Clio, a leading provider of cloud-based technology, has launched Clio Payments on the UK market. The announcement was supported by a blog by Jack Newton, founder and CEO of Clio, in a blog post. Newton wrote, “We are delighted to bring Clio Payments to our UK customers. With Clio Payments, UK lawyers and legal professionals will be able to accept online payments through an all-in-one platform, Clio Manage, providing them with a transparent and real-time view of transactions.”
The bane of legal UK legal firms – late payments
Alongside this announcement, Clio also revealed findings from a study that found UK law firms can spend 50 person days each year chasing late payments from clients. Based on a survey of 150 UK law firms and 1,000 UK consumers conducted by Censuswide, the findings included:
- A quarter of firms spend a day every week chasing payments
- 97% of legal fees are not paid on time
- 27% of legal practitioners said that not getting paid properly affects their morale
Sarah Murphy, General Manager of Clio in EMEA, says, “UK law firms are under more pressure than ever before with rising inflation, increased competition, and longer working hours—all while consumer expectations steepen. Every firm in our most recent research reported that they spent hours every week and month chasing payments. That’s time they can ill afford to waste.”
Perhaps the findings from consumers are more interesting and relevant to law firms. About a fifth of consumers found paying lawyers the most difficult aspect of any engagement.
- 40% of consumers said they would not use a law firm that lacks a simple online payment method
- 50% of consumers who used a law firm were not given the option to pay with a debit card
Newton added, “Billing remains the single most frustrating point of friction for UK law firms and clients alike, as is evident in our most recent research. For too long, paying for legal services has been a complex process for both lawyers and their clients, and it’s time for a change.”
Clio provides the answer
Clio Payments now provides a means by which legal firms can improve how customers make payments. Make it easier for customers to pay, and they are more likely to pay on time or earlier. Payments are likely to be delayed when they can only be made by bank transfer or cheque (do we still use these?).
Clio payments enable law firms to accept payments online using different payment methods. Online payments are secure and with full PCI compliance. Law firms can also embed click-to-pay options within bills, emails, the law firm website, QR codes or through the secure client portal that Clio provides.
Clio payments also enable the automation of accounting processes with an automatic reconciliation of payments against invoices, reducing the accounting administration and the risk of errors. There is also full transparency for every transaction with a fixed rate for each card type, no hidden fees, and the ledger records automatically update on the firm’s accounting solution.
Firms can also create and manage separate client accounts from the law firm’s operating account where required. Transaction fees and chargebacks (third-party debiting fees) are automatically taken from the firm’s operating account.
Newton added, “Today’s launch of Clio Payments is an exciting moment in our UK growth story. We know first-hand the transformative impact online payments can have on the health of a law firm, and we’re keen to see the positive effect this will have for British law firms and their clients.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Late payment is the bane of every industry within the UK. While the government ponders legislation, it mainly targets larger firms that dictate payment terms well above the standard 30 days. It is always a challenge for smaller firms working with businesses and consumers. However, as the study infers, it is a problem partly due to the industry not keeping up with user expectations.
People pay immediately for food in a restaurant, often now using their phones for the transaction. Legal firms and others must make their customers’ payments as painless as possible. Click-to-pay is one such method. When people open an email, the ability to immediately pay is often taken, as it is one less thing to worry about.
However, automation and easier payment will not completely solve the challenge of later payments. Clio Payments also offers automation around the administration of payments, and research has also shown, especially in smaller firms, that can eat into time better spent on more strategic tasks.