Transformation Planning and Execution

Falling behind is a danger that every firm faces. Whether it is the advent of technological disruptions in the market for legal services, client specific changes, legislative changes or for other reasons, a firm can face a need to change rapidly or fail. Smart firms anticipate change and either create opportunities from it or implement an exit strategy.

It is not unusual for a firm to see change coming but not have the skill and expertise to deal with it. Fundamental change is transformative and is typically painful, especially if a firm waited too long. We help clients see deal with change, evaluate possible strategic moves, propose recommended solutions, and estimate the success chances.

Whether your firm is acting proactively or reactively, objective outside advice and support can help. Clients engage with us on a project basis or with a longer term agreement to support the implementation of any transformation plan.

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Benefits

What can you can gain from a transformation plan and what can PerformLaw do for you?

The Process

How does a transformation planning engagement work?

Resources

Where can I learn more about the topics I might want advice about?

Benefits

The confidence of knowing you will receive objective feedback. Clients who engage PerformLaw for strategic services get objective, experienced, and practical advice about making their plans more effective.

The ability to streamline the discovery steps and quickly create strategic moves. Use of our tools, templates, proven processes, and management expertise and insights are included in the engagement.

A solution for the long term All our engagements are designed to raise the level of in-house competence and promote self-sufficiency.

Providing the key attorneys and staff with the comfort of knowing that the firm has a long term plan. Successful lawyers and staff will have choices, and without a plan, will rightfully do what is in their best interests. We help you create reasons to stay with the firm.

What PerformLaw can do for you:

  • We help clarify and communicate the key elements of the plan.
  • We put our knowledge, experience, and market insights to work for you.
  • We ensure that all the necessary steps are included in your transition plan.
  • We help with the change management issues.
  • We are available when clients need us; before, during and after an engagement.

THE PROCESS

INITIAL DISCOVERY & INFORMATION REVIEW

Initial Information Request

Basic Information - Excel Form(If Possible) - 3 Years Historical & Current YTD

Employee Detail

Employee List(TKPR Profitability, Compensation Analysis, Overhead Analysis, Staffing Ratios, Historical Payroll) - Salary, Bonus History, Raise History, Position, Hire & Termination Date, Benefits Data, Secretarial/Staff Allocation

Contract Labor

Working Attorney Productivity Reports

Working Timekeeper Productivity(TKPR Graphs, TKPR Profit, TKPR Comp Models) - Billable Hours, Billable Value, Amount Billed, Amount Collected & Average Rate

Write-off Reports

Any Expectations - Hours, Billings, Collections

Client Productivity Reports

Top Client Fees Billed/Collected(Concentration of Risk) - Sorted on Working Timekeeper & Originating Attorney - Amount Billed & Amount Collected

Top Client Fees Billed/Collected(Concentration of Risk) - Sorted on Practice Area - Amount Billed & Amount Collected

Working Timekeeper by Client(Workload Distribution) - Billable Hours, Amount Billed & Amount Collected Originating Attorney by Client(Competitive Comp & Workload Distribution) - Billable Hours, Amount Billed & Amount Collected

Extended Services(Marketing plan, Client Profitability, Partner Compensation Analysis, Associate Performance)

Financial Statements

Income Statements, Balance Sheets, General Ledger Asset and Expense Accounts(Income Statement Ratio Analysis, IS Breakout, Cost Per Hour)

Current AR and Work In Progress (WIP) Aging - For concentration of risk analysis

Operating Agreement & Partner Compensation Plan

Operating Agreement with Amendments and Description of Partner Compensation Plan

IT Information(Cost Per Seat)

Application Hardware & Vendor List(Airtable Form)(Cost Per Seat Estimate)

Marketing Financial Information(Metric Analysis, Marketing Effectiveness Assessment)

Firm Marketing Budget - 3 Years

Business Development Sources - Sources of New Business - New Client List and Acquisition Source

Client Acquisition Budget

Client Retention Budget

Estimated Time Spent by Lawyer on each Marketing Activity

https://www.performlaw.com/knowledge/metrics-to-improve-law-firm-marketing-effectiveness

Operating Efficiency Data

List of open files with open dates

List of closed with open and closed dates

List of cases by managing lawyer

HIGH LEVEL STRATEGIC PLAN

We believe strongly in the benefits of understanding our client’s strategic goals and using them to inform our recommendations. A top-level strategic plan seeks to provide important insights into the most important elements of our client's success factors, opportunities, and challenges. Time is also a critical factor in the success of any strategic plan.

Strategic Objectives and Expectations Survey

Vision

Mission

Internal and Competitive Strengths

Major Challenges

Improvement Areas

Financial and Strategic Goals and Objectives

FOCUS OF THE TRANSFORMATION

Planning Subsets

Who is included

Entire Firm

Strategic Group

Functional Department

Management Team

Logical Group within the Organization

Planning Scope

What is included

Productivity

Case Management

Document Management

Attorney Performance

Training and Development

Associate Progression

Skill Development

Work Quality

Billing and Accounting

Billings, Collections and Cash Flow

Financial Reporting and KPI's

Data Capture and Control Environment

Marketing and Business Development

Practice Area Diversification

Pricing Strategy

Market Demand and Client Needs

Growth and Expansion

Client Acquisition and Retention

IT

Applications and Processes

Technology Updates and Adoption

Infrastructure and Appliance

Human Resources

Compensation and Incentives

Staffing

Recruiting and Retention

Firm Management

Leadership

Reporting

Firm Definition (vision, mission, values and culture)

Organizational Development

Partner Transition and Retirement

Leadership Succession

Capacity and Capability

Client Transition

Orderly Transfer of Equity

Office Infrastructure

Office Space

Office Equipment

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUNDAMENTALS

Best Practices for Managing Change

Role of Firm Leadership and Management

  • Partner Level Involvement
  • Legal Staff Involvement
  • Administrative Staff Involvement

Role of Outside Professionals

  • Strategic Advice
  • AnyoneTactical Advice
  • AnyoneProject Management

Process Orientation

Definition of Reasons for Change

  • Innovation and Growth (Opportunities)
  • AnyoneChallenge Realization (Perceived Threats)
  • AnyoneIssue/ Problem Solving (Economic Suffering)

Organizational Factors (Who and what are likely to be affected?)

People
Who is likely to be affected and how?
Processes
What is likely to change and how?
Tools
What is likely to change and how?

OPERATING EFFICIENCY OVERVIEW (CLIENT SERVICE METRICS)

Client service is an essential part of a healthy law firm. Sometimes, it is difficult to assess the quality of the services provided to clients until it is too late.

Early warning indicators allow for corrective action in near real time, while case handling processes are in progress. Providing law firm managers with easy to understand metrics and data points can mean the difference between keeping and losing a client, between profitability and losing money, and help a law firm make a case for better rates and increased business with a client.

For more information, the attached articles are a good place to start.

Client Service Metrics

KPI: Average Days Files are Open

List of open files with date opened and date closed. Use a simple average and median. Sift out outliers.

KPI: Average Age of Open Files

List of all open files with open date, practice area, and billing attorney. Sift outliers. Might have to sort by practice area if the firm's client mix is diverse. May also need to sort by lawyer.

KPI: Number of Cases Resolved Monthly

A report indicating cases closed by month for the last 3 years.

KPI: Average Age of Closed Files

Need a report that indicates the file open and close date for 3 years of closed files. Create an aging of time to close. Create a relevant range for how cases are closed.

KPI: Caseloads by Attorney

List of assigned cases by responsible lawyer broken out by year for the prior 3 years. Deliverable is by responsible lawyers.

KPI: Average Number of Revenue Generators on a Client (top 10 clients)

List of top 10 clients and who is working the files. List average timekeepers by client. The purpose is to determine if the staffing mix is appropriate.

KPI: Average Revenue Amount By Case Type

Fees received by case type 3 years. The average revenue per year for each case type.

Profitability Metrics

KPI: Revenue per Timekeeper

KPI: Overhead per Timekeeper

KPI: Gross Margin per Timekeeper

KPI: Net Profit per Timekeeper

MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE

Firm Governance

Managing Partner Responsibilities

Management Committee Responsibilities

Ad hoc Committees and Responsibilities

Administrative Management Positions and Responsibilities

FINANCIAL PLAN

A successful law firm needs a strong economic model. A transition process can upset this model and the potential for negative consequences exists. Many of the financial challenges related to retiring partners and key staff are foreseeable and avoidable.

Unplanned for retirements costs, failure to adequately capitalize the firm after key retirements, and a lack of adequate plan communication are all pitfalls we help our clients avoid. We work hard to ensure that our clients understand both the benefits and risks of a transition plan.

Cash Flow, Debt and Equity Analysis

Effect of Transformation on Equity Owner Income

Short-term Analysis

Long-term Analysis

Post Transformation Profitability

Short-term Analysis

Long-term Analysis

Sensitivity Analysis

Best Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario

Exit Cost Strategies

Sunk Cost

Variable Cost

Short-term Obligations

Long-term Obligations

MARKETING PROCESSES, SYSTEMS, SUPPORT AND COMPETENCE

If a law firm wants to achieve the next level of success or wants to ensure its longevity, it is often necessary for the firm to raise the level of its marketing competence. Law firms must expand their marketing approach in order to improve their lawyer’s ability to consistently attract new business.

Building a marketing platform to assist lawyers and future recruits with their marketing efforts will better enable and incent them to commit to any transition plan the partners adopt. An effective marketing system also incents longevity, which is key to perpetuating a firm’s life.

The assessment consists of two components: Does the current marketing system add to the viability of the firm? Does it add Going-Concern Value?

Marketing Performance

Assessment of the firm's marketing performance with respect to planning and support digital marketing, networking & relationship building

Digital (Inbound) Marketing

This part of the analysis focuses on the firm's online profile. We review the website, Google rankings, blog quality, social media presence and capability to develop content, as well as the lead flow

Web Site and Web Presence Assessment
Deliverable: Website Assessment Checklist
Search Engine Review
Relevance and Authority Evaluation
Blog
Design and Content Checklist
Social Media Effectiveness
Presence and Activity Assessment
Content Development Capability
Resource and Knowledge Assessment
Client Intake Process

Relationship Building Assessment

We distribute and collect survey from attorneys to assess their contact management activities with respect to prospects. clients and referral sources.

  • Client Contact Frequency By Lawyer
  • Client Visits By Lawyer
  • Bar, Professional and Trade Conference Participation By Lawyer
  • Contacts Per Lawyer
  • Referral Sources Per Lawyer
  • Leads Generated Per Lawyer
  • Leads Converted Per Lawyer

Marketing Planning and Support System Assessment

A review of the firm's marketing strategy and system

Strategic and Tactical Plans

An assessment of marketing planning on individual attorney and firm-level including strategic & financial goals, mission and brand definition, target audience definition, activity plans, and frequencies

Strategic and Financial Goals
Mission and Brand Definition
Target Audience Definition
Activity Plans, Frequencies and Schedules
Support System and Policies

The support system includes all the elements of the firm's marketing system designed to help its members and attorneys engage in marketing activities. Policies are used as guidelines for the organization and its members to plan and implement their activities.

Internal

Internal Support includes any firm internal measure including marketing budgets, marketing specialists, collaboration, website- and blog-hosting, etc.

External

External Support is provided by agencies and consultants. We evaluate the collaboration with and need for outside experts.

Software

Evaluation of the use of and need for software for marketing, such as CRM and Marketing Automation applications

Funding Availability and Accessibility

Review of the firm's general marketing budget, individual allowances and budgets for attorneys, approval process and budget accessibility

Marketing Results KPI's

Marketing Metrics in the form of cost- and effectiveness- related Key Performance Indicators. Comparing Cost and Payoff allows for us to determine the firm's quantified marketing performance level

Cost

Analysis of marketing-related costs

  • Client Acquisition & Retention Cost
  • Time to Payback on Marketing Spend
  • Marketing Return on Investment

Effectiveness

  • Analysis of pay-off indicators
  • Average Revenue Per Client
  • 3 Year - Average New Clients Trend
  • 3 Year Average New Files Trend
  • 3 Year Average Lost Clients Trend
  • 3 Year Referral Source Trend

Marketing System Recommendations

Based on the qualitative assessment of the marketing system and the quantitative assessment of the marketing KPI's we give recommendations on the strategic level

Activity Planning

Activity or Marketing Mix recommendations according to three categories

  • Relationship Building Activities
  • Content Development Activities
  • Contact Management

Support

Recommendations for the firm's support system to facilitate, manage and control marketing contributions

Internal
Funding and Support Availability By Activity Type
Activity Management System
Digital Marketing Support
Traditional Marketing Support
External
Digital Marketing Support
Traditional Marketing Support
Software
CRM
Contact Manager
Marketing Automation Systems

Policies

Recommendation for policies to guide the firm and its members when implementing a marketing plan

ATTORNEY DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM

Hiring Criteria Policy

Law School Hiring

  • Eligible Law Schools
  • Rank In Class
  • Distinctions
  • Diversity

Lateral Hiring

  • Credit for Time Served
  • Academic Credentials
  • Experience vs Academic Credentials

Model Associate Guidelines and Expectations

Define Model Associate Criteria

  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Ideal Tenure

Analyze Existing Associate Group

  • Habits of Performers and Non-Performers
  • Financial Performance

Progression Criteria

Associate to Senior Associate

  • Economic Criteria
  • Qualitative Criteria

Senior Associate to Income/ Junior Partner

  • Economic Criteria
  • Qualitative Criteria

Income/ Junior Partner to Equity Partner

  • Economic Criteria
  • Qualitative Criteria

Evaluation and Feedback System

Practice Planning Process and Templates

Determine Approach

  • Uniform
  • Bespoke

Identify Global Time Commitments

Allocate Time

  • Client work
  • Strategic pursuits
  • Administrative

Track Hours

  • Legal Hours
  • Strategic and Administrative Hours

Align with Compensation and Incentives

Review and Adjust

Basic Law Firm Economics Seminar

Projected Capacity During the Transformation Period

COMPENSATION AND INCENTIVES

Compensation Awareness and Preferences Survey

Performance Measurement - Timekeeper Profitability Data

Compensation Plan Development

Equity Partner Income Allocation Model

Overhead Allocation Methods and Policies

Training and Development Contribution Analysis

Leverage Analysis

Origination Sharing Policies

Strategic Recruiting Impact Analysis on Compensation

RECRUITING PROCESS REVIEW

Needs Analysis

Strategic Recruiting Compensation and Incentives

Role Specific Model Recruiting

Client Specific Recruiting Criteria

Streamlined Lateral Hiring and Vetting Process

Basic Lateral Hiring Financial Model

STAFF DEVELOPMENT

Staff Needs Analysis

Skill Set Needs

In-House Capability Assessment

Role Definition

Critical Role Definition

Proposed Staffing Models

Recruiting and Training Plan

Recruiting & Training Criteria

Recruiting Needs

Training Needs

Staff Evaluation System

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Methods

Feedback Process

implementation

STRATEGIC TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT

The purpose of the strategic technology assessment is to help a law firm think of their systems and applications in terms of use and competitive advantage. Often, technology investments only partially relate to actual need in a particular area. For example, a firm may intend to buy a timekeeping and billing system and end up with a feature-rich application that never gets completely installed. Clients sometimes buy separate systems that are partially duplicative.

Working with attorneys, we have to simplify technology use and spend as much as possible. For example, many cloud systems allow a firm to start with a primary installation process and add features later.

Finally, the cost, complexity, and risk of maintaining in-house systems increase every year, and it is better for most organizations to outsource the entire function through the use of cloud-based approaches.

Our strategic analysis will assess the firm's technological position from a needs, opportunities, features and benefits, and cost perspective.

Prepare Cost Per Seat Analysis

EXPRESS ALL COSTS IN THIS ANALYSIS AS A COST PER SEAT

The purpose of this analysis is to determine the cost per user (seat) and to compare it to competitive benchmarks. If the cost per seat is high and the systems are inadequate, the decisions are easy. If the cost per seat is low and the systems are insufficient, you pay for what you get. If the cost per seat is reasonable and the systems are adequate or better, from a cost standpoint, we may decide to leave them alone.

Request General Ledgers for all technology and support accounts

Detailed General Ledgers (GL) list all of a firm's accounting transactions. Transactions are coded and sorted by account name or account number. If a firm is paying in expense in an area related to our work, it should show up in the general ledger. For example, the firm will likely code all computer support costs to the same general ledger account. All items listed in the general ledger will have a corresponding invoice to support the amount paid by the firm. It is likely that you will also have to request invoice copies to analyze the nature of the cost accurately.

At the beginning of our engagements, we request a detailed income statement and balance sheet. These statements will indicate the accounts that the firm uses and the amount of the period expenses. We should request detail of all general ledger accounts with balances related to IT Purchases and Support Costs. The balance sheet will contain items about longer-term assets (servers, network infrastructure, the higher-end computer that will last more than a year or two) and the income statement will include service and support costs, and lower dollar equipment purchases.

Long term assets are expensed (run through the income statement) as depreciation. Your cost per seat analysis will account for asset purchases (stuff in the balance sheet accounts) by considering the type of equipment, its age (how long has it been in service) and how long it is expected to last. It is possible that your useful life will not correspond to the firm's depreciation expense for the assets you are reviewing. That is okay. Many assets are written off based on the tax code, which often does not match reality.

Request relevant invoice copies

The detailed general ledger will provide some information about a cost but the description field is limited and often does not contact enough information to accurately assess a cost. Our analysis seeks to identify recurring costs and material purchases that may impact the cost per seat analysis. We are not doing an audit so we want to limit the number invoice copies we request to recurring costs and purchases in excess of $1,500. We can aggregate routine expenses in our analysis in a general expense amount. We only need a copy of on recurring cost invoice. If the terms of the recurring cost are not on the invoice, a copy of the vendor agreement is necessary. Remember to cross-reference invoice copies to contracts or service agreements.

Request pricing agreements (hourly, per seat, other)

Pricing agreements are necessary for any recurring cost or repeatable purchase. As IT costs are primarily service and equipment related. most pricing agreements will relate to support contracts, maintenance contracts, licensing fees, and any equipment buying agreements. Most firms do not buy equipment using a structured process so it is unlikely that they will have hardware purchasing agreements. Our analysis does not include printers or other output devices (multifunction copier/printer/scanners) and we do not need information about those costs. Our analysis seeks to compare the cost of running an IT system in-house with a completely cloud-based approach. Printing and scanning is something that will continue for the foreseeable future in either approach. Eventually, different methods for creating deliverables will become relevant.

Request vendor listing

Understanding a firm's important vendor relationships is an important aspect of evaluating the feasibility of moving a firm to cloud. We need to identify where we will find allies and where we are likely to meet resistance. Vendors who are threatened by cloud-based approaches will likely work their contacts within the client firm. Understanding a firm's current vendor relationships will help us assess the role any one vendor might have. Current vendor contacts can also have a significant role in the process of moving a firm to the cloud.

Prepare cost per seat analysis

The cost per seat analysis is where it all comes together. Using a template, we will calculate the on-going cost per seat. A seat is a user and is the common denominator of how we will measure cost. In a cloud-based approach, the cost per user is almost always wholly variable, and a firm's costs can increase or decrease based on the number of users. In an on-premises approach, the cost per user is a combination of fixed and variable costs — for example, buying servers and depreciating them over time. The server cost is fixed but the licenses to use the software that runs on the server are typically variable, which means that it might not cost anything more to add a user to a server, but it will cost more for a license to run the software on the server. The outcome of the analysis is to compare the current cost per seat plus the necessary upgrades to a cloud-based solution. Remember to include the cost of staff time, vendor support contracts, equipment and security costs, licensing and any other cost related to on-premises and cloud-based approaches.

Prepare cost per vendor pie chart

A simple pie chart indicating each vendor's share of the firm's total IT spend. The point of this analysis is to identify those vendors who have a strong interest in avoiding change. This analysis will also indicate the firm's key vendors. The chart should indicate vendor name, annual spend, the revenue they earn per user, and the function they perform.

Prepare cost per function pie chart

Use the data from the per-user cost analysis to create a breakout chart of the impact that each cost area has on the overall cost per user. Examples include network infrastructure (servers), security monitoring, end-user devices (PC's), routers and switches, internet access, licensing, etc. The goal of this graphic is to indicate the apportionment of IT expenditures by function. In other words, what is the benefit received for the cost expended (what it does, and how much does it cost to do what it does)? We will compare these individual areas to a cloud-based approach, which should involve fewer relationships and less cost detail. Some of a firm's current costs will remain and could increase with a cloud-based approach. For example, we may have to increase internet bandwidth.

Prepare comparative cost analysis (against our benchmarks) Deliverable

If our thesis is that Cloud-Based approaches reduce risk, support compliance with client requirements, reduce capital outlays and provide competitive advantages to law firms, this is where we have to bring all of the research and analysis together into a recommendation.

The availability of applications, real-time support 24/7 anywhere in the world, complete mobility, the elimination of infrastructure and many security issues, elimination of desktop software and storage, reduced end-user cost, and the ability to allow users to work on the device that best suits their needs (Chromebook, Mac, IPAD, PC, etc.) make cloud-based approaches superior. Our job is to help clients find their way to the cloud.

Prepare Application Map

The purpose of the application map is to provide a high-level overview of the firm's software applications, their strategic or operational importance and an assessment of their implementation %.

Identify Apps

The typical firm will have an email and calendaring app (overwhelmingly Outlook/Exchange). Smaller firms may use Gmail or an Apple product. Usually, these applications are on site, but an increasing number are moving to the cloud using Office 365. Word processing and document management typically round out the attorney use of technology. All firms have some time of time and billing system, which are mostly on-site and server based. Most of the time, but not always, the time and billing systems also include an integrated financial accounting and financial reporting module. Other apps differ by firm and it is not usual to encounter lesser applications. We need a complete listing of all applications in use by the firm.

Identify strategic importance

After identifying the applications used by the firm, the next step is to determine the purpose and strategic importance of the software. Have the client indicate their satisfaction with the app and well it achieves the intended use. Consider if better applications exist and if a better strategic definition is needed for the use. For example, the email system may need to include a CRM interface. The time and billing system may require better reporting and profitability analysis.

Identify implementation Degree - total functionality versus functionality used by the firm

Review each menu of the software determine if the feature is in use. Create a survey of all of the features included in the software seek input from the lawyers and management as to their use and knowledge of the function. For example, a time a billing system may include a budgeting module, and the accounting personnel can indicate the degree of use. The idea is to get a feel for the features of each application and the degree of implementation. Another example is a case management system that includes several advanced database fields that are blank. We will then determine if the unimplemented features have value and it is worth the time and effort to fully implement them.

Identify key benefits available for use

This task is a drill-down of the degree of implementation analysis in a prior task. When reviewing the degree of implementation, segment those features not presently in use, their potential benefit, and the degree of implementation difficulty. For example, a case management system may have data fields for opposing counsel, experts and other data that could prove useful in case handling. If these are unused, they are potential key benefits available for use and our analysis should list them.

Determine if we keep or scrap

Prepare Lucid Chart (deliverable)

Prepare Needs And Benefits Analysis For Each Application

Tools: Surveys, web conf, screen share, research and vendor support

Sub-analysis designed to provide insight into each application. What does it do, why what it does is important, how well it does what it does, what else can it do, and what do they wish it would do, TheApplication Map is a top-level analysis, this is a detailed analysis.

Review the software's function menus

Indicate by checklist those features in use and those not used

Survey the satisfaction with the app from professional users to the end users

Assess the benefit of implementing unused features

Assess alternatives

Assess costs per user for the app monthly and annually

Recommend additional training and implementation or scrap and by a better app

Deliverables: Chart for each app to accompany the top level analysis, recommendations report, cost summary

Hardware and Useful Life Assessment

The purpose of this analysis is to assess the age and useful life of the critical applications. We are looking for opportunities to get out of the network infrastructure and expensive desktop environment. The hardware aspect, when complex, is a cost drain, security issue, and requires constant maintenance and support.

Simpler desktop appliances with no local storage are preferred. Aging equipment provides an opportunity to replace with cloud-based solutions.

Create an inventory form for completion by the client (include serial number. age, description, useful life - we don't care about printers or monitors other peripherals - just servers and cpus).

Darrel or Darrah can give you some ideas on discovery forms

Deliverable: Prepare inventory summary and an indication of when - from an obsolescence viewpoint, a move to the cloud becomes optimal.

Key Vendor Assessment

The purpose of the Key Vendor Assessment is to identify potential threat and opportunities to the IT function. For example, the network may run great, but they are wholly reliant on one person. Perhaps there are vendors who can offer more if their roles were increased.

Identify Key Vendors by Network Infrastructure and Application

Assess the concentration of risk with each vendor - one man band, a large company with a support network, large local talent pool for replacement resources.

Assess the firm' reliance on each vendor

Deliverable - Key Vendor Assesment Indicating Vulnerabilities and Opportunities

Potential Alternatives and Benefits Analysis

This is where we start considering alternative and the benefits associated with alternatives. We need to make the case either for or against moving to the cloud and who can help them. We will need to involve our partners in a blind discussion of alternatives based on the summary schematic you will prepare. We will do a top-level graphic with key stats and costs for comment by our partners. After receiving comment from our partners, we will asses the feasibility of moving all or part of the network and apps to the cloud.

Review the inventory, app map and detailed app map

Deliverable: Top Level Infrastructure and App Chart with an indication of main needs (met and unmet) and benefits and cost per seat

Practice Management Application Presentation

Listing of Functions and Benefits of Systems like CosmoLex, Centerbase or Zola Suite

Benefits:

‣ Long-term cost

‣ Mobility

‣ Data storage and backup

‣ No downtime

‣ Limited local support needed

‣ Automation

‣ Higher productivity

‣ More user-flexibility with work stations

 

Functions:

Case/ Matter Management

Timekeeping/ Billing

Document Management

Calendar & Task Management

Business (Legal) & Trust Accounting

Document Assembly & Automation

Contact Management/ CRM

Reports & Analytics

Mobile Access

 

All of the IT support budget and focus can shift APP implementation and Competency

Strategic Objectives and Philosophy

Should the organization change what they are doing (move to the cloud)? Why and how it will benefit them? What is the ROI, and how are clients better served? How are vulnerabilities addressed, how is scaleability improved and what competitive advantages are gained?

survey (electronic all) key partners, staff and lawyers regarding what is working and what needs improvement

interview subset of survey participants

assess the technology ignorance level

Define the firm's functional technology needs

indicate met needs

indicate unmet needs

discern the firm's philosophy regarding technology (lead, follow, just enough,.rent own, security better on-prem off-prem)

Deliverable: Strategic Tech Approach and Philosophy Document

Recommendations and Implementation Document

This is where is all comes together. A one-page bulleted point summary of recommendation with major implementation comments.

ACCOUNTING/ FINANCIAL DEPARTMENT ASSESSMENT

Define Strategic Purpose and Philosophy

Define the strategic purpose of the department, the expectations of the partners, and the ways in that the department serves the firm and its clients.

For example, given the staffing of the department, do the partners expect a higher level of tax advice and support. Dianne is a Licensed CPA and in addition to providing bookkeeping and accounting, she handles much of the tax compliance for the partners who are professional law corporations. Is it better to outsource the CPA work to the external CPA? If so, what is the benefit of the additional time? Should she provide a higher level of reporting and analysis, work less overtime? Do they want full in-house capability for do they outsource for the higher level tasks?

Should they upgrade personnel? Is the cost of the department in line with other firms of similar size in the insurance defense space?

Create questionnaires for equity partners and for accounting department employees

Distribute questionnaires and with a one week turnaround

The purpose of these questionnaires. Relate the questionnaires to

Compile results and determine areas of agreement/disagreement

Create draft strategic purpose and philosophical approach - distribute to partners and to Dianne for comment

Create final strategic purpose, scope, and philosophical approach

Survey Accounting and Bookkeeping Staff

Job Satisfaction

Job Duties

Difficulties

Opportunities for Improvement

Accounting and Bookkeeping Systems Assessment

The purpose of this segment is to determine the capability, capacity, and attitude of the department. Are the personnel sufficiently trained or have the ability to perform at the expected levels? Are they overworked? Are they engaged and interested in the work and do they have suggestions for improvement?

We also need to assess the quality and appropriateness of their tools. In the accounting area, the number one tool is software. Are the time and billing software adequate to do the job? Is it fully implemented? Can it do more? Does it inhibit effected work? Is it obsolete? Are there better competitive options? Is the general ledger integrated? Are there a lot of manual processes and spreadsheets? Are their particular systems that cause extra work but only service a small group?

Who are their outsourced partners and how do they use them? Are they engaged in the account? Do they demonstrate an in-depth understanding of their service areas?

Staff

The purpose of the staff evaluation is to determine their ability to perform the job as presently defined and as expanded or changed by us. We are trying to identify the willingness of the current staff members to learn new ways of doing the job and their openness to new software applications and procedures.

We are trying to determine if any skill set mismatches are present.

We are trying to determine if the workload of the staff is too much, about right or too little. If it is too much is the answer to hire more people or do alternatives exist (outsourcing, apps, process changes). If the workload is low, is downsizing required? Reassignment?

  • Create a job description for each person in accounting and bookkeeping
  • Create an evaluation for the bookkeeping staff and distribute to the partners

Identify and evaluate outsourced services

Request a listing, scope of services, and costs of all accounting service related vendors

Most firms have an outside CPA firm that provides services. There may also additional support resources that they use to help. For example, billing services that review invoices, part-time or remote work.

Deliverable is a doc that indicates vendor, role and benefit, cost and potential alternatives. Have accounting leadership and the partners comment on their satisfaction level with outsourced services. Analyze expenses for two years including the current year.

Software

Financial Department Processes Assessment

Documenting each of the major financial management processes is necessary for evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of each process. The major financial management processes include Timekeeping and Billing including Accounts Receivable Collections, Cash Receipts and Client Cost Accounting, Cash Management, Accounts Payable, Trust Accounting, Financial Accounting (General Ledger and Financial Statement Preparation), Tax and Regulatory Compliance, and Payroll. Each of these processes is either performed internally or is outsourced. We need to identify the person or vendor responsible for each area and the associated cost. We will compare these costs to similar types and firm size. It is not within the scope of our agreement to examine the condition of the underlying processes. We are to document them, survey the users, and look for opportunities to improve in-house services, automate processes or suggest outsourced approaches. We are also looking for unnecessary or redundant processes that cause inefficiencies, increase costs or reduce service levels.

Revenue Processes

  • Time Tracking
  • Billings & Collections

Expense Processes

  • Salary & Benefits Administration
  • Expenses

Reporting Processes

  • Cash Management
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial Reporting

System Recommendations

Staff

Outsourced Services

Software

Process Recommendations

Revenue Processes

Expense Processes

Reporting Processes

PLATFORM VALUE BEFORE AND AFTER TRANSFORMATION

IDENTIFY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, SYSTEMS, PROCESSES, PROCEDURES

Marketing & Business Development

Associate Development

Attorney Performance

Compensation Structures

Organization Management

Financial Management

Policy Development

QUANTIFICATION OF PLATFORM VALUE

Intellectual Property

Systems

Processes

Procedures

PLAN & PROCESS FOR ADDING ELEMENTS TO PLATFORM

Element Identification

Competency Acquisition Plan

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS

Project Plan

Timeline

Tasks and Milestones

Responsibilities and Duties

Periodic Evaluation of Project Success

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