What are the tools in a seasoned professional’s tech utility belt?
Today there’s a software solution for just about every organizational process imaginable. Some industries, like law, have been traditionally slower than, say, tech companies, to adopt digital solutions. But that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of tools available to streamline manual tasks and enhance client communications in any line of work.
We’ll take a look at some of the best enterprise software on the market for lawyers, brokers, and other professionals, including insights from the executives who use them.
Secure, Efficient Client Finance and CRM Tools
When you’re communicating with your clients or customers, in person or online, security and efficiency are paramount. The digital tools you use to process their confidential data and finances should likewise be fast, smooth, and reliable. Here are a few of our recommendations.
Find the Right Client Finance Tools for Your Business
Chances are you’ve heard of a few of our favorite tools before, but it’s worth reiterating that the simplest tools are the right ones for the job.
To secure your operations financial operations, consider using these professional standbys:
- Quickbooks is cloud-based accounting software that helps small- and medium-sized businesses manage and pay bills. Quickbooks has a number of accounting functionalities, but it’s used widely and trusted by executives for client and customer invoicing.
- DocuSign is an electronic agreement platform that completely digitizes and automates the contract signature process. Docusign has a Net Promoter score of 66, which is on par with Apple and Amazon. Troxel uses DocuSign at his firm, and he stresses that the platform makes remote document negotiations a lot simpler. “As a business and real estate law firm, we have many important documents that need to get signed and it is not uncommon for parties to be in different cities, if not states. COVID-19 has only exacerbated this.”
- Stripe is an increasingly popular online payment processing platform for all types of businesses. Firmspace member Marc Smookler, CEO of IdealSpot, says his company uses Stripe. “It helps us automate all of our customer billing and subscriptions. They also have great development tools and integrations.”
For those in the legal profession, there’s another software option that should be on your radar: LawPay is invoice software that makes legal payments easy and compliant.
Firmspace member Nick Troxel, attorney at Troxel Fitch LLC, uses LawPay for his firm’s credit card processing. He says, “We love it because they specialize in working with attorneys, so we know they won't mess anything up with our trust account.”
CRM for Companies of Any Size
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an integral part of customer acquisition and retention. When selecting a CRM platform, ease of use, customization, and integrations are top-of-mind.
Salesforce is the biggest name in CRM for good reason. The Salesforce platform remains the gold-standard for cutting-edge CRM innovations, including AI and voice technology. The service is endlessly customizable and offers a host of add-on integrations.
If you operate a small or mid-sized organization, the Salesforce platform may seem like it’s out of scope for your budget and needs. The good news is that there are great options on the market for small and mid-sized companies:
- Zoho is a great alternative for professionals who want an easy-to-use tool that specializes in sales insights.
- Apptivo is a multifunctional platform that simplifies business management and finance integrations.
- HubSpot offers a range of inbound marketing and sales products, with a CRM platform among them.
HubSpot is Smookler’s CRM of choice. He says, “IdealSpot uses HubSpot as its main client communication hub and CRM because it’s an all-encompassing tool that is both efficient and effective.”
Time-Saving Project Management Tools
One key component of a productive workflow is access to a quiet workspace that facilitates uninterrupted work. Another is having the right tools to free up more time and enable you to do the work you care about most.
By leveraging technology like automation and AI, project management software helps executives save time on frustrating back-office tasks so that lawyers can focus on the important parts of their business, like talking to clients.
During the pandemic, these platforms have become critical to facilitating internal communications as many lawyers gave up commutes into their private offices in favor of working from home.
Law Practice Management Software
Clio is cloud-based law practice management software that’s top-rated on G2. Troxel uses Clio at his firm, Troxel Fitch LLC. “We love Clio because it has a very user-friendly interface and allows us to keep track of all of our projects, run checks for potential conflicts of interest, and create invoices in a straightforward way.”
There are a few competitive options on the market that are worth your consideration if Clio doesn’t seem like the right fiit for your team. Our clients also use:
- PracticePanther. Their mobile-first design makes it easy to track hours and generate invoices from any device.
- Smokeball. This software was designed for lawyers by lawyers.
Like Clio, both tools automate workflows and enable the attorneys who use them to easily scale their firm’s operations. Ultimately, it comes down to which tool suits your team’s workflow best.
Brokerage Management Software
For investment brokers, MProfit is a popular pick for portfolio management among investors, traders, and advisors alike, noted for its sleek interface. E*Trade Web Platform and thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade are also trustworthy options from established electronic trading platforms.
Project Management Software
Project management software options abound, but many are designed for specific industries, including agile software development. These three are also among the most widely used project management platforms across industries:
Each of these tools provide project tracking for both individuals and teams, and they can integrate with main functions like email and internal communications platforms. Even better, they all offer robust functionality in their trial versions to help your team find the right fit.
For his money, Smookler likes Trello, which “helps coordinate all the moving parts and works well with all of the IdealSpot team’s needs.”
Vet New Tools Thoroughly
When considering any new software application, don’t just take your friend’s word for a recommendation – do your research. Be sure to do the following when perusing new software:
- Sign up for a free trial or demo.
- Ask a representative about customizations to gauge how hands-on their customer service will be and if there are any product limitations.
- Use peer-to-peer review sites like G2 to compare solutions.
- Make sure the software has high security standards.
At Troxel Fitch LLC, Troxel says the firm’s tech selection process is based on expert recommendations. “We typically go for whatever is the most well-known and trustworthy name in an industry, and unless we experience problems with that service, we stick with that standard.”
Smookler has a similar approach at IdealSpot. “Usually, I start with a recommendation from someone I trust, then I do a trial to measure if it helps me be more efficient or less efficient in either my workflow or management flow.”
The Technology You Choose Sets Your Business Up for Success
To do your work and to do it well, you need the right technology.
Our proworking spaces at Firmspace are an excellent resource for professionals seeking recommendations from their peers. Our offices are populated by experienced executives in a range of industries.
If you’re in the market for a specific type of real estate software, for instance, you could easily find and consult a fellow real estate professional in one of our offices for their opinion.
All the best tools in the world are no substitute for quiet, private space where you are the master of your own schedule. Deep work for professionals hinges on not only a secure digital environment, but a secure physical space.