How efficient is your firm? What about the individual partners and staff? It might be difficult to quantify? One way is to do some benchmarking against another firm and another individual's financial performance.

For example, review your operations. Ask yourself

1. Are there enough systems and templates in place?

2. Should technology be used more?

3. Is more delegation of responsibility possible?

4. Are more experienced personnel sharing their knowledge?

5. Would increased training help?

Don't ask these question in a vacuum. Check with other firms; maybe those who are members of an association of which your firm is a member. Ask specifically with regard to each of the five areas--how they have seen increased efficiency.

Greater and better use of technology will help but most importantly if you really want to increase efficiency, you will need to change how you do things. For instance, analyze the type of engagements that aren't really profitable for the firm. Is there any way you can do them in less time, thereby increasing profitability? How about eliminating those engagements and substituting other more lucrative ones?  The same analogy would apply to non-billable time. Can I do this faster? And more importantly ask, should I be doing this at all?

If you want your firm to stay competitive, it is imperative that all are performing as efficiently as possible. Without a way of measuring efficiency, it becomes only guesswork. And then you can confuse being busy with being efficient. The nature of the profession makes that easy to do.

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