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Contributors to the CoreLegal blog include experts from our membership. Our bloggers, who also often speak at CoreLegal CPD Seminars explore the key areas of the legal profession, providing insight, practical advice and informed opinion. Please feel free to comment on blog posts.

If you would like to suggest a topic for a blog post, call us on 01494 483728, email info@corelegal.net or drop us a line from our contact page.

Why should solicitors use Accounts Specific software?

on 14 June, 2010 No comments yet -

As Ben Franklin remarked, nothing is certain but death and taxes. These days, the tax collector no longer sends troops to pillage your house and family, she just demands exact accounting records in the “prescribed” format. Being model citizens (well, most of us), solicitors comply with all these rules and regulations.  Most of us keep our accounts on a professional, SRA compliant accounts package.

But some of us still struggle on with a manual or spreadsheet system. I sometimes wonder why – the process can be laborious and time intensive.  Of course, if you are happy with this method then maybe a software package is not for you.

But, consider this – if you invested two weeks in marketing and client relationships, would it bring in additional business?  Are all your cards up to date, showing the full history of the office and client transactions? Can you do proper “double entry” with just one posting?  Are you able to get last months balances at the touch of a button?  Do you know the profit on the business for the year? Or for the last few months? And have you got any residual moneys on old transactions? Have you transferred all the bills due?

This is before we consider the regulations – VAT has to be recorded and sent to HMRC. And at the year end, all the balances have to be tidied up and made ready for the annual audit. Bank reconciliations need to be made, and kept, every month. Occasionally, for whatever reason, you will have substantial moneys held for a period of weeks. Is interest due? Or not? Can you push a button to find out?

So, in summary, if you want to reduce your workload while increasing productivity and satisfy the taxman into the bargain, then maybe it’s time you invested in an accounts specific software package. There are lots of very good systems to choose from but, for heavens sake, do choose one of them.

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What is actually meant by a business development campaign?

on 9 June, 2010 No comments yet -

The first in a series of articles to help you build a strong, strategic foundation for one of the greatest challenges facing law firms.

THE RIGHT STARTING POINT, THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Successful business development is about managing a process and getting the best out of those involved. To maximise a campaign’s chances of success, however, consider a few fundamental questions first.

•      Are you looking at attracting new clients or getting more from existing ones?

•      Who will be taking responsibility for this in your firm?

Obvious questions maybe, but often overlooked. And one reason they are often not addressed is because of a prevailing attitude within many law firms towards business development – you may recognise some of them.

SPECIFIC ISSUES FOR LAW FIRMS

There are some particular issues for law firms

•      Some may feel that fee earning is more vital and that ‘Lawyers shouldn’t have to do this’. But, fee earning must be supported by business development to maintain its growth.

•      Within the firm, there may be a lack of awareness of the sales process or difficulty in differentiating the firm’s services from others.

•      Some may consider people to be ‘my clients’ rather than ‘the firm’s clients’. Inadequate training in business development techniques is also quite common. And, indeed, some may simply feel that their resources are too limited to put business development on the agenda.

•      Understanding the process of building a relationship from prospects through potential clients to advocates for your firm is key to success. Your marketing programs should reflect this and the messages you communicate should be suitably differentiated as the relationship progresses.

‘THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB’

A client relationship goes through a number of stages requiring different messages as the relationship progresses and here are examples of the specific marketing messages on this relationship ladder.

GROUP ACTIVITY CATEGORY SPECIFIC MARKETING ACTIVITIES
Prospects Raising profile Networking, advertising, PR, sponsorship
Contacts Specific Marketing Direct mail, newsletters
Potential Clients Demonstrate expertise Seminars, submit tenders, hospitality
Clients Sell your services Targeted proposals, focused hospitality
Advocates Active dialogue Bespoke activities, joint seminars, events

Article Categories: Business development,Law Firm marketing,Marketing planning
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Increasing use of the internet and recommendations when looking for solicitor

on 28 March, 2010 No comments yet -

Welcome to online recommendationsMore and more consumers are embracing the Internet as a route to finding a solicitor, according to new independent research from YouGov PLC for Legallybetter.com

While recommendations from friends, relatives, and colleagues are still by far the most important method of choosing a law firm or solicitor, Web sources are the next most important channels.

Alongside general search engines like Google, Yahoo etc, the survey points to a clear interest in Web sites containing consumer reviews and ratings of law firms and solicitors suggesting that word of mouth marketing

Article Categories: Law Firm marketing,Legal News
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