Why You Need to Stop Generation Reports with Excel and Start Using LMS
Whether your law firm is a one-person operation or employs hundreds of partners, associate attorneys, paralegals and assistants, generating reports on spreadsheets is not only time-consuming it’s inefficient and can lead to redundancies and loss of profits. While some attorneys cling to spreadsheets claiming they’re saving the firm money, using Excel and other desktop-based tools may end up costing a lot more in the long run.
We’ve highlight four of the biggest reasons law firms should implement and use a legal management system with built in business intelligence tools to streamline your financial reporting process and help you gain a more accurate picture of your firm’s growth.
Budgeting, Forecasting, and Reporting
Your firm is likely already tracking its income and expenses and monitoring time and billing statistics. However, taking all that information inside your accounting software and putting it into a ready-to-read report for partners and key decision-makers is another story. Your financial management software should be able to synthesize and generate reports using business intelligence tools that will allow you to gain easily retrievable information providing key insight to promote firm growth
Firms that still use spreadsheets may approach that challenge in different ways, either simply providing the raw data “as is” to partners, or extracting information to compile and distribute a new report. When you’re faced with column upon column and row upon row of numbers, you have plenty of metrics at your disposal, but metrics must be turned into insight
When your firm adopts a legal management system with built in business intelligence tools that offers integrated reporting capabilities, busy law firm administrators and partners can have the metrics they need to make key strategic decisions – using real-time on demand information – at their fingertips. What’s more, users can also set report preferences and parameters ahead of time, simplifying the process and getting needed information in front of decision-makers as soon as possible or allow those key decision makers to utilize technology to simply access the needed information when and whenever they need it.
Information Security and Data Integrity
As anyone who has ever worked with shared spreadsheets, documents or other static desktop-based tools knows all-too-well, there are some pretty significant limitations inherent in using those tools.
One of the biggest limitations is the fact that when one user generates a reports, that information could be outdated before it has be passed and approved by the various people who need to see it. Updating reports or compiling a new report based on the various needs of partners and attorneys is a considerable time investment.
Using a legal management system that offers cloud-based hosting, storage, and real-time reporting brings several benefits to law firms of any size:
- Data integrity – Since your information is stored electronically in the cloud with built in business continuance redundancy, there is no need to worry about your system being available whenever you need to access your reporting.
- Security – Using a cloud-based solution also means your firm’s data is more secure. You get to control who at your firm can access records – and who cannot through multiple layers of application and user security features. This adds a layer of protection beyond simply password-protecting an Excel spreadsheet file.
- Real-time data – Information in your legal management system is available with up-to-date metrics – whenever a person needs it. No more waiting to check out a file; real-time information is available simply by logging into the system and selecting your reporting.
Using a legal management system with built in business intelligence reporting that is cloud-based means users can access and update information from virtually anywhere in the world. Turning access on and off is simple and fast, giving you control over your firm’s data.
In a world where we spend a lot of time on our smartphones and tablets, using a legal management system a mobile interface browser interface makes even more sense.
The Real Cost of Using Desktop-Based Tools
One of the biggest reasons some law firms are still generating reports for the firm’s operations and finances is because there is a misperception that doing so is less expensive than implementing technology that includes business intelligence reporting.
In reality, implementing a flexible, functional system will likely save your firm money. There is a cost associated with using any type of tool – including spreadsheets. When using spreadsheets, you’ll need to devote time to creating the templates for spreadsheets and reports. As discussed above, you’ll also need to carve out time and resources to populate and generate reports for partners’ and others’ review.
When you choose to use a legal management system instead with built in business intelligence reporting tools, all of that hard work is already done for you. Anyone with the right system access can generate reports. Even better, some system reporting technologies allow you to setup reports to be run and distributed automatically or automatically published into reporting portals! This can save a significant amount of time and money over the long run.
Ditch the Spreadsheets and Implement a Legal Management System that Includes Business Intelligence for Your Firm Reporting!
The sooner you adopt a new legal management system, the sooner you can cut ties with the old way of reporting.
Saying “goodbye” to your firm’s spreadsheets will help make reporting easier and more convenient for users, more secure for everyone, and more cost-effective for the firm, not to mention you’ll be able to gain better, more accurate insights into firm growth and profitability.