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WINTER 2014 EDITION

Forefront
 

Five Benefits of Collections Automation

As with any change, automation brings certain inherent advantages and disadvantages; certain things that are lost, and certain things that are gained. However, just as manufacturing was forever changed by the assembly line, the benefits of automation and efficiency are hard to be ignored by any industry or enterprise. The potential benefits are equally applicable to the legal industry: increased efficiencies, increased volume, and greater uniformity.

This article provides five different examples of this application of automation as it relates to the legal collections industry.

Ability to Automatically Generate Letters and Statements

For firms of any size, the generation of reminder letters, monthly statements, invoice copies, and other correspondence, to either clients or fee earners, is a time consuming practice. Each letter has to be created with the appropriate information and sent to the appropriate address. Without automation, this process becomes even more unwieldy and time consuming. With automation, all of this can be done, more or less, with the click of a button. All of these types of correspondence can be produced in bulk and scheduled for greater efficiency.

Consistency

Without automation, the effort and time needed to maintain a consistent stream of interaction with clients and fee earners is considerable. Entire days of multiple employees must be dedicated to ensure weekly, monthly, or quarterly contact and follow-up. With this all being automated, all correspondence is easily scheduled at predetermined intervals of aging and AR criteria. This ensures continued and accurate contact is being made and managed, with practically no manual involvement.

Standardization

One off, or ad hoc copies of letters or statements can lead to variations often unaccounted for, and possibly unapproved. Automation allows for standardized, predetermined, and preset correspondence to be issued reliably and without potential unauthorized adaptations. However, this does not necessarily lead to reduced flexibility. Automation can also account for "management by exception" where a number of conditions can be adapted for unique or changing circumstances, which allows for the best of both worlds. Management by exception gives the flexibility for large runs of standardized statements and letters, while providing adaptability for special and extenuating circumstances.

Reduced Manual Work Load

Reduction in work load and decreasing tedious repetitive tasks for collectors and billers remains a huge advantage of automation. Correspondence can be produced, printed, and even emailed, en masse with almost no need for oversight, maintenance, or management. This, of course, allows collections departments to concentrate on other hands-on tasks requiring a more personal touch.

Custom Automated Reporting

Often external communication is the primary concern of collections automation efforts. However, firms are increasingly finding equal advantage to automating internal communication as well. Fee earners, collectors, billers, and managers can easily be automatically sent reminder emails and letters. Another great advantage is the ability to automatically email custom reporting internally. This allows for greater knowledge and information sharing within the firm itself and keeps everyone informed effectively. With reports scheduled and automatically emailed, there is no longer any need for manual running and distribution.

Ultimately, every firm's business processes have slight variations, with different concerns involved when interacting with clients, fee earners, or others. With even greater flexibility, scalability, and adaptability offered, through various platforms, automation is an increasingly robust tool. The advantages associated with it will continue to grow, as the disadvantages simultaneously shrink. As with most changes, the potential benefits of automation should certainly be evaluated, explored, and considered when analyzing operational improvements.


Qorus

MiniSoft, Inc. is a global software company specializing in collection management software for legal and professional service firms. It offers extensive reporting and trending capabilities, automatic business processing, seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook, and handling of multiple offices and currencies. Click here for more information.

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