December 2017
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Streamline the disbursements handling process

Streamline the disbursements handling process

The problem that every practice faces is ensuring that an expense or disbursement that has been claimed by a fee earner has been allocated to a matter, and that this expense or disbursement does eventually get billed against that matter.

Fee earners will spend non?chargeable time diligently completing their expense claims. In addition, the travelling element and general nature of criminal work makes it difficult to schedule time in a working day to complete this time consuming process.

The new Disbursements Control function which has been added to DPS Crime, addresses this issue and controls all claims. This function automatically completes fee earner expenses claims, saving them time and effort. It also automatically ensures that all claims are billed to matters.

This is a classic win?win situation. Less effort is needed for the process and more time is saved, whilst the practice ensures that every matter?related disbursement has been claimed by the practice and paid to the fee earner.

This function has initially been developed for criminal practices and ensures that all disbursements ‘make’ the CDS claim forms.

A ‘Fee Earner Disbursements Report’ is produced each month, or as requested, per fee earner showing their travel, fares and other disbursements for the period in question. This report is, in effect, the fee earner’s expense claims and is produced as a by?product of their attendance notes. Fee earners can then attach receipts to the form and submit it.

All disbursements entered into the DPS system are automatically captured with the appropriate costs on the fee earner reports and will then, if necessary, be added to the correct CDS claim form.

This process means that fee earners do not have to create expenses claims for these items to the practice. The practice can log all the disbursements paid on a per fee earner basis in a single ledger and the practice only pays what is being claimed.

As a result of this process, fee earner disbursements are held and can be reproduced historically. The Disbursement Control function shows how DPS can provide a solution for a specific management issue in a practice. Disbursement handling is a major issue as fee earner and management time is lost which in turn incurs costs for the practice as a whole.

The system can be modified to other areas of law that require expenses control.

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