The Cashroom: 10 years of service
In association with The Cashroom: The Cashroom is marking the 10th anniversary of its innovative outsourced services to legal firms. What has it achieved in that time, and what is it looking forward to?
This year, The Cashroom Ltd is celebrating 10 years of providing outsourced cashiering, management accounts and payroll services to the legal industry. Ten years ago, David Calder, then Managing Partner at MBM Commercial, saw an article in the Law Society of Scotland Journal where Catherine O’Day was discussing IT outsourcing, as well as accounting. From their discussions and subsequent work Catherine then did for MBM Commercial, Catherine decided to set up The Cashroom, and MBM Commercial became the first client. In 2011, Catherine asked David to join her and become Managing Director of The Cashroom, and the business started a journey of sustained growth, now servicing more than 130 clients across the length and breadth of the UK.
How is The Cashroom unique in its offering?
We offer a full range of cashiering and accounting services, including payroll. Depending on the needs of your business, you can use all of our services or pick and choose what you need. Unlike some other outsourced cashiering providers who require you to use their own practice management system, which can be quite an upheaval, we can work on any system. Over the years we have developed brilliant relationships with many of the providers, and can even offer advice on what system might suit your business if you are thinking of changing.
What also differentiates us is our staff, which includes SOLAS-qualified cashiers, chartered accountants and lawyers. Having qualified lawyers at The Cashroom has meant we have kept what the legal profession wants at the core of our business. The amount of experience we now have within the two offices means there is rarely a problem one of our cashiers hasn’t dealt with before, and our accountants are experts in legal accounting rules. A member of The Cashroom team teaches on the Law Society SOLAS course and we are therefore at the forefront of any changes to the Solicitors’ Accounts rules, which is crucial in ensuring compliance for our clients.
The use of our Cashroom Portal to send requests and instructions to us ensures there is a secure means of communication, avoiding the use of emails and attachments, which are increasingly prone to hacking issues. The Portal also provides a permanent and clear audit trail, and fee earners are kept up to date with what stage their request has reached on their own screen in real time; there is no need to ring and check up on a transaction.
We free up your office space for fee- earning staff, free up your time and take away compliance worries, letting you concentrate on what is important: your clients. Security, compliance and efficiency are our motivation.
What changes have you seen in the market since starting The Cashroom?
Technology/telecommunication is now more widely available and affordable than when we started The Cashroom, and internet banking has advanced massively in the last 10 years.
Data and security risks are much higher now, and fraudsters are always going to target the legal profession due to the amount of money held on behalf of clients. We developed our Cashroom Portal as a security measure against email hacking and have been awarded Cyber Security Essentials Plus for our security processes. We don’t hold any of your data; we log into your system remotely, so it remains with you.
Legal firms were wary of outsourcing 10 years ago, but now accept that it’s a viable option: there isn’t much left now that you cannot outsource if you want to!
What have been your main successes over the past 10 years?
There are two huge success stories from the last 10 years: the success of our clients and the success of our staff.
Over the last 10 years we have grown from serving one Scottish client to acting for over 130 clients across the UK. By acting for those clients, we’ve brought peace of mind, profit and free time to thousands of lawyers.
We’ve grown from employing two people in a tiny office in Livingston to employing 72 staff across two offices. The creation of jobs, especially for many school leavers, is something we are extremely proud of. We currently have 20 trainees in the company, and by employing 72 people we aim to provide opportunities and careers that staff value and enjoy. Many of our staff have obtained professional qualifications and accreditations with us, which is something we are very proud of.
The development of our very own client portal has been a great achievement too and ensures higher data security and also that we have efficient processes in place.
We have also been lucky enough to have been awarded multiple industry awards – a Scottish Legal Award for Support Team of the Year, numerous West Lothian and West Lancashire business awards, and this year we were a finalist in the Modern Law Awards in London in the Support to the Industry category, which was a real achievement being a UK-wide event.
What will the future bring?
We are always looking at our processes and how we can become more efficient. Automation and better use of technology are going to be instrumental here. They will allow us to carry out our internal processes and tasks more efficiently, in turn freeing up our staff to deliver an even better service to our clients. Providing more career opportunities for staff is something we continue to feel passionately about, and, as a bigger business, there are always more options for staff.
We are also considering expanding our service offering in the future – watch this space!
What do clients have to say?
MBM Commercial LLP was The Cashroom’s first client in 2008. Sandy Finlayson, former Senior Partner writes:
“When the opportunity first arose for us to acquire our business from its former parent about 11 years ago we had the opportunity to design a completely new law firm from scratch, quite literally with a blank sheet of paper.
“From the outset we recognised that:
- we must have a very niche service offering;
- we must have strict financial controls and disciplines;
- we should invest only in lawyers and direct support staff; and
- we should if possible avoid all of the costs associated with a cashroom, IT support team and other support functions.
“David and Catherine were able to design a fully integrated service offering comprising an outsourced cashroom, which at the time was a groundbreaking initiative in the legal profession – a full finance function.
“This has enabled us to enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted cashroom service since we launched our business over 10 years ago, together with very high-quality financial information. Since the outset we have operated with a five-year financial plan which is updated annually and this has proved to be absolutely invaluable over the past five years of financial turmoil.
“We enjoy an outstanding level of service from The Cashroom, we have no staffing issues to worry about, the service is provided at a very competitive rate and, to paraphrase the Honda advertisement, ‘It just works’! I cannot ask for much more than that.”
Kate Anderson, Director, Masson Cairns, comments: “Outsourcing to The Cashroom has been painless. So easy to deal with, accommodating everything that we need to do, when we need to do it, while keeping us on the right side of the vast array of regulations.
“We have complete trust in them to ensure our compliance, and have a Law Society inspection report which proves what a great job they are doing for us.
“We will never have a cashier in our office again.”
For more information about The Cashroom Ltd and how it could help your business please contact Gregor.Angus@thecashroom.co.uk or call 0330 3322 520. You can also visit www.thecashroom.co.uk for more information.