Based at their head office in Leeds, Incasso is the specialist Debt Recovery division of Cobbetts, one of the UK’s top 50 law firms. They provide a complete Debt Recovery Service to clients throughout the United Kingdom and through an established partner network, extend that service worldwide.
Following the successful merger of Cobbetts with well-known Birmingham firm Lee Crowder; Incasso expanded their highly successful debt recovery business into the Midlands in September 2004.
But going back to 1995 the firm’s debt recovery department employed just 6 people and when the Incasso department manager, joined the firm, plans for the future involved a concentrated focus on the systems they were using and the future needs of the business.
Over the intervening years Incasso’s business grew substantially, however increased competition meant that already tight margins were being squeezed and their clients were making more and more demands on their services, the result was that Incasso once again went into the debt recovery software market with the support of the Cobbetts IT team. This was in mid 2001.
This time he and his team were looking for a system that would enable Incasso to not only continue to grow (the department now employed 37 people), but also take advantage of all the latest technology that was beginning to become available, especially with regard to Internet based communications. It was essential that the new system allowed Incasso to develop new business and improve the operating efficiency.
Another important aspect of the need for change was to find a supplier that could meet Incasso's stringent requirements regarding the desired quality and quantity of customer support and training, and a product that was flexible enough to meet Incasso’s comprehensive and detailed system specification.
The process of change began with a period of business planning, during which Incasso debts team completely re-thought their service delivery needs for the next 3 years. The result of this process and of the subsequent market survey of all the UK legal software suppliers was the short-listing of two companies, one of which was Linetime.
As Incasso said, “After a detailed and thorough look at the literature, web sites and other marketing collateral from all the main legal software providers, we opted to take a seriously close look at the products from two contenders”.
“The result was that after detailed demonstrations of both products, a close examination of their support services and conversations with existing users, we chose the DebtimeSQL system, part of the Liberate suite of software from Linetime. “
“The key reason for choosing DebtimeSQL over any other potential system was simply flexibility.”
“As part of our planning process we had decided that we wanted to invest in the training of our own people and thereby build up an in-house resource that would be un-matched within the industry. The objective was to differentiate Incasso from all the competition, even those many firms who also use the Linetime system. We wanted to create our own data items and flow paths and hence provide our sales and marketing team with something unique with which to attack the UK’s ever-changing and highly competitive debt recovery market.”
“Thanks to the inbuilt flexibility and functionality of DebtimeSQL and the high quality of the Linetime training and installation department, I’m pleased to say that we achieved our 3 year objective. When we began planning the implementation of DebtimeSQL we told Linetime exactly what it was that we were looking for in terms of on-going support and I’m pleased to say that three years later I can honestly say that they have been excellent in every department.”
“The next stage in our business planning looks out over the next 5 years. During this period we intend to continue to work closely in partnership with Linetime to take the automatic processing of legal documents and activities even further than we have done already. In addition we wish to provide our clients with even more on-line services so they can monitor their own cases in real time. The initial implementation of this extranet service has already delivered tremendous savings as it frees up members of staff for more profitable duties and hence is a key part of our development plan. “
“An example of how the flexibility of DebtimeSQL has helped us win new business has been shown by our new focus on the Local Authority marketplace. Most Local Authorities in the UK write off millions of pounds in bad debt every year, because they don’t have the systems to handle the collection process in a cost efficient manner. One such Local Authority was about to write off £5m before they appointed Incasso. The Liberate system enabled us to automate the complete bankruptcy process, from the service of a statutory demand through to obtaining a bankruptcy order. Building in key performance indicators that are recorded on the system and linked to reports developed using Crystal report writer. The result is that we’ve already collected £2.5m with more to come and established ourselves as the debt recovery market leader in the Local Authority arena.”
“Apart from enabling us to develop new client services and hence new business opportunities, a new element of the Liberate software suite is now enabling us to monitor our business performance, minute by minute. MyView.NET is an excellent addition to the Liberate portfolio as it tracks the departmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we ourselves have specified, providing real-time information in graphical or chart form on the desk top.”
“The increased use of such automation has meant that many small firms of solicitors have dropped out of the debt recovery market as they fail to compete with firms like ours who can process higher volumes of cases far more cost effectively.”
“Our intention is to take advantage of this fact and grow by 2.5 times over the next 5 years and become the number one firm in the UK debt recovery marketplace. We consider this objective to be not unreasonable, especially as we have developed a tremendous in-house team of specialist staff who are working in partnership with one of the country’s leading legal software houses in Linetime and with the best debt recovery system on the market today, DebtimeSQL.”
As Linetime’s Managing Director Tony Klejnow said, “I am delighted that Incasso, like all our DebtimeSQL users, is so positive about both the product and our support teams. It is a credit to all the members of the Linetime technical and support teams and I’m very proud of all of them.”