What are your areas of risk and compliance specialism?
I am a financial specialist with an in depth understanding of the Solicitors Accounts Rules and of the financial strategies and tactics that law firms need to employ to maintain financial stability and improve profitability.
I carry out gap analyses for firms including firm’s policies, processes and procedures as they relate to the Solicitors Accounts Rules (SAR) including the production of a written report summarising the strengths and weaknesses of the current arrangements and detailing recommended next steps and actions to put your firm in an even stronger position.
I also provide training on SAR and on anti money laundering (AML) as well as other finance-related training which can be delivered virtually for your firm, face-to-face (subject to government guidance) or online via Legal Eye’s Training Academy.
We offer a Standard Procedures Manual to provide a practical and comprehensive roadmap for firms to follow when looking to double check whether the current operating procedures are fit for purpose, setting up a new firm – or arm of a firm – or starting a new finance function from scratch.
I regularly advise clients on particular issues where they need advice such as the structure and recruitment of finance personnel, financial strategies for the firm, raising finance, mergers or acquisitions, structure and governance, preparing your firm for sale, improving profitability, outsourcing elements of the finance function and the potential use of legal technology to improve the financial management of your firm.
What’s your background?
Fran brings over 30 years of experience as a senior leader in law firms to Legal Eye. During her career she has led and implemented financial transformation strategies whilst ensuring that strong governance is delivered through robust risk and compliance management.
She has held management responsibility for accounts and operations teams and has hands-on experience of devising and overseeing the implementation of financial strategies to ensure the long term stability, profitability and financial success of the firm.
Fran’s previous experience includes a 23-year tenure at top 50 UK law firm Shakespeare Martineau where she was Finance Director, Main Board Member and regulatory Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration.
During her time at the £75m turnover firm Shakespeare Martineau was one of the UK’s fastest growing law firms. Fran was responsible for all financial-based strategy and activities of the firm, evaluation and delivery of 12 acquisitions and mergers increasing revenue from £3m to £75m; and taking the firm from outside the top 200 to 50th in the UK rankings; and increasing headcount from 40 to 840 people.
Fran trained at KPMG where she was a senior manager for eight years. She is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants having qualified in 1988.
How would you describe your approach to working with clients?
I work best with clients through taking a collaborative approach. Every firm, and person, is different – there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for every client. By actively listening I take the time to really understand the client’s objectives. I can then apply my problem solving skills and draw on experience to put forward some practical solutions to help the client to succeed. My communication style is direct and enthusiastic and I work hard to win the confidence of the partners by delivering financial stability in a profitable sustainable manner that is fit for the long term.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?
Working with firms and their people, to improve systems and procedures, and seeing them enjoy the benefits of:
- Releasing time to spend on more productive, interesting or client-focussed activities
- Reducing staff stress-levels in advance of, and during, regulatory audits
- Improving cash flow and profitability.
If you hadn’t become a finance specialist what would you have done instead?
I dreamed of becoming an architect, despite it not being a ‘stable’ career, so would probably have trained as a dentist to help people and to continue the family practice for a third generation.