A good accountant is a good poet. He appreciates the true value of things. – Robert Frost
Law could almost be considered a paper-based industry, given the amount of paperwork that accompanies every letter, email, and phone call, not to mention the forms and documentation for every case or matter subject to legal proceedings. In fact, for a long time, attorneys seemed to shun technology in law firms, holding fast to paper-based systems.
There were good reasons, of course, including confidentiality, data privacy, and, very importantly, data security. As technology has evolved, however, and as the law has figured out how to work legal rights, rules, and regulations into an increasingly digital world, software for law firms has taken off.
The Role Of Technology In Modern Law Firm Accounting:
Now, software is being developed specifically for the law industry; software that streamlines time-consuming processes, like time tracking and billing. The less time lawyers have to spend on billing, the more time they can spend on billable hours.
There are many options when it comes to choosing software. Of primary importance is integration with existing software solutions and the degree of customization. Each law firm is unique, of course, so their software needs to be flexible enough to accommodate their individual needs. Fortunately, there are cloud-based software solutions with features and functions that can be tailored to suit just about every type of law firm.
Here we look at four factors that lawyers should consider when they purchase a new suite of software products.
1. Real-time Data Access
Law has been around forever, but lawyers don’t have forever to get the job done. They need data that is current and easily accessible. The beauty of cloud-based software for law firms is that data can be added and the system updated in real-time.
The latest versions of clients’ files are always near at hand, along with notes that you made while reviewing certain sections. You can access this information wherever you are, from a client’s new construction project to a chalet in the Alps where you take your annual skiing holiday. All you need is an internet connection.
2. Automation Of Routine Tasks
All businesses have mundane tasks that are boring, time-consuming, and necessary. Software has developed to the point where it can carry out boring tasks quickly and more accurately than you ever could. RPA (robotic process automation) bots conduct compliance checks, scan data, and generate spreadsheets and reports.
Studies have shown that software with automation capabilities streamlines workflow and improves efficiency by up to 60%. This enables lawyers to spend considerably more time on productive and income-generating activities, like preparing for a big case or meeting with a potential client.
3. Increased Accuracy And Efficiency
Sophisticated AI technology is able to identify key documents on-demand, which can be especially helpful when working with your accountant to ensure all of your finances are correctly documented and filed. You can call up any information required, from the length of time a phone call took on a particular day three months ago to a restaurant receipt for a business dinner the previous night.
In fact, law firm accounting software can include a financial feature that enables you to log data and generate reports in a format that is easy for accountants and lawyers to interpret and input into their own accounting software system. This helps ensure that lawyers’ finances are recorded in compliance with local and national regulations.
4. Improved Data Security And Protection
We’ve already mentioned that data security was one reason anyone working in the interests of justice was reluctant to embrace the digital realm. The concern was that data couldn’t be sufficiently protected and secured in the cloud.
That is no longer the case. Cloud-based software providers live and breathe by their security measures. It’s in their best interests to protect data, so they are always aware of the latest hacking trends and have defenses to prevent hackers from breaching their systems and accessing sensitive client information.
These days, the cloud is just about the safest place to store data, due largely to the sophistication of encrypted servers.
Examples And Use Cases For Technology In Law Firm Accounting
Law software has obvious benefits for law-related activities, but lawyers can also benefit greatly if they have accounting software that integrates with their other systems. Not only does the software keep track of and manage the daily financial operations, but it can be used to store clients’ files and keep an eye on billing vs. payment.
One of the cases where billing and spend management benefited from technology involves SimpleLegal, an e-billing solution provider and NextRoll, an online advertising and marketing platform. NextRoll was in no end of trouble, as it had lost track of expenses and didn’t have the nous to regain financial control.
SimpleLegal helped matters with its spend management solution that provided a central location for all invoices, which could be accessed by other departments concerned. The software enabled the company to identify problem areas and streamline processes to get back on track.
(You can read about more cases where technology and law joined hands to tackle business issues.)
Conclusion And Final Recommendations
Rather than work against each other, law and technology can work together to streamline essential processes and actually improve data storage, usage, and security. With certain processes now being managed in the background, lawyers get back 60% of their working day, which they can use far more productively.
Law firms must take care, however, when choosing a cloud-based software suite of services. Investigating the different vendors and different service packages is critical to determine if they can meet your requirements, and ensure that they have stringent security and data protection measures in place to safeguard your confidential client information.
If you’re stuck and don’t know where to go, you can find law firm technology consultants to help you find the right path for your business.
Note: Software Advice is a great website that covers software technology in a host of industries, including law. This article is a good resource if you’re looking for more information on how tech and law can work together for the greater good.
Sage Intacct is one of the most acclaimed cloud-based accounting software providers globally. Sage gives you the insight you need to make informed financial decisions that maintain your law firm’s financial health.
Sage’s range of services includes multi-entity accounting, which provides a scalable platform to help you manage your finances as you expand your law firm. The financial reporting software enables you to gather in-depth information through custom reports and assessing real-time business performance.
Discover the perfect technology solution for your law firm’s accounting needs with LWI’s trusted expertise. We can guide you in selecting the right software or follow the provided guidelines to make an informed decision.