find the latest legal job
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Solicitor - Insurance and Health
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Newcastle NSW 2300
· Dynamic organisation · Outstanding career opportunity
View details
Solicitors Barrister and Registered Migration Agents
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· We are an established multi-disciplinary practice located in North Sydney. ·
View details
Commercial/Projects Lawyer (4+ PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Fantastic, supportive working environment · Wide variety of work, direct client contact
View details
In-house Property Lawyer - 2-4 year PQE | Dynamic High Impact Role
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne VIC 3004
· Large multi-disciplinary in-house team
View details
Why spreadsheets are slowly dying (and good riddance)

Why spreadsheets are slowly dying (and good riddance)

Promoted by



For nearly 25 years, Microsoft Excel has been the financial foundation of business. Yet, slowly but surely, services like Xero, Salesforce and Google Analytics have replaced the humble spreadsheet – software that processes data with greater speed, accuracy, accessibility and visibility.


Yes, spreadsheets will always have a role, e.g. processing data highly specific to your circumstances. But for reports shared across business models – be it revenue, contact details, website visits or cash flow – spreadsheets fall flat.

When it comes to running a law firm, many common, business-critical indicators are still reliant on  spreadsheets. Automating these financial indicators has numerous advantages, which we’ve experienced while implementing FilePro’s newest functionality – Dashboard (Full disclosure: I am the Founder and CEO of FilePro).

 

1. Visibility

Humans are designed to understand information in a visual way, i.e. not a spreadsheet. Probably the most infamous example of this bias is the Challenger Space shuttle disaster, where a part was damaged due to cold temperatures.
In retrospect, it was found that the Challenger team did, in fact, test these sealants under different temperatures – this is how the data was displayed.


And this is what would have been clear should the data have been displayed in a visual format.


The lesson is clear – ensure that your practice management system displays your information in a clear, logical, and easy-to-understand manner.

 

2. Speed

Spreadsheets are clunky. Data is copied and pasted from one program to the other, results have to be double checked, and Excel takes time to master.
Your practice management system should be able to display billings, debtors, task list, new matters listing with a single click, and in real time, i.e. without waiting for systems to generate data at the end of the month and the excel expert to generate reports.

Which brings us to...

 

3. Accuracy

The manual nature of excel makes it prone to human error. In fact, data researcher Raymond Panko found, “that the average cell error rates (the ratio of cells with errors to all cells with formulas) is 5.2%”.
While automated systems such as Dashboard are not immune to human error, e.g. someone filling out a timesheet incorrectly, a fully-integrated approach removes many steps of manual data handling across systems and further reduces the risk of mistakes.

 

4. Accessibility

This is two-fold. Firstly, many spreadsheets are hosted locally and can only be accessed by one person at a time. Services like Office 365 are changing this, although they raise security issues around public v private hosting.
Secondly, spreadsheets aren’t tailored to who is looking at them – for example, a junior fee-earner shouldn’t see your firm’s P&L. Yet you may want them to compare their daily timesheets to their KPIs.
Firstly, check whether your practice management system is hosted locally or on a private server, preferably in Australia. Secondly, ask if it can create tailored reports based on who is looking – be it partner, practice manager or fee earner.

If you’d like to learn more about FilePro’s Dashboard, visit our website or watch the video below.

 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Chain
Jul 21 2017
Podcast: Combating modern slavery
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Tom Lodewyke is joined by Veronica Rios, the executive m...
Businessmen and women
Jul 20 2017
Women outnumber men in legal profession
A report has found that women outnumbered men in the Australian legal profession in 2016 for the fir...
Leadership, manager, boss, leader, team members
Jul 20 2017
Do we have a leadership crisis in law?
Do you work for a ‘pacesetter’, the partner who rewrites perfectly fine reports, has little posi...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...