Automated Accounts Payable: A Great First Step for Tech-Averse Law Firms

Three big reasons every law firm should implement automated accounts payable.

I have several attorneys in my immediate family, and I’ve worked with many as clients over the last 26 years. With every attorney I’ve known, there’s one common thread: not one of them likes risk. Risk aversion seems to be ingrained in their DNA.

While avoiding risk is often a great thing when it comes to serving clients, it can be a big drawback in running a law firm. For example, many of my law firm clients dislike using new technology platforms at first. They often reason that if their current method has worked so far, why should they change it?

But this attitude hampers a firm’s ability to grow. As it turns out, there are three very good reasons to take small steps toward automation:

  1. Security

I am amazed at how many attorneys I talk with think it is too risky to automate something as simple as bill paying.  Some refuse to give up the paper check, even going as far as not using direct deposit for their own paycheck.

Yet according to the 2017 AFP Payments Fraud and Control Survey, three-quarters (75 percent) of the companies surveyed had experienced check fraud in 2016, a percentage that has been increasing. Taking care of your firm’s accounts payable online is more secure than using paper checks. Period.

  1. Ease

Full-featured accounting software like QuickBooks Online might seem daunting at first, but once it’s set up, it’s a breeze to use. At Gibbons & Gibbons, we set up QBO for our clients – and we make sure they can use it easily. If they ever have any questions, we’re right there to answer them or fix an issue. Our clients tell us that our ongoing support makes their accounts payable tasks much easier than before.

If you are running QuickBooks as your accounting system, there are a number of services that will seamlessly integrate with it and add numerous controls and tracking features to really streamline your payables process. and Plooto are two.  Try one or both out, and see how they will save you time and reduce the risks involved with manual checks.

  1. Profit

With your firm’s accounts payable automated, you save time. And as we all know, for a law firm, time really is money.  Whereas accounts payable could take hours out of each month with paper checks, paying bills can now be done in a couple of minutes using QuickBooks Online.

The time and cost involved with writing paper checks is huge.  Bank of America estimates that it costs from $4 – $20 to cut and send a paper check.  The time involved to route a payable through an office for approval and processing is immense as well. Isn’t there something else that your firm’s employees should be doing?

To quote Raymond E. Bayley, president, CEO, and co-founder of Novus Law, “Risk is inherent in everything we do; it can’t always be viewed  as an impediment.”

Ready to learn more about reducing risk through automated accounts payable? Let’s talk.

Joe Gibbons, CPA is managing partner of Gibbons & Gibbons, P.C., a Northern Virginia-based accounting and business advisory firm that specializes in working with law firms and other professional service providers.

Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash