Billing can be one of the biggest time sinks for an attorney. Attorneys and firms are always looking for ways to simplify their legal billing since it takes so much time. At a larger law firm, there is often an employee dedicated to handling billing, but at a small law firm or for a solo practitioner, billing is often the responsibility of the attorney. While law firm billing is essential for making money for the firm, it is not itself a money-making activity. Time spent on manually generating invoices, handling payment methods, chasing clients for payments, and tracking disbursements is time that is not spent on practicing law. Too much time spent on administrative tasks limits the amount of money you can make.
One of the best ways to simplify your legal billing is to use an all-in-one cloud-based practice management system. When you’re able to generate bills and invoices quickly and accurately, you can spend more time practicing law and making more money.
Simplified Invoice Creation
The traditional billing cycle for attorneys is to manually keep track of time spent practicing on a client’s matter, manually track all disbursements for a client, and then add them to an invoice. With this method, you have to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, charged time to the wrong client, or assigned a disbursement to the wrong client. There is a lot of room for error when you are relying on pen and paper and your own memory to track your billable time. With the right practice management software, you won’t have to worry about whether your invoices have any errors.
Creating invoices faster saves hours of time per month and allows you to spend more time on whatever you want. Simplifying your invoicing will free up the time for you to take on more clients, bill more hours, focus on business development, or leave the office early. Automatically populating your invoices from your matters will save you from having to re-key or copy and paste client and case information.
Get Paid Faster
One of the challenges of running a law firm is maintaining your cash flow. Delays at any point in the billing process can affect the time at which you get paid. When your invoices are generated faster, you will also get paid faster. Also, any law firm billing software worth its salt should simplify the payment process for clients. When you eliminate roadblocks to making payments, you will get paid faster and make more money.
One of the most impactful ways to simplify payments for clients is to offer the option for online credit card payments. Many clients prefer to pay via credit card because it allows them to pay at their leisure if their bank balance is tight. This also works out for the firm or the lawyer. Rather than having to set up a payment plan, you get paid upfront and then the client can pay back the credit card company in installments, if necessary. Clients can also get rewards points and cashback when they pay large law firm bills with their credit cards. All these perks, plus the convenience factor of being able to pay online, make your law firm more attractive to prospective clients.
Many practice management systems integrate with credit card processing platforms. For example, LEAP integrates with RapidPay to provide secure credit card payments. With this integration, you can also insert a payment button directly on to the footer of your invoices. The more convenient your payment options are, the faster you will get paid.
Quickbooks and Xero Integration
Integration of your practice management system with leading accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero will be critical to your bookkeeper and your business. Rather than reinventing the wheel, integrating with the market leaders in accounting software eliminates the learning curve of switching to an entirely new system.
With LEAP, for example, you can export each of the journals created into the accounting software. You will have an audit trail of every transaction and can quickly check that each of the journal entries has been made. No extra work is needed to integrate the products after the initial account codes are set up when LEAP is installed.
Bulk LEDES Billing for Attorneys
LEDES has been a standard format for law firm billing for nearly two decades. Any practice management software you switch to should be capable of producing LEDES invoices. An even better feature is the ability to export LEDES invoices in bulk. Rather than exporting all your invoices one-by-one, bulk LEDES billing can export your invoices either in separate files or in one combined LEDES file. Being able to create bulk LEDES invoices will save you time each month as you will no longer have to format, compile, or combine your billing files. When you spend less time on exporting your invoices, you can spend more time practicing law and helping your clients.
The partners of a law firm are often interested in seeing billing reports. These reports can help them determine which fee earner at the firm is the most profitable and which are not pulling their weight. Billing reports can also provide insight into the office’s cash flow and provide the means to resolve any issues. There are many different types of law firm billing reports available in practice management systems that each provide a different view of key firm metrics. For example, here are some of the report types available in LEAP:
- Accounts Receivable Report
- Accounts receivable listed by matter with the option to show specific invoice breakdown
- Anticipated Payments
- Lists all anticipated payments showing invoiced and paid status
- Invoices Report
- Provides a breakdown of fees and disbursements on invoices along with adjustment and receipt information
- Pre-Billing Guides
- Pre-billing guides for a selection of matters
- Pre-Billing Summary
- Pre-billing summary for a selection of matters
- RapidPay Receipts
- Lists all RapidPay office receipts
- Combined Matter Ledger with Balances
- Combined matter ledger with balances for matter by date
- General Ledger Movements
- List of journals transferred to QuickBooks showing amounts entered on general ledger codes.
- Fee Contributions and Recovery
- Detail of fee contributions and funds recovered on behalf of persons acting and responsible broken down by contributor and matter
- Billing Realization Summary
- Percentile comparatives of fees entered compared to invoiced and receipted by staff
There are many other types of reports available in practice management systems like LEAP. You’ll find all the reports you need to be able to make decisions about your law firm and run your practice effectively.
Make the switch to new practice management software that includes legal billing features like simplified invoice creation, QuickBooks and Xero integration, RapidPay, bulk LEDES billing, and various billing reports. When you make this switch, you can run your law firm more efficiently and discover more ways to improve. Billing is one of the most time-consuming parts of running a small law firm. Any software that makes billing easier will be welcome for attorneys practicing law. Making the switch to LEAP can help you simplify every part of your law firm’s billing. Learn more about LEAP by requesting a demonstration today.