Andre Wouansi - The Managing Partners Podcast
Erik J. Olson: Hey everybody, it's Eric j Olson, Today I am and interviewing someone for the managing partners podcast now interestingly our guest in not a managing partner but he works with a lot of managing partners so he has a product that is used by attorneys personal injury and workers comp attorneys attorneys who are on the defense side and this has to do with legal billing so if you're one of those kinds of attorneys this is going to be a really good episode for you to learn how you can increase your billing basically get more out of your billings using his product so without further ado let me bring in Andre Wouansi, Hey Andre,
Andre Wouansi: Hi Eric
Erik J. Olson: Hey there let me let me read for the audience your bio so they get a little sense of who you are and then we'll um then we'll just have a little talk so Andre is the founder and managing partner of accurate legal billing incorporated accurate legal billing is ALB. ALB is the world's first AI powered time entry cleansing platform that intelligently and automatically processes timekeeper’s entries, all right that's the key so they conform to e-billing guidelines allowing law firm's to achieve time time entry 100% compliance with client service level agreements. Hey Andre how's it going on.
Andre Wouansi: I'm good to have you yourself
Erik J. Olson: Good now you know I said in the into like before I brought you in that you're not you're not a practicing managing partner but that is part of your title is that correct correct okay I just want to make sure I didn't get that 100% wrong management partners yes gocha gotcha well hey uh besides what I just read from the bio tell us a little bit more about yourself where you're at your business and how you kind of got to where you are right now.
Andre Wouansi: You are right now thanks Eric thanks for inviting me to the show I you know fun of your show and i couldn't what to be here today so thank you for giving me the opportunity to come in I really appreciate that, so a prior to starting ALB, I used to own an e-billing company with other partners so for nearly two decades I was on the other side being one of these guy who was incharge of ensuring compliance your know helping insuring defense helping insurance companies tpas and all of those with the liquro spent so my job was to ensure that no attorney can mess around with the billing guidelines so over the course of nearly two decades my company we reduce over two billion dollars on our phone bill so over three years ago i decided to switch side and help the law firm say look somebody come to need to help these guys because there's so many things that they can reduce not because they didn't do the work but just because their narrative or the description of the work being done it's so poor they don't have a tool to help them to put in the correct narrative and they're all puzzled all the time they don't know what they e-billing vendors are looking for what is it they're looking for all the time so I decided to come in and build something for them that would help them to achieve those compliance so I’ve released two different platforms for them one is they can enter time into ALB and as they enter time ALB compliance done on the spot an attorney doesn’t need to pick up a billing guideline a billing department doesn't need to study billing guidelines I build that in a tool for you these two will tell you what is it what is the information that the e-billing vendors expect is of you it will tell you that for some pho we're big enough they said look we're not going to change our culture we're using the time interest
system we have a thousand attorneys we're not going to change but we still see reductions how can you help us so i release my first platform people came back to me with those they kept saying not we're not going to change they could not change and we know in the legal industry the turn is they are reluctant to change so i went back in the drawing board and said you know what I’m going to come out with a solution and we'll build a second platform them this platform now 100% AI we integrate this platform with any you could be any law firm using any time and billing platform we integrate with those platforms we take the entries they come into ALB the AI reads this entry tell you what is not what's wrong with them not only tells you what's wrong with them it tells you what to do to fix them and then it goes back into your time entry if you don't want to change time injury we have a solution for you don't need to change will we integrate with that and will we use our air to do the work .yeah
Erik J. Olson: So I love this from a lot of different levels one is uh as an entrepreneur you a problem and you saw that problem because you used to work on the other side of the problem if you will and actually let let's if we could take a couple minutes to kind of explain um the mechanisms here for those that aren't familiar and i know before you and I spoke a couple days ago I wasn't familiar so if I let's say i got injured okay and I hired an attorney for me right and my attorney sued the insurance company right at that point that's when like when you would kind of get involved because the attorneys on the defending side those defending the insurance companies they're doing their illegal work and then they have to submit it to the insurance company and the insurance company looks at that bill and says this is allowed this is allowed this one is not for whatever reason that's the compliance we're talking about correct
Andre Wouansi: Yes okay because the insurance company they started by saying look we working with these attorneys they're billing us for things that they shouldn't be billing for so they came up with this billing guidelines and say look stick to this billing guidelines but also they realized that they could not enforce the billing guidelines themselves so they when out to vent a third party to enforce these rules so when the attorney is sending their bills they're not even sending the bill to the carrier they're sending the bill to third party , so this e-billing platform they have their tools that they build to check on this they use the tool they use human being and that's what we used to do you'll be cast so many things and it is very clear in the billing guidelines that we will make reduction with our first point of review of your invoice it's not the time that you spend doing the work attorneys always get confused they say they don't want to see a certain amount of hours i say yes for certain activity they will limit they can say look we don't want legal research in excess of two hours or three hours depending on the billing guideline depending on the client but what do we say is that your narrative will determine whether you should be paid for that time you put in or not but what attorney quite often do is that people don't spend the time to give the narrative they just write attend at the position yeah who was that the position what time did this start what time did it end and some of these carriers now push it to the point where they say hey how many hours did you take us a break when I said to managing partner that they want to know how many hours you took us a break during the deposition they said well these people
are crazy I said no is this a billionaire and you guys agree to the billing island to do business with them so that's where we come in and say look we have a tool for you that's going to do all this for you so when your invoice goes to these e-billing vendors they can't find anything to correct because you gave them details of your work exactly as you performed it and that was what they were expecting so hence out can see on our website where you have 100 compliance because we've been able to achieve 100% compliance not for small law firm for a 200 law firm for small law firm after big law firms we've done that.
Erik J. Olson: That's really impressive so you know the other part of your origin story if you will that I really appreciate is that you used to like where you're at now and um the work that you're doing used to be just the opposite right and correct and I use the analogy of like um someone who was a an irs auditor yes they audited tax returns for years they know the ins and outs and they know the irs inside and out and then all of a sudden they they switch sides if you will you know and now they're like a secret weapon if you would because they know exactly how an auditor thinks because they were in auditor for two decades right and so that's exactly what happened here so your job before was to take these billings submitted by the pi and workers comp defense attorneys and find issues I would imagine you're probably you know it'd probably be a good thing if you found more issues thus reductions right you're reducing form a million dollar bill to a 900 000 bill that the higher that spread that the better you're doing your job right that was your goal is just the opposite to minimize that spread right and so that that's really interesting that puts you in an incredibly great position for the product and service that you provide and another thing honestly that that i think is quite bold 100% you know it's this something that's a big claim and a lot of times it's very difficult to be able to make that claim legitimately you know just as an example, we hot we host our clients websites and i love to say 100% but if it goes down one website goes down for one second in a month you just blew it right you're not you could say near 100% which is you know we say 99.99 or but 100% that's really difficult to achieve.
Andre Wouansi: When we say 100% I can give you a phone number of a am 200 law firm one of the top law firm in this country that can say to you, yes we use ALB and ALB saved us 100 we're losing x amount per month and now because of ALB we were able to save 100 we see no reduction and all of these firms when they come to us the first thing they do is you know they find it's to so hard to believe that they can achieve that kind of result so then we go in and they say they're going to do a trap they take photos and based on the result of the triad they will decide whether they go in or not and I’m not going to say that every single firm that worked for us achieve hundred percent okay but the majority are achieving hundred percent that firm who decided am 100 or am 200 law firm we decided that look i did not achieve 100% but i save enough to know that if i roll out this platform to my entire client portfolio I can save a million two three five million dollars by the end of the year and this without changing anything to my process i can save this money not changing anything to my process so not everybody is saying a hundred percent but they've seen enough money on the table to say yes I’m going to this platform,
Erik J. Olson: That's incredible and what's great is you have that very specific exact ROI right and these law firms they're seeing these reductions say a hundred thousand dollars month after month after month after month so it's very clear that they're doing just you know using an easy example they're doing a million dollars’ worth of work and they're getting cut by a hundred thousand dollars every month they pay you whatever your fee is boom it goes up to a million dollars they're collecting after submitting
Andre Wouansi: I have firm coming you know i just can't name anybody but i firm that says look we lost 5 million last year on this one client online okay this one carrier they've reduced their bill by five million dollars and they use that as a trial in our system and when they see 30 percent of 40 reduction becoming 10 percent that extra 20 or 30 percent that they're realizing is enormous that's one client if you're an am 100 law firm you have several of these clients so you can see the numbers that soon makes a big difference. 14:11
Erik J. Olson: How do you price your product?
Andre Wouansi: We have various options for them, we are not we cut it down now to two options we used to you know years ago we were giving them three or four different options some people the early adopters they benefited from that a lot because some people saw, what the platform could do and they decided to buy the by at right so today i turn around to those people i was like you guys make lots of money because you know you save yourself a lot of money because today i want have charged you four or five times what i gave you as early adopters but today we went from five different pricing options to two there's a monthly flat fee per attorney or there's a monthly flat free for the entire firm so they choose how which option they want to pay and we do our integration and we charge them a onetime fee for integration and because our platform is so unique in terms of billing guidelines you have to imagine we cannot roll it out to every post every firm the same thing right it takes a lot of effort, so we build certain tool that helps us build the platform so what you get there's another machine somewhere that we build that's helping us building what we give it given to you because if we just use human being all the time it takes such a long time we have firms that have they come in 400 billion right they have 400 clients that they want us to roll out for them you cannot do this because every single billion guidelines we have to go through every single billing guideline and we have to identify certain things, we have to customize this because you have an attorney working five different clients five different bulling guidelines five different ways to build for the same activity he does the same work but need to build five different times, we don't want him to think about that, we do the thinking we put it in front of you, just use it and there's something I’m always pushing to the next level so i already pushed my technology i already pushed my AI to the next level and where we're trying to get to is i want my AI to study people building pattern, I want my machine to do the time entry for you and I’m always almost halfway there.
Erik J. Olson: But for those that are watching you know i have a lot of experience in software development that was my previous career before digital marketing and you know building i this is my guess I’m guessing for you building your initial tool where the attorneys would put the time entries into your tool that was tough because that was you know the first product the first evolution of what you did my guess though is that the sound evolution where you're interfacing with their billing e-billing the various integrations that you've done that's whole other level of complexity every integration is custom and it's unique and you know you may not be able to use a lot from integration on through you know to integration seven they're all different and then and then the billing guidelines that you're talking about you have to take those from a written form and you have to codify them right you have to tell the machine this is allowed this not allowed et cetera right and what to look for and those customizations that's a lot and it's quite impressive that you've been able to do that so congratulations on that what.
Andre Wouansi:Thank you
Erik J. Olson: Do you have background in like you know computer science or how did how did you go about even building this thing from the beginning.
Andre Wouansi: I'm not people will not believe this but I’m an accountant and then I’m from England so i moved over the states about 11 years ago because the business that we started over there in England grew up massively in U.S so we have to come over to grow our company and then for the past 20 years has been just been around technology and you know you recruite people you work with team across and also look I saw a problem and there was no solution because everybody in the e-billing world it's all about how much money can we make saving on the law firm bill it's all driven by that no one thought about the law of the attorneys so sometimes people say to me hey Andre how did you come up with that you either had to be the person who were doing this reduction to come up with that kind of solution or you had to be someone that they view so much that you have to find a solution, I said Yeah i was the latter I was the former where you know i was the one for years making this reeducation and it was my company i wasn’t working somewhere and so we created certain things and which kind of led to you know easy for me to try and to find a solution to what was build and because i also seen all these problems look i did not review the invoices through my pervious company just from one country we reviews invoices from 70 countries, so i was exposed to law firm working in 70 countries, I can tell you across the world how these law firms are billing what kind of errors they're making on the bills when you see those things years after years after year and we're very good at it because they're some of the largest insurance carrier in this in the united states you cannot work for them for a decade they won't keep you for a decade if you're not good at what you're doing.
Erik J. Olson: Impressive, how do you go about getting new clients?
Andre Wouansi:There's word of mouth and sometimes i get a phone call we heard about your platform we heard about our technology we don't know if this is true so we want to check it out i also have an internal team so sales and marketing team they do a lot of some inside sales people do call calling they do email we do Google ads I’ve worked and lots of LinkedIn and we produce YouTube videos and et cetera so we go to all the channel user channel like you guys would do.
Erik J. Olson: That's excellent well good for you aright Andre if someone is interested in your product or wants to reach out to you what is a good way to do that.
Andre Wouansi:They can reach out to me personally always often they can email me at [email protected] or they can go to our website www.accuratelegalbilling.com and then pick up the number from there call we always answering our phones, there's no phone service there's no you know there's no answering machine we always make sure that somebody is there to answer call or they can email us they can chat to us on our website, we always have some people there working not 24x7. But most of the time so.
Erik J. Olson: So good for you now you make it easy for people to get in touch with you. I really like the product that you've build i think it's a fantastic idea you're an insider clearly who's build a product that addressed that particular pain point as a business owner you say they saw an opportunity no one was addressing it, you're addressing it so, well done congratulations
Andre Wouansi:Thank you Thanks so much Eric
Erik J. Olson: All right appreciate your time.
Andre Wouansi:Thank you for having me it's a pleasure to spend this afternoon with you and I hope that you invite me another time
Erik J. Olson: Hang on second right