In order to make money, you have to bill your clients. This may seem like a pretty obvious fact, but billing is one terribly overlooked task in law firms of all sizes. Billing should be a top priority for your firm, and there is much more to it than just making sure it gets done. Take a moment to consider who does your billing, when it’s getting done, and how your firm goes about the billing process… you just might end up saving some time, money and headaches down the road.
Who does your billing?
Many law firms delegate the task of billing to an entry level or lower paid employee. While this can be a cost effective solution, it is critical that whoever handles billing gets adequate training before taking over this responsibility entirely. Attorneys should maintain ongoing awareness of billing to ensure the employee in charge knows how to effectively and efficiently handle the process, and how to resolve any discrepancies or questions that come up along the way.
When is billing done?
All too often, attorneys let fees build up and charges accrue until they “get around” to billing, leaving the client owing a large lump sum. For most clients, paying legal fees requires budgeting and planning. If you maintain a more consistent schedule, such as sending an updated bill every single month, your chances of getting paid are much better, and your client’s ability to manage the bills increases. (We’re guessing their overall satisfaction level does, too.)
How is the billing process handled?
We know it’s an overstated truth in the legal industry, but make no mistake, up-to-date technology is crucial for your firm’s success. If you are still using paper and pen or basic word processing or spreadsheet programs for your billing, it’s time to upgrade. There are plenty of affordable and effective billing tools available that will save you significantly more time than they might cost to acquire or learn. The old ways take longer and as the saying goes, “time is money.”
Be smart about your billing. Take the time to ensure the right person is handling all billing issues, that billing is done consistently on time, and that you’re using useful tools and programs to mange the billing process. Take the headache out of billing and turn it into a well-manages process that generates more time and money for your firm.