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Background

A long-term relationship with Aurum Solutions has led to a number of sustainable business benefits. Aurum Solutions platform is used to perform daily reconciliations with the minimum of effort, freeing up staff time, and ensuring bpl Solicitors meets its obligations for audit and Solicitors Accounts Rules with ease.

 

Kevin Cole, Financial Controller at bpl solicitors limited, explains: “Robust financial management requires us to reconcile our bank accounts and client transactions on a daily basis. This has become increasingly important with the growth of internet banking and Faster Payments as we can receive funds at any time of day or night. Multiple payments, thirty-six in one case, can be related to the same client purchase. We, therefore, needed a system that could reconcile our accounts in a timely and accurate manner. We also required the ability to track payments and allocate them to the correct client account.”

 

bpl Solicitors previously used a desktop reconciliation system but Kevin notes that it was, “a bit cumbersome, labour-intensive and required a lot of user input.” As a result, his team manually printed bank statements and ticked back all items daily with a complete bank reconciliation completed weekly. “We couldn’t do it any other way as the system took too long to use,” adds Kevin.

If we do run into any issues, technical support is responsive and helpful, and any queries are typically resolved within an hour. Aurum Solutions also have a level of industry expertise and understanding that made changing banks a painless process - they really understood what was required in moving our default bank for thousands of accounts.
Kevin Cole, Financial Controller – bpl Solicitors

Solution

bpl Solicitors conducted a detailed market assessment for a replacement reconciliation system. Kevin states, “Our bank manager suggested Aurum Solutions.

Once we saw the impressive functionality along with the intuitive, easy to use interface, the decision became a bit of a ‘no-brainer’.

As an SQL-based system, it was the perfect technical fit as we were migrating our accounting system to SQL too. The bank recommendation carried a lot of weight in our decision and this was vindicated with a fast and hassle-free implementation of the software.”

 

Each morning bpl Solicitors takes bank statements from HSBC and Lloyds and reconciles these against the specialist legal accounting system LexisNexis Axxia. It uses a number of auto-match rules which enable the solicitor to reconcile the majority of transactions with a very high degree of confidence.

 

bpl Solicitors uses suggest-match rules tailored to their individual requirements to help identify potential matches and thus reconcile the remainder of transactions.

 

Kevin observes, “There are so many different types of payment formats for CHAPS, BACS, Faster Payments and inter-branch transfers with varying quality of referencing. Banks hardly ever quote the references we supply and, in many cases, there is no reference at all which makes the reconciliation process more challenging. However, Aurum’s software can identify transactions intelligently, based on a dictionary of banking terms or references that we have built which increases our match rates.”

 

Each day bpl has a complete and accurate record of its financial position. Kevin says “Up to £10m of client funds can go through our accounts on a busy completion day.

Aurum’s software gives us confidence our accounting records are reliable which reduces our financial and business risk.

With bank reconciliation taking just 20 minutes, we have streamlined how we work whilst improving efficiency and control. This has freed up staff time to focus on other core financial management activity and we can deploy our resources more effectively.
Kevin Cole, Financial Controller – bpl Solicitors

Benefits

Kevin explains the business benefits that have been achieved: “We have always invested in technology to introduce automation throughout the conveyancing process and the software forms an important part of this. After all, once the legal aspects of a purchase have been completed, making sure funds are ready and can be sent to the other party in the transaction is critical.

 

Kevin adds, "Up to £10m of client funds can go through our accounts on a busy completion day. The software gives us confidence our accounting records are reliable which reduces our financial and business risk."

 

“We hold client funds and our own cash in different bank accounts and it is beneficial to bring all these transactions together into a single searchable system. We can get a completion query that is several years old and finding specific transactions is a breeze. Aurum’s software really does make our lives easier."

We meet and exceed the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority Accounts Rules which require client accounts to be reconciled every 25 days. Aurum’s platform has proved a very useful tool for our auditors as we can answer questions such as ‘when were these cheques cashed?’ quickly and easily by searching directly for specific transactions.
Kevin Cole, Financial Controller – Bpl solicitors

Streamlining multiple processes

Kevin continues: “Many law firms issue cheques that aren’t banked immediately. The software helps us routinely identify cheques over a certain age that could potentially be cancelled.”

 

Kevin adds, “The system sells itself as it really delivers what it promises and bpl Solicitors is happy to renew its licence every year. (...)

"I regularly recommend Aurum Solutions to other companies looking for a reliable and effective reconciliation system.”

We achieved our goal of automating bank reconciliations and saw an immediate return on our investment. We can easily increase the volume of transactions that we manage without needing additional resources.
Kevin Cole, Financial Controller – bpl Solicitors

About bpl Solicitors

bpl Solicitors offer a bespoke conveyancing service for residential and business clients. It receives up to £100m of client funds each month using a variety of payment types. bpl Solicitors is a specialist legal practice with 95 staff based in Poundbury, Dorset. It offers in-depth advice to both business and private clients.

 

Despite the challenging nature of the property market over recent years, bpl Solicitors has continued to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly service whilst retaining the traditional solicitor/client relationship. A key part of bpl Solicitors' service delivery is supported by investing in modern technology and communications.

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