Case study: Downie & Gadban

29/01/15

Emergency cashiering cover saves the day

Any employer can appreciate the disruption caused to their business from sudden employee absenteeism.  A reduced workforce can pose a real threat to business continuity.  This is even the case if the staff in question are responsible for back office, rather than client facing, functions as Partners often cover absent staff’s important duties.

To complicate the matter further still, where cashiering’s concerned, legal accounts processes are controlled by the SRA Accounts Rules whose complicated nature and prescribed time limits necessitate constant attention.  With only the slightest neglect, breaches can occur and the consequences can be far-reaching and catastrophic.

So, when a firm’s cashier takes leave from work for any reason, whether planned or accidental, there are repercussions both internally within the practice and, potentially, with industry regulators.

The challenge:

This is exactly the situation in which Downie & Gadban Solicitors found themselves last year.

Simon Acworth, Senior Partner, explains: “Our previous cashier was here forever and extremely reliable.  When she left, we found a replacement who was fine to begin with but, later, was persistently absent either through supposed illness of family members then himself.

“It turned out to be a case of gross misconduct and his inevitable departure left us in a severe crisis situation with our accounts in complete disarray.

“In the midst of disaster, we turned to our software supplier, Quill Pinpoint, for emergency support.  We knew their portfolio includes outsourced cashiering services but didn’t realise they could provide this on an immediate, temporary basis.  Thankfully for us, they can!”

The solution:

Once instructed, Quill implemented the Pinpoint service instantly by assigning Downie & Gadban a named member of its cashiering team and training practice staff on the remotely accessed e-chits system.  With Pinpoint, the practice’s role is to post, on a daily basis, details of case-related costs and bills which are then analysed, tracked, reconciled, remedied (when anomalies arise) and reported by Quill’s cashiers.

“The e-chits facility was a steep learning curve because we literally had to switch the service on overnight”, adds Simon.  “Now that we’re au fait with the system, we can perform our day-to-day postings either from our office or remotely.  It’s very flexible and there’s continuous cover.

“Another massive reassurance is their obvious fluency in the SRA Accounts Rules and other protocols.  Mistakes are effortlessly corrected and we know that the same disaster won’t befall us again.”

The future:

Quill is able to offer Pinpoint to clients on a permanent or temporary basis, be it fixed term for scheduled extended leave such as maternity or with an undefined end date for precarious situations.

Recommending Quill’s outsourced accounting support to other law firms, Simon concludes: “Life does have a tendency to catch us unawares every now and then.  We’re clear evidence of this fact.  Our books were in a mess and Quill had to unscramble lots in an extraordinarily short timeframe.  Without their help, our recovery would have been prolonged and, even, doubtful.

“The speed of implementation, quality of support and contract flexibility was our salvation during a very dark period.  Quill saved the day!

“At an indeterminate point down the line, we may again employ an in-house cashier but we’re in no rush.  We’re definitely sticking with Quill for the foreseeable future.  If another law firm ever finds themselves in an unfortunate position like ours, we urge them to contact Quill.”

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