How Your Legal Management System Can Make Business Intelligence Reporting Easy
Implementing a legal management system for your law firm can provide a wealth of benefits to partners, administrative professionals, and everyone within the firm. Unfortunately, there isn’t a conventional standard for what functionality is included in a legal management system; some systems simply offer financial management tools, others include modules for client record-keeping, billing and more.
One of the benefits some top law firm enterprise software solutions provide is the ability to generate real-time, dynamic reports. By reporting and analyzing the business intelligence metrics your firm is already capturing, you’ll be squarely in the driver’s seat to make meaningful course corrections that can help your firm reach its goals.
Improve Your Business Intelligence Reporting
When looking for a legal management system to help with reporting, start by evaluating the data your existing legal management system can provide. Then, look for areas of improvement. If your existing system doesn’t give you the option for business intelligence reporting, or if the output leaves something to be desired, it may be time to re-evaluate your options.
When choosing a new tool, opt for a cloud-based solution that makes it easy to integrate your data from other platforms. Other things to consider as you evaluate and select a system are whether you will have a customizable dashboard and whether the legal management system is mobile-friendly.
Using a cloud-based solution can help ensure your system’s data is always available to busy partners and associates, regardless of where they are on the globe at any given time.
From a reporting standpoint, that means users always have access to up-to-date, real-time data that is stored securely off-site. In addition to helping with reporting, cloud-based systems also help create efficiencies and can strengthen your firm’s existing data security efforts by restricting access to only those firm employees who have been authorized to access it.
Easy Data Integration
Firms that rely on multiple systems, computer programs and tools to capture financial and client information often struggle with trying to come up with reliable, relevant reports using that data.
When evaluating legal management systems, opt for a system that will be able to integrate data from other existing systems, like time and billing, general ledger or CRM systems, to make the most out of your firm’s information and generate reports that are accurate and complete.
There are some legal management systems in use that offer attractive out-of-the-box features. However, if the dashboard was created with one specific type (or size) of firm in mind and doesn’t allow for any flexibility or customization, the interface may not do you much good.
Look for a legal management system that offers the ability to truly customize the information you’re capturing, the layout (how much or how little information appears on your dashboard), as well as what you can do with your data.
In addition to the obvious benefits of being able to use your firm’s data in a way that makes the most sense for your firm and its partners, a side benefit is user adoption rates are likely to go up. When the dashboard has been specifically designed with your firm in mind and customized to your firm’s preferences, users should find the system intuitive and easier to use.
A final consideration when evaluating system capabilities to improve reporting is to look for a system that is mobile-friendly. Whether an attorney is working from home or needs to log onto the system from the courthouse, a mobile-enabled system means they’ll be able to do so quickly and conveniently.
With the ability to run reports and access other system features from virtually anywhere in the world, the firm should experience operational efficiencies which can, in turn, make the reports look better over time.
Making Reporting Easier
When your legal management system includes these elements, reporting is faster, simpler and more reliable than relying on disparate systems to cobble together reports manually, or reviewing stale data.
To take full advantage of your data, look for a system that will allow you to craft the reports you want that will give you the flexibility of choosing to print to PDF, output to Excel (in a finished professional look) or choose paperless report delivery.
A good legal management system will give you the flexibility to set your own parameters, allowing you to generate reports that are useful and relevant for the partners and others in the firm who will be reviewing them.
Your legal management system should also give you the option of making corrections when needed, with an appropriate audit trail and sound accounting principles . You need accurate information in your reports, and you should be able to nimbly make corrections to obtain it.
Look for a legal management system that offers a choice between printing paper reports, or pushing out reports to users’ inboxes electronically – and automatically or publishing to an on-line secured Portal. Moving toward an office environment that uses less paper is both an environmentally-conscious decision and an efficient one. Users who are in another physical location can review the same information as users at your firm’s primary office, at the same time, through paperless reporting.
While there is no argument that the most important part of your law firm’s financial and operational reports is the data itself, you want those reports to be easy on the eyes. Choose a legal management system that offers visually-appealing reports that are easy to understand at a glance.
Evaluate Your Options
When you are considering implementing a legal management system for your firm, you’ll need to identify which features and benefits are most important.
When the process of reporting on your firm’s business intelligence is fast, easy and user-friendly, you’ll be positioned to get the most out of your data – and your legal management system.