Systems Create Inefficiency and Preventable Risk
This company manages significant infrastructure construction and maintenance around the globe, with each site requiring one or more business entities. Legal documentation, governance, and compliance are complex and critical to business function—but the company's previous entity management system was so unusable that employees defaulted back to a desktop- and hard drive-based folder system.
Multiple departments within the organization need entity information for their operations. Tax and HR departments, for example, need articles of incorporation or formation documents, while the construction team looks for director and officer information to create bids for projects. But the folders containing this information were on a drive only available to a few people.
"The company had over 150 subsidiaries, each with different officers and directors," said their Law Clerk. "All of them had been stored in folders on a hard drive for the past ten years. All of our minute books were in the closet." Other historical data was stored offsite and not readily accessible, and she and her team sometimes found themselves searching through 20 years worth of documents to find a single file.
The previous system also led to a risk of compliance and registration lapse. For example, the previous hard drive folder system didn't track key compliance and registration deadlines. "When filing a registration, we just stored the document on our drive, and that was it. There was no tracking," said their Law Clerk. "So, in five years, the business license or name might have expired because nobody tracked it."
Implementing a comprehensive entity management software solution that could eliminate those risks and enable universal access was crucial for the legal team.
Athennian Eliminates Pain Points, from Access to Compliance
Their Law Clerk is spearheading the Athennian migration process and has seen pain points ranging from access to compliance resolved during the transition. Throughout the migration, she appreciated the hands-on assistance provided by Athennian's team. "Athennian was great. They took our drive, input all of the information into Athennian, and created our virtual minute books, she said. "We also had data in other locations that they compiled for us. It was such a seamless process."
Athennian's tailored permissions make data universally accessible. The legal team, for example, no longer has to request director and officer registers or incorporation documents. "For our Barbados group, for example, our counsel can pull the documents she needs instead of waiting for me to email them," said their Law Clerk.
Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements also presented a challenge that Athennian eliminated.The Law Clerk is responsible for responding to KYC requests, usually involving identification such as a passport or driver's license. "Those were stored on my desktop in a file folder," she said. "Now they're in Athennian. It's so much more accessible—nobody can access my desktop if I go on vacation!"
Athennian Reduces Research and Response Time and Eliminates Outside Counsel Costs
"Athennian saves me at least 50% of my time on a daily basis," said their Law Clerk. "Once I get something, I input it into Athennian and create a task reminder. I don't have to touch it again for the rest of the year. Athennian will generate the report and email me to say it's coming up for renewal." She is already seeing increased efficiency in her day-to-day tasks. "Yesterday, we had six master business licenses to renew, and it took me 20 minutes to input them, mark their renewal dates, and create a compliance reminder," she said. "I had to go back to them today, and it took me 30 seconds to find the information, download it, and send it."
Athennian also eliminates the risk of registration lapse, which can have outsize operational implications, for example, in areas where the company works with unions. "If an extra provincial registration lapses, the union will come to us and say that our registration with the union is at risk because we don't have that provincial registration," said their Law Clerk. “With Athennian, this problem won't happen. We'll be able to play offense instead of defense."
Athennian also creates cost-saving opportunities for the organization. For example, the legal team no longer needs to retain outside counsel for the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and filings required for new entity incorporation. "We just completed the process for the first time with Athennian," said their Law Clerk. "I input some simple information, and Athennian created
the incorporation documents." She estimates that bringing that process in-house will save large public construction & infrastructure development company up to $1,600 per new entity.
The intuitive design of the platform, combined with Athennian's powerful data capabilities, are also big wins. "It's a good testament to Athennian that somebody who may not have much experience with software finds it easy to use," she said.
This Organization Will Leverage Athennian's Powerful Features to Create Future Efficiencies
As this organization moves forward with the company-wide rollout of Athennian, the legal team anticipates substantial time and efficiency savings. "I created a simplified version of a chart using our old software yesterday, and it took me 35 minutes to ensure everything lined up correctly," she said.With Athennian, teams across the company can generate charts with the click of a button.
She also anticipates significant benefits from Athennian's teams feature. "We are going to use it heavily," she said of their plans to create separate teams for departments like tax and operations. "We recently had to give all of our minute books to external counsel, so we created an external team," she said. "Instead of sending them our physical books, we just sent them a link to the virtual minute books, and they could access everything they needed.”
Their Law Clerk looks forward to saving time when the company needs to dissolve inactive projects or entities for contracts not awarded as well. These unused entities can incur substantial costs in terms of taxes and time required to file annual returns, but identifying them can be time-consuming. "I needed to provide an entity list for dissolution review, and I physically typed it out because they wanted it in alphabetical order," she said. "Creating that list in Athennian will be such a time and cost saver.”
The team has seen profound benefits from Athennian. "My advice is just to do it!" she said. "There's no downfall to integrating Athennian into your business. Making the data accurate and accessible is a huge win for everybody involved."
Athennian is a modern business entity and subsidiary governance platform that powers teams to be transaction, audit, and compliance-ready. Legal, finance, and tax professionals use Athennian to automate workflows for ownership, governance, tax, and corporate compliance.