Industry case study from Aurum Solutions: Cash capable

This article was originally featured as an industry case study in the April issue of LPM. To read the issue in full, download LPM.

Dealing with high-volume, low-value transactions – where firms take significant risk for a small reward – it’s essential to remove human error where possible. Groupit’s reconciliation software from Aurum Solutions reduces risks and gives Dorchester-based BPL Solicitors the consistency it needs to do business effectively.

Financial controller Kevin Cole says: “Our existence as a firm has obviously crossed the timeline of some turbulent financial events post-2007. Fortunately, we were using Groupit at the time, so while we had to downsize we had an automated product that enabled us to cope with the financial strain.”

Being able to run smooth transactions and manage clients’ accounts effectively is the firm’s pressing business need and why it needs a finance tool like Groupit, he adds.

Now that conveyancing firms have largely forgotten about the hardships of the recession, BPL has embarked on a mission of growth – seeking to build the firm to a stature where it can hold its own. “And the firm continues to use Groupit to aid that growth,” says Cole.

Fast and furious cash

As a part of growing the firm and its offerings, BPL has begun practising construction litigation, where it represents either side in the building industry. But this move adds another layer of cashflow to manage. Cole says: “Conveyancing transactions generate numerous receipts and payments in a firm’s bank account, which builds up to an incredibly busy point just before someone moves house. And nowadays money is moved using many different methods, often at the last minute.” Managing that money is a challenge and big risk for the firm, which has to consider external risks from cybercrime and money laundering and, therefore, be extremely vigilant in how it deals with financial transactions.

Cole says that law firms are generally required to identify receipts that come into their bank accounts within 48 hours. “And with a large number of transactions, doing manual bank reconciliations is nearly impossible – but Groupit can do all of that in minutes.”

He adds that the software removes the challenge of making sure the firm correctly and quickly identifies money going in and out.

“At the end of the day, the finance team’s objective is to make sure that the client’s account has been effectively managed, so that it’s at nil balance when a transaction has completed,” Cole explains.

“We’re talking about large sums of money, typically £150m a month, which is represents a lot of transactions in a short amount of time – and mistakes could easily be made. This is why timely bank reconciliation is so important.”

By reconciling accounts before 9am, Groupit allows the firm to let its legal teams know precisely what money has been or has yet to be identified.

Cole says: “In conveyancing you’re often asking clients or other parties to transfer monies for a transaction at the last minute and frequently mortgage advances arrive only on the day of completion.”

Helping hand

But it isn’t just good software and a drive from business needs that have kept Aurum close to BPL’s heart. Cole says that another thing Aurum does excellently is provide first-rate support.

“When we first dealt with Aurum, not many other firms out there were doing automation in this way. We definitely felt like they are at the forefront of innovation in the market.

“Since then, more software has come on to the market, but the key to us is that Groupit sits as a standalone software and has been with us every step of the way. If we ever have a problem, I know that I can always call and someone will be there to help.” He adds that he doubts the firm and its staff could get the same degree of support with an accounts package with a built-in bank reconciliation feature.

Another point to make about Groupit is its automation, Cole says, which allows firms to look at bank statements and flags ‘weak’ information.

“Once you’ve gone through identifying a particular bank profile, you can build up your own ‘inferences’ that allow you to match commonly used names in your system with those used by the bank. It’s one of the great advantages of the Groupit software – which again saves the firm a lot of time.”

With the support and software function it needs to identify money in a timely fashion, BPL has reaped significant financial benefits for a long time. Aurum’s Groupit enables the firm to recover easily from mistakes by allowing it to roll back on tasks and make corrections. It also introduces efficiencies by automating otherwise monotonous financial tasks, and generally takes the strain out of cashflow processes.

But it isn’t just the quality of Groupit and the value it adds to the business, but the level of support the firm receives should a problem arise.

Cole says: “For us at BPL, Aurum’s Groupit is mission-critical software. The product has long delivered, and continues to provide, a dependable and effective bank reconciliation system that’s driving efficiencies and helping the firm grow.” 

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