Whilst studying for my accountancy qualification in a large practice in Manchester, my life seemed to be a constant cycle of tax returns, audits, bin bags full of old receipts, text books and exams. This was fine, but I always wondered if there was more to accountancy than simply doing the minimum for a client to avoid any fines for late filing or dodgy book keeping. I wanted to add value to my clients, and to help them prosper.
This was to all change when I passed my exams. A senior partner came to me and asked if I would join a new, small team of people who would act as Financial Controller for some of the firm's most high profile clients. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I was now working at my client's offices as part of their team, typically for three days each month, sitting along-side managers and directors, and contributing to the success of each company. Not a bin bag of receipts in sight, and I loved every minute of it.
Being eager to impress my clients, I started to read a series of well-known business related books, such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One book in particular really stood out to me, and this was called the E-Myth, written by Michael Gerber.
The 'E' means Entrepreneurial. Essentially, the book focuses on small businesses, but the concepts can be applied to large organisations too, which I will come on to later.
One of the main ideas in the book is that a business should set itself the goal of setting and implementing standard processes, which can be easily replicated by any employee, regardless of physical location. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The benefits are that the client will always receive the same high standard of service, employees know what tasks to perform in which order, and most importantly, the business can grow quickly as it has a standard set of well-practiced processes that can easily be replicated.
In the world of finance and accountancy, these ideas are easy to implement. Expenses are submitted in an agreed format. New employee's information is captured on a form that covers essential information. Invoices are filed in a folder, not in various different cupboards dotted around a warehouse. It surprised me how many of my clients found these ideas quite radical!
But how does The E-Myth apply to large, successful law firms, where they already file their invoices in a folder? One of the best methods is to use an up to date ERP system, such as LexisOne.
LexisOne takes this concept of standardisation, consistency and replication to a new level. As a market leading ERP system, LexisOne combines multiple existing systems in to one easily accessible platform. Here are a few examples of how LexisOne can really help:
- One chart of accounts that allows offices around the country to capture income and expenditure in the same consistent method
- An integrated HR module, that ensures that employees information is kept up to date, skills are matched to upcoming work, and timesheets are maintained quickly
- Reports are standardised, meaning that each manager has the correct information, presented in a consistent and easily understood manner
- The headache of billing at month end is eradicated due to an easy to use process of raising invoices. Of course the invoices are in a format that gives the client the correct level of information, ensuring quick payment.
- Workflows that work to agreed company policies, such as in the case of employee expenses or cost authorisation. Less time is wasted trying to find missing information, or locating who authorised the Ritz for the Christmas party.
- Security profiles that only allow the user to see the information and parts of the system that they really need to access.
These are just a few of the many benefits of using LexisOne in your law firm. It is often the simplest, most elegant solutions that work the best. LexisOne will allow a law firm to scale up its operations, or simply make best use of the resources it already has at its disposal to make a real difference to the day to day task of running your firm. You will have insights into your business that were not possible before, and all from the comfort of your computer. Do get in touch if you would like more information.