The 2019 Financial Benchmarking Survey is now open for contributions. Anthony Earl, solicitor-director at Earl & Crocker Solicitors and member of the Law Society’s small firms committee, explains why it’s good idea for small firms to take part.
Like you, I’m sent numerous requests to participate in business surveys. Sitting unopened in my inbox, when I do get around to them the response deadline has long gone. There’s one survey call for action, however, that I’ve decided not to ignore. It’s the stand-out benefits the firm will get in return which makes involvement in the annual Financial Benchmarking Survey a ‘no brainer’. I think the offer of personalised route map to business improvement for the firm is hard to beat.
Produced by the Law Society’s Law Management Section, the annual Financial Benchmarking Survey report is an authoritative financial health check of the most successful small and regional law firms (up to 25 partners) in England and Wales.
It makes interesting reading for a small firm like mine because it summarises a range of indicators that affect the running of law firms. If you’ve ever wondered why competitor firms are thriving while yours is in the doldrums, the Financial Benchmarking Survey report is likely to hold the clues. See for yourself by downloading last year’s report from the Law Management Section website.
Firms taking part in the survey get an individual report together with a copy of the main report before its published. In the individual report, firms can see how their financial performance measures up to the other respondents. The analysis covers total lock up days, salary to fee earner ratio, non- salary overheads, marketing expenditure as a percentage of fee income and more. It’s a comprehensive assessment of financial viability many firms would pay for, except you don’t have to because it’s free.
A little work is required, of course. There’s a questionnaire to complete, but I’m told that with my firm’s latest annual accounts and PI application form (where you analyse your fees) to hand, it should take under 30 minutes to complete. If you get stuck on a question or two, you’re allowed to skip them or contact the benchmarking helpline for support. Completed questionnaires are strictly confidential and retained by Hazlewoods Accountants and not shown to the Law Society or anyone else. The deadline for returns is 31 October 2018.