Partner Spotlight: Kahuna Accounting
This month, we’re proud to feature Micky Deming, Director of Business Development at Kahuna Accounting Group, as our Featured LawPay Partner. Kahuna Accounting is a specialized accounting firm that helps equip entrepreneurs with the tools and systems they need to achieve incredible growth.
How did you come to work with so many attorneys?
Originally, we took on a handful of legal clients who needed help integrating Clio with their accounting software. After working with a greater number of attorneys, we started asking more questions and realized that bookkeeping was a major problem for lawyers, especially small firms.
Once we dug in a little deeper, we noticed that most small firms had the same problem: their practice management system, their accounting system, and their bank account were all saying different things. On top of this, we learned it’s extremely difficult for lawyers to find reliable bookkeeping help in their office. Having learned all this, we decided to work with as many small firms as we could to help.
Is there any accounting advice you regularly give your legal clients?
Our biggest goal for our legal clients is to help them build a healthy, thriving business, which means we’re constantly encouraging our clients to look forward, not backwards. Typically, accounting is just a recap of what has happened—it’s categorizing transactions. We want the lawyer to think like a business owner and use their numbers as a guide for achieving exactly what they want.
By coaching attorneys to look forward, to properly budget and forecast their numbers, we help them save money, be more proactive in their hiring, and serve as better leaders in their firms.
Are there practice management concerns that you regularly see among your legal clients?
Here at Kahuna, we are big proponents of having individuals play to their strengths when it comes to practice management. Managing a small firm involves a lot of different tools and technology, so having one administrative person who is managing billing, incoming calls, marketing, and bookkeeping while handing their other responsibilities is guaranteed to be a disaster.
We like to see an administrative person who is solely focused on client service, billing, and collecting, and then a part-time or outsourced bookkeeper who can take the reliable information gathered through a practice management system and check it against the firm’s bank statements.
What do you see as the most significant financial concerns for law firms?
The obvious answer is trust accounting. Everyone knows how important this is, and yet it continues to be a problem for lawyers and firms of all sizes. Firms need to keep track of their client activity on a system they are confident in and be diligent about tracking it.
Similarly, clients have a hard time identifying when and how their internal processes are broken. Many think that if they purchase a specific software product, their problems will magically be solved. Now many existing cloud-based software products, from practice management tools to accounting software, are incredible assets that can dramatically help a law firm. However, if you’re throwing a broken process onto a new tool and hoping that it will magically change everything, you’ll be disappointed every time. Where do you see your legal clients succeeding?
We have set up our firm in a way that most of our clients are fairly entrepreneurial-minded. We think that all solo and small firm attorneys are entrepreneurs, but they don’t always think of themselves that way. Most of our clients do, however, see themselves as business owners and lawyers, which means they’re regularly engaging in creative ways to market themselves, they’re interested in financial reporting, and they’re looking for ways to improve themselves and their business.
As a marketer, I’m always blown away when I engage in a marketing conversation with an attorney and they take me to school. I think there’s a wave of entrepreneurship inside the small firm community now and that can only be a good thing. When you think like an entrepreneur, you build efficient systems so you don’t work yourself to death and you can give 100 percent of your time and attention to your clients.
You recommend LawPay to your clients. From an accounting standpoint, how do you think LawPay helps attorneys run a better business?
We recommend LawPay every time for several reasons: - Because as a virtual accounting firm, we hate checks. Yes, we can deal with them, but we hate them. - Because if someone is using another solution for processing payments we can usually help them save money by recommending they switch to LawPay. - Because they understand trust accounting. LawPay deposits directly into IOLTA accounts which saves unnecessary transfers, keeps everything compliant, and results in fewer moving parts for everyone.
Additionally, our clients who use LawPay have a cash flow that is dramatically different from our clients who don’t. Without LawPay, we see attorneys with a lot of accounts receivable, which is just money left on the table. And the longer it’s in accounts receivable, the more of a headache it is trying to collect it, and the less likely it is that the attorney will ever see it.
Data shows that if you put a “Pay Now” button on your invoice, it will have a tremendous reduction in your accounts receivables. Putting money in your bank account and knowing that you don’t have to chase after unpaid invoices is a huge help in the day-to-day of a firm and gives our clients incredible peace of mind.