Building Better Client Relationships with a Trust Accounting System
Does your firm rely on a bookkeeping service to manage your books? Have you experienced data syncing issues or do you have concerns that your provider doesn’t have sufficient experience to manage your books in compliance with your state bar’s client trust (IOLTA) rules and regulations? If so, then it’s time to take your firm’s legal billing and legal accounting into your own hands.
With a legal trust accounting system (or one built-into a cloud-based practice management system), not only will your firm remain ethically compliant and efficient, but will also build relationships with new and current clients. According to a report from Software Advice, 32% of consumers said trust accounting software use would positively impact their choice of hiring a firm, giving those firms a competitive edge.
There are many benefits for clients that choose to work with a firm using trust accounting software:
1. Attorney accountability. Thirty-six percent of consumers say accountability is the most important quality in a legal service provider. Clients expect to be kept up-to-date when new information arises regarding their case. According to Software Advice, financial reporting and a client portal are top consumer requested software features. By sending financial reports to your clients, your firm is providing a level of transparency and comfort to your clients that you are doing your job efficiently and working together with your client. With legal practice management software such as Zola Suite, your firm can send a Statement of Account which provides a list of invoices and payments for a particular client or Matter for your clients to review.
Sharing sensitive information and making online payments through a client portal within a trust accounting software is another efficient way to kept clients in the know on their case. With Caseway, Zola Suite’s client portal and LawPay, clients can pay their legal invoices or replenish your retainer using their credit card and you won’t have to wait for a check to show up in the mail. Your clients will feel at ease knowing they will be alerted when a payment needs to be made and can instantly make a secure payment online.
2. More accurate billing. Now, more than ever, attorneys need to be technologically competent in order to fulfill their ethical duties and better fulfill their client’s needs. Today’s legal consumers place a high value on tech-savvy firms that can perform tasks in the quickest and most effective way possible, eliminating excessive billable time. With a trust accounting system, client funds can be easily tracked, maintained and monitored so your firm can save time on accounting tasks and your clients can save money.
3. Secure information. As an attorney, you have an ethical responsibility to protect your client’s sensitive information. By managing your own firm’s books, your clients will feel comfortable knowing that your firm is securely handling their accounts in-house without outsourcing confidential information to a third-party service. Through the use of a bank-level encrypted client portal such as Caseway, legal payments can be made securely to your firm online without worrying about third-party interception.