What’s the single most important unit of measurement to a law firm? The billable hour. Boosting billable hours increases profitability, and who doesn’t want that?
One way to increase billable hours is to systematize mundane tasks, such as time-tracking. And, while you’re at it, you can make life easier for personnel in accounts payable and receivable. This can be accomplished by utilizing Time and Billing software; it removes the hassle from time-tracking and collections.
The key to getting a handle on time and billing lies in using technology to harness data. You don’t want your attorneys each tracking and recording their time by separate methods. And it is easier if the software your law firm uses to track time integrates with the software you use to bill clients. That way, you can skip steps — and you can see which attorneys are the biggest earners, which clients require the most of your time, and which clients owe you money.
Popular Time and Billing software
Some Case and Practice Management software provides features related to time and billing, or they integrate easily with other accounting software, such as Quickbooks. Generally, Time and Billing software deals more specifically with the nitty-gritty daily grind of time tracking and getting paid.
Here are some examples of popular applications that law firms use for time and billing:
Juris: Juris is a LexisNexis product that simplifies finances and reduces time spent on accounts payable and receivable. This choice works better for medium-sized firms.
Time Matters: Time Matters is another another LexisNexis product, Time Matters is timekeeping software. Its features include the ability to organize emails, track time, manage calendars, and find case files.
Tabs3: This application handles billing and statements, as well as helps firms determine lost time, what clients are behind with payments, and which attorneys are the top earners in the law firm. Tabs3 integrates with PracticeMaster, which is practice management software.
Questions to ask
You want to make certain that the Time and Billing software you select has the features you need, is easy for everyone to use, and that it will integrate with other legal software you may use in your practice:
— How flexible is the Time and Billing solution? Does it allow you to create custom fields? Will it permit you to easily apply variations to billing rates for both clients and attorneys? Does it allow for different methods of billing — hourly or flat rate, for example?
— With which financial software does the solution integrate? Does it serve as its own financial software? With what other software options does the solution integrate?
— What type of support does the software company provide? Will an IT person be needed for installation? Is the solution cloud-based or stored on an in-house server?
— Will training be needed to get everyone on-boarded and actively using the software?
— What can be automated by the software? For example, will the software alert accounts receivable when an invoice needs to be sent, is viewed, or is past due?
— Is a client service portal a feature made available by the application? Does it otherwise make it easier for clients to pay their bills?
If you need assistance determining which type of software has the features you need, or if you want help integrating new applications with your existing system, Legal Workspace’s application support specialists can help. You can take advantage of Legal Workspace’s Software as a Service licensing model for certain Time and Billing applications. Legal Workspace can also move existing licenses for software to its legal cloud environment.
Many say that time and billing are the most tedious aspects of running a law firm. Time and Billing software can reduce the effort that your personnel and attorneys make toward time-tracking and billing, and — as a bonus — it can reduce the amount of time it takes your law firm to get paid. Select the appropriate solution for your law firm, and you’ll find that Time and Billing software gives you more time.