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    How Automated Workflows Can Boost Your Cash Flow

    How Automated Workflows Can Boost Your Cash Flow

      For law firms, manual administrative tasks are a big blow for billable hours and potential profit.  

      Manual admin tasks don’t just cut directly into billable hours. They also increase the risk for law firms who don’t have enough time to thoroughly deal with their documentation, deadline calendars, accounting reconciliation, and client communications, all of which can lead to significant profit loss down the road.  

      But it’s all well and good to point out a problem and say “Isn’t that tricky.” So let’s move away from vague platitudes and get into the nitty-gritty. If manual tasks are such a big problem, how exactly can automated tasks solve those problems and, more importantly, boost your cash flow? 

      Let’s get into it. First, what exactly are automated workflows?  

      What is automated workflows? 

      Automation is, at its core, a process or system that replaces manual work. It’s meant to save users time on things they would already be doing anyway.  

      In most platforms, automation is created using “if/then” instructions, like: 

      • If a client fills out the intake form, then send them an email with more information about your law firm 
      • If an associate tracks their time to a specific client, then add those billable hours into the client’s invoice 
      • If it’s a certain date, then generate a marketing analytics report for review 

      These tasks are all things that a law firm’s team does manually, which takes time and energy. With automation, after a one-time setup, your software would complete these tasks for you on an ongoing basis. When these workflows compound over time, it can save law firms significant time and energy on the hundreds of small tasks that pop up every month.  

      Automation workflows are typically part of your firm’s practice management software, which is designed to help law firms operate more efficiently.  

      Let’s be clear, though. Automation is not a way to replace all administrative staff with computers, and it isn’t a magic wand that can fix all your problems at once. It’s a tool, just like any other practice management program, and it needs to be used thoughtfully for maximum impact. 

      How you can use automated workflows to increase profit 

      Automated workflows work best to replace repetitive administrative tasks that lead to pain points or bottlenecks in your law firm’s workflows. You’ll see the biggest return when you use them for routine tasks that no one wants to do. These can differ from firm to firm, so it’s best to collaborate with your staff to get an idea of where they need the most support.  

      Want some ideas for a jumping-off point? Here are four ways your law firm can use automated workflows to increase profit. 

      1. Document automation frees up time for more billable hours 

      While we’re sure your team loves the good old copy-and-paste technique to draft documents for clients from old files…there’s an easier way (with fewer errors).  

      Instead of manually updating information for each document, look for a legal practice management tool that includes document automation 

      Document automation is a great way to save time and energy while also reducing potential errors in your contracts and other critical documentation. This workflow enables law firms to build customizable templates, such as invoice templates or service agreements, that automatically populate fields using client information that already exists in your practice management platform. 

      By automating these tasks, your firm saves time every single time you draft templated documents. In addition to the initial document creation, with fewer opportunities for human error, your firm can spend less time going back and forth with clients to finalize said documents. 

      2. Time tracking saves time and money 

      Every single lawyer needs to track time for billable hours. But manually tracking time can lead to more work than you need when it comes to creating and reviewing client invoices. Manual time tracking doesn’t just create more work. It can also cost you money, and lead to your firm not being correctly compensated for your valuable time and expertise. Just waiting until the end of the day to track your time can cost a lawyer 10% of their billable time 

      Now imagine that every single lawyer at your firm is failing to charge for 10% of their work. That’s a lot of money left on the table.  

      To save your firm time and money, look for automated time trackers that help lawyers log time as they work and add billable hours to different clients’ invoices automatically. 

      When it comes to billing clients, this means that instead of building manual invoices and compiling billable hours from each lawyer every month, you can instantly populate invoices with automatically tracked time, and just conduct a final review of invoices each month to ensure accuracy.  


      Streamline Cash Flows and Get Paid Faster with Rocket Matter Pay

      Law firms have plenty of good reasons to offer online credit card processing:

      • Faster, more reliable payments
      • Less administrative time spent processing checks and reconciling books
      • Offering clients the payment options they actually prefer
      • But why have so many firms chosen not to take advantage of all the benefits of credit card processing?

      3. Better client communications lead to long-term relationships 

      Positive client relationships mean more billable hours and more quality referrals, which helps build up your firm’s client list and increase profits with clients you want to work with 

      But client communications also take a lot of time. While automation can’t provide amazing legal services (we’ll leave that to you), it can help build a positive client experience with automated responses and email drip campaigns. 

      Automated workflows within a CRM can augment your marketing efforts and create more client touchpoints before, during, and after the client intake process, including: 

      • Sending marketing emails to interested parties that keep your firm top of mind 
      • Building logic-based intake forms to identify clients that are a strong fit for your firm 
      • Eliminating phone tags with automatic follow-ups from missed calls 
      • Scheduling appointments and sending reminders 
      • Processing intake faster through secure file sharing and eSignatures 
      • Asking current clients for referrals 
      • Requesting testimonials for completed work 

      By automating administrative communications at each stage of a client’s life cycle, law firms have more time to provide the aforementioned amazing legal services. And happy clients are more likely to come to you for repeat services or recommend your firm to their friends, both of which can substantially increase your bottom line.  

      4. Online payments and invoicing  

      The best-automated workflows directly benefit you and your clients. This applies especially to the billing process, which can often be a pain point for everyone involved.  

      Email invoices and online payments can dramatically simplify the billing process and increase on-time payments for your firm. With automated billing, clients can pay invoices from their phone or computer—and you’ll receive funds faster through easier payment processing.   

       Batch billing is another billing workflow that saves serious time if your firm has clients on similar recurring fee structures. With batch billing, firms can generate multiple invoices at once and send those bills to each client with customized emails.  

      Bottom line: implementing automated billing workflows can lead to fewer awkward conversations, less time spent on collections reminders, faster payments, and happier clients.  

      It doesn’t get much better than that.  

      Bonus tip: don’t overcomplicate things 

      According to McKinsey, up to 23% of a law firm’s work can be automated. But we want to emphasize that just because you can automate something, doesn’t mean you actually should. 

      Not every workflow automation will work for every law firm, and adopting a bunch of automation at once can overcomplicate things.  

      So take a step back and consider what workflows will have the biggest immediate impact on your firm. Maybe your billing process needs an immediate overhaul, or your client intake process is in desperate need of improvement.  

      Start with 1-2 automation, and give your team time to adopt these new workflows with a thoughtful rollout for maximum impact. From there, you can continue to scale sustainably and continue to boost your bottom line.  

      Discover the best-automated workflows for your team 

      Rocket Matter’s time-saving automation features help your team work better on the things that matter. Ready to see what automation will have the biggest impact on your firm’s bottom line? Schedule a free demo today.  

      Streamline Cash Flows and Get Paid Faster with Rocket Matter Pay

      Law firms have plenty of good reasons to offer online credit card processing:

      • Faster, more reliable payments
      • Less administrative time spent processing checks and reconciling books
      • Offering clients the payment options they actually prefer
      • But why have so many firms chosen not to take advantage of all the benefits of credit card processing?

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