Improving the organization of a law firm: why and how?
Law firms and accounting firms are not necessarily most inclined to change. For example, these two professions are not the most advanced in the digitalization of their activities.
Yet, whether it’s for an accounting firm or a law firm, the competition is very strong in France. Indeed, in January 2019, there were more than 68,000 lawyers (an increase of 36% in 10 years) and 21,000 certified public accountants in France.
In addition, the arrival of new technologies in the field of law and accounting is likely to transform the missions of these fields of activity in the years to come.
This is why it is important to improve the organization of one’s law firm or accounting firm in order to prepare for the various challenges to come.
Let’s look at the main reasons why you should rework the organization of your firm and the different ways to do it:
Why improve the organization of your firm ?
There are many reasons why it may be important to rethink the organization of your firm. However, in this article, we will focus on reasons directly related to the business environment and profitability:
First of all, improving the organization of your business should be aimed at increasing the productivity of your employees and associates. Being more productive will help you improve your profitability and free up time for new assignments.
There are a variety of devices that can help you improve your productivity rates. Using new technologies and automating a range of time-consuming tasks are among the main ways to easily improve employee productivity in the legal and accounting fields.
Saving money does not necessarily mean spending less. If you spend the same amount while growing your business, the percentage of business expenses to revenue will automatically be reduced.
Your practice can save money in several ways:
You can reduce the expenses related to the premises, the software used, your computer equipment… For example, you can save money by ordering your supplies and office automation from the central purchasing office of the Paris Bar.
By using digital communication channels, the costs to find new clients and/or communicate about your firm can also be reduced. For example, having a website that presents all your missions can, in the long run, be more economical than giving a printed brochure to your prospects.
Similarly, sending digital greeting cards will cost you less for a result equivalent to greeting cards sent by mail. In addition to reducing your costs, it is a trendy approach that will be appreciated by the majority of your customers.
Learn more about the digitization of law firms and accounting firms
Adapting to future evolutions
Your firm must adapt its missions and its positioning to the needs of its clients and present itself to them as a true partner. Indeed, in addition to legal and technical advice, the client expects more from his lawyer or chartered accountant, especially in terms of advice and support. This is why increasing productivity is so important. It is this time saved that will help you provide support and advice that will truly make the difference compared to your colleagues.
You will also be able to propose new offers according to the new challenges of our time. Increasing your productivity will help you to take the time to think about new services that are likely to respond to the problems of your clientele, the legal missions that satisfy the new needs of your clients, the economic sectors to be favored…
Moreover, if these missions evolve, so does the way you communicate and find new clients. We talked about it in the previous paragraph, but digital communication is becoming more and more essential to the survival of a firm. But very often, the lawyer does not communicate enough due to lack of time. The productivity gain obtained by improving the organization of the firm can allow you to free up time to be more visible on the Internet and reach new prospects.
Finally, the time saved through the reorganization of the firm should allow you to acquire new skills in order to conquer new markets and/or to develop the services currently offered. Whether it is to conquer a brand new market related to your main activity (for example, real estate agent) or to develop the services already offered, investing time in training will be a profitable return on investment in the medium term.
Thus, we can see that the core of the issues related to the reorganization of an accounting or law firm revolves around productivity gains. These allow you to save money and to develop the firm thanks to complementary missions.
We will now look at some ways to help you reorganize your firm and improve productivity.
How to improve the organization of your firm: act on productivity factors
In order to reorganize your firm efficiently, you need to integrate new technologies from legaltech and legal automation into your thinking. For a long time considered with reluctance by legal professionals, they are now perceived as a real opportunity to adapt to the future evolution of the legal and accounting professions.
Have a notion of the value of tasks
The notion of productivity refers to the way in which the structure proves to be efficient in transforming input factors into an output. In the case of a law firm or accounting firm, the inputs are the time of the intellectual service and the coefficient of valuation of this time, i.e. the hourly rate.
Setting up an organization aiming at controlling productivity leads first of all to a reflection on the time spent per task and the concentration of high value-added actions.
It is certainly more interesting to work on productivity to create value than on cost control.
Many firms have undertaken a strategy to capture additional productivity improvements, by starting a reflection based on these inputs. This work leads to the understanding of derived factors such as organization, motivation or positioning, which are used to optimize value creation.
What is important to remember is that in order to increase the value generated by a law firm or an accounting firm, the main lever is to work on optimizing the so-called “non-value” tasks. This means shifting as much time as possible from these “non-value” tasks to long-term productive projects.
To achieve this, the use of workflows can be of great help.
Automate your time-consuming tasks with workflows
As we’ve seen before, the most effective and simple way to increase the value generated by your practice is to reduce the time spent on writing, administrative and time-consuming tasks. These tasks, while essential, are not the reason for your added value to your clients.
Learn more about business process automation
You can set up automated workflows that will help you save an average of one workday per week.
A workflow represents the set of operations to be performed to accomplish tasks or activities grouped in a single business process.
By using a collaborative legal workflow platform such as Alf, you will be able to create workflows for a large number of engagements.
If you’re a CPA, for example, you’ll be able to create automated workflows to create the bylaws for an LLC much faster. Furthermore, you will only need to fill in certain information in a questionnaire and then the process will be set up and the various parties involved will be notified when they have a task to perform on that workflow.
For a lawyer, this will help you save a lot of time on drafting contracts, for example with smart templates that are updated based on the information given in the first step of the workflow, a questionnaire.
Whether it’s contract creation, alerts, emailing, payment, electronic signature or document verification, everything can be done automatically from one place.
Would you like to discuss the different opportunities that a software like Alf can provide you to improve the organization of your practice? Request a demo so we can discuss it!