Time recording methods vary quite significantly. Some of the common findings are that law firms do not always have the most innovative tools in place to record time, while working on-the-go. If time is not recorded at the moment, it is very easy to forget to account for this time when returning to the office.
When time is entered in later, a law firm opens itself up to the possibility of guesswork. It certainly is not the best practice to do guesswork when it comes to time recording and invoicing for clients. The dangers of guesswork are twofold, losing the client’s trust and underestimating the bill. All it will take for the client to lose faith is one inaccurate time recording. Not to mention that underestimating billable hours, results in a loss of potential profits.
For a small law firm to be successful in a highly competitive market, it is important to be able to record in real time. One of the biggest drawbacks of re-entering time upon returning to the office is the extensive amount of double data entry that occurs. For example, if an attorney is out of the office, she quickly jots down her time on a piece of paper. When the attorney gets back to the office, she either passes this recorded time to the support staff to type up, or adds all the time together for the matter and produces an invoice manually. The attorney should not have to account for the time recording more than once.
There are practice management systems available in the market that include a mobile app to record more billable hours while on-the-go. This mobile app allows law firms to instantly record time on all outgoing calls and track all external meetings and appointments. Voice dictation of file notes is also possible.
Attorneys no longer must wait till they are back in the office to time record; seamlessly, time entries and notes will synchronize from mobile to desktop. This intuitive system also records the time spent on document production and emails. With these features, law firms can have a bird’s eye view of their practice and are able to gauge the overall performance of their staff. As a result, the firm will have complete transparency of the efforts made, enhance productivity, and enjoy practicing more.
With a more flexible and convenient time recording system, a practice will record more time and make more money. It is a common misconception that if a firm captures more time, then it must bill for every second. Many firms fear that being as accurate as possible will make their clients unhappy with the final bill. However, maximizing your accuracy and capturing a great amount of billable time provides an opportunity to be more negotiable on pricing. Recording as much time as possible, means more value is being recorded, hence more flexibility to provide a discount.
Through automatic time recording, law firms can capture more billable hours, both in and out of the office. An effective legal software management system allows law firms to transform into mobile practices that fit the on-demand culture of the 21st century.