If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably familiar with the Philadelphia 76ers’ former mantra, “Trust the Process.” The phrase went on to be used in hip-hop music and even by a politician, but did you know it also relates to law firms buying cloud-based practice management software?
When Gonser and Gonser, PA, a Delaware-based law firm specializing in criminal, family, real estate, and estate law, received a cold call from a sales representative at Centerbase just as they began their journey of evaluating new technology, they too decided it was time to trust the process and switch to a cloud-based solution.
With one office located in Dover housing the main server and three other offices (Wilmington, Georgetown, and West Chester, PA) considered “remote” utilizing Time Matters through Citrix remote access, the growing firm knew switching to cloud-based software was the best way forward.
Then, March 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Problems arose quickly when employees in all four office locations were attempting to access the server remotely. These problems, paired with the lack of support help the firm was receiving from Time Matters, pushed Gonser and Gonser to evaluate other software options as quickly as possible.
After evaluating Centerbase and some competitors, the firm felt that Centerbase was “far and away the best option,” according to Aimee Gannon, Legal Operations Manager.
“We wanted a system that would meet us where we were at the time, but would also grow with us,” Gannon continued. “We were looking for an option that would not only benefit our clients, but also provide work-life balance for employees, and Centerbase enables us to do both.”
Joining the Centerbase Client Community
Lack of help from support at Time Matters was one of the first indicators to the firm it was time for a software change. The Gonser and Gonser team was adamant during the software evaluation process (and eventual implementation process) that communication and strong support would be two of the deciding factors in the selection of their new vendor.
Additionally, they were assured by the Centerbase team that the implementation team had previously completed a data migration from Time Matters for another firm, which made them feel even more comfortable with the ultimate decision to switch to Centerbase.
The implementation team was “big on deadlines” says Gannon, and stayed in touch regarding when data and information needed to be added to the system.
The communication and responsiveness have not stopped now that Gonser and Gonser is a Centerbase client.
“We made the right choice switching to Centerbase,” Gannon said. “I appreciate how responsive the entire support team is. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to in the department, you know that you will be in good hands.”
We made the right choice switching to Centerbase. I appreciate how responsive the entire support team is. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to in the department, you know that you will be in good hands.
Now that the firm is up and running with Centerbase, every employee at the firm uses the timekeeping and billing features for work across matters – and they’re already seeing a huge reduction in time spent on previously manual processes.
The firm’s previous pre-bill process required their bookkeeper to either email or print and hand-deliver bills to each attorney individually. The attorneys then made notes by hand, returned them to the bookkeeper, and the billing process continued from there. Some attorneys who carry heavy caseloads (some timekeepers have 100+ cases at any one time) could have close to 300 pages of bills to review each month.
Their bookkeeper, an independent contractor, gave the feedback that the billing process was “brutal” with tracking down attorneys for approvals. Now, thanks to electronic pre-bill, attorneys can review their bills wherever and whenever, and approvals come in in half the time.
With Centerbase, the firm transitioned to a billing workflow through Outlook, making the invoicing process easier for all parties. Previously, bills were mailed to clients. Now, invoices can be emailed to clients with the click of a button by the firm’s Accounts Manager, Chris Rainey.
The firm’s bookkeeper made a goal to get all bills out by the end of the first week of each new month. Not only has she exceeded that goal, but she’s also taken an entire day off the process as a result of using Centerbase. This is a win-win for Gonser and Gonser – they’re getting paid faster and they’re saving money by not paying an independent contractor for an additional day of work.
“Twenty minutes into sending invoices out via email, we’re already receiving calls from clients to pay their bills,” says Gannon. “We’ve seen a significant cash flow impact as a result of getting paid sooner.”
Billing isn’t the only area in which Gonser and Gonser has streamlined efficiencies with Centerbase. As a firm big on deadlines, the calendar feature keeps everyone at the firm on track. With employees in multiple locations and some still remote, finding times to meet and managing deadlines across offices used to be challenging.
“Centerbase leads our strategy day-to-day,” explains Gannon. “I have two things up on my computer at all times: email and Centerbase.”
The firm’s President, Drew Gonser, loves the added benefit of being able to work from his phone on the go using Centerbase’s mobile app. Now that some attorneys are once again appearing in person for hearings, tracking time from anywhere via the app has proved to be an invaluable feature of the software for the firm.
Thinking through their processes ahead of implementing Centerbase has been the key to Gonser and Gonser’s success with the software.
“I recommend making sure you understand your current processes, think through how to apply your full process to Centerbase, and make it come to life by enhancing your current workflows,” shares Gannon.
An added bonus of Centerbase is that it’s easier than ever for the firm to hire new employees. Onboarding is smoother and new hires are able to get up to speed with technology faster.
From training new employees to sending out bills and managing deadlines, Gonser and Gonser’s commitment to trusting the software buying process paid off with Centerbase.