Extended leaves of absence can be seriously disruptive for legal practices. At no time more so than under outcomes-focused regulation which places an onerous responsibility on law firms to consistently maintain service provision on a daily, year-round basis.
As a steady cash flow of monies is essential to any business’s survival, the accounts department necessitates a constant cashier presence to manage inbound and outbound finances according to the governance of the SRA Accounts Rules.
While it can be extremely difficult to cover for sudden unexpected staff absenteeism, other scheduled non-attendance, such as maternity leave, can be catered for more adequately with careful pre planning.
Even so, firms with a sole in-house cashier can still find themselves unable to arrange satisfactory cover through internal HR resources. Additionally, the prospect of training temporary external personnel how to use the legal accounts software and coaching on the practice’s unique set of accounts work flow processes can be off-putting to many practice managers. With so many demands upon them, it can be nigh-on impossible to make an appropriate time commitment to the task.
Existing Quill client, Richard Griffiths & Co, has used the hosted Interactive practice management and legal accounts software for a number of years. When the practice’s cashier approached her maternity leave commencement date, the firm contacted its supplier to discuss the opportunity of subscribing to the Pinpoint outsourced accounting service for a fixed-term.
Rachael Fisher, Practice Manager at Richard Griffiths & Co, explains how its “cashier went off on maternity leave but the cover provisions changed suddenly at the last minute”.
“Subsequently, we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle”, continues Rachael. “We’d recruited a trainee cashier slightly late in the day, not allowing enough time to train him up sufficiently to cope single-handedly during our main cashier’s absence. Also, in hindsight, it was too challenging for a newcomer to the role. We rang Quill to see if their cashiering team could help and, sure enough, they agreed to support us for the duration of our cashier’s maternity leave. The primary advantage being that they know the Interactive system inside out, so didn’t need any training and could get to work on our accounts straightaway”.
The Pinpoint outsourced legal accounts service is offered on a long or short-term contract as a means of offloading the back-office cashiering function to a named cashier for a specified (or indefinite) period of time. The service is fully flexible, adapting to the changing needs of clients, to be scaled up or down according to requirements.
“We split the cashiering duties between our trainee and Pinpoint cashier”, adds Rachael. “Quill’s input has increased over the past few months and they now perform all of our submissions as well, which wasn’t part of the original brief. This flexibility is a huge plus point. It’s been our life line”.
One of the major benefits of the Pinpoint service is guaranteed cashier support within each working day, with a deputy cashier for automatic cover when practice’s assigned cashiers are on holiday or absent for other reasons.
“In house, it can be a real problem when the cashier’s off work but, with Pinpoint, there’s always someone there to keep things ticking along”, states Rachael. “Our cashier is very helpful and quick to respond. The head of the legal accounts team is really supportive too. I’d categorically recommend Pinpoint, maternity cover or otherwise. For us, the Quill back-up plan has been a huge relief”.