Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A., is headquartered in Miami and is the largest law firm in Florida. With more than 500 lawyers in 13 locations across the state, the firm practices predominantly in the insurance law space.
Until 2018, the firm relied on a manual, proprietary system for its bill processing. Touching more than 18,000 matters a month, its partners sat on a high number of prebills. Billing was dramatically delayed because of this. The finance team didn’t have technology to leverage in the billing process, which meant they were working overtime to manage billing and collections.
“We are spread out across Florida, and it’s a challenge to track manually,” says Aguero. “It was too many pieces of paper to track.”
The firm needed to streamline how they processed bills to allow for quicker collections while avoiding issues that delayed payment.
Choosing Prebillmanager and Alertmanager
Chief Financial Officer, Ed Aguero, and Applications System Administrator Lauren Polo took lead on this project. They were in search of technology that could automate bill editing, approval, and processing for its Aderant system. Aguero also knew that the chosen software needed to be easily configurable and fully customizable to track the large number of matters spread across the state.
The firm was also in search of a robust, customizable alerting platform, compatible with their Aderant system, to disseminate and distribute notifications. After learning of another nearby firm’s success with products from Iridium, now part of BigHand’s product offering, Aguero chose the PrebillManager and AlertManager modules to fully cover the firm’s main objectives.
“The team spent a week with us, and we were able to customize and tailor the applications to our needs by working hand-in-hand with the Iridium, now part of BigHand implementation team,”
“By the end of the week, we were all set to go and very confident with everything we had done, knowing the implementation resources would be there if we needed additional guidance. We bought the modules in April, and by the time summer was over, it was humming.”
After implementation, Polo created a series of internal instructional videos for in-person and remote training on the new billing processes.
“Our partners had questions and were understandably apprehensive about changes to existing processes,” says Polo. “But within two months, the questions stopped. It became as easy as sending out the videos, and we never encountered any major training issues.”
The firm has been able to use the PrebillManager module to streamline bill editing, approval, and processing. AlertManager has allowed the firm to schedule and distribute notifications via email or through desktop notifications. Both modules are fully integrated with the firm’s Aderant system, making it easy for users to configure and customize the tools to meet their specialized needs.
“The alerts that the team created have changed how we work. We have been able to become more proactive in pushing out information,”
“The ability to customize gave us the flexibility to leverage both products, which made a world of difference. It has increased our billing speed and, subsequently, our collection speed.”
“Before rolling out these modules it would typically take us 45 days to get from time entry to pre-bill. Now, it’s around 30 days,” Aguero says. “Our mean days from time entry-to-bill, including the above statistic, went from 66 to 48 days—saving almost three weeks. Money is coming in faster.”
Even after growing by 60 attorneys in the past year, the firm hasn’t needed to add additional staff to their accounting department, despite the department taking on more duties.
Both modules became even more vital when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. While many other firms struggled to manage paper prebills with offices suddenly shut down,
“We already had much of the infrastructure implemented so everyone could work from home immediately.”
The PrebillManager and AlertManager modules enabled the firm to continue to serve its clients after temporarily transitioning to a virtual operation. “If you buy PrebillManager without AlertManager, you’re making a mistake. From an efficiency and bill-speed standpoint, you will easily recover what you spend by the second or third year.”
“Leveraging new technology has made a huge impact on our day-to-day processes, and made it much easier during the pandemic. Now, 95% of our attorneys use paperless prebills. Clients also like it because we can close matters faster and subsequently bill and collect faster,” adds Aguero. “Through Lauren’s efforts, we also don’t have to train people in-person. We have created processes that have made a significant impact, and we’ve grown leaps and bounds in our top-line number. It makes a huge difference that information is always available to those in our firm that demand it.”