Attorney-Client: Top 9 tips for a prosperous 2021
As we wind down 2020, it has been an interesting year for sure. Some clients thrived, while others struggled with closed courtrooms. The one resounding message I get from my clients is they are hopeful and optimistic that 2021 will be better.
I love this! Optimism at its finest. People are looking forward to a promising future. Figuring out a plan for these clients that experiencing the temporary hold on business and thinking outside the box is kept my clients and me on our toes for sure. But the one thing we have learned in this pandemic is that we band together and have always bounced back! We thrive with innovation and creativity.
All of my clients are still servicing their customers just in a different way. Some are going to go forward with using some of the tools that technology has provided and perhaps stay with Zoom meetings or minimally continue to offer that as an option.
If this year has shown us anything, it has shown that we can adapt and it has certainly moved some of the law firms off their paper-centric ways and allowed them to embrace technology, where perhaps they would have stayed with the old way of performing tasks.
And that, my friends, is the future of this industry!
You may be an accountant with customers facing some of these same challenges. This is the best time of the year to look at the records and help your client with some advisory services. Help them budget, set goals, plan for the future. Here is what we are doing right now for our clientele:
File Review We are currently reviewing the records. Even though we do this weekly or monthly, it is still a great time to review the books. Instead of looking at them from a month v month perspective, look at the year.
While this year may be dramatically different from past years, the clues are there for growth. Below you will see my list of where you should be looking and how you can advise your clients for a smooth path to more profitability for 2021, and how they can end 3021 on a high note.
Below are my suggestions for all firms but also by practice area:
Top 9 Tips
1. Analyze sales: which were more profitable? Are there some that lead to additional business?
2. Leads: Look at the leads v actual paid clients. Which marketing tactic was successful? Did you know that QuickBooks Online Advanced is now fully integrated with HubSpot (my fav) and Salesforce? Now maybe the time to discuss adding one of these apps if the firm you work with is not tracking leads. Hubspot is a great marketing tool too. See picture below for a snapshot of the dashboard. You can sign up for free and test it out with your own firm.
3. Courtroom reopening: For practice areas that were affected by a closed court system, do the partners have a plan in place for the influx of work when they reopen fully? We see this with the Immigration Law firms that partner with us. The work is piling up, and the retainers are recorded, but the income is down because of the closures. How will your client handle the reopening? Are they preparing?
4. Expenses: Review them. Are there places where you can reduce them? As part of niching into law, I have a comprehensive overview of what works for successful firms, including areas a law practice can automate.
5. Accounts Receivable: I go into great detail on what my firm does to help existing clients and new ones in this article. Overdue accounts receivable that is in the over 90-day column is always a workflow issue. Know the players or staff that have touch points here. Can you make workflow suggestions and add some automation here? Make this a smooth process that works like a well-oiled machine.
6. Compensation Reports: in these more prominent firms, this is where the complexity lies. Almost every law firm new to me is doing this on a spreadsheet. We find that this rarely ties back to the numbers on the cash basis financials. How can you automate this? Maybe not this year, but put action steps in place for next year. To process and automate the compensation reports, it may require using the class feature and LeanLaw classes and linking them with that new API connection.
7. Custom Fields: Speaking of custom fields, we have 48 fields to use in QuickBooks Online Advanced. Use your creativity here. There may be things that you can track that will dazzle your client!
8. 1099 processing: Were you aware the form changed and the implications of that for attorneys? There is no better time to review the list of 1099 recipients with your customer as a precursor to that dreaded January task.
9. Budgets: Now is a great time to start thinking of creating a budget for your client. Start that conversation and perhaps start a dialogue on the forecasts for where the client would like to be one year from now. Set some goals.
I hope these suggestions plant a seed for you to help your customer grow. The attorney clients get overwhelmed; they don’t think about any of these items. That is where our job is as their financial advisor.
Remember Happy Clients=More Clients!