With 2020 wrapping up and the first Covid-19 vaccines arriving, we’re feeling more energized about 2021. We want to review the past year, implement changes, and start the new year strong. But – what should those changes be?
Below we’ve shared a few things to keep in mind as you move toward a more successful 2021.
Have your financials in order
In running a law firm, you have to contend with administrative tasks that piggyback along with actually practicing law. Those tasks may feel adjacent to your real work, but they’re often more essential than we want to admit – especially when it comes to billing and collections.
Law firms that fell behind in billing felt the crunch especially hard this year as some clients went through their own financial troubles with the onset of the pandemic – highlighting the need to stay on top of these tasks in a painful way.
To keep up with your financial tasks, use integrated billing and accounting software as part of your practice management system. This means time trackers to prevent leakage of billable hours, batch invoices for a time-saving billing process, and automated reminders when accounts are overdue.
Develop a strategic plan
Don’t just think about the year ahead. Think about where you’d like to be in five years. And then think about where you should be in three years in order to make that five-year idea happen. No, these aren’t just goals for next year – we’re suggesting you develop a strategic plan.
Strategic plans are common in the business world. They’re generally a prerequisite for investment because they guide growth and decisions. And yet, they aren’t part of the legal tradition, especially among small to mid-sized firms, so lawyers often feel they’re unnecessary.
But 2020 has shown us how quickly change can come. And there’s an argument that reacting to each new issue will ultimately cost more time and energy than developing a plan to guide your path forward.
Staying on top of financials and implementing a strategic plan will necessitate regular review. Make your practice management system work for you. With today’s cloud-based technology, working from home shouldn’t be a setback to regular review. You and your team should be able to securely access all information from any device and any place.
Review metrics of success as well as bookkeeping. Use integrated billing and accounting for a smoother reconciliation process each month, including regular three-way reconciliation. Knowing your financial situation is key to being able to make the right decisions for your firm.
2020 may have caught us all unawares, but here’s to a more successful 2021 – get your finances in order, create a strategic plan, and use cloud-based tools to regularly review.