As you are likely already aware, tax legislation has been a hot topic in the news recently, and the bill appears set to be signed, sealed, and delivered by year’s end. A tax overhaul like this one will surely take some time to sort out (even for accountants), and because of the new rules and regulations involved, it means added work for law firms, too. At ComsoLex, we believe the solution isn’t to work harder, but rather, to work smarter by using an application that suits your law practice and its specialized needs. Here, we’re outlining the top seven tips for streamlining your law practice in 2018, so you can begin the New Year informed and prepared.
Tip #1: Matter-Centric Recordkeeping
Compliance demands that all records are linked to their respective legal matter. A legal-specific solution keeps matter activities in one place, which saves you time and serves as an additional layer of protection in the event of a malpractice claim or audit.
Tip #2: In the Moment Recording
In today’s fast-paced world, manual time and expense tracking can become an afterthought, and often results in delayed entry and unbilled hours. A solution that offers an in-the-moment recording tool allows you to enter time and expenses as they happen, and automatically link these items to the appropriate matter.
Tip #3: Efficient & All-Inclusive Collection Process
In an effort to stay solvent, you want to reduce “leakage” (lost funds that are never recognized because meetings, tasks, and events were not properly billed) as much as possible. Collection can be especially difficult when clients are going through financial difficulty, so it is critical to ensure your firm’s process is clear and streamlined.
Tip #4: Use an Integrated Billing & Accounting System
Regulators heavily scrutinize how a firm allocates invoice payments, how client costs are handled, and how retainers are managed. An error in any of these areas could very well be the end of a practice. While it may be possible to modify a general business accounting program to suit your needs, a legal-specific solution that is built to handle the specific requirements of law firms is the best way to protect both yourself and the firm.
Tip #5: Safeguards to Maintain IOLTA Compliance
Each state maintains its own trust accounting guidelines that attorneys must be aware of and adhere to. Using a legal-specific software solution that has safeguards in place to prevent the commingling of funds and overdrafts at the matter or ledger level is a good place to start, no matter where your firm is located.
Tip #6: Fully Integrated Organization for Events, Tasks, Docs & Emails
A fully integrated system that not only organizes events and tasks but also allows them to move directly into your billing workflow, ensures the firm is able to collect payment for all the work that gets done. Additionally, this promotes efficient collaboration between multiple team members, as calendar events and tasks should be shareable across the organization.
Tip #7: Cloud Applications to Avoid IT Complexities & Headaches
Utilizing cloud-based practice management solutions is the only way to make sure your firm keeps everything up-to-date, anytime, anywhere.
While 2018 is sure to bring about several changes, there are steps you can take now to set your firm up for success. For more information about streamlining your practice in the New Year, contact us for a free consultation or Try CosmoLex Today.