The AQX Series: Supporting the IP team’s Full Spend Lifecycle with Financial Management
To continue our AQX blog series, we sat down with Dilip Phadke, Independent IP Consultant and a former Anaqua client, to learn more about AQX’s Financial Management solution. Dilip has many years’ experience working closely with Anaqua and our Customer Advisory Board on several projects including the development of our Financial Management solution.
Nancy: What main challenges does Financial Management solve? In other words, who will benefit by using this solution and why?
Dilip: Intellectual Property is an important tool for driving business success across the entire organization. In order to do this effectively, the single biggest strategic tool at an IP team’s disposal is the budget and, more specifically, how it is allocated monthly, quarterly, and annually.
With AQX’s Financial Management capabilities, IP teams can now capture and analyze previous and future spend data to better inform prosecution, maintenance, and portfolio management decisions. They can also measure and manage financial performance through budgeting, cost tracking, accruals, invoicing, and e-billing tools to optimize legal spend.
Clients can also make annuity and renewal decisions directly in AQX, analyze payment history and remaining balances for budgeting and forecasting, review upcoming payments, and oversee potential impacts on payment and pruning decisions. By using all of these features through a single supplier, Anaqua’s AQX, IP teams can save more time and reduce risk during their financial management processes.
Nancy: What was the key driver behind developing a Financial Management solution?
Dilip: One of the main drivers for creating a Financial Management solution within AQX is that the business imperative of “doing more with less” is the reality for many IP organizations. Greater client demand for higher-level services and reduced operational budgets have impacted the way IP teams focus on value and costs. IP organizations are faced with rising expenses on several fronts - workforce costs, outside counsel fees, patent and trademark renewal payments in multiple jurisdictions just to name a few. According to a 2018 State of Corporate Law Departments Report from Thomson Reuters and Acritas, controlling outside counsel costs was the number-one priority for corporate legal departments, and as a result, those surveyed were increasingly turning to technology to simplify workflow and manual processes.
In addition to this, using financial management technology helps IP organizations better understand their IP spend and maximize return on investment, which is why we’re seeing interest from all types of IP organizations – even the ones without as many constraints. IP departments are also accountable for meeting their budgets, so having access to tools that increase accurate and efficient spend management is vital. By creating a Financial Management solution, we are supporting several department responsibilities that require active management such as accurately forecasting future spends, monitoring and tracking invoices, and managing accruals for work completed by outside counsel but not yet invoiced.
I’ve also noticed that today’s typical accounts payable software doesn’t have the level of detail necessary for making projections and developing comprehensive reports needed to support the efficient management of an IP team’s full spend lifecycle. This is why we see law firms and inhouse legal departments often turn to legal case management software or electronic legal billing software that includes some manner of budgeting, but the functionality is often limited.
Nancy: Were there any other key influencers in the development of AQX’s Financial Management solution?
Dilip: Anaqua collaborated with a working group of leading clients with a vested interest in AQX. The Spend Management Working Group provided valuable insight and documented common business processes and data flows for “budget, commit, spend & pay.” The working group was then instrumental in validating AQX worked the way they work – but far more efficiently and effectively.
With the Financial Management solution, we are providing users with a budgeting software system that integrates different types of information including transaction histories, best practice data, invoice history, and payment history to create a more robust and adaptive budgeting model. AQX addresses these important needs for our clients.
Nancy: Any additional Anaqua offerings users could benefit from a financial management perspective but might not realize?
Dilip: There are several AQX related capabilities (and AQS services) that offer benefits to users and help manage costs. Some examples include portfolio management, HyperView dashboards, integrated payment services, and foreign filing services.
Portfolio Management, when used in conjunction with the Financial Management module, helps users manage forecasts, budgets, and invoices associated with the development and maintenance of IP portfolios. This allows IP teams to easily track outside counsel spend, annuity and renewal payments, and monetization of royalties and licensing agreements.
Clients can also leverage the HyperView dashboard to access prebuilt reports for better insight into where an organization is spending IP dollars.
With the AQS team, Anaqua has integrated payment services with an industry leading ISO 9001 certified process that delivers consistent quality and dependable annuity and renewal payments. These integrated services can support portfolios of any size and deliver payment services and cost savings. Anaqua Annuities and Renewals services also help to reduce invoice volume and save time in accounting and finance.
Additionally, some users might not realize they can take advantage of Anaqua’s translation and filing services designed to reduce costs and administrative burden associated with PCT filings, EP validation, and national phase processes. This approach enables corporations to remain competitive in their requisite market and allows law firms to more effectively counsel clients in developing and maintaining a strategy after they understand objectives and resources. With Anaqua Foreign Filing Services, clients can request foreign filing quotes directly from within AQX and work within a flexible engagement structure to deal with spikes of work, full and part-time support.
Want to learn more about AQX? Schedule a demo.