As we finish January and head full-on into 2022, we hope you realize that it’s not too late to make your New Year’s Resolutions for your law office. Now is the perfect time to evaluate your law firm’s current way of doing things, make improvements, and adopt new habits and processes to make this year the best one yet.
Whether you’re looking to increase profitability or simply use your time more efficiently, these New Year’s resolutions will help streamline and strengthen every firm, regardless of size or revenue.
Modernize your firm’s systems
As law teams and their clients continue to collaborate remotely, modernizing how you run your law office has become essential.
Start by ditching physical servers and moving your practice management system to the cloud. Native cloud systems offer security and flexibility—and your team can access their work from anywhere, on any device. Today’s practice management systems offer integrations and syncs across various platforms so that you can continue working with your favorite tools.
This level of remote flexibility is increasingly expected by your clients, too. You can offer them the convenience they’re looking for with features such as a client portal that lets you share documents remotely.
Not only does this set you up to take advantage of e-signing documents, but it’s more secure than sending documents by email, which generally doesn’t encrypt attachments.
Improve your collections process
Streamline your collections processto reduce the likelihood of delinquent accounts—as well as needing to spend time and effort following up with them.
Use batch invoicing to generate and deliver invoices in bulk. This saves you and your team time, standardizes the process, and makes it easier to send bills out at regular intervals—which clients appreciate. After all, no one wants to get a bill for work that was done three months ago. By then, they’ve forgotten the details and are more likely to put off payment.
Consider offering electronic payment options, too. This makes paying an invoice easier and more convenient for your clients, which in turn makes them more likely to pay promptly. And this is doubly true if you use a legal-specific merchant so that clients can pay with a credit card.
Save time by reducing double data entry
Data entry takes time, opens you to the possibility of human error, and isn’t at the top of anyone’s list of favorite tasks. If you combine activities into one area or integrate across your core programs, you can reduce some of your data entry load.
Additionally, if you consolidate everything into one program, you can reduce data entry even more. For instance, a single program for your legal accounting and billing means that you only have to enter invoice information or payments once.
Use tech to support how you handle client funds
Particularly when it comes to handling client funds in a trust account, lawyers need to be mindful of the potential for simple mistakes that can lead to ethics violations.
Good tech can help mitigate this risk with trust accounting safeguards that prevent the commingling of client funds.
A good practice management program can also support you in maintaining separate client ledgers, running regular reconciliation, and tracking funds in your general ledger, as required by your local jurisdiction.
You can even set evergreen retainers, which prompt clients for retainer replenishment when balances dip below a certain threshold.
Get reimbursed for client costs
It’s easy for client costs to slip through the cracks of a busy day. Whether it’s forgetting to record a filing fee or copy costs, costs covered for clients don’t always end up on the invoice.
If you have a mobile app for your practice management system, it makes it easy to record costs when they happen. You can also import your law firm’s credit card statement and check the charges as a way to make sure everything makes it to the invoice.
Streamline your reporting
Running reports can be a headache-producing and time-consuming process. Fortunately, a modern practice management system can automate much of it for you—especially if your legal billing and accounting are part of the same program.
From general accounts reporting to three-way reconciliation to trust reporting, your program can reduce your stress and save you time.
A new year means new possibilities—and modern tech can help boost productivity and profitability by reducing busy work and creating greater efficiencies for your law office.
Whether it’s a more efficient collections process or streamlined reporting, watch our full webinar to learn more and discover practical, actionable steps to implementing your New Year’s resolution for your law firm.