The 3 Billing Challenges That Are Costing Your Firm
No one became a lawyer because they wanted to deal with billing, but to get paid and keep profits high it’s a necessary task. Proper billing can often get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, but awareness of common pitfalls and implementation of technology to address potential issues can go a long way to ensure healthy cash flow. By making your billing process more efficient you’ll be on your way to getting paid faster than ever before.
Inefficient Billing and Collections
If you or your firm are doing any of the following, the result will be inefficient billing and collections which translates into lost time and profits:
Sending out invoices one at a time
Getting invoices to clients late
Manually checking retainer amounts to see if there are enough funds left
Reviewing past due accounts to send out individual reminders
“Automating as many tasks as possible is a law firm’s best option for gaining back time spent on administrative tasks. With the freed up time, you can focus on more billable work that results in revenue.”
Save hours each month and avoid inefficient billing and collections by using technology to:
Send out invoices all at once in batches
Set up automatic notices to go out to clients once a retainer reaches a particular threshold to ensure there are always sufficient funds (also known as evergreen retainers)
Create reminders to go out on past dues invoices automatically
Lack of Mobility
Today’s lawyers work from all over, including at the courthouse and on the road. Failing to enter billable time and expenses as they occur is guaranteed to result in missed profits and reimbursements. It also introduces ethical concerns when time needs to be estimated if the exact hours can’t be recalled.
Be sure to use a system that allows you to track these items and enter them even when you’re not in the office. Many of today’s programs offer mobile applications that let you easily enter items right from your phone or tablet, even if you can’t get to a computer right away. By making the process as accessible and simple as possible, you and your team will be more likely to use it.
Lack of Accounting Integration
Generic accounting programs, even when integrated with a legal-specific practice management software, often fail to take into consideration the unique requirements of law firms. When these billing and accounting systems are separate law firms are open to a number of risks, particularly those associated with needed to enter data into each system. This duplicate entry significantly increases the likelihood of an inaccurate entry, which can cause problems when it comes to reconciliation or an audit.
Look to use a legal-specific practice management program that also has built-in accounting and billing. These types of custom programs are developed with typical pitfalls in mind and have safeguards in place to prevent them from happening. By connecting the two programs into one, recorded entries will be easily tied to matters and can be traced in the event of an audit.
It’s important to do your due diligence in researching a program to fulfill these needs, but spending some time to implement them will result in countless hours saved and increased profits.
“Programs such as CosmoLex exist to simplify practice management and streamline billing and collections, leaving attorneys more time to focus on practicing law rather than dealing with administrative tasks. Leverage technology to take advantage of the many time-saving features available for law firms.”
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