Tracking Time and Expenses – Best Practices
Client Accounts, Office Accounts and getting paid on time
Written by Knowledge Team, posted on December 29, 2018.
Legal Technology can help Attorneys and Bookkeepers to track their services hours, expenses and disbursements. Having best practice is not option but necessity for a modern law firm to be compliant and to get paid on time with client satisfaction
Legal Billing Practices
Effective Legal Billing process is important for every law firm. With different billing practices available, understanding the options will help lawyers to use them for building a successful practice.
Though attorneys can communicate to their clients through multiple methods, when it comes to billing, sending regular bills through writing or emails is an easy way to make sure that the client is aware of the work carried out in the matter by the attorney and to also keep them updated.
Use technology assistants for billing
Technology has been a great help in various ways in assisting attorneys in recording and tracking billable hours. It is wise to employ easy-to-use and reliable software or tools in your Law firm to make the whole billing process easier. These software help attorneys to document their everyday work in a timely manner and to integrate billing into their daily routine by eliminating human errors and making the entire process more efficient. Make sure your legal billing software gives you provisions to update each and every time entry made, and expenses incurred as both of the billing techniques are time based. Time tracking must be made available in all the work area of the software, so it’s easier for fee earners to record their time
Sending out bills should not be delayed as both the Attorney and the Client could miss out on the legal billable hours when not billed on time. If bills are tried to be recreated after long time, it will lead to imprecise bills. This may result in under-billing or over-billing and both situations are not ideal. To encourage timely reporting, some Law Firms agree on an internally set dead line and the attorneys are encouraged to stick on to the time line fixed.
Some tips about Legal Billing
- Vague billing entries should be avoided to maintain a pleasant relationship with the Clients. In case of any explanations demanded, the attorney should be ready to clarify or justify the items in the bill.
- Make sure your bill does not come as a surprise to your clients. Brief your clients beforehand of your overall strategy to deal with the matter and the cost that can be incurred for it.
- Small improvements can be made to the billing process every quarter by fixing the inaccuracies faced earlier in billing.
- Sending late, large, and surprising bills should be avoided by attorneys to maintain a healthy client-attorney relationship and to improve the chances of growing your business.
- It’s a good idea to review the work done on a regular basis so that you don’t miss out anything on your billing and no efforts go wasted.
- It can be helpful if the billing entries are clear enough as it will be beneficial to both the clients and the lawyers. This may also help minimize the disputes that may arise between the two in case of any unconsented tasks.
- Make sure you capture and enter every minute expenses including the hard and soft expenses and where all you have spent time for your clients. Don’t be very particular about your billable hours as there can be expenditures such as parking charges, reasonable telephone charges, transportation charges etc. Remember non-billable hours are equally important.
- No matter which type of legal fee is being agreed upon between client and lawyer, it’s always better to get it in writing the proof of the fee agreement.
- Proof reading time entries is a must to do activity.
PageLightPrime, the perfect guide
A neat and descriptive bill is all that takes to ensure that you are keeping the client well-informed about the matters you deal with and the time to time updates regarding the same.
Handling legal bills is a key part of an effective Law Firm and PageLightPrime can serve this purpose best. It guides attorneys to ensure they capture time efficiently and don’t slack off so that their billing practices caters to the needs of both the attorneys and the clients
Keeping track of Time Entries and Expenses can no more be a night mare with Legal Billing Software like PageLightPrime