“The best part of my job is the variety,” Junco said. “No two days are alike. It’s constantly making me think, and it’s not monotonous.”
Beyond her accounting responsibilities of accounts receivable (A/R), billing, collections and reporting, her department of four also provides marketing, human resources and front desk support for the firm’s 15 attorneys. Eckberg Lammers serves clients across a wide platform of individual, business and commercial and municipal practice areas.
Enabling clients to pay online is a key reason Eckberg Lammers implemented ClientPay, Junco said. Before the firm adopted ClientPay, accepting a credit card payment was a manual process.
“The only way to process a credit card payment was by calling us or stopping at the front desk,” she explained. “The number-one reason we switched to ClientPay was to gain the ability to pay online.”
Another key reason was to strengthen her firm’s efforts around security and PCI compliance. Shorthand for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, PCI refers to stringent standards regarding how businesses accept credit cards and store card data.
When Junco’s firm used a manual payment process, she stored everything manually in a three-ring binder. She said their old system was time consuming. Since clients had to provide their credit card information over the phone or by coming into the office, it was difficult to connect.
“We continually played phone tag with clients,” she said. “It was time consuming. Sometimes a client would call me two or three times a day and then eventually drop off, and we’d never get the payment.”
Junco said it was reassuring to know PCI compliance and processing online credit cards payments are core competencies for ClientPay.
“Using ClientPay took away some of the responsibilities with PCI compliance for us,” Junco said. “ClientPay being specialized in the attorney environment was also a positive for us.”
In addition to strengthening security, using ClientPay has made her department more efficient.
“Now, when people call and tell me, ‘Go ahead and pay on my credit card,’ I pull up their name, hit enter, put in a dollar amount and we’re done,” she said. “Even conversations with clients are shorter. They don’t have to give me their address or credit card number because I have it all already.”
She added that if clients call to make a payment now, she reminds them they can do so online.
Decreasing the amount of time spent on the phone isn’t the only way ClientPay has made Junco’s department more efficient.
“ClientPay has saved me time because it’s so user friendly,” she said. “I get an email every time someone charges a credit card through the program. It’s really convenient. I don’t have to talk to anybody or write down a card number or deal with a card being declined. It’s been nice to put the burden on clients to go online and pay.”
Junco was surprised how easy it was to use ClientPay.
“When we were getting it all set up, I thought we’d need training, but it’s so user friendly I was able to figure out on my own,” she said. “I’ve emailed back and forth with ClientPay, and they’re very responsive.”
Junco also appreciates functionality she hadn’t anticipated using, such as being able to easily email receipts and to incorporate her firm’s branding colors into emails.
“Now when clients get our receipts, they’re in our company colors,” Junco said.
ClientPay has also helped her firm be paid in a timelier manner.
“With the simplicity of going online and paying on our website, we get paid at the clients’ convenience,” she said. “They can go online on weekends or evenings, whereas before they had to call us between 8 and 5 just so we could take their credit card information. Now that it’s online, I see clients pay at 10 or 11 at night when they’re doing their bookwork. It’s especially convenient now when people aren’t using checks all the time.”
Junco also uses Juris technology to help the firm get paid faster, and she said the improvements Eckberg Lammers has made could help A/R departments at other firms looking to bring their department and firm to the next level.
“We brought in Juris Suite, an awesome program,” Junco said. “I used to print out reports at the end of every month for billing timekeepers. Now, I just send an email saying, ‘Billing is done for the month. Please look at Juris Suite and let me know if you have any questions.’ I’m not printing out 15 reports for attorneys anymore. We did this a couple of years back, and it’s really been a game changer.”
Juris technology has also made Junco more efficient in how she supports the attorneys making business decisions.
“I have attorneys looking for specific analysis of specific areas, and with Juris Suite I can dig down and find what they want,” she said. “I can run a report and put it on their front page, and they have it going forward.”
Junco also used Juris to improve the firm’s prebill process, making it a paperless process for attorneys.
“We used to print out all our prebills,” she said. “Now, we email those to individual attorneys and they can reply without passing paper back and forth.”
In addition to using Juris to streamline the billing process for attorneys, Junco uses it to make the process more convenient for clients. She uses Juris to email bills to clients set up with an email account.
“It’s a great feature,” she said. “It’s one less paper thing we have to do – folding bills, sticking them in envelopes and finding postage.”
Being able to automate manual tasks to improve efficiencies is particularly helpful given the complexities around securing revenue for a law firm – an A/R challenge Junco has dealt with for more than 20 years.
“When we go into a store and buy something, we pay for it on the spot,” she said. “With lawyers, it’s a process that takes place over a couple of days or months or years. Clients aren’t walking out with a tangible product they can hold, but they’re walking out with a knowledge base.”
She knows this difference is what can make collections tough for law firms.
“Sometimes the dollar amounts don’t follow the product,” she explained. “Here, we do the work and then we bill you, and it’s hard to collect sometimes. We’re not producing tangible items; it’s a service.”
Despite the challenges, Junco enjoys her role and the impact it has on her firm.
“I have great coworkers I like to work with, and I like what I do,” Junco said. “I like to crunch on Excel spreadsheets and numbers and see the results.”