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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: Dedicated Timekeeper Goals Setup Page
Legal professionals use a wide variety of tools and methods for tracking time spent on billable matters. Some are sophisticated, while others are more problematic and error-prone; for example, lawyers who use giant spreadsheets that are updated at the end of each day or week or sticky notes to jot down each task by hand.…
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Law Firm Operations
Best Practices When Starting a Law Firm
When considering starting a boutique law firm, there are many issues that need to be addressed prior to the first day of business. For instance, if a lawyer is leaving another firm, it is critical that the lawyer read any documentation or current firm policies regarding clients and transferring data. The lawyer should make sure that the departure is as transparent and non-adversarial as possible. In some instances (especially with equity partners), it would make sense to engage a business attorney.
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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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Accounting & Reporting
Zola Suite Feature Spotlight: LEDES Budgeting
Electronic, or LEDES billing is a necessary, and often dreaded, process at many law firms. Between enforcing timekeeping with the appropriate LEDES codes, generating invoices that are in alignment with the client’s requirements and successfully submitting these invoices to various clearinghouses, e-billing can be time-consuming and downright frustrating for the back-office. With Zola’s advanced LEDES…
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Matter Management
Hanging Out A Shingle: Is It Better to Start with Practice Management Software or Select a Solution Once a Firm is Well Established?
Congratulations! You have decided, either as an individual or with a group of colleagues, to open your own law firm. There is a lot to do and many choices to be made. Everything from office location, firm name, domain name, business cards, internet and phone services to computers (Windows or Mac) must be decided. You may get to the point where you feel you just do not want to make another decision, but decide you must.
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Law Firm Operations
Zola Suite Feature Spotlight: Vendor Reports
Law firms work with dozens, or even hundreds, of different vendors each month. Without the right tools, tracking all of the contracts, invoices and tax information for these companies can be a full time job. Zola Suite’s robust vendor management tools help firms efficiently manage all invoices and outgoing payments (including the ability to cut checks and even associate expenses with a matter). Zola’s dedicated Vendor Reports provide a holistic view of all payments, outstanding balances, expenses to be passed along to a matter and tax information.
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Updates from Zola
Zola Suite Feature Spotlight: Split Billing
Zola Suite’s Split Billing Feature allows users to divide the invoiced amount for services and expenses on a singular matter between multiple parties. Users can set unique rates for each client and split percentages independently for fees and costs. Once Split Billing has been configured on the Matter-level, users can generate invoices as usual. Using the previously-entered percentages, this tool generates a unique invoice for each billing client listed with its own unique invoice number. Each invoice will include the Matter, as well as each individual billing clients’ contact information.
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