You can’t run one of America’s best law firms without being innovative.
After a long career that included serving as a vice president and chief counsel at AOL and chief counsel at CompuServe, Brian Dengler saw an opportunity to service tech clients who could not afford to pay the rates charged at larger private firms. He decided to set up a boutique information technology practice in central Ohio, and his firm has been heralded by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best in the nation in information technology.
Low overhead results in high client satisfaction rates
Maintaining a low overhead is a core principle to Brian’s business model. He wants his tech clients to take advantage of his expertise, and not stress out over the fees. That means he manages most of his practice in the cloud, eliminating paperwork and electronically tracking and scheduling billing records.
Brian chose Clio as his practice management solution because he felt the service was more robust, easier to use and had a more attractive price point than its competitors. It also came highly recommended by his state bar association.
“Clio could basically help me manage the business side of my practice without the use of personnel,” Brian says.
Seamless integration with Fundbox
Brian knew one of his firm’s main challenges would be collecting from clients in an efficient manner.
“You give clients a certain length of time to pay, but the problem is that you still are racking up expenses,” he says. “The cash flow is uneven because the payments don’t always come in exactly when you want.”
Brian turned to Fundbox, a service that advances payments on outstanding invoices for a small fee — and seamlessly integrates with Clio. He started employing Fundbox to manage his cash flow.
“What’s very nice is the way the two services interface,” he says. “Clio handles my billing records, time entries, receivables, work in progress and invoices. That information is shared on the backend with Fundbox, which makes it easy for me to go into the service and smooth out cash flow.”
Brian found Fundbox to be a better alternative than going to a financial institution and setting up a line of credit. He really liked what he called the “control factor.”
“I thought the entire design was seamless,” he says. “It was easy to set up; it was very clear what was going on. There weren’t a lot of steps you had to take to sign up.”
Brian finds Fundbox particularly helpful when dealing with clients whose payments are unpredictable.
“I have a very large company as a client, but its invoice payments are a bit inconsistent,” he explains. “Sometimes the client could pay in 15 days and sometimes 90 days. You can’t get upset with them because they’re large, they have their own account payable practices, and you know they will pay, you just don’t know when.”
Brian relies on Fundbox to provide the cash to keep his services up and running in the meantime.
“I think that is the biggest advantage with evening out the time when clients pay their invoices,” he says. “Fundbox is very good at smoothing that out.”
And because he’s not burdened with tracking cash flow, Brian has more time to do something he loves — he teaches at Kent State.
Brian recommends that colleagues sign up for Clio and Fundbox even before opening the door at a law practice.
“If you’re a cost-conscious practice that depends on the cloud to be competitive, these two solutions are great,” he says.