Holland & Knight: Automating processes to save time and meet clients' needs

 
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Colleagues Kathryn Kobea, cash applications supervisor, and Elena Day, client accounts manager, work together in support of one of the nation’s largest law firms, Holland & Knight.

“Our department is responsible for managing all aspects related to cash transactions, including payment applications,” said Day.

Kobea and Day work in the firm’s global operations center in Florida. The operations center brings together the firm’s business and support functions, where more than 300 professional staff members serve the firm’s lawyers and clients.

Their support for more than 1,400 lawyers at Holland & Knight – an international firm that serves clients in areas including commercial litigation, regulatory matters, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and government advocacy – helps the firm provide efficient, client-centric services. Streamlined operations are essential for effectively supporting a large global business and for delivering strong customer service.

Kobea and Day rely on ClientPay and Aderant to automate the firm’s invoice-to-cash process and ensure that clients have a frictionless payment experience. Kobea described how implementing ClientPay has helped their department strengthen how they serve clients.

“One of our pain points was the inability to accept e-check payments,” said Kobea. “With our upgrade to ClientPay 2.0, our clients now have the ability to remit payment via e-check, in addition to making payments via credit card. Another challenge we faced was the inability to set up auto-recurring payments, and with our upgrade, we now have this capability.”

The ability to easily use credit cards and e-checks gives clients more options, and clients appreciate – and increasingly expect – this flexibility and convenience from firms. Also, setting up recurring payments makes it easier for clients since they don’t need to track when their bills are due.

These are among the methods firms can use to help ensure that clients pay in a timely manner. Day described another way implementing ClientPay has helped her firm get money in the bank faster.

“One benefit is the ability to set our clients up on the ClientPay payment portal, where they can log in at any time or place to remit payment,” she explained. “This allows the client to access their account on demand and, therefore, allows for much faster payment processing.”

Embedding a payment portal into a firm’s website speeds up the payment process by allowing clients to pay their bills online whenever they want. When clients can pay immediately, funds are available to firms sooner.

Going Digital to Automate Manual Processes

Holland & Knight uses Aderant in conjunction with ClientPay to streamline workflow and processes. Integrating the systems has saved the accounting department time by automating manual tasks.

“We use Manage Postings under Aderant Connect to post all outstanding payments from ClientPay into Aderant,” Kobea explained. “After the data comes over, it auto-allocates to the bills indicated for payment by the client. Then, we post the session in Aderant. This process has been a big timesaver for our department since all we have to do is upload the data and post it, whereas before, it was a time-consuming, manual process.”

Modernizing their workflow by going digital has helped Kobea and Day take their department to the next level, and they have suggestions for others looking to do the same. Day recommends that firms review their processes to look for opportunities to drive efficiencies.

“We recommend that every firm, regardless of size or level of sophistication, look at current processes and evaluate if they can be streamlined and handled more effectively, which can result in being more efficient,” she said.

Since their department had already automated processes and optimized efficiencies well before COVID-19 hit, they were able to quickly adjust to working virtually.

“We pivoted to a remote working environment,” said Kobea. “The firm made the adjustment expeditiously and seamlessly, while continuing to meet the needs of our clients.”

Like others in accounting departments with automated invoicing and payment processes, Kobea and Day were prepared to help their firm keep cash flowing and maintain business continuity in this uncertain market. Having digital workflows already established made it easier to be agile and adapt to industry changes.

Kobea and Day like knowing that their work makes an impact on the firm and its clients. They said that helping the firm provide excellent value to clients is rewarding.

“We enjoy helping our clients and meeting their needs, while providing superior customer service,” Kobea said.

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