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Managing Money: Top 4 Watch-Outs


Part 5 of equivant’s Best Practices Series

In large amounts and small, one-time and recurring, the financial transactions that run through your court every day rival those of a busy bank, and your clerks (seemingly) manage it all with ease.

But, as we work with clerks around the country in courts of all sizes, it’s clear that while they do expertly manage their courts’ financials, they don’t always do it with ease. From minor irritations to serious efficiency-blockers, clerks are up against numerous challenges, and many are directly related to the technology they’re using.

Best Practice: Avoid these four financial technology watch-outs to help make your clerks’ jobs easier.

Watch out for:

    1. Bookkeeping software that doesn’t “talk” to other systems. This is the No. 1 obstacle many clerks are facing. Whether it’s because one or more systems are legacy systems, they’re sharing technology with other justice or government agencies, or simply because the bookkeeping software and case management software were purchased at different times, clerks are adding unnecessary steps to each of their processes to accommodate disconnected systems. Check in with your clerks about what they’re currently doing manually – you may be surprised.
    2. Reporting that’s not stakeholder-ready. Sure, almost any bookkeeping software out there can run reports of some kind, but many clerks are finding that without the ability to customize parameters and include information like account activity, bank balance listings, and more, they can’t easily pull the information that they and their stakeholders need to see. And, without the ability to export to standard file types, they can’t share reports that their stakeholders will actually be able to open. Finally, back to the first point, unless reports include hyperlinks directly back to case listings, clerks can’t instantly cross-check records, turning a simple question or request into a lengthy manual effort. If a software package you’re considering advertises reporting, dig deeper. Your clerks need more than just basic reports.
    3. Financial data that’s not searchable. Can you imagine doing anything these days without a search bar? Your clerks can. And even more frustrating are the systems that do have a search function, but you can only search by a single data point, like a name or case number. It’s essential that your bookkeeping software allows for searches by all possible data points, including case number, title, case type, payment method, date range, and more. When searching through financial data, clerks frequently have incomplete information or are trying to zero in on a specific data point, and the more flexibility they have, the better.
    4. Functions that are out of touch with the real world. Payment schedulers that don’t allow for holidays and black-out dates. Payment plan rules that don’t allow for joint and several liability options. No easy way to consolidate payments. The list goes on. When your bookkeeping tool works on a technical level but misses the mark on a human level, your clerks suffer.

The bottom line is that your team needs a tool that empowers clerks to serve your court and your community, not one that slows them down.

You can do it all with JWorks. Contact us today to find out more about managing your financials and your cases with the same seamless tool. We’re here to help.