Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Remaking the professional service firm

George Beaton has been a significant contributor to the conversation about the reengineering of professional service firms.

With Imme Kaschner, Beaton has recently released the book ‘Remaking Law Firms' and it is a compelling read on many levels (see - http://www.remakinglawfirms.com/).

Broadly it captures all of the key themes facing professional service businesses generally, and particularly the legal profession.

Certainly, our experience as one of the so-called ‘NewLaw' innovators, reflects many of the core challenges and opportunities identified in the book.

One area however that I had difficultly agreeing with was the analysis about the need for time recording.

In particular, the book states –

To make this clear, we do not advocate the complete elimination of time recording.

Time recorded on a matter is a relevant component of the cost of production.

And of course revenue minus cost equals profit.

Every firm must know the extent to which its units of production, that is, matters, are profitable-and that is the reason why time must be recorded to track efficiency and improvements.

As many will be aware, authors such as Ron Baker have critiqued this area at length, and completely rejected the utility of time recording (see any of Baker’s books, for example – Implementing Value Pricing (see - http://www.amazon.com/Implementing-Value-Pricing-Business-Professional/dp/0470584610).

Our personal experience is the same as the conclusion reached by Baker. In particular, while recording time (even when pricing everything on an upfront fixed basis), our focus was always ultimately on what was chargeable.

It was not until we stopped recording time that the cultural shift finally took place to allow us to focus on what was valuable to the client.

As mentioned previously, we began the journey to address many of the challenges of redefining the professional services firm business model over 10 years ago.

For many, the journey has started more recently and we believe it important to share our learnings.

In this regard, we are excited to be joining George Beaton as presenters at the 2016 ALPMA Summit, A Blue Print for Change, 7-9 September in Melbourne – see - http://www.alpma.com.au/Summit

Our upcoming Roadshow will also be a full day example of our contribution in this space.

Download the brochure.

Before then, our recent free webinar shared a number of insights - https://viewlegal.com.au/recorded-webinars/.

Watch the promo video below.