By Julian Bryan, Managing Director, Quill
Nothing slows down on Fridays at Quill – or indeed in many places within the legal profession. We all know that Friday busyness is typified in the conveyancing sector when exchanges take place, dictated by most house buyers’ preference to move home at the end of the week.
And in other areas of law, legal cases don’t stop, court hearings or trials aren’t cancelled, and contracts don’t change their completion date just because it’s Friday. For anyone operating in law, Friday is as hectic as any other week day.
For Quill, the last day every week has an even greater focus on compliance. Of course, our Interactive legal accounts software warns users of potential breaches at any time with exclamation marks denoting missing e-chit information, confirmation notifications for tasks that cannot be later undone and other system prompts for incorrect entries. However, on Fridays, our Pinpoint outsourced legal accounting service cashiers ensure any compliance issues are highlighted, reported and resolved.
When you consider the plethora of problems that fall into the non-compliance category – from data loss and delayed payment processing to incorrect allocation of client monies into the wrong account and missed deadlines, plus everything in between – and bear in mind the volume of clients we currently service – 8,000 users altogether – you could be forgiven for thinking this an impossible task.
In actual fact, by having robust systems in place and applying a disciplined approach, we’re able to address our clients’ compliance obligations successfully every Friday, without fail.
As already intimated, for clients using Interactive, there are all manner of easy-to-use features to support fee earners progressing matters, for cashiers to efficiently manage finances according to the stringent demands of the SRA’s legal accounts rules and HMRC’s Making Tax Digital legislation, and for compliance officers to generate compliance exception reports for rectification or reporting to the relevant regulatory body.
Interactive is subject to an extensive software development roadmap with a strong focus on legal accounting enhancements. We notify clients of these new and improved tools via our monthly e-newsletters and ‘What’s new’ button located in our software’s top toolbar. In the past few months alone, we’ve upgraded functionality for associated ledgers for cases, e-chit/bank integration, MTD input and output screens, batch accounts postings, ‘keep’ options to avoid data input repetition, authorise and maintain screen additions, and multiple developments to both detail and summary accounts-specific reports.
All of these software improvements are designed to simplify and strengthen your compliance procedures thereby making your Friday tasks that much more manageable.
For clients using Pinpoint, we send a weekly batch of reports showing ledger balances for client and office accounts, unpaid bills and breaches. These reports act as a prompt for clients to tie up any loose ends by authorising payments and correcting breaches which are still outstanding. Our reports also streamline the process of recording failures and preparing reports on material breaches in the right format for the SRA, CLC or Law Society of Scotland.
These important checks are actioned by our Pinpoint cashiers each Friday. As our cashiers work in teams of six, headed up by a supervisor, it’s then our supervisors’ role to oversee the accurate production and prompt delivery of these reports, and act as an escalation point for any ensuing queries. We take our responsibilities very seriously because it’s all part-and-parcel of providing a regulatory-compliance-guaranteed service.
Aside from these typically Friday reporting jobs, a normal day for our cashiers comprises liaising with clients, completing bank reconciliations, processing day-to-day transactions, gathering information for month end and subsequently completing month end closures as well as posting legal aid submissions and sending VAT returns at quarter end to HMRC via MTD.
By acting in the cashier role on behalf of our clients, the only requirement for Pinpoint users is to log daily e-chits of inbound and outbound monies, and record fee earning activity and disbursements. We do all the rest. By lessening your workload, your Fridays are certain to be stress-free, at least from an accounting and compliance perspective anyway.
Because of our unique provision of both Interactive and Pinpoint in tandem, our portfolio is superior quality in relation to other legal accounts software and cashiering service suppliers. That’s because it’s a common platform used by our cashiers and there’s a plethora of management information intelligence drawn from this one central software platform by our supervisors. And, as noted earlier, we’re also constantly researching new ways to improve our products further still. It’s these ongoing software enhancements, defined in our aforementioned roadmap, which go a long way to streamlining clients’ and Quill’s processes.
Late Friday afternoon, to salute another successful week fulfilling our compliance requirements, the beer fridge is opened so everyone can have a quick drink before heading home for the weekend. This is one of the many employment perks at Quill. It’s a nice way to mingle with our colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere, celebrate a job well done with some paid-for-by-Quill refreshments, and look forward to two days of rest and recuperation by starting the weekend an hour early. After a typical Friday, it’s well deserved.