Business Acceptance: Exceeding Expectations and Ensuring Profitability

The 2019 Legal Value Network survey revealed that the second-biggest challenge for firms is meeting client demands for value while still hitting profit targets. Efficient, connected business acceptance processes can improve communications, from early conversations, pitches, and proposals through intake and conflicts clearance. Unfortunately, numerous factors — including human error due to manual intake, pricing, and risk identification procedures — often prevent business acceptance processes from flowing smoothly.

Perhaps the biggest business acceptance hurdle is a lack of visibility into matter requirements and client goals early in the client matter lifecycle. To alleviate this issue, many firms are investing in AI-powered technology and connected firm management solutions to allow their teams to easily determine potential risks; capture, articulate, and share client expectations; and accurately estimate matter effort, fees, duration, and staffing to support profitable delivery.

Determining Risk and Profitable Delivery

Firms without AI-based, connected firm management solutions may find themselves struggling to not only collect data for new engagements but also fully assess and utilize that data. “By and large, the intake process is designated and chartered to collect as much data and information as possible about the work,” said Jill Nelson, Senior Director of Operations and Finance Business at Intapp. “If the process is pre-informed by existing and connected information about the work, the client, and matter goals — and if the process further collects pertinent data at the point of intake, or shifts the intake process to a facilitator rather than a collector — firms can materially improve the chances of mapping goals, including profitability, to delivery options.”

Unless your team fully understands and utilizes the information you’re gathering, you may struggle to successfully determine how to best serve your client’s needs while meeting your firm’s profitability targets. AI-powered technology can provide full visibility into potential risks and other key insights at the very start of or, better yet, before the intake process, allowing you to quickly and accurately determine whether to take on a matter and whether you need to establish a retainer, billing thresholds, or other safeguards.

“You make a business decision based on the risks that you know,” explained Meg Block, Vice President of Risk Consulting at Intapp. “It’s those financial risks that you should be monitoring throughout the matter lifecycle.”

Meeting Client Expectations

Immediately identifying risks and insights helps not only firms but their potential clients as well, giving them both access to clearer and more accurate information concerning their matters.

“The more data captured — starting at business acceptance and across the lifecycle — the better firms are able to have informed conversations with their clients,” said Pat Archbold, Vice President and Legal Industry Group Leader at Intapp.

Lifecycle data-driven AI technology analyzes both past engagements and new ones, helping firms swiftly provide clients with data-validated estimates of timelines and pricing. Consequently, clients are more likely to do business with firms that can provide such details early in the client matter lifecycle.

Breaking Down Silos

During the intake process, a client’s requisitions and expectations can manifest as data to support informed activity, including budgeting and planning. All of this data, however, often gets siloed or lost without the proper tools in place, and can prove difficult for professionals to find and subsequently act upon.

OnePlace Operations & Finance supports your business acceptance process by analyzing past engagements according to shared characteristics and providing data-validated intelligence to improve pricing and resourcing strategies.

“OnePlace Operations & Finance provides transparency to matter budget data trends through Engagement DNA, a proprietary Intapp AI technology” added Archbold. “It eases the burden of finding client requirements, streamlines efficiency, and reduces risk of damaging the relationship by overlooking client expectations.”

By having easy access to all data and AI-based insights in one place, firms are better able to approach matters efficiently, accurately, and profitably.

Learn more about using AI to deliver higher profit and better client value: 

Written by:

Jill Nelson

Senior Director, OnePlace Operations & Finance

View profile