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My Custom Business Management System



Business have data to manage, documents to produce, and customers to invoice. Law firms are no different.

I run my own traffic defense law firm. It’s a high-volume practice area, which means I have lots of clients at any given time. There are lots of client contracts and invoices going out and coming back from clients.

In April, I wrote that I wanted to integrate my main systems. It’s done now, and this post explains everything.

What I use

I use a number of separate systems. They all do their job very well.

Remember the Milk (to do lists) – API

Google CalendarAPI

BatchBook (contact management) – API

FreshBooks (invoicing) – API

MyFax

EchoSign (electronic signatures) – API

My integrated system

The foundation of my system is BatchBook. It holds the basic client data for each case, such as:

  • Name
  • Contact info
  • Traffic ticket data
  • Legal fee info

Using that data, my program does a variety of things. It integrates all the above systems throughout a client’s case. Below are a few examples.

Client contract

Every client signs a contract to hire me. With three clicks, my system produces the default client contract as a PDF and sends it to the client for e-signing via EchoSign. With a couple extra clicks, I can customize the text of the client contract if necessary.

The coolest part of this feature is what else the system does when sending the client contract. It creates a to do list for the client in Remember the Milk (this includes the client’s trial date and other default tasks that I need to do for each case). It also adds the client’s court date to Google Calendar.

Invoice

After the client e-signs the contract, I can send an invoice through FreshBooks in two clicks. This step also updates the client’s task list in Remember the Milk (it marks the client’s contract complete and notes that the invoice has been sent).

Letter to court

When a client has hired me by signing the contract and paying the invoice, I notify the court that I represent them. Three clicks will send the default letter to the court via fax through MyFax. At the same time, the system also emails a copy of the letter to the client and marks this task off in Remember the Milk.

It currently takes a couple extra clicks to save the letter to the client’s digital folder, but I hope to automate that soon.

The benefits

By now, it should be obvious that my integrated system saves time. It takes just a few clicks to process the regular paperwork, emails, and faxes for my law practice.

The system also improves accuracy. As long as the data is properly input into BatchBook, my program will produce accurate contracts, invoices, letters, etc.

Finally, my integrated system has enabled me to utilize a virtual assistant for many of these tasks. My assistant (who I highly recommend) inputs the client data into BatchBook and sends the contracts and invoices. I’m finding more and more ways for her to help with my work, which frees up my time to work directly with clients.

Any questions?

I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about integrating these systems. It takes some programming skill, but it isn’t that hard.

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Comments

14 Responses to “My Custom Business Management System”

  1. snooker equipment
    September 20th, 2009

    Nice article and im pleased to have read it, i hope it helps my business

  2. Paul Slough
    September 21st, 2009

    Great post – where do you host the PHP script? Do you run a local webserver and use a templating language for creating the PDF’s? Do you run into formatting problems using HTML, or do you generate a PDF directly?

  3. Andrew Flusche
    September 21st, 2009

    Paul – Thanks! I host everything on the web server that runs my website. Security is obviously an issue, so be careful about that. Having it on a public server enables my virtual assistant to use the system as well.

  4. Paul Slough
    October 6th, 2009

    What about formatting the letters w/ scripting, how do you go about doing that?

    Also, I see you use Remember the Milk; do you not use the Batchbook ToDo’s or do you integrate them somehow?

  5. Andrew Flusche
    October 6th, 2009

    Paul -

    When formatting is important, I generate a PDF file. You can make that look however you want. I use an awesome PHP library for that: FPDF.

    If I need to be able to edit the file after the program creates it, I just generate a TXT file. You obviously can only do limited formatting here, but I have some Word macros that polish them a bit (change the margins to fit my letterhead, set the proper font, etc).

    I don’t use BatchBook’s ToDo’s. It’s a little too plain for my needs.

  6. hebden bridge
    October 10th, 2009

    Great stuf. Business management systems are of great value to any business man or woman.

  7. Minnesota Movers
    October 11th, 2009

    What about Basecamp? That’s a good one too.

  8. sell your home
    October 13th, 2009

    Glad to hear it worked out, but wouldn’t you have been more at home with Excel and Access?

  9. Minnesota Lawyer
    October 13th, 2009

    What about http://www.wonderfile.com? Wonderfile is a document management system, file collaboration, workflow manager…

  10. lax airport ground transportation
    November 23rd, 2009

    It such a great post having your business strategy. I will follow that and make my business more interactive.

  11. Mobile Computer Repairs Sydney
    November 28th, 2009

    Amazing tools and suggestion for manage the system data. It;s really a worthy stuff.

  12. Teresa
    December 1st, 2009

    Thanks for sharing these systems! :-)

    You do have a pretty nifty business management system going. Way to cover all the bases!

    There’s definitely plenty of opportunities to do more with the time you save and make more because of it, and that makes living more and enjoying time with family and friends exciting. :-D

  13. I liked the concept of integrating different systems.
    How do you synchronize between the different systems?
    How did you programmed the synchronization between them?

  14. Pregnancy Problems
    December 12th, 2009

    I own a custom framing business in Georgia and only do custom framing. What sort of products or services should I sell to compliment my business? and what do you say?

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