Whilst a focus on billable hours isn’t the main priority for all types of legal practices, keeping accurate records of all client-based interactions and activity is high on the list for most legal practitioners.
According to Yale Law School though, a typical legal practice in the USA requires its lawyers to bill between 1700 and 2300 hours a year. Simply put, an average of 40 hours per week or 8 hours a day over a typical working week are the billable hours left when annual leave and other usual allowances are removed. The average work day is between 8 and 9 hours including breaks, so in order to consistently bill clients for 8 hours of your time it is essential that accurate record-keeping processes are in place to ensure every minute is captured in order to turn a profit.
Why does billing matter?
Meeting client needs is a main focus of all legal establishments and being able to deliver results in an efficient, methodical way is crucial to business productivity. In his article ‘Bill like a superstar associate’, Matthew Hickey identifies the importance of billing a task immediately once completing it. By doing so, a lawyer ensures they are never in a position where they are required to estimate their hours, can share with their client a clear and accurate summary of work completed and are able to maximise their billable hours. As a result, clients can clearly see the time spent on their cases and can build a trusting relationship with their lawyer.
1. Invoice monthly to stay on top of billable hours.
As identified by Matthew Hickey, staying on top of billing and regularly documenting hours worked is important when trying to achieve those yearly targets. However, being invoiced by your external service providers on a yearly basis can limit your cash flow and significantly increase time spent aligning service costs to the right client reference number. This means while your legal teams try to decipher what to on-charge and to which clients, there is less time available to work on cases which leads to reduced availability of billable hours.
Partnering with an external service provider (no matter the service) that offers customised monthly billing can provide legal firms with a high level of clarity and accuracy when it comes to on-charging these services to clients. This type of billing service helps you deal with billing cycles accurately, efficiently and easily, making life easier for legal teams and improving the way expenses and charges are reconciled.
An external service provider should be able to ensure service charges are broken down in monthly increments, which can help you invoice clients more regualrly.
2. Align external provider charges with internal project codes.
Imagine how much easier on-charging external services to the right client would be if your supplier could align your internal project codes with the use of their goods and services. Your legal teams would be able to clearly identify costs accrued on individual cases.
Suppose an invoice comes in from your external teleconferencing provider. It summarises all of the MTD charges incurred by your practice and its clients. Since the information resembles that of your mobile phone bill, it would be difficult to decipher who hosted the teleconference and for which client. It may take hours or even days to accurately reconcile and on-charge conference call costs to the client, slowing down the month's-end payment cycle, leaving it wide open to human error and affecting the company’s cash flow.
Now imagine the same scenario but this time, when the monthly invoice arrives, you can quickly identify and align conference call usage with a particular client and a particular project team because you can see your familiar internal project codes or CRNs right there on the invoice.
Our conferencing clients take advantage of adding the conference groups customisation to their company account. It's just one of the many complimentary services we offer. There is no limit on the number of conference groups or project codes you can assign to your conferencing account.
This new clarity means that your end-of-month reconciliation is faster, easier and less of a headache.
Want a better conferencing proivder who can help you simplify your billing process? To learn how we can help contact us on 1300 849 300.