7 Essential Software Elements for Bail Agents
Bail agents may believe they have gotten by "just fine" throughout the years using traditional methods to manage their daily routines. Though mostly effective, these methods can sometimes lead to cramped hands from filling out mountains of forms, financial losses from poorly kept records, the occasional missed court date and other problems.
Luckily for bail agencies, a select group of software companies has examined the many tasks bail professionals perform daily and developed useful software to make things simpler and more efficient. AboutBail.com, in the first part of this two-part series on software for the bail industry, examined some of the most cutting-edge software on the market to give you a glimpse at features that can save you time, money and payroll costs, and improve your client management.
1. Court date tracking
Staying on top of court dates is one of the fundamental duties of a bail agent, which is why many bail bond management programs help you keep an eye on both upcoming and missed court dates. These helpful scheduling capabilities allow you to set reminders for court dates, forfeiture/judgment due dates and more so that you never miss an important event.
2. Bond tracking and writing
One of the major advantages of using bail bond management software is the ability to access information in real time, which enables bail agents to make rapid decisions during the lifecycle of the bond.
Certain programs allow agents to record important data including defendant mug shots, personal and demographic data, indemnitor info and defendant activity, as well track bond status from execution, forfeiture and exoneration to appeal. Instead of spending your valuable time digging through piles of paper to find information about a client, you can quickly access everything you need to know within one centralized database.
Some programs also make bond writing easier by speeding up the process and enabling agents to write bonds on the go. If you are in a car or mobile bail center, the only equipment you need to write a bond is a laptop or tablet, wireless connection and mobile printer.
3. Arrest record monitoring
Some bail bond management programs allow agents to quickly search arrest records to see if the defendant has been re-arrested. Instead of spending hours of valuable time searching the arrest records or hiring someone else to do it, you can easily search from your computer in minutes.
4. "Do Not Bond" list sharing
One very handy feature available with some software programs allows geographically dispersed offices and agents to share their "Do Not Bond" lists via the web, cellular phone and in printed form. The ability to quickly share information about defendants who have prior failures to appear can save your agents from underwriting a bond to an unreliable defendant.
5. Improved reporting
Effective bail bond management software enables bail companies to prepare high-quality, useful reports. Several programs on the market today give bail agents the ability to produce various reports, including active bonds by agent, monthly summary, annual analysis, powers listing and overdue payments. The reports you can generate with the software give you better visibility over your company, as well as make it easy for you to share vital information with appropriate parties.
6. Analysis of forfeitures and accounts receivable
Forfeitures and accounts receivable are two areas that bail agents need to keep a close watch over because financial loss often occurs there. Some software databases allow you to track, analyze and generate reports concerning forfeitures and accounts receivable. By keeping a closer eye on these key parts of your business, you should be able to reduce forfeitures and improve your account collections effectiveness.
7. Assistance with filling out forms
Bail agents fill out a plethora of forms on a daily basis, which is a chore that simply goes along with the profession. Some software gives you the ability to print forms - such as powers, promissory notes and appearance bonds - that have automatically been filled in with most of the necessary information. Eliminating much of the tediousness from completing forms is sure to give you more time to concentrate on other important parts of your business.
ConclusionNot every bail bond management software is created equally, and some programs have features that will benefit your business more than others. Don't be afraid to shop around and test drive various products if the software company offers a free trial. One thing you should be sure to ask the software provider is whether there are any bail laws specific your state that should be reflected in the data your software handles.
Once you find the software that best suits your bail agency's needs, the efficiency improvements and high-level visibility of your company could be just what you need to take your bail business to new heights.
AboutBail.com wants to hear your thoughts about software for the bail industry. Please take about two minutes to complete our survey, and we will share the results in part two of this series, which will showcase the innovative companies that are redefining the way bail agencies operate.
If you are a company that sells software for the bail industry, we want to include you in our bail software spotlight. It's a valuable opportunity to let thousands of bail agents who you are, how your software benefits them, and tell them where to find your software. Contact [email protected] to find out how to get involved.
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