Even when Dawn Pickett opened her new law firm, DP Conveyancing, in Gateshead and Newcastle just a few short months ago, she had growth ambitions which fuelled early decisions relating to outsourced support and software. Both needed to be robust and scalable while assisting with regulatory compliance. As a start-up business, cost was a major deciding factor too.
“To begin with, my search was cashiering service driven,” explains Dawn. “As a new law firm with an initial lower caseload, there just wasn’t enough work to justify having a full time cashier. But, as we intend to recruit more solicitors and conveyancers over the coming months and years, we were looking for a solution that’ll grow with us. That’s why the scalability factor was so important.
“Also, to help manage cashflow, costs of employing a legal cashier including salary and other ‘hidden’ costs such as serviced office fees were compared to a pay-as-you-go outsourced approach. We made a decision to outsource to Quill due to their expertise in all-things legal accounting.”
As conveyancing specialists, DP Conveyancing is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
“There are a multitude of regulatory hoops to jump through when first setting up,” continues Dawn. “This is completely understandable when you think about the nature of our business –high value property sales / purchases along with associated risks. For this reason, the legal cashier’s role assumes even greater importance. By outsourcing our cashiering to Quill, complying with CLC requirements was so much easier because we have best practice measures in place to meet our obligations, within the regulatory framework.”
Quill’s outsourced cashiering service, Pinpoint, comes complete with legal accounts software, Interactive. A major benefit of Quill’s software is its ability to integrate seamlessly with third-party systems.
For DP Conveyancing, two key requirements existed prior to starting up. The first was to have a highly effective and efficient firm focusing on clear communication with all stakeholders, speedy completion of files and making it easier for staff to do their conveyancing job. For assistance in this area, DP Conveyancing gained support from management consultant and Lean Six Sigma blackbelt, Peter Effard. As a result, various ‘Lean’ activities were implemented including value stream mapping of key processes, development of standard work and application of 5S principles.
The second requirement, stemming directly from the first, was to build a joined-up IT system comprising of the Brighter Law quote management system, Redbrick Solutions case management system and Quill’s Interactive legal accounts software managed by their Pinpoint cashier.
“An initial investment of time was required to join the various elements of the system together,” adds Dawn. “We’ve been fully operational since mid-October with everything working smoothly, helping our new staff members to hit the ground running with all legal cashiering outsourced.”
As part of Quill’s Pinpoint service, client sites are assigned a named cashier with deputy and supervisor for automated absence cover and escalation of queries respectively.
“We’ve really got to know our cashier well since October”, concludes Dawn. “After we’ve entered our daily e-chits into Interactive, we’re in regular contact by email and phone. It’s like having an extra colleague but without the usual complications and costs of in-house employment. We’d encourage other practices in our situation – establishing a new venture but with an eye on the future and aspirations towards expansion – to do the same as us. Choose fully scalable yet easily affordable solutions, outsourced cashiering by Quill being one of them!”