Welcome to the future of legal transactions
Austria is the first country in the European Union which has provided for the possibility of digitally founding a limited liability company (German: GmbH). Company founders have been able to digitally implement the setting-up process since the autumn of 2019 following a successful two-year pilot period. The requirement to have a notary public physically present is no longer in effect. Instead, modern technologies such as the video-ident procedure, electronic signatures, data rooms and video conferences are integrated into the foundation process.
The trend towards digitalisation
The concept of the digital foundation reflects a general trend. Digitalisation is a global phenomenon penetrating all areas of life. It has also increasingly encompassed the legal profession as well in recent years. In addition to the use of digital communication channels and data processing, a key issue in this field is the organisation of work processes. The digitalisation of the legal profession has resulted in a series of changes, making it necessary to rethink how processes and workflows should be structured. The objective is to ensure a maximum level of efficiency by achieving synergies between human beings and machines. Automated processes are particularly important in light of the large volumes of data. However, computers should definitely not replace the work of lawyers. Instead, the integration of automated processes in workflows should support lawyers in their work. A symbiosis of IT and law can lead to the acceleration of processes, the reduction of costs and the enhancement of efficiency by having machines assume responsibility for carrying out non-legal processes i.e. standardised processes such as research or inquiries. In turn, lawyers should have the possibility to focus their attention and exploit their know-how for legal questions and problems.
The digital foundation of companies represents an example of putting the digitalisation trend into practice, and makes an important contribution towards modernising the foundation process. However, legal counselling which takes place upfront (e.g. drawing up the articles of association) continues to be fundamentally bound to "conventional" structures i.e. with time-consuming, personal appointments with the lawyer. Here is where kontractory by DWP can play a role. The possibility of inquiries processed without being bound by time or location represents a digital alternative to traditional structures and processes. Founders have the possibility to independently generate a draft contract at no cost with the help of an online, downloadable contract assistant. This does not mean that there is no longer a need for a personal consultation with a lawyer. The objective of kontractory is to make such consultations more efficient by implementing processes digitally. The digital contract inquiry is designed to provide information in advance to potential company founders as well as to simplify information procurement on the part of the lawyer. Accordingly, personal appointments with a lawyer should not be used for the purpose of obtaining information but for clarifying individual questions and ensuring the best possible legal advice.
Digitally establishing the GmbH
For the purpose of digitally establishing limited liability companies (GmbH), the approach of kontractory by DWP is to digitalise the initial preparation phase of GmbH founding. An innovative step-by-step process accompanies founders through all the steps required with respect to drawing up articles of association or the declaration of foundation. The different elements of the foundation documents are individually downloaded. At the same time, explanations and assistance for users are shown. In this way, the founders have the possibility to tailor the particular contents of the documents to their specific needs and to get comprehensive information in advance. The draft versions of the founding documentation and the required ancillary documents are automatically generated. From this point on the communication with lawyers begin. They finalise the documents together with the founders and complete the founding process. This can also be fully implemented by means of modern communication channels.
Accordingly, it is now possible in Austria to carry out almost the entire founding process digitally, from the initial preparation phase and obtaining information to the creation of the necessary documents and the appointment with a notary public.
kontractory by DWP is an offering of the Austrian law firm Dax Wutzlhofer und Partner Rechtsanwälte in partnership with the Viennese legal tech startup kontractory. The law firm has already advised and managed several cases of GmbH founding from clients in Austria and abroad with the help of the kontractory software.
Here you will find access to a separate area for international company foundings in Austria.