Changing Seasons: Preparing Your Business for Harvest

 

Like the world, there are seasons in business that will affect your law firm and how it operates.

 

 

 

As the Autumnal Equinox approaches, we at Select Court Reporters got to thinking about seasonal change and how you can use it to create and manage a business strategy that serves your firm and its clientele.

 

 

 

Each season can represent a particular phase in your business strategy:

 

 

 

  • Spring is all about new projects and new beginnings.

 

 

  • Summer is about activity, networking, and promoting projects and ideas.

 

 

  • Fall is all about harvesting the benefits of your work and stockpiling ideas for next year.

 

 

  • Winter is a time to focus on internal operations and developing plans for the year to come.

 

 

 

Nature, it seems, can provide you with great inspiration.

 

 

 

If you align your business strategies with the “reason for the season,” you will develop an easy cycle that will serve your business in a natural and effortless way.

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters has included a cheatsheet to help you get started. Use it to create an outline focused on what you can do during each season to develop a strategy that serves you, your firm, your employees, and most importantly, your clients.

 

 

 

Download Your Free Cheatsheets

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters provides exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida, including but not limited to Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

Phone: (407) 977 – 7725

Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

Balanced Budget: 3 Tools to Help You Manage Your Finances

 

Budgeting is not easy.

 

 

Neither is managing a law firm.

 

 

Yet, both are integral to maintaining a successful legal business with a healthy bottom line.  If you ever find yourself struggling with budgets and management, Select Court Reporters has some good news for you: we did the research and found 3 systems you can use today to keep your finances and your logistics under control.

 

 

Ready to learn??

 

 

Here’s what we dug up for you:

 

 

 

1.  SCORO

 

Scoro helps to plan your team’s time and projects, manage your clients, send invoices, and keep track of your business results.

 

 

  • Manage everything about a project on one page, including time spent and billed, planned tasks and meetings, invoices and expenses, comments and files.
  • Allocate billable and non-billable work and see how your team is doing, in real time.
  • Create budgets for projects and compare these against actual results.
  • Manage your project portfolio by configurable statuses (e.g. in progress, completed) and tags (e.g. type, department, market, etc).

 

 

 

2.  CENTAGE

 

Driver-based, collaborative budgets and plans have never been easier to build and manipulate. Intuitive ‘self-serve’ reports and dashboards show you how well your business is currently performing, while automated forecasts help you accurately predict future financial health.

 

 

  • Get Up and Running in Days. Budget Maestro by Centage guides you through loading the essential data that describes your business – all based on real language prompts, wizards, preformatted templates and menus. No programming or formulas are necessary.
  • Deliver Accurate Plans & Financial Forecasts. Budget Maestro utilizes built-in financial intelligence and business rules – based on your assumptions and workflow – to ensure continuous accuracy. Working from a centralized database eliminates data disparities and any changes to estimates or assumptions are automatically updated, so you are always working with a single version of the truth.
  • Automatically Generate Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statements. Budget Maestro synchronizes accurate forward-looking Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statements to your actuals and your underlying budget. Drilling down into the data lets you understand risks, variances and opportunities, and initiate faster changes in response to actual and predicted results.
  • Test Unlimited “What If” Scenarios. Budget Maestro effortlessly handles business changes – large or small. Unlimited versions of the budget let you quickly test the impact of different scenarios. Seeing the resulting future revenue and cash flow takes the guesswork out of crucial decisions.
  • Collaboration with the Entire Team. With Budget Maestro, all your budget contributors are involved from the start. Business managers can work on their own role-based view of the budget, and everything rolls up to a consolidated model. Individual teams get to test the impact of any potential action, while your business budget remains accurate and up-to-date.

 

 

 

3.  TAGETIK

·

 

Companies trust CCH Tagetik corporate performance management software to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Its corporate budgeting software streamlines and modernizes budgeting & planning processes, shortening close and consolidation cycles. And, its corporate finance software and corporate management software solutions offer automated reporting, analytics & disclosure reporting from a single source. Available on the cloud for more cost savings and flexibility, it’s Cloud Without Compromise.

 

 

  • Budgeting and Software. CCH Tagetik enterprise budgeting software gives you the ease of Excel, the flexibility of the cloud, and the power of built-in financial intelligence. Get more from your budget planning software with CCH Tagetik.
  • Modeling and Forecasting. Using CCH Tagetik software, you can easily assess different business scenarios, instantly see the impact on financial performance, and generate rolling forecasts.
  • Financial Management Reporting. Tagetik’s unique collaboration compatibility with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint connects the narrative to numbers across your Annual Reports, Budget Books, Board Books, Earnings Presentations, and more.
  • Technology and Integrations. Unified CCH Tagetik software solution has built-in-tools such as CCH Tagetik Excel add in or CCH Tagetik SAP – which connect to underlying systems or applications to simplify operations and processes.  You spend less time managing systems and more time having them work for

There are so many great budgeting and management options out there!  Simplify your work life and start managing your finances now.  Not only will it make the actual process easier, it will bring you peace of mind, and that, my friend, is truly priceless…

 

 

SelectCourtReporters provides exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida, including but not limited to Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Phone: (407) 977 – 7725
“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

 

Right On Time: 5 Tools to Help You Manage Your Billing

 

 

For every lawyer, timekeeping is precious.

 

It is paramount.

 

It is vital.

 

It’s your basic bread and butter.

 

Without a reliable timekeeping system, lawyers and legal staff cannot accurately keep track of what they are doing for a particular client, which greatly impacts their ability to properly bill that client.

 

It’s important to use a reliable timekeeping system to help your firm track time spent on cases and projects to capture all time for billing purposes and to help you evaluate how your firm’s time is being spent and whether you feel it is being spent productively.

 

There are tons of billing and time tracking apps and systems on the market. Today, Select Court Reporters will assess 5 timekeeping applications that can help you and your employees maintain a punctual and organized system of keeping your time.

 

With that said, let’s get started:

 

 

 

1. BigTime Tracking & Invoicing

 

BigTime is a time tracking and invoicing software that allows you to manually keep track of your time as you move along. It offers the ability to keep your time on your desktop and via your mobile device through the BigTime app. BigTime integrates with Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks desktop. It allows you to set specific billing rates for each attorney and paralegal and it offers up things like direct invoicing from the website, project management, resource allocation, and expense tracking.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Manage your clients. 360-degree view of your clients & engagements. Mobile access to contacts & address books. Activity & engagement tracking. Integrated teams/budgets. Total control over who gets access to what.

 

 

Tame your workflow. Personal and firm-wide engagement tracking. Client and engagement-specific activities. Recurring engagements. Real-time workflow management.

 

 

Track and Bill WIP. Time and expense tracking. Mobile tools. One-click invoicing for T&M or fixed-fee engagements. Full suite of WIP-related reports.

 

 

Increase your entire team’s IQ. Flexible reporting. Project/engagement and staffer utilization. WIP tracking and engagement workflow. Real-time dashboards and reports. A time and billing software with your business intelligence in mind.

 

 

 

 

2. Chrometa

 

Chrometa is a timekeeping software that enables users to passively capture their time as they work, eliminating the epidemic of lost time due to memory loss. Attorneys are people and sometimes people forget to write things down. It’s a common issue for all humans. Chrometa eliminates that issue by tracking everything that you do on your computer and any device on which the Chrometa application is installed.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Automated Time Tracking: Chrometa’s automatic time trackers for Mac and PC capture your computer-based time as you work. When you work on Office documents (ex. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe, Photoshop, Outlook) or when visiting a website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Firefox, Chrometa’s time tracker records what you’re working on , including which application, along with other info that helps you identify the task after the fact.

 

Assign time to Clients and Projects: By setting up keyword-based rules, keyword(s), email address(es), phone number(s), etc., you can “teach” Chrometa how to create most of your Timesheet for you each day. Which means you’ll only need to do some quick cleanup and annotations, resulting in the most comprehensive and accurate timesheet you’ve ever created so that you can get paid for ALL of your time (aka hard work).

 

Create invoices: Chrometa exports your timesheet to major attorney billing and practice management systems. You can create and send invoices from within Chrometa or sync them with Quickbooks online.

 

 

 

3. TimeSolv

 

TimeSolv helps lawyers increase their billable time and get paid faster. They are the most comprehensive, yet easy-to-use cloud legal billing software, proven since 1999 with over $5.2 billion billed. TimeSolv can be used offline and online. Compatible with PCs and Macs, iPad and other tablets, iPhones and Android app, TimeSolv also helps you get paid faster with LawPay and Client Portal. They offer a 30-day free trial.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Effective Design: An elegant, user-centered design that allows you to get your work done faster and easier. Efficiency is the name of the game.

 

Mobile Friendliness: Mobile app available for iOS and Android. When you’re on the go, it’s easy to make time entries. Never miss a billable hour!

 

Customer Support: Always free. From learning TimeSolv, to migrating information, to the simplest questions, TimeSolv is always available.

 

Quickbooks Sync: Doesn’t matter if you’re using QuickBooks desktop or online versions. TimeSolv syncs bi-directionally with both, so the days of double entry are over.

 

Mac or Windows: The war is over and TimeSolv has declared both sides the winner! They’re in the cloud, so use whatever platform you’d like.

 

Stellar Hosting: State-of-the-art development platform. Amazon AWS cloud computing infrastructure. ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 

4. actiTime

 

actiTIME is a solution that provides a convenient way to manage project scope, assign tasks, track time, and analyze your business performance based on the collected data.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Simple Time Tracking: actiTIME makes time tracking as simple as it can be. Record time spent on work assignments, leave comments or submit a day off in a weekly timesheet.

 

Work Scope Management: Customize you work structure, create project scope faster than ever, add details to each task, assign tasks, make use of built-in reminders, lock completed work from changes, and keep projects on task with actiTime’s user-friendly database and applications.

 

 

Reports and Data Analysis: Analyze team performance, compare estimates with actual project results, run cost and billing reports, create and edit PDF invoices, etc.

 

 

 

5. Tikit Carpe Diem

 

Tikit Carpe Diem is an easy to use, intuitive web-based timekeeping system that incorporates all the elements of timekeeping into a single solution. With exceptional functionality and ease of use, timekeeping is made easy, billing becomes timely, cash flow is improved and time is never lost as a result of clever ‘best match’ technology.

 

Summary of Application Abilities:

 

 

Record time anywhere anytime – truly mobile time recording: The adaptability of Carpe Diem means you can capture and manage billable time across every platform consistently, whether you’re on a train, plane, in the office, online, or offline.

 

Time recording made easy: Carpe Diem supplies a chronological view of each working day so that all billable time is all in one place.

 

Time finder technology: What makes Carpe Diem unique is its ‘Time finder’ technology. Unlike all other timekeeping solutions on the market, users are not confronted with hundreds of possible missed-time entries, simply the ones that should be recorded. ‘Time finder’ also allows users to auto-populate timesheets based on their digital footprint, or to find missing time by responding to intelligent prompts.

 

Predictive assistance and glossary: Predictive assistance auto-completes forms with predictive searches, and provides in-line spell checks, so the process of entering information is quick, easy and smooth. The powerful best match technology embeds activity data directly within the timekeeping workflow, automatically populating timesheets so you don’t start with a blank page to laboriously fill in.  The glossary feature allows you to attach shorthand terms to words or phrases you use often, so instead of having to type everything over again, simply type your shorthand and the field will be populated.

 

 

State of the art reporting: A powerful management console allows firms to effectively monitor and measure timekeeping performance and identify how much billable time is still available. Fully customizable metrics and dashboards supply actionable management information at the press of a button.

 

Fully compliant: Integrated e-billing and ethical wall validation improve compliance, reduce risk and improve cash flow. Finance teams can track and reduce the lag between activity, time-capture, billing, and cash. This functionality also means firms can quickly generate real-time billing reports that give clients more confidence in the firm and enrich the client relationships.

 

 

With so many different billing applications on the market in 2018, we know it can be overwhelming to sift through all of them, especially when hopping from page to page on the Internet. That’s why Select wanted to provide you with a short, comprehensive list of some of the more well-known and widely used systems to eliminate time wasted on sites that may not suit you or your firm.

 

After all, time is money!

 

Wishing you the best of luck with your time keeping this year and the beyond!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is an Orlando court reporting firm providing exemplary services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida. If you are looking for a Winter Springs court reporter, an Oviedo court reporter, a Winter Park court reporter, a Maitland court reporter, or if you need Orlando court reporting services, Apopka court reporting services, Altamonte Springs court reporting services, or Kissimmee court reporting services, Select has both the experience and the availability to meet your needs. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you.

 

Contact us today to discuss how we can help!

 

Phone: (407) 977 – 7725

 

Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

 

“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

Let Loose This Summer!

 

 

 

Attorneys work hard.

 

 

This is an incontrovertible truth.

 

 

If you happen to be one of those hardworking attorneys, it’s important that you take time to play hard as well. Striking balance between work and play can be difficult. It takes courage and a willingness to say “no” when the occasion calls. For instance, if you cannot handle taking on yet another case, it’s time to get real with your colleagues and let them know you’re overloaded.

 

 

An excellent attorney becomes only a “good” attorney when stretched too thin.

 

 

You want to maintain your status of excellence, so you need to be aware of what you can and cannot handle.

 

 

The main point here is: you are not a robot and you should not be treated as one.

 

 

That said, making sure that you let loose every now and then can be a healthy way to keep your excellence in check, and one of the best ways to do that is to take your vacation time.

 

 

There have been a number of studies backing up this idea. Vacation is considered by some researchers to be “recovery from work” – a vital period wherein we, as humans, take time to let our brains heal from constant overthinking and overstimulation. One study found that “repeated or prolonged physiological activation may disturb an organism’s precarious homeostatic (sympathetic – parasympathetic) balance which will manifest in chronic overactivity or inactivity of crucial bodily systems (e.g., the immune system).”

 

 

What does that mean?

 

 

No vacation = overactive immunity.

 

 

This is likely due to prolonged and chronic periods of stress without restful escape.

 

 

Another study by Canadian researchers Joudrey and Wallace reported that “active” leisure pursuits (such as golf!) and vacations helped buffer or decrease job stress among a sample of approximately 900 lawyers. Moreover, British researcher, Scott McCabe, has stated that vacations’ “personal benefits have been found to include: rest and recuperation from work; provision of new experiences leading to a broadening of horizons and the opportunity for learning and intercultural communication; promotion of peace and understanding; personal and social development; visiting friends and relatives; religious pilgrimage and health; and, subjective well-being”.

 

 

So, the next time you’re thinking about chucking the vacay for another 60 hours in the office, you might want to rethink that decision. After all, a well-rested, re-energized attorney is much better than a brain-dead, overly fatigued attorney.

 

 

Now close this article and go schedule your vacation, my friend!

 

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to work with attorneys throughout Central Florida. We provide exemplary legal support to law firms in Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs. Phone: (407) 977 – 7725 Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

Keep Your Firm Top of Mind

 

Having a legal newsletter is a great way to keep your firm top of mind.

 

To be “top of mind” means that you and your firm remain fresh in your clients’ minds.  This is a good place to be, especially if a matter arises and your clients find they need legal assistance.  After all, if you’re at the top of your clients’ minds when something bad happens, you’ll likely be the first one they call to find a solution.

 

But how do you keep your firm top of mind without being annoying or spammy?

 

A good way to be memorable without coming off as salesy or pushy is to provide recurrent advice that will benefit your client.  This advice should always be geared towards helping them and should never come off as a pitch for business.  You want to be viewed as a skillful and practiced attorney with vast knowledge but also a caring individual who wants to do right by his/ her client.  This positive position will help convince your client that you are the right one to call when they need help down the road.

 

So what kind of advice can you provide that will benefit your client?

 

Select Court Reporters has a few ideas to help you drum up content that will not only help a client out, but also provide intelligence at appropriate times throughout the year:

 

January – March: 

 

 

  • Send your client reminders to start cleaning up their financials for tax season. Even if you’re not a tax attorney, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide them with a reminder.  You can also take the opportunity to refer them to a competent CPA.

 

  • Send your client a reminder to file their annual or periodic reports! Every year, states require businesses to file an annual or periodic report to remain registered with their Division of Corporations. Providing a gentle reminder to your client will help them keep their company in good standing and help you remain in their good graces.

 

 

April – June:

 

 

  • This is a time of year generally associated with rainy days. Sending your client information on water intrusion hazards and how to remedy defective construction is a great way to provide advice and information ahead of time so they know how to react should a similar issue arise.

 

 

July – September:

 

 

  • It’s summertime! That means your clients will likely be headed out of town on vacation.  Providing them with information regarding personal injury (in the event of an unforeseen accident) or even travel insurance can help them stay ahead of the game and take care of any necessities prior to travel.

 

 

October – December:

 

 

  • Holiday time is a great time to provide information on consumer protection. People do a lot of shopping at this time of year.  Cautioning your clients to take care of their credit – and their credit cards – is not only practical advice, it’s vital to helping them keep their accounts safe and their identity concealed.

 

 

Being known as a helpful attorney is great…but being labeled a reliable attorney who goes above and beyond for his/ her clients is supreme.  Providing beneficial advice via your legal newsletters is a professional and personable way to take care of clients.  It also seals your reputation as a go-to lawyer with a giving nature.

 

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to work with attorneys throughout Central Florida. We provide exemplary legal support to law firms in Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, Winter Garden, Clermont, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs. Phone: (407) 977 – 7725 Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com

Client-Based Marketing and Why Law Firms Should Do It

 

 

 

Marketing in the legal field is no longer limited to print ads, television commercials, and radio spots. The process extends far beyond the stereotypical advertising gimmick, into the realm of daily work life. Marketing should be a part of every firm’s regular routine. Promoting the firm is vital to maintaining current clients, retaining new ones, and even for obtaining reputable employees.

 

Because let’s be honest—everyone wants to work for the savvy and successful law firm.

 

Truth be told, the majority of legal marketing is done through word of mouth, so print ads, while somewhat beneficial, are not generally the funnel through which new clientele will flow. Real marketing begins with the clients a law firm or attorney already has. Consider them liquid capital. If a firm invests in them, it will see a great return. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the most important method—other than winning cases—is communication. Whenever a firm or attorney communicates with a client, they are given a chance to market their business. Open and frequent communication with clients is key to creating a strong business relationship. If a client feels taken care of by a particular firm or attorney, that client will have no qualms about referring a friend or business associate in need of legal services. Moreover, every time an attorney or member of the legal staff communicates with a client via email, phone, or at an in-person meeting, a firm has direct access to pitch new business to the client. Marketing should be a part of every piece of written communication, every telephone conversation, and every client conference.

 

In order to make this possible—without spamming—firms need to develop a strategy. Logos and business slogans should always be part of email signatures and letters, but beyond the visual aspects of advertising, we have emotional psychology—the heart of marketing. At the end of the day, whether a client refers a law firm to a friend or associate depends on whether they have developed trust in that law firm. This is where non-visual marketing comes into play. Firms should make it a weekly routine to call or email clients to check in and update them on the status of their case. Even if there has been no movement on the case whatsoever, touching base with a client to let them know and to see how they are doing can make all the difference down the road.

 

Humans like to feel appreciated.

 

A firm’s unique communication process should also include perceptive listening. If a legal secretary or receptionist is speaking to a client, or even a potential client, she or he should be mindful of what that person is saying. If a client mentions offhand that they are starting a new business with a friend, the legal secretary should take note of this and pass it along to the attorney so they can reach out to them to either assist with the formation of the company or provide the name of an associate who can help them. Even in situations where a firm does not end up taking a particular case, the interaction that potential client had with the firm is integral to obtaining clients later on. These brief exchanges make an impact. They are “prime real estate”—an opportunity to get in front of a person and promote a firm’s prowess.  Therefore, educating the legal staff in the principles of marketing and relationship building should be an important goal for all firms, no matter the law type.

 

Take it from Paul J. Meyer: “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”

 

Select Court Reporters is proud to provide exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and firms in Central Florida, including but not limited to, Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Apopka, Kissimmee, etc. Contact us today to discuss your priorities and legal support needs: (407) 977 – 7725 or selectcourtreporters@gmail.com.

 

Reflecting on Your Firm or Business Losses Can Turn Them Into Wins…

 

As you embark on 2018, it’s important to look back and reflect on the past year to see what you have learned, what has worked for you and your business, and perhaps more importantly, what has not. Outlining your successes and your failures can be a very rewarding experience. It can contribute to growth and help you streamline parts of your business that may need a little fine-tuning. While looking into the face of your failures can be a bit daunting, it is a necessary exercise if you expect to improve your firm or business’ bottom line. Think of it as going to the doctor: if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness, you cannot possibly get better if you do not have an examination to diagnose the problem. Knowing what needs to be treated is essential to “curing” your firm and business’ disorders.

 

Here are a few tips on how you can get it done:

 

1.   Meet & Conquer. 

Set a date and time to sit down with your staff to work through some of your losses over the last year. Make a note of items that contributed to those losses. Did you have trouble with research? Was communication poor? How about overall strategy? Identify the trouble areas for each loss and make a list of the things that need improvement.

 

2.   Identify Solutions.

Once you have figured out the issues that contributed to your losses, take time to brainstorm solutions. Identify ways that can help you avoid those problems next go round. Be sure to ask for your staff’s input—they are usually the ones working on tasks within a case or project, so it’s important to get their feedback to determine whether solutions will actually work when it comes time to implement them.

 

3.   Set up a Strategy.

Once you and your staff have agreed on solutions, it’s time to map out a strategy to implement them in your daily work life. Our suggestion: put together a policies manual for you and your employees to refer back to until the new strategy becomes a routine. That way you won’t find yourself slipping back into old habits and experiencing the same losses.

 

4.   Celebrate Your Wins.

Whenever you experience wins due to your new solutions and strategies, celebrate them! The more you celebrate and express gratitude for your work and the work of your staff, the more you will feel inclined to continue new strategies and to seek out solutions whenever problems arise. A simple shift in perspective can make all the difference, so be sure to pat yourself on the back as often as you can!

 

“If you don’t celebrate success, it won’t celebrate you.”

Julian Hall

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Select Court Reporters proudly serves the Central Florida legal community. If you are located in Seminole, Orange, Osceola, or even Volusia county, we are primed and ready to provide you with reliable court reporters to support you and your firm. Contact us today to discuss your needs.