We’re often approached by firms who are restructuring their business, e.g. incorporation, acquisition or change of ownership, and need assistance reflecting these changes in FilePro.

To ensure staff hit the ground running after a restructure, it’s important to make sure that FilePro is configured correctly.

If you’re ever planning a restructure, feel free to get in touch and we can help guide you through it. In the meanwhile, here are some key approaches to consider.

Simple restructure of ownership

If a new entity is acquiring everything from the old, e.g. if a partner is leaving, there is minimal work involved.

You may only need to adjust the ABN and Company Name details in report layouts (such as invoices, receipts, and statements) and document templates (such as letterheads). You’ll also need to introduce any new bank accounts and process journals to clear/adjust the general ledger.

Leaving behind assets and liabilities

If both old and new entities are continuing to operate, then it’s a little more complicated. Certain assets and liabilities may be left behind, such as debtors, creditors and bank accounts.

It usually makes most sense to create a replica of the current entity, representing the old business, and use this to wind down the books. You can then adjust the main database by removing all financials; introducing new bank accounts, importing unbilled WIP and disbursements; and adjusting company details in reports and templates.

This is a good opportunity to do some housekeeping – remove unwanted users, clean up the chart of accounts or adjust time/disbursement codes etc.

Going separate ways

There can also be substantial work involved if there is a demerger or multiple new entities are being created.

In an ideal world, you should use a copy of the old entity to setup your new system. This makes it easier to ensure a consistent workflow and company structure – you’ll be able to maintain client information, documents, codes and report layouts etc.

Obviously, this isn’t always practical. There are other ways of separating data owned by certain individuals – there’s just a lot more work involved!

Bringing in another firm

If you’re acquiring a law firm and want the new staff to integrate smoothly, it’s worthwhile to import the new firm’s data into FilePro. There are some limitations, but client/file details, unbilled WIP and client documents can often be brought in.

Trust accounts

No matter how you’re restructuring, we can leave old trust accounts intact so that a complete history is retained.

We recommend contacting your local law society, legal practice board or other authority on trust matters regarding the regulations surrounding the transfer of trust funds. It’s always good to tick all the boxes.

Summary

We’ve only covered a handful of situations in this article – everyone’s circumstances are different.

No matter what you’re planning, we’d recommend you contact us about the restructure. After 20+ years we’ve encountered most scenarios and can normally offer detailed advice, or at the very least point you in the right direction.

Also make sure to have these discussions as soon as possible to avoid last minute surprises. The end of financial year is a popular time for business restructures – if you’re considering it, now is a good time to have a chat.