The volume of house sales in England and Wales is on the up. According to data published in the Land Registry House Price Index, September 2013, the number of houses sold in July 2013 was up 17% compared to July 2012. In some price bands, the number of completed house sales in July 2013 was over 20% higher than in July 2012.
Analysis suggests that this increase in house sales is set to continue. Savills recently published their prediction that transaction levels in the market will see a 27% increase over the next five years and in the last few days, the National Association of Estate Agents has reported (from a survey of 363 estate agents) that the average number of registered house hunters has increased by nearly 6%, from 314 per branch in September to 332 per branch in October.
So, as the market shows strong signs of continued recovery, Martin Macduff, Managing Director of Redbrick Solutions has urged firms to take action to maximise the profitability of conveyancing transactions.
“We know that nearly three quarters of firms offer conveyancing services on a fixed fee basis1, but time and again we meet firms who have a limited understanding of productivity, and how much it is actually costing them to undertake conveyancing work. For these firms, it can be virtually impossible to set competitive fees which also deliver maximum profitability” said Mr Macduff.
“I would advise conveyancers to have a good look at their business processes and identify where improvements can be made. In many cases, the introduction of a quality case management solution could lead to significant improvements in productivity. For example, time spent manually creating documents can be dramatically reduced and automated text and email updates can improve customer service and lower the amount of incoming telephone queries to fee earners.”
Improving productivity is one thing, but managing it is critical if a firm is to maximise its profitability. Firms who record, monitor and analyse time for fixed fee work, in exactly the same way as they do for work billed hourly, can see exactly how much time is spent and on what tasks when completing a matter. Armed with this information the firm can assess whether it has the right people carrying out the right tasks, can set realistic targets and most importantly, can answer the question ‘how much is it costing me to do this work and am I making a profit?”
A powerful, legal accounting solution such as Redbrick Business Intelligence provides access to productivity data in seconds. Accurate, real time reports can be run automatically, providing managers with the detail they need to maximise the profitability of fixed fee conveyancing work.
For further information, please visit www.redbricksolutions.co.uk or call 0845 166 2629.
1 The SRA Conveyancing Thematic Study, March 2013