You know it’s coming…upset partners, annoyed admins, long hours and lost weekends. Transitioning billing systems in law firms is usually synonymous with stress, even with the best project planning.
If you use your current billing system as your Conflicts of Interest system, your headaches may just have turned into migraines…you’re now facing two critical system upgrade projects at the same time.
One idea to consider to minimize the operational and emotional impact of a billing system switch is to convert conflicts first, and separately, from time and billing. Here’s why:
- Changing both conflicts and time and billing is like doing 2 huge projects instead of one.
For those firms who have been using their finance system’s conflicts searching functionality, getting conflicts ‘out’ of the finance system first enables the firm to focus efforts on the conflicts project and the finance project, giving each mission critical system the 100% focus it requires.
- Conflicts is a relatively straight forward conversion and a “quick win”. Converting to conflicts first can build confidence throughout the firm before moving onto the larger project. It’s a great PR move for the back office.
- Most firms acknowledge that the conflicts systems that come with the billing systems are subpar because they’re not the primary area of focus for the billing vendors. Therefore, a secondary motivator for separating conflicts and billing is to get state-of-the-art conflicts searching & analysis as a key add-on benefit of getting conflicts ‘done’ before finance.
Firms that have separated the conflicts system from the billing system and who have tackled conflicts conversion first are left only with the change-over of integrations from intake & conflicts to the new finance system, which is a 100% technical exercise. It provides firms with an opportunity to re-validate field mappings and to update integration mechanisms.
- There are costs associated when integrating conflicts/ intake processes with any new financial systems but this cost, as compared to replacing your intake system AND conflicts simultaneous with your finance system, is very small.
- Reduce overall cost of finance system upgrade (and conflicts system upgrade) by doing them in isolation which is ‘simpler’ and more ‘focused’ which leads to shorter timeframes, lower costs and better results.
- Reduce the overall risk of your finance system upgrade and the conflicts system upgrade. Focus reduces the risk of ‘missing’ things along the way that are critical.
Managing conflicts as a separate project before any billing system change is a smart strategy for any firm.