Poor financial software is hindering law firms' performance according to a recent survey from management consultancy Deloitte & Touche.
The survey, which included Britain's top 500 law firms, found that although 89% of respondents said their systems competently and reliably processed large numbers of transactions, almost half felt their reporting capabilities were limited.
This resulted in information being rekeyed unnecessarily - simply to get it into the right format.
According to Deloitte & Touche, most accounting packages failed to meet firms' needs for easy retrieval and downloading. Virtually all the firms surveyed acknowledged they had to rekey data into spreadsheets in order to analyse it. Fewer than 25% reported they could use links to pull down vital information into their spreadsheets automatically.
Ad hoc reporting demands were another problem area. Half the respondents questioned said they could not respond to these demands without extensive manual manipulation of data, or specialist help from their software supplier.
Gary Simon, head of Deloitte & Touche's management advisory services division, commented: "Although firms are generally satisfied with their advanced front office PCs and software, many rely on old or proprietary technology when it comes to the back office."
This meant the vast majority of firms found their back office systems difficult to integrate with fee-earner applications and other analytical tools, Simon explained. "The information is all there, but the finance managers are simply unable to access it."
"In the past eight to 10 years law firms have spent a huge amount on IT, but we found that over 50% are using packages that are only half as good as the best systems," Simon concluded.
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