How to pick the right partner to achieve your objectives

When law firms begin to research whether to outsource their secretarial and administrative support services, it can be difficult to know where to start. There’s a lot of information to take in, lots of jargon associated with outsourcing and the processes behind transferring services from in-house to a third party—all of which can act as a hindrance when exploring the possibilities available to your firm.

From the outset, you need to know why you are outsourcing and therefore what to expect from the provider you select to use.

Your firm’s management team needs to ask three questions:

  • Are you secretarial and administrative support teams working as efficiently as possible?
  • Are the systems and processes used by the firm’s administrative support services and indeed the wider firm, efficient?
  • How cost-effective are your support services overall?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can decide which support options will benefit your firm the most.

If your support teams aren’t working as efficiently as possible, how can outsourcing support them in their day-to-day activities?

When Intelligent Office begins working with a new client, we work hard to upskill all members of the team to enable them to deliver services to a uniform level. There exists a robust and proven set of people management and operational methodologies that we have created to support this training and development. All tasks that our teams perform are documented in standard operating procedures.

This way, our teams work to a consistently high standard because they understand what is expected of them and are fully supported to deliver against this expectation. Over time, they can take on more responsibility working in areas that were once outside of their expertise. When your secretarial and administrative support teams are trained and flexible to this extent, it helps drive efficiency with resource being redeployed to adapt to changing demands within the firm.

Agreeing to a consistent approach and documenting each step to enable other members of the team to learn and follow the same process, means both more- and less-experienced staff members can provide increased benefit to your firm.

Are your systems and processes up to date and working in support of the administrative team?

If you feel dissatisfied with the time key processes such as e-filing and client onboarding take to complete, and are concerned that they are inefficient, then Intelligent Office can help work with you to better align them to your firm’s requirements. Similarly, if you feel that a lack of workflow tools and other systems your secretarial and administrative support teams might use to deliver their service is impacting the quality and efficacy of your support function, we can help by using some of our tools.

There could be a relatively short period of disruption as your teams transfer over to Intelligent Office, as processes change, and systems are improved. However, these new ways of working are proven to make your administrative support function more productive, with a higher and more consistent standard of work.

We’ll ensure your support teams are aligned with the rest of the firm and its objectives, by focusing on data relating to the service they provide. Particularly, team performance, the quality and quantity of their work, and the type of work the team completes—while continually upskilling and developing the team.

Is your administrative support cost-effective?

If the wrong functions are completing the wrong tasks—PAs spending lots of time on printing and other procedural administrative tasks when they are paid circa 40% more than central administrative teams, for example—then this demonstrates the overall service design within the firm needs further consideration.

Often when local support such as PAs retain too much work, a firm’s central administrative support can be under utilised, and this means the firm is not making the most out of the resources it already has available. Removing the confusion between which tasks should sit within each support team is key to success in an increasingly cost-conscious environment. When support ratios get squeezed and your firm isn’t making the most of its support teams, then you are wasting resources—both time and money.

This is one reason why it is often a better option to outsource these functions to experts in legal support, because they will assist in the re-organisation of tasks to the most suited teams. Expert knowledge is what Intelligent Office supplies, and you can expect the support you receive to be from teams working together more effectively, maximising the firm’s return on investment in these services.

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