Efficiency through integration: “joined-up” software is critical

Osman Ismail represents DPS Software.

As overall profitability is ultimately a product of long-term healthy cash-flow, it is crucial within a law firm, as within any business, to be able to monitor this cash-flow accurately. At the same time, tracking your fee earners’ efficiency and assigning their time a financial value is equally important as it is their work that ultimately makes or breaks the business performance of any law firm.

But how do you ensure that you have the right mechanisms and systems in place to manage and monitor these critical factors? Legal accounting and case management software products are examples of solutions that can deliver this capability and these two are arguably the most important ones that a legal business should be taking advantage of.

For more than three decades, DPS have been providing market-leading IT solutions to the legal sector, enabling law firms across the country to grow their businesses and increase their profits through the use of cutting-edge technology. Our case management system – OutlookOffice and fully integrated legal accounts package – Financial Director is our latest package developed to support the work of forward-looking legal practices aiming to achieve a higher level of efficiency and decrease administrative costs.

The practical benefits of having these two products “communicating’’ as a “joined up” software package are (1) reduced workload and (2) comprehensive business intelligence reporting. Let’s analyse them in more detail below.

Reduced workload

A matter in Financial Director is a matter in Outlook Office – there are no complicated links, joins or any afterthought bolt-ons; fee earners and accounts staff work in the same system. Every action such as financial information entered, time recorded or bills raised by one user in Financial Director is viewable in real-time by any other user. This means that you don’t have to enter it more than once and work is never duplicated. Moreover, there is transparency of financial information and fee earner performance for those within your organisation authorised to access it.

The “joined-up” software will allow you to reduce the amount of manual repetitive work that needs to be done on a particular case or matter and eliminate errors caused by working across partitioned systems.

Comprehensive business intelligence reporting

Used as a fully-integrated software solution, these systems provide a firm’s management with actionable information and not just a disjointed set of data. Able to do more than simply measure various metrics such as costs, profits and number of cases opened, they also reveal the underlying factors that affect these metrics such as fee earners’ productivity and clients’ revenue-generating potential.

Any data held within the system can be reported on using management dashboards, a comprehensive reports library and the Ad-Hoc report writer and bespoke scheduled reports can be emailed to the individuals who need them when they need them. The supervisor and user dashboards in our case management system offer real-time business and fee earner-based KPIs such as profit cost summaries, time recording overviews and number of cases opened over a period of time so you can make informed decisions in a timely manner.

The power of collaboration

One of the core objectives of DPS’s legal accounting software (Financial Director) is to involve the fee earners in the financial side of the legal work they are carrying out day to day and create a clearer connection between the work being done and the money coming in.

The set of features and functionalities which support this level of collaboration and transparency include:

  • A “My Matters” screen that provides a financial snapshot of a fee earners’ matters or departmental/firm-wide statistics for managers.
  • The possibility for fee earners to send payment requests & receipts (e-chits) and billing requests to the accounts department electronically.
  • The option to record time from anywhere at the click of a button with the DPS “Floating Timer”.
  • Billing guides and time analysis can be called straight from the matter diary.

Different benefits for different people

The integration between Outlook Office and Financial Director simplifies and improves the work of different staff within your legal business in various ways.

Legal cashiers, for example, benefit from sharing the responsibilities of timely and correct billing with the fee earners. Relieved from the inconvenience of having to wait for the necessary information to be delivered to them, they are empowered to do their jobs quicker and better.

An accurate recording of each client’s financial contribution to the firm’s profit will allow practice managers to identify:

  • The clients who are a considerable source of revenue for the practice.
  • The ones that that offer very little monetary benefit yet take a lot of the fee earners’ time.
  • Loyal and profitable clients that are being under-serviced and are sources of untapped work.

The accurate and real-time monitoring of each fee earner’s input will give the management a clear view of their staff’s productivity, enabling them to identify and retain the best performers.

Fee earners have the possibility to handle the financial side of their work electronically, with just a few clicks of their mouse. Payment requests, receipts, e-chits and invoices can be sent electronically straight from their Outlook Office case management system and will create jobs lists in FD where accounts staff can start processing them straight away. The risk of losing documents in the process or forgetting about different matters altogether is completely eliminated.


Speedy, integrated and efficient case management and accounts systems bring a promise of healthier cash flow for a legal business with them and benefit legal cashiers, fee earners and ultimately the firm as a whole.

Few in a managerial role within a legal business would deny the potential for efficiency savings and growth offered by a software solution that delivers powerful management information, automated processes & workflows and platforms for paperless working. With that said we’ll leave the conclusions to some of those DPS clients who didn’t just recognise this, they grasped the opportunity:

Beyond any doubt we see the use of cutting edge technology as key to our service delivery but now more than ever we need our staff to focus on the lifeblood of the firm, their legal work, and achieve new levels of efficiency…The comprehensive and fully-managed nature of the DPS service means we can provide the tools our lawyers and staff need wherever they are with no worries; DPS effectively take the strain.– Michael Glazer, Managing Partner, Glazer Delmar Solicitors.

“The setting up of any case management system can be a difficult process but our relationship with DPS, and the support of their staff, has been excellent. We have been able to tailor our systems and workflow to our exact specifications before taking advantage of the range of training options offered by DPS to make sure our staff knew exactly how to maximise the benefits of the system.– Claire Barker, Managing Partner, Equilaw.

Discover the potential of the One Office solution for your practice today: DPS Outlook Office (our case management system) and its integrated legal accounting software (Financial Director) and let the right technology connect your staff and unlock their true potential.

Osman Ismail is the Managing Director of DPS Software and has guided the legal software house and specialist hosted IT provider through its 30 year history since he established the company in 1984. His knowledge of the legal market and understanding of the specific needs of law firms when it comes to technology is second to none. Osman’s continuing enthusiasm to get ‘hands on’ and work directly with clients ensures he is always in touch with new trends in a changing legal market. This allows him to effectively steer the direction of DPS and keep developments in their products and services ahead of the curve when it comes to law firm requirements.

Email OIsmail@dpssoftware.co.uk.

Founded over 28 years ago, DPS Software is one of the UK’s longest standing providers of IT solutions for law firms. Serving over 600 practices and 15,000 individual users, DPS have built a strong and growing market position thanks to their award-winning case management and legal accounts software complemented by web-based client portal solutions and digital dictation systems. Through their DPSCloud service they are also the UK’s premier supplier of hosted solutions to the legal sector.