Interview with Chas Arya, Practice Manager, Ratio Law24/02/22
In conversation with Chas Arya: how outsourced cashiering works
As the Practice Manager of a busy property, banking and financial law firm operating throughout the North West and further afield from its Manchester-based head office, Chas is a stalwart advocate of outsourced cashiering support. But Chas didn’t travel a linear route into outsourcing, as we find out.
We caught up with Chas to quiz her on the outsourcing model in order to help other law firm managers make informed decisions about utilising outsourced services to work smarter and stay compliant…
First things first – what’s your background in legal?
I’ve been at the helm of Ratio Law since we established our practice in 2010. We celebrated our 12-year anniversary in January 2022. As specialists in business law and having launched our own practice not very long ago, we know what it takes to start and run a successful company – and what a rollercoaster ride it can sometimes be.
What are the main challenges for law firm start ups or, indeed, established practices?
In my experience, the areas which are most likely to trip up senior leadership teams are compliance and continuity.
To clarify, there’s a lot involved in the vital task of regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with accounting rules has serious ramifications. Being such an onerous and complicated role, we chose to outsource the entire cashiering function to Quill.
The second point, continuity, is an equally important consideration. There are many circumstances, internal and external, that can interrupt businesses – from straightforward holidays and sickness to unforeseen catastrophes such as the Covid outbreak. With cashiering, absence in any form spells disaster as actions can get missed. Outsourcing removes this worry altogether by coming with an ‘always-cover’ promise.
Why did Ratio Law select Quill as its outsourced cashiering service provider?
There’s much to do when starting up and finding the right staff is tricky. By outsourcing, it’s another tick off the long list. For Ratio Law, this was a key driver.
In our industry, it can also be hard to find suppliers with the right fit and the right personalities for your business. Quill’s credentials are impressive, not least being 44 years old, having solutions which sit at the heart of 750 law firms and a plethora of esteemed accreditations as feathers in its cap, most recently becoming affiliate partner to the Law Society.
The icing on the cake is the people at Quill. By assigning a dedicated cashier to each client, you forge strong, trusted relationships over time. This was a major draw for us. We chat with our cashier, Nat Patel, constantly and even go for after-work drinks together occasionally. She’s very much an extension of our team. We’re never scared to ask questions and she goes above-and-beyond to help.
The combination of these factors influenced our decision to go with Quill.
The Pinpoint cashiering service is provided with the Quill legal accounts software. Does the Quill-Pinpoint package work for you?
The software perfectly complements the cashiering service as it’s so easy to use. Because we’ve essentially relinquished our cashiering duties to Quill, all we need to do is log fee earning time, and transactions and disbursements using time recording and e-chits software functionality respectively. Our cashier handles the rest. It’s ease personified.
Two benefits of outsourced legal cashiering are cost and scalability. Talk us through this.
With Quill’s legal cashiering service, there isn’t a fixed cost. Plus, there are none of the usual overheads, such as office space and salaries, to pay for. Instead, Quill’s pricing adjusts in line with your level of busy-ness. When you’re hectic and transactions increase, you pay more. When you’re quieter and transactions decrease, you pay less. At all times, you know exactly where you’re spending money. It’s ideal for fluctuations in business – something we’ve all faced over the past two years during the pandemic.
On the subject of Covid, how did you fare during lockdown?
For every period of national lockdown, our only concern setting up our staff with laptops to work from home. Everything else was already taken care of by Quill – software that’s simply accessed over the internet and outsourcing services that carry on regardless. We continued to contact Quill in exactly the same way from home as we had from the office. Quill, then, offers a smooth ‘plan B’ transition – even during a global pandemic scenario.
Ratio Law uses Quill’s outsourced payroll service too. Tell us about it.
The same as cashiering, payroll is governed by complex legislation that changes regularly and there are big problems with vacant staff. Thankfully, Quill’s expert in compliance and its service is seamless. Even if our assigned payroll clerk (or cashier) isn’t available, we’ve got a deputy and team leader to fill the temporary gap. Quill’s outsourced payroll service gives complete peace of mind.
Would you encourage other law firms to switch to outsourced cashiering (and payroll) support from Quill? And why?
In a word – absolutely! Quill makes everything appear easy. So much so that we actually brought our cashiering in house for a 6-month spell. This wasn’t a pleasant experience. When we realised cashiering’s about as far from easy as it’s possible to be, we reverted back to Quill and have remained since, with the same cashier.
It’s human nature to get stuck in a rut and be unwilling to change. Anyone making the change from in house to outsourced cashiering, however, will reap many rewards. Having someone with a wealth of cashiering knowledge to do your daily time-intensive routines including performing bank reconciliations, issuing compliance reports, carrying out month- and year-end processes, and managing VAT is a huge weight off your shoulders. Do it – you’ll never regret it.
To get in touch with Chas, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read all about Quill’s outsourced legal cashiering and payroll services, and legal accounts software. Alternatively, call 0161 236 2910 or email email@example.com.
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