Established in 1955, Wollongong-based law firm, DGB Lawyers, has grown significantly over the last 60 years. Today, the firm provides a range of services in family law, criminal law, property law and conveyancing, wills and estates, and commercial law. It has also developed an envious reputation in delivering high-quality client services. Clients are at the center of everything they do and to ensure they maintain this focus, the firm routinely explores the latest capability in IT for faster and more efficient internal processing.
Given the considerable amount of document faxing, photocopying, printing and scanning involved with managing legal cases, DGB Lawyers was keen to streamline the process, and automate the accurate recording and allocation of client disbursement costs.
The firm had been manually recording client costs on a sheet located next to the printer so that they could be recouped. However, the process had become increasingly unreliable as details were often recorded incorrectly or not at all.
Further, unrecorded expenses were chased up by the accounts department, costing time and money. In the case where an expense amount could not be accurately determined, it was estimated. But this figure was always understated so that clients were not overcharged, and likely left the firm out of pocket.
The manual process of collecting and allocating client disbursement costs was also becoming more time consuming, eating into productivity levels and causing frustration over wasted time that could have been spent on completing client matters.
‘We needed an IT solution that would automate the process of tracking and recovering billable client costs. Not only would this ensure the accurate allocation of disbursement costs, it would also mean that partners and lawyers would have more time to focus on clients and not have to concern themselves with the day-to-day operational paperwork,’ said Cathy Leahey, Accounts Department, DGB Lawyers.
Determined to automate the process of capturing client expenses, DGB Lawyers decided to implement an IT solution that would meet its cost-recovery needs and which could be seamlessly integrated with its systems. ‘Fuji Xerox, our equipment partner, was about to install new multi-function-printers (MFPs) and after discussing our requirements with them, they recommended Nuance Equitrac,’ explained Cathy.
Equitrac is a cost recovery solution that allows firms, regardless of size, to effectively track all essential client service activities including printing, scanning, faxing and copying. The solution also tracks landline phone, postage, courier and research charges. Easy to deploy, Equitrac works within a firm’s existing print and IT infrastructure, and seamlessly with popular practice management systems. Powerful and smart, Equitrac also provides detailed, meaningful reports so that firms can make informed decisions about costs, resources and productivity.
DGB Lawyers found Equitrac’s capability extensive yet simple to use, and the software was installed as part of the firm’s MFP upgrade. ‘This occurred quickly and without the need for significant downtime,’ said Wade Larkin, Account Manager at Fuji Xerox Illawarra. ‘We also easily synchronised Equitrac with DGB’s Open Practice management system. Equitrac is compatible with most management systems used by legal firms, which together with its feature-rich functionality, makes it the go to solution.’
With a new fleet of MFPs and the latest version of Equitrac installed, DGB Lawyers is now enjoying automatic cost recovery. ‘At the push of a button we scan, print, or copy a document which is linked with a specific client and integrated with our Open Practice management system. This ensures that the expense is automatically captured and allocated, and partners and lawyers no longer have to worry about manually recording these details. The entire process is easy, convenient and painless,’ said Cathy.
Equitrac also allows DGB Lawyers to bill with certainty and not have to estimate costs as the data captured is accurate and reliably linked to the relevant client for cost recovery. Nor is the accounts department burdened with having to waste time chasing up client expenses for reimbursement. ‘We know exactly what our true costs are,’ says Cathy. As a result, the firm has seen its bottom line grow.
‘Thanks to Equitrac, we have improved our workflow processes, simplified client expense management and increased productivity. Ultimately, this has let us direct more time and energy into our most valuable asset—our clients,’ concluded Cathy.