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Episode #10 - A Conversation About Moving to the Cloud

Betty Cunningham of Metcalfe Wolff Stuart & Williams joins Anthony Beasley (PerfectLaw) and Valerie Williams, the retiring Office Administrator for Pender & Coward, to discuss Val's experiences regarding the cloud and why Betty's firm ought to consider PerfectLaw as their firm's cloud vendor. Betty also shares her experiences as a CPA, implementing other products, and learns from Val why PerfectLaw was her choice.

Full Transcript

00:00:00 Anthony Beasley

Good afternoon everybody.

00:00:01 Anthony Beasley

This is Anthony Beasley again with the perfect long lines in podcasts and we have a very fun day planned for you to to learn a little bit about different things as it relates to being in the cloud.

00:00:14 Anthony Beasley

Now we have the pleasure of having two people at two different phases of being in the cloud, one firm.

00:00:21 Anthony Beasley

Is looking at moving to the cloud.

00:00:24 Anthony Beasley

The other firm has been in the cloud in perf loss software.

00:00:26 Anthony Beasley

Now for a little over a year which they actually moved into the cloud last year during the Covid situation.

00:00:32 Anthony Beasley

So what I'd like to.

00:00:33 Anthony Beasley


00:00:34 Anthony Beasley

Is first introduced to you, Betty Cunningham.

00:00:37 Anthony Beasley

She is with Metcalf, Wolf, Stewart and Williams and we will let Betty tell us a little bit about about herself.

00:00:46 Anthony Beasley

So Betty.

00:00:48 Betty Cunningham

Yes, thank you Anthony for having me.

00:00:50 Betty Cunningham

I'm I'm a CPA here in Austin, TX and for probably 20 years.

00:00:57 Betty Cunningham

Did accounting software implementations, mostly back office, different platforms, vertical mark.

00:01:04 Betty Cunningham


00:01:05 Betty Cunningham

And I started working with Metcalfe. Wolf, oh, probably 20 years ago and put them on perfect law back in. I would say 2006 so we are on a server based platform and we use time and billing, general Ledger and accounts payable and they are modified. Cash accruals.

00:01:26 Betty Cunningham

So a little bit tricky.

00:01:28 Betty Cunningham

We have, you know, use perfect log forever very successfully, but we are looking to move to the cloud because of several reasons, so we are in that.

00:01:41 Betty Cunningham

Time frame now where we're out there thinking what what do we do next?

00:01:46 Betty Cunningham

And that's what space we're in right now here.

00:01:48 Betty Cunningham

And this is a smaller firm about.

00:01:50 Betty Cunningham

Under 20 attorneys, but it's all real estate and we also have planners we have.

00:01:55 Betty Cunningham

We're very old school, but we have been hiring younger attorneys and they want us to move.

00:02:02 Betty Cunningham

There's lots of features in the cloud that they would like to take advantage.



00:02:06 Anthony Beasley

OK, now we have a veteran of perfectly also who's been with the product itself for about as long as Metcalf has, but they are now one of our more experienced cloud users software as a service users.

00:02:21 Anthony Beasley

Some of you have heard from her in the past, but we are going to let Val.

00:02:24 Anthony Beasley

We can save you a little bit about herself in Pender and Coward.

00:02:27 Anthony Beasley

So Val.

00:02:29 Valerie Williams

Thank you Anthony.

00:02:31 Valerie Williams

First I want to say that and Anthony knows this.

00:02:34 Valerie Williams

It broke his heart, I think, but I I retired last week from the day-to-day administration of the firm, but was with the firm during their initial switch to perfect law and then again when we went to the cloud.

00:02:49 Valerie Williams

Last year just shy of Kovid, so we've had a lot.

00:02:54 Valerie Williams

We've had a good year of experience on the cloud.

00:02:57 Valerie Williams

Many years of experience in perfect law, and I'm happy to answer any questions anybody may have anytime.

00:03:04 Anthony Beasley


00:03:05 Anthony Beasley

Well, thanks well, and I'm pretty sure many people will appreciate the offer because we do get quite a few folks who are looking at moving to the clouds.

00:03:13 Anthony Beasley

Probably next to a new module purchase.

00:03:16 Anthony Beasley

Probably the biggest thing that we deal with day today.

00:03:18 Anthony Beasley

So what I'd like to do is with because people are looking and Betty perspective on look.

00:03:25 Anthony Beasley


00:03:26 Anthony Beasley

It's something that we haven't come across as much we hear about things here and there is, as I mentioned, to Betty before I hear a lot of the problems that people are having and why they're looking to switch to perfect law.

00:03:37 Anthony Beasley

But as people are looking at cloud software, there's a lot of things out there.

00:03:41 Anthony Beasley

So what I'd like to do is just let Betty tell you a little bit about her experience researching different vendors and the things that she knows from her unique role with the firm and her in the business about what she's learned.

00:03:53 Anthony Beasley

So Betty, why don't you tell us a little bit about the things that you've taken some time to learn?

00:03:57 Anthony Beasley

About cloud vendors.

00:03:59 Betty Cunningham

So I was involved recently, like over the last before covid two conversions.

00:04:05 Betty Cunningham

One occurred partially during Covid, two conversions from server based systems to cloud based, and I can just tell you that the features are tons of cloud based applications out there for.

00:04:19 Betty Cunningham

Attorneys now and the features look fabulous, but.

00:04:24 Betty Cunningham

Be careful if you're moving someone off of a server based system that has tight accounting controls and I do have high standards being CPA that I do expect that.

00:04:37 Betty Cunningham

The accounting connects on more than one angle and it's tight, and there's controlled and so the first one I was involved with was taking someone off Jurus Jurus server based and moving them to Cleo, and it was modified cache cruel and all.

00:04:55 Betty Cunningham

I want to say is not a good fit.

00:04:58 Betty Cunningham

So I learned the hard way.

00:05:00 Betty Cunningham

The thing that that we learned very much the hard way was the support and the conversion utilities.

00:05:06 Betty Cunningham

So that you know it's easy to convert the clients off of these server based systems into the cloud, but when you start moving the transactions and the history, it's not always.

00:05:16 Betty Cunningham

It doesn't always work out like you think it would.

00:05:19 Betty Cunningham

The other one that I was involved with that I even thought was way more interesting was moving from.

00:05:26 Betty Cunningham

PC law to.

00:05:28 Betty Cunningham

Practice Panther and so PC law we moved to a practice Panther with into it as a back office QuickBooks Online well.

00:05:38 Betty Cunningham

When transactions start disappearing between into it and practice Panther, you know that there's an issue and it was super hard to find support between into it and practice Panther.

00:05:52 Betty Cunningham

That could tell you what the situation was and why the transfer transactions were disappearing.

00:05:58 Betty Cunningham

So those are things that you need to look at, and I'm sure that a lot of these systems work great for if it's your first time jumping on or if you're a small firm with few transactions.

00:06:10 Betty Cunningham

But if you have.

00:06:12 Betty Cunningham

You know server based with lots of transactions that need to move to the cloud.

00:06:16 Betty Cunningham

I just want to say you know really do your homework.

00:06:20 Betty Cunningham

So that's my experience Anthony.

00:06:22 Betty Cunningham

And with this firm I'm with, I I considered moving them onto one of these platforms.

00:06:27 Betty Cunningham

But now I just so trust perfect law because we've been with them for so long.

00:06:33 Betty Cunningham

And also what I love about Purple Claw is the same people that I've dealt with when we first came on or still there.

00:06:40 Betty Cunningham

And I think that just says a lot for the firm.

00:06:42 Betty Cunningham

And I know that no matter how bad we messed something up 'cause we have whatever we delete they can find and also that they can rescue us, you know?

00:06:53 Betty Cunningham

When we've done that, then.

00:06:54 Betty Cunningham

The worst user mistakes possible.

00:06:56 Anthony Beasley

OK great now.

00:06:57 Anthony Beasley

Now with Val, of course, this is a little bit different for her because.

00:07:03 Anthony Beasley

Val has has been a huge proponent of perfect call for a long time.

00:07:08 Anthony Beasley

They do use a lot more of the system.

00:07:10 Anthony Beasley

They're using the full front and back office and Full disclosure valves.

00:07:13 Anthony Beasley

Firm was a very key firm in the current development of what is called web DMS, which is now a product that initially when it started, it was started out as a way to support our cloud cloud.

00:07:25 Anthony Beasley

But now it has become a mobile alternative for our in-house clients so that they can have some of the advantages that the cloud offers.

00:07:33 Anthony Beasley

But of course Valve firm is now running perfect law in the most current rendition of what is the perfect law software as a service environment.

00:07:41 Anthony Beasley

So if I want you tell us a little bit about what you have experienced in.

00:07:45 Anthony Beasley

And your thoughts on perfect long being in the cloud.

00:07:49 Valerie Williams

Well, first, I'll apologize that Ace has decided to chime in here.

00:07:55 Valerie Williams

Uh, as Anthony said, we've been with perfect law for about 18 years, and our firm with 40 attorneys.

00:08:05 Valerie Williams

We were actually the product of the merger of four other firms.

00:08:10 Valerie Williams

Uh, we had perfect lot 1 for.

00:08:13 Valerie Williams

I'm sorry we had a lead at one firm we had.

00:08:18 Valerie Williams

Of Time matters, we had Abacus and then there was a fourth one that was specific to workers compensation and Social Security disability.

00:08:31 Valerie Williams

And so we had to find a product that would bring us all together.

00:08:34 Valerie Williams

You know that we could all agree on.

00:08:38 Valerie Williams

Under one roof, and that's that's where perfect law came in, we evaluated a lot of of different software applications at the time, and perf loss seemed to fit the bill for us.



00:08:51 Valerie Williams

Best Buy attorneys had very specific requirements with respect to reporting and such, and perfect law was able to match that for.

00:09:01 Valerie Williams

So that's why we chose them over everyone else and I have to agree with that.

00:09:06 Valerie Williams

The one of the things that I find most advantageous.

00:09:11 Valerie Williams

It's the same people or a perfect law.

00:09:13 Valerie Williams

Now that I've worked with back in the day.

00:09:16 Valerie Williams

Yeah, Eighties 80s and 90s so it's very comforting to know that that I can reach out to them and they do frequently save us from ourselves is how I put it up and do a fantastic job at it.

00:09:33 Valerie Williams

But we decided to go to the cloud before.

00:09:37 Valerie Williams

There was any mention of Covid.

00:09:40 Valerie Williams

Mainly from the standpoint of having not having to worry about a site based system where my IT person.

00:09:49 Valerie Williams

Every time you know we had a major storm or a power outage, lengthy power outage, or anything like that, he was running up to the office to make sure that all of the systems were shut down properly because you only have so much battery backup and.

00:10:04 Valerie Williams

We wanted something that was going to be stable and reliable, and I think we found that with perfect law and because we've been longtime clients, the decision was made to go ahead and pursue that Ave and thankfully we got through that just in advance of of covid

00:10:26 Valerie Williams

And I think it made the world the difference for our staff and attorneys.

00:10:31 Valerie Williams

Having the ability to continue working even though they weren't in the office.

00:10:36 Anthony Beasley

OK, now Val.

00:10:38 Anthony Beasley

One of the things that a lot of you know we got a lot of questions on that relates to.

00:10:43 Anthony Beasley

The cloud is well, how long does this really take?

00:10:46 Anthony Beasley

You know, and I know excuse me, I know that.

00:10:49 Anthony Beasley

You know, typically for a conversion when someone is moving into perfect law, you know the whole process on average is about 3 months, is what typical if you just take and round it up.

00:11:00 Anthony Beasley

You know some firms are a little bit slower.

00:11:02 Anthony Beasley

Some firms want to go a little bit faster, but the average implementation time frame from the time that someone signs contracts and says.

00:11:09 Anthony Beasley

Perfect law is the answer to the time that they're using it in houses, typically about three months, but obviously.

00:11:15 Anthony Beasley

When you're already using the product in an environment and you're making a move, what was your experience like just to simply go from an in-house system of perfect law where it's on premise into the cloud?

00:11:27 Anthony Beasley

Not necessarily, you know, learning the product, but just that transition the initial transition from just to switch over.

00:11:35 Anthony Beasley

From the two to two different types of products.

00:11:38 Valerie Williams

I think the switchover with perfect law was pretty.

00:11:43 Valerie Williams

Quick and painless, UM, as you said, we knew the product so that that helped quite a bit. The only new feature or then only new product. We had to learn with DMS and I had a couple of really good staff members that are very talented that participated in that evaluation.

00:12:04 Valerie Williams

And they made sure that we were able to move comfortably into that, you know.

00:12:10 Valerie Williams

It probably only took a few months as you said for the perfect law piece of it.

00:12:15 Valerie Williams

However, we had done a full move to the cloud on everything we had.

00:12:19 Valerie Williams

So depending on what came first and how they were on schedule, determined when we were going over to perfect law, but I think by and large, once we got to perfect.

00:12:30 Valerie Williams

Uh, you know a couple of tweaks here and there and we were off and running.

00:12:35 Anthony Beasley

OK, great, now Betty.

00:12:37 Anthony Beasley

Right now you're in that position of we got.

00:12:39 Anthony Beasley

We're going to make this move we've been talking about it.

00:12:42 Anthony Beasley

We've been planning for it.

00:12:44 Anthony Beasley

What is your expectation timeline was?

00:12:46 Anthony Beasley

I know you've had the opportunity to spend some time with some of our tech people and have people here and have some conversation.

00:12:52 Anthony Beasley

So just, you know, give us a little idea about what you're you know what you're expecting when the time comes to pull the trigger and move forward with perfectly in the cloud.

00:13:00 Betty Cunningham

Well, we move slowly here, so that's one thing everyone needs to be prepared for.

00:13:05 Betty Cunningham

I would.

00:13:06 Betty Cunningham

I was anticipating a July August start.

00:13:10 Betty Cunningham

And the only thing we're moving is general Ledger, time, billing and aim.

00:13:15 Betty Cunningham

And so I was thinking probably a two month turn around at most.

00:13:19 Betty Cunningham

Like, well, we'll probably move.

00:13:20 Betty Cunningham

They'll move, aim and then time and billing and general Ledger.

00:13:24 Betty Cunningham

So that part I don't think will be a huge problem.

00:13:29 Betty Cunningham

Uhm, but the intent of moving one of the things that we're going to move forward, and I'm so glad that Val volunteer that I can call her with all my questions.

00:13:40 Betty Cunningham

Is that I feel like.

00:13:42 Betty Cunningham

We need to move to Doc management and it's going to be a hard thing for some of these older attorneys, but after I watched John demo of the new Doc management in the cloud, I think that that will be another thing that will probably not start till first of till 2022, but that would be. My goal is to also implement Doc management.

00:14:02 Anthony Beasley


00:14:03 Anthony Beasley

Now the good thing is, is that uh, and I can.

00:14:07 Anthony Beasley

I can say this in good confidence.

00:14:09 Anthony Beasley

You know 20.

00:14:11 Anthony Beasley

You know you.

00:14:12 Anthony Beasley

It's your decision.

00:14:12 Anthony Beasley

I think Val can echo that with what they have spent their time doing to assist firms like you quietly without you really understanding that they have, you know Val had under.

00:14:23 Anthony Beasley

Very experienced crew that understood how to use the internal document management system that's inside a vein so that the version that you would use in the cloud you're not missing much, because obviously as you did as you learn and looking at different systems.

00:14:40 Anthony Beasley

Windows based or server based systems have some advantages. Sometimes that a cloud system won't have and The thing is is when you get firms who have been in perfect law for 10, fifteen, 20-30 years that have been using the product, they will tell you very quickly what you're missing when you, you know produce a new product.

00:14:59 Anthony Beasley

Like a man.

00:15:02 Anthony Beasley

When you produce a new product like the web, DMSO about, you know you you did a little webcast for us on that.

00:15:08 Anthony Beasley

Maybe you can give her a little a little knowledge on what's going on as far as what has going on as far as the web product is concerned.

00:15:16 Valerie Williams

Well, as I said, we have a very talented paralegal that has spent a good amount of time working on the DDMS product with their staff.

00:15:26 Valerie Williams

Can I call her out?

00:15:27 Valerie Williams

Her name is Lauren.

00:15:29 Valerie Williams

He's she's just exceptional and the biggest change for us was, of course.

00:15:36 Valerie Williams

No worries, they get comfortable with what they're doing.

00:15:40 Valerie Williams

So anytime you change something, it kind of rocks the boat a little bit, but Lauren Lauren helped pave the way for them to make this transition.

00:15:49 Valerie Williams


00:15:50 Valerie Williams

I was a dumb because I was working on other things too.

00:15:55 Valerie Williams

I wasn't always on top of DNS as it was as they were rolling out different features of it, but Lauren made sure that she could tell people how to move it from.

00:16:06 Valerie Williams

One just the AME document management to the DNS.

00:16:11 Valerie Williams

How that worked and what we would use it for.

00:16:14 Valerie Williams

And I have to say it's been a really easy transition in in that regard.

00:16:20 Valerie Williams


00:16:21 Valerie Williams

I I just feel like the DDMS product is is years ahead of what the old document management system was and from what I hear, everything I see and and what I hear of the plans are to continue growing that and it should be a a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

00:16:42 Anthony Beasley

Yeah, I mean I I honestly have spent some time, you know, working with Val and others and seeing.

00:16:50 Anthony Beasley

The transition of what is now, you know, a very very strong document management product.

00:16:56 Anthony Beasley

You know I won't give away too many of the goodies I can just tell you that as far as a feature rich product, they could do some things that other document management systems in the business can't do.

00:17:07 Anthony Beasley

Just get ready.

00:17:08 Anthony Beasley

I mean, I think I think you know, perfect law has made its its mark in the industry.

00:17:13 Anthony Beasley

Being a single database system.

00:17:15 Anthony Beasley

And what that means is that, well, we're not going to have a third party trying to help us do something we can't do ourselves.

00:17:20 Anthony Beasley

So I think for people like Betty who are going to be transitioning to the cloud.

00:17:26 Anthony Beasley

I, I think that they'll find some nice surprises and some some newer things that a lot of people are taking advantage of.

00:17:33 Anthony Beasley

I'm seeing more and more firms.

00:17:34 Anthony Beasley

Who are, you know, even in the in house or on premises scenario that are very interested in using the new web product as a way of for mobility is a mode.

00:17:45 Anthony Beasley

Product obviously.

00:17:47 Anthony Beasley

When you're in our software as a service environment, it has now become the the actual document management product that firms in the cloud use.

00:17:55 Anthony Beasley

So I do think that in the end it's it's going to be a very good transition for Metcalf when that happens now, you know we spent quite a bit of time.

00:18:05 Anthony Beasley

There's a lot of information.

00:18:07 Anthony Beasley

Packed into the time that we spent so far, and I know anyone that takes the time to truly listen to what was said is going to have a lot to gain.

00:18:13 Anthony Beasley

From it, but what I'd like to do is just give you guys some some time to to pass along some final thoughts on Betty in a few.

00:18:20 Anthony Beasley

You have some things you'd like to pass along.

00:18:22 Anthony Beasley

Obviously this is going to be heard by our clients as well as prospective clients who may be looking at us.

00:18:28 Anthony Beasley

So obviously we would love for you to be able to give us your perspective of some things and leave some people with some.

00:18:34 Anthony Beasley

Some things to consider moving forward.

00:18:36 Betty Cunningham

Well, after looking at some of your videos on your cloud based product, it's set.

00:18:42 Betty Cunningham

Try, it seems to me it appears to me that the focus of your new as John calls him hotshot programmers will be toward the cloud.

00:18:51 Betty Cunningham

So instead we are to the point where we have to either update our old or SQL Server or you know stay server based or move to the cloud.

00:19:00 Betty Cunningham

And my thoughts are that.

00:19:03 Betty Cunningham


00:19:04 Betty Cunningham

Technology is gonna gonna be looked at in the cloud in that your.

00:19:09 Betty Cunningham

Most of your.

00:19:10 Betty Cunningham

Time and money will be spent developing the cloud, so I think truly going forward.

00:19:16 Betty Cunningham

The cloud is where we need to go and we also spend that we have no document management system.

00:19:22 Betty Cunningham

We spend a lot of time now with our younger attorneys.

00:19:25 Betty Cunningham

Moving documents to teams and then bringing them back in.

00:19:28 Betty Cunningham

It's hard to know who's got the latest version, so I do think that your document management system will be a big benefit for this firm.

00:19:37 Anthony Beasley


00:19:38 Anthony Beasley

And wow, you know, I know you're in a great place in life now you get to have some some time to yourself.

00:19:45 Anthony Beasley

You know the firm won't be bothering me as much as they used to.

00:19:48 Anthony Beasley

They probably will still call 'cause I don't know of anyone who has spent the type of time you have with a firm and nobody calls you.

00:19:53 Anthony Beasley

I know that's impossible, but going give us some of your final thoughts in in in.

00:19:56 Valerie Williams

I said

00:19:57 Anthony Beasley

What you have to say about perfect law being in the cloud and just the things that you know from your time with us.

00:20:02 Valerie Williams

Well, first I have to say that I'm I'm very grateful that we had a management team that had the foresight to move us into the cloud.

00:20:12 Valerie Williams

Shared for many years, attorneys were very reluctant to do that for confidentiality purposes and just one of many reasons why they didn't want to do it.

00:20:23 Valerie Williams

But our management team was great and they they saw this.

00:20:28 Valerie Williams

They acknowledged it and they started working towards moving us into the cloud.

00:20:33 Valerie Williams

As soon as possible.

00:20:36 Valerie Williams

I think that that's going to be the way that everybody goes in the in the future.

00:20:41 Valerie Williams

Having a server based system aside from the.

00:20:44 Valerie Williams

The support issues you have, I mean the cost of supporting a product in houses is rising all the time.

00:20:54 Valerie Williams

And it's difficult to stay up to date with everything that's coming out.

00:21:00 Valerie Williams

If you're managing it in a small office with just one IT person and and going that way so you know, I think that's the way things are gonna they've been heading that way for a lot of the industry law firms are just a little slower to make that decision, but I think this is where we're moving.

00:21:21 Valerie Williams

And where we need to be in the future.

00:21:23 Anthony Beasley

OK, great, well I want to personally thank both of you for taking some time out of your schedule to spend some time with us today.

00:21:30 Anthony Beasley

Anytime we get the opportunity to pick up knowledge on industry as well as perfectly as a whole, it's always a good thing.

00:21:37 Anthony Beasley

I think that with the number of clients that we have across the nation in the Caribbean and other places that use perfect law.

00:21:43 Anthony Beasley

This is something that will help a lot of people make some decisions for themselves moving forward, so I really thank you.

00:21:48 Anthony Beasley

I thank you for the the knowledge Betty, for you know, outside knowledge of different products, because every now and then we do get we hear things, but it's different when it comes from.

00:21:58 Anthony Beasley

Knows and Val I will always be tremendously in debt to you because you've always been a great client to work with.

00:22:04 Anthony Beasley

Someone who has actually helped me grow personally and professionally in this business so you know, we really, really appreciate you for taking your time out, especially since it's your first couple of days into retirement to spend with us and share some things.

00:22:18 Anthony Beasley

With you so.

00:22:18 Anthony Beasley

With that said, we will end the conversation here and I look forward to talking to more people in the near.