A new report by BT Business shows that professional service firms are losing out on potential income by not fully exploiting existing work practices and investing in remote and mobile technologies.
Supporting figures from the Law Society show that a typical law firm could gain up to £38,000 a year for a practice with 20 fee-earners if each person were to free up just five minutes a day.
The findings come as BT Business launches the “Improving Efficiency in Professional Services” report, published in conjunction with Managing Partner magazine, part of Ark Group Publishing.
Unified communications systems, to improve both business collaboration and customer responsiveness, integrating a range of IP-based services, audio or video conferencing, wireless hotspots and handheld devices such as BT’s Office Anywhere, are some of the ways professional service firms can invest in their IT and communications to help fee earners deliver a more efficient client service and increase billable hours.
The report looked at the experience of legal firms and shows that fee earners can be more productive if they are using flexible working technologies.
These technologies for instance, can help lawyers increase the number of hours billed by helping work more flexibly and productively when they are visiting clients, travelling to and from meetings, travelling internationally or when at home.
BT Business research has found that technology continues to dictate business practice in the UK, with 90 per cent of professional services organisations saying that the future of their business is entirely dependent upon the use of information communications technology (ICT).
Forty per cent of the professional service organisations questioned who had already improved their ICT to accommodate flexible working said that people who work flexibly are more productive that those who do not.
Sean Farrell, ICT Propositions Marketing, BT Business, said,
“Fee earners can be productive whether in or out of the office by using mobile devices. Thousands of pounds of fees are being written off without good reason. A mobile device in a lawyer’s hand means they can work – and therefore bill – on the move.
“BT Business currently works with more than 80,000 professional services customers including law firms and more than a million business customers in total.
“These firms are looking at how they can harness technology to make their employees more productive and for fee earners, profitable. As such, law firms are increasingly benefiting from these mobile technologies.”