By Legal Futures’ Associates DPS Software 
Law firms are performance-driven environments. The legal sector is constantly looking for ways to improve the way they operate. Investing in effective software is one way to do this, finding high-performing staff is another. The real route to success of course, is combining both.
But how do you know exactly what’s happening in your firm? Effective performance reporting is a vital way to monitor how your organisation is running, with precise results and statistics showing how well aligned your goals are with your achievements.
What KPIs should be monitored?
What’s important is to only report on what is relevant. There is no point in wasting time scrolling through stats that can’t actually be used to improve your business. Here are some of the more relevant ones:
Time – knowing how long team members are taking on tasks is a great way to identify if certain areas of your business need addressing and making more efficient. It can also be a way to motivate employees by setting a pre-agreed target. This can be a way of seeing if one staff member isn’t performing as you want, and it also enables leaders to see if the team as a whole isn’t meeting deadlines and address the reason why not. Unrealistic targets, poor instruction, insufficient tools or general lack of motivation.
Activities/tasks – monitoring how team members spend their time can give good insight into areas of the business that need to be developed. Tasks can include emails, internal and external meetings, liaising with third parties, etc. If an employee is spending more time than expected on emails, could pre-set emails help to improve efficiency? If internal meetings aren’t regular enough, could this link up to too much time being spent on tasks due to poor instruction? It’s also a very effective tool to see if the tasks that lawyers are carrying out could be done by another department, such as administration.
Cost – monitoring cost in any business is a must. There is no other way of seeing if you are operating at a profit or not. This can be as detailed as you like, but reporting on internal, external and combined spends is the very minimum. This can then be compared to the overall budget and also used for future forecasting. Ideally, you will also track costs per matter.
Matters – reporting on matters serves as a great learning tool. Looking at statistics for each matter individually and collectively can spell out what is working and what can be improved on.
How reporting with DPS Spitfire can transform performance
DPS Spitfire  incorporates email, calendar, tasks, time tracking, dictation, and case management in a single online portal. Like with all DPS Software solutions, it has integrated reporting features that are easily accessible and represented with simple, clear graphics. The beauty of Spitfire is that it lives in your browser, making it totally accessible from absolutely anywhere, via any device.
The standard KPIs it reports on are matters opened and closed, time recorded, billing and profit costs. These can all be evaluated against monthly and annual targets to see how individuals, departments, or even branches of law firms are performing.
Reporting can be a bit of a taboo, as people feel tracked, looked over and monitored. However, used in the right way, it can be an incredibly powerful tool that teams actually appreciate.
With an open and positive approach, staff will see that it is not all about keeping tabs on them, but just as much about identifying troublesome areas like work overload. In this way, reporting not only facilitates an increase in efficiency and turnover, but can actually help form better teams, alleviate pressure by reallocating tasks and increase overall motivation and morale. Plus, a little bit of competition isn’t a bad thing. If team members are being fairly rewarded for their performance, they’ll feel incentivised to work that much harder.