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Accounting & Reporting
Can I Venmo You? How to Enhance Client Service as Payment Preferences Evolve
Law firm clients increasingly favor the modern convenience and enhanced security of digital payments over paper checks. As this trend continues to accelerate, the payment options law firms offer will significantly impact clients’ choice of firms to hire. Read on to learn how enabling electronic payments through ACH bank transfers and credit cards can help your firm meet clients’ evolving payment preferences as well as get paid faster and hold on to more profits.
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Accounting & Reporting
A Few of Our Favorite Things from 2021
Each year, the Zola Suite development team releases hundreds of updates and dozens of new features to help law firms be more efficient and profitable. While this year was full of updates and changes, Zola Suite users have spoken, and we’re pleased to share our top 10 releases of 2021.
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Accounting & Reporting
Law Firm Budgets and Forecasts 101
No business owner wants to deal with a financial emergency due to lack of planning. In order to monitor how a firm is doing financially year to year, every law firm should maintain an internal budget/forecast. A budget/forecast report provides the owner a monthly snapshot of how the firm is doing at least yearly with monthly updates. Firms usually budget for one year. A forecast is the budget and actuals. So, in April, a firm will display three months of actual data and nine months of budgeted data. A forecast is a continually changing report, and a budget is prepared annually. Since each year is different and may have different expenses, it is unrealistic to use the same forecast year after year. A new annual budget of the firm’s expenses and revenue should be prepared at the end of each year, a month or so before the arrival of the new fiscal year. Any owner of a firm should welcome this proven method of eliminating unwanted surprises that can be avoided by merely properly recording expenses and revenue.
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Law Firm Operations
CRMs Aren’t Just for Big Law: Features That Can Help Every Firm Be More Efficient and Profitable
Although many people think that customer management relationship systems (CRMs) are relatively new in existence, the practice of keeping customer records has existed for centuries. Merchants, even those selling their wares in ancient times, understand that it’s much easier to sell your goods to a current or past customer than to try to cultivate new business. Modern CRMs are simply digital, highly sophisticated versions of customer records traditionally kept on paper. While most businesses of any size in any industry can benefit from the use of CRMs, some cannot run their organizations efficiently without them. In recent years, niche-specific CRMs have been designed specifically for certain types of businesses, including law firms.
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Law Firm Operations
Best Techniques For Reviewing Revenue and Expenses
Law firm leaders understand the concept and importance of profitability. Nevertheless, in many practices, expenses and revenue are not reviewed on a regular basis. While your firm may be focused on other aspects of maintaining business, it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure your firm continuously reviews its finances and expenses.
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Law Firm Operations
How Law Firms Can Avoid Failure
In recent years, an alarming number of law firms of all sizes have failed. It is important to understand what happened with these firms and install certain procedures to avoid similar circumstances. These procedures should help any firm to thrive in the near-term and long-term future.
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Law Firm Operations
Controlling Expenses
The goal of all law firms is to be profitable, but achieving that goal can be difficult for some lawyers. Generating income is, obviously, the first step towards making a profit; of course, income can only be generated if billable hours are accurately recorded and invoiced to clients, and if payments for those invoices are collected. Moreover, all firms, no matter their size, must spend money to make a profit. The transactions of money flowing out of the firm are recorded as expenses in the firm’s accounting system. Profit is determined by the amount of income that exceeds a company’s expenses incurred to generate the income itself. Therefore, it is important for all businesses, especially law firms, to control operating expenses, which in turn requires timely and accurate accounting, organization and analysis of financial information.
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Law Firm Operations
Best Practices in Collecting Accounts Receivable
Picture this: a new client retained the firm, timely work was performed, invoices were prepared and sent to the client and yet those invoices remain unpaid. Sound familiar? Many law firms have very high accounts receivable balances that are aged over 120 days and these high and aged invoices directly affect the firm’s overall financial health. While it may be daunting to try and collect payments that are long overdue, many times, it requires no more than a simple conversation or the adoption of credit card payments.
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Law Firm Operations
Zola Suite Feature Spotlight: Effective Rates Report
Measuring the productivity and profitability of your timekeepers is rarely straightforward. There is, of course, the hourly rate and total billable hours for any given matter, but that fails to look at all the different variables: differing rates by matter or client and time spent on the matter that can’t be billed to the client (or is eventually written off).
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