How AKD streamlined their billing process
As one of the fastest growing top 50 Benelux law firms headquartered in The Netherlands, it’s no surprise that a highly successful firm like AKD has taken initiative to strengthen internal process to maintain their best-in-class approach to client services. With a team of 250 lawyers and civil-law notaries practicing in six offices across the Benelux countries, AKD had realised that they needed to manage their billing operations more effectively and decided to centralise billing and finance into one office. However, surprisingly the billing process became more complicated. The consolidated department in Rotterdam had to work manually with paperwork from six offices, sometimes receiving hard copies and hand-written notes with difficult to read instructions or last-minute filing changes via snail mail. The lack of communication between departments and with a lack-luster billing solution, AKD needed a major billing system overhaul.
Once the finance department was moved to one location, the AKD team began conducting interviews across each department to find out how they were billing and what challenges they had during the billing process. The common thread was that many bills were being escalated or cancelled during the monthly cycle because of errors, miscommunications, wrong filings and paperwork challenges. AKD decided to modernise its billing process by adding Paperless Billing to Aderant Expert, which the firm has been using since 2001. Paperless Billing streamlines the prebill review process allowing for faster processing, at a lower cost, and with reduced errors. With the electronic markup features and workflow-enabled automated routing, the application facilitates faster processing through review of changes, display of the resulting impact on values and one-click acceptance. A reduction in paper driven processes results in decreased paper usage, reduced printing costs and courier fees, and lower administrative costs. The firm decided to take a phased roll out approach, starting with a pilot group of two departments, not by chance the departments where the members of the board sit in. After three months, AKD continued to roll out Paperless Billing lawyer by lawyer, with each lawyer receiving personal training and support.
Since implementing Paperless Billing, AKD’s billing department has drastically changed. The amount of errors has gone down, allowing the billing team to focus on larger and more complex projects. Lawyers are empowered by being able to see all billing pertaining to a matter or client at a glance. Using Aderant’s Found Time, AKD saw the average time spent in Paperless Billing by fee earners drop from seven to eight hours to between 30 minutes and one hour after only three billing cycles.
In Their Words:
“The unexpected impact of using Paperless Billing has been phenomenal since implementation was completed in May 2017. We have roughly 150 distinct regular users: 10 in finance, 120 fee earners, 20 secretaries, which is quiet the mix of users. We’ve noticed several improvements, not just with the reduction in time, but also the culture surrounding billing in the offices. Given the success we’ve had, next year AKD is looking to optimise the use of Paperless Billing with added features of billing, rules and guidelines.”
–- Cees de Vos, Chief Information Officer, AKD