After Word Processing, Time and Billing is the second most important function that almost all law offices need to be successful. Especially for firms that bill by the hour, no money will come in without a bill first going out. Billing long after the work is done, or sending inaccurate bills, results in lower realization rates (the percentage of the work that you do that you actually collect).
Using a modern legal Time and Billing application makes entering your time and getting the bills out easy and efficient, and saves the lawyers and staff a lot of administrative and non-billable time. Even for firms that bill by contingent fee (such as in PI or defective products matters) or flat fees (such as in criminal or transactional matters), using productivity reports to determine how much it “costs” the firm to handle a particular type of matter helps it set the appropriate fees and decide whether certain practice areas are profitable.
A modern Time and Billing system makes it easy to enter time by leveraging the information you have already entered in your calendar, todo’s, documents, emails, and file notes. The system should be able to search all of the work that you’ve done and show you which items have not been billed. Billing this otherwise “lost time” can easily pay for the system.
The most accurate way to enter time is to do so at the time you do the work, and not wait until the end of the day, week, or month. A modern Time and Billing system is accessible on your mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) so that you can enter time when you are at home, the courthouse, or other locations outside the office when you do work.
For most practices, the majority of client communications take place via email. A modern Time and Billing system can send bills by email instead of or in addition to regular mail.
Some Time & Billing applications include an accounting component as well, which can take the place of QuickBooks or another separate accounting application. Some also will download transactions from your bank to assist in bank account reconciliation.
Time and Billing applications can be either located on your local computer system, on a computer system hosted outside your office, or as part of a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) provider. OTB’s consultants are certified in the major legal Time & Billing and accounting options, including:
- Time Matters/Billing Matters
Contact us to discuss what solution best fits your Time, Billing, and Accounting needs.