Case Study: Financial Transformation
Engaged by a service provider (a boutique law firm) that had been in business for approximately 18 months. Firm was highly successful on the legal side but was immature on the operations/business process side. In 18 months, firm had had three Chief Operating Officers, all from “Big Law” and all who had not been successful. Position had been vacant for three months, placing great stress on the Managing Partner. Total staff the commencement of the engagement was approximately 50, with a ratio of 2 lawyers for each non-legal position.
WHAT WE DID
Our assignment was to perform a high-level assessment of all Firm operations: Finance, HR, IT; Billing and Payables and Administrative support; provide observations and make recommendations for improvement. Assessment also included evaluation of staff morale and related staffing issues. Expected duration of assignment; two weeks.
Assessment identified two issues requiring immediate attention; staff morale and need for full time Chief Operating Officer to relieve burden on Managing Partner. Remedial actions were taken within ten days and included the naming of our consultant as Interim Chief Operating Officer with undefined term of service.
Longer term recommendations included: steps to improve the Firm’s Information Security polices and IT infrastructure, execute a search for and implementation of new ERP system; actions to clarify and realign staff roles, hiring of a full time Finance Director; development of better reporting and creation of a capacity plan; establishment of a more formal HR function.
The firm was in the process of tripling the size of its primary offices as the engagement began. The subsequent six to eight weeks were devoted to managing the myriad of issues associated with that move while stabilizing and improving staff morale. In addition, significant planning was performed on the ERP and IT front while proposing a longer-term staff realignment plan.
Subsequent eight weeks were focused on ERP software selection, full scale IT and information security review, development of a new reporting dashboard for Partners; assessment of firm insurance coverage, development of a new 401K and profit-sharing plan and overseeing year end closing process including management of bonus recommendations.
Post year-end close focus has been on implementation of new ERP system, new 401K and profit sharing plan, complete rebuild of Firm’s IT infrastructure and creation of robust information security practices. In addition, an overall firm capacity plan and forecast was developed.
Since our arrival, there has been no staff turnover. Key initiatives have been conceived and executed. Managing Partner is primarily practicing law. Firm is well on the way to having an back office operation that is of the same superior quality as the Firm’s legal practice.