Six Questions You Might Have, Answered
Consideration for Outsourcing your law firm’s accounting services often comes down to one of these reasons:
- The person who does the job isn’t any longer, and you may want to investigate the pros and cons of outsourcing.
- As a result of new COVID-related work practices, the firm now operates as a remote and in-person hybrid. The current systems are not adapting well.
- The firm is upgrading its technology in another area and wants to ensure that its accounting system is compatible and needs guidance with a seamless system implementation.
- A desire to reduce overhead and/or improve the quality of reporting.
No matter why you, the managing partners, shareholders, or members are considering outsourcing your law firm’s accounting, you might be asking yourself these six questions.
1. If I outsource my accounting, will current employee(s) (e.g., bookkeeper, office manager, CFO) lose their job?
Outsourcing accounting is entirely customizable to your needs. Many outsourcing firms, including our firm, will build your accounting support team to align with what goals you’re trying to achieve.
- You may want to retain an outsource firm to manage all aspects of your accounting departments if that’s the most efficient and cost-effective solution for you.
- Or you may be looking for someone who will work alongside your bookkeepers, office managers, accounting managers, and CFOs in various capacities.
- Perhaps you want an outsource accounting as a sounding board for your employees.
- Your firm is growing so quickly that it’s no longer possible for one person to wear all the accounting hats.
- Or you may want an independent and more experienced level of oversight.
Whatever problem you’re looking to solve, it’s essential to have a solution that’s tailored to your firm’s goals.
2. Do I need an outsource firm with law firm accounting experience?
The short answer is yes. As noted in a prior post, IOLTA (interest on lawyers’ trust accounts) makes law firm accounting, unlike other professional services companies. Also, understanding the complexities of your firm’s model (Contingency, Fixed, or Time) plays a large role in how to set up your accounting system and processes. At Lescault & Walderman, we understand IOLTA requirements, the different operating models, as well as the myriad of available software.
3. Should my outsource partner be system agnostic?
Having an outsource accountant who is system-agnostic gives you maximum flexibility. We are not tied to any one law firm accounting system or software package. Understanding how the different software available in the marketplace fits into a specific firm is important. We have, however, seen a lot of the software work with most and partner with many. Our team can work with your current systems or help you choose one that fits your firm and your people and coordinates with your firm’s other software programs.
4. How many people are on an outsource accounting team?
To ensure strict quality control and minimize response times, the best practice is to have at least two people. For example, at Lescault & Walderman, we assign at least three of our accounting specialists to your firm. Your objectives and needs determine which specialists (e.g., bookkeeper, controller, Senior Controller, Systems Specialist, CFO) are the best fit.
5. Can an outsource firm give me the data I need to grow the practice?/strong>
When selecting your outsourcing partner, you want to ensure they will deliver relevant, timely reporting so you can make confident decisions. Outsource partners with a background in law firms will also understand how your firm compares to its peers and help guide you in creating long-term growth plans. We bring decades of law firm accounting experience to provide you with the high-level analysis you require to compete successfully in your industry.
6. Is Lescault & Walderman right for you?
We work with law firms of every size — solo practitioners to well-respected regional firms — specializing in every type of law. We have developed and customized multiple approaches to identifying key metrics and managing the financial data. When you have comprehensive financial statements, you have the information you need to maximize profitability, track expenses, and run effective compensation systems for partners and associates.
No article can tell you whether outsourcing is right for your firm. However, with a one-on-one, no-obligation meeting with us, you will have the opportunity to ask any other questions you may have. And we can discuss your specific needs and wants so you can make the best decision for your practice.
Here Are Just A Few Of The Software Partners We Work With
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