5 Ways Lawyers Can Benefit from Legal E-billing Software
These days, it’s becoming increasingly common for law firm billing to be handled digitally. Gone are the days when invoices could only be created, sent, and processed with hours of manual work. Now, it’s possible for a majority of this work to be handled by automation.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how legal e-billing software such as LawPay and MyCase can make your job as a lawyer easier, more efficient, and less prone to error. For more thoughts on how you can optimize your billing process, check out our billing Dos and Dont’s for lawyers.
What is legal e-billing Software?
Legal e-billing software allows your legal team to automate many different tasks, including tracking billable hours and expenses, making payments, various aspects of trust accounting, and processing invoices.
Though there are many software packages available for invoicing, what makes legal e-billing software different is it is custom-built for the needs of a legal practice. This means that it not only contains basic information like the total amount owed, it also captures granular information about specific tasks and when they were performed. This added context can help you substantially improve the efficiency of your firm.
What are the Benefits for Law Firms Using e-billing Software?
Adopting legal e-billing software carries enormous advantages. In the next few sections, we’ll talk about five key benefits: reducing the errors made during the process of handling invoices, lowering your costs, saving time, helping you make decisions based on data, and improving the experience your clients have as they interact with you.
Human beings have many advantages over machines– we’re more creative, more thoughtful, and better at long-range planning. However, one place we fall short is in processing large amounts of dense, intricate information.
For this reason, automating parts of a tedious or detailed process will dramatically reduce the potential for human error and reduce billing struggles.
Manually going through invoices certainly fits the bill of a ‘tedious or detailed process’. It’s exactly the sort of task that taxes your cognitive resources while generating errors that will have to be discovered and dealt with later.
And let’s face it, you probably spent years in law school because you’re fascinated by legal challenges, not because you wanted to grapple with billing tasks.
Using legal e-billing software will substantially reduce the amount of work you do to manage payments, thereby freeing up your time and attention to focus on your clients and their cases.
Save Time and Resources
Speaking of time, saving more of your minutes, hours, and days is another of the major benefits of using legal e-billing software. Since your time is so valuable, you should be spending it thinking through the subtleties of cases and serving the cause of justice, not figuring out how to send bills and accept payments.
Legal e-billing software is custom-built for your profession. By calculating and generating invoices automatically, automating the process of invoice chasing, and otherwise allowing you to offload much of the financial part of your business, you can free up a great deal of time for more valuable and productive pursuits.
Improves Cash Flow
Legal e-billing software can also improve the cash flow of your firm. There are a few ways this happens.
To begin with, it makes it possible for work to be submitted in real-time. This means your clients can make payments more quickly, taking advantage of any discounts which come from settling a bill with less delay.
Of course, the converse is also true, and you can receive payments more quickly by invoicing with legal e-billing software.
What’s more, sending bills electronically mitigates potential delays in delivering invoices and bill reminders, making the entire billing cycle more timely and efficient.
Don’t underestimate the positive impact on your cash flow of making it quick and easy for clients to pay you. LawPay’s Quick Bill feature allows you to send a payment request which can be paid with one click. This makes a difference; of those Quick Bills that are paid, 57% are paid the same day the request is received.
LawPay also allows you to accept multiple payment methods, schedule automatic payments (whether it be a one-time charge at a future date or recurring charges), add QR codes to invoices, and much more.
Finally, there are many rules about what a law firm will or will not bill for, and they vary between firms. If you fail to account for all these differences when processing invoices, you could end up overcharging for your services. And that’s just bad business. A good legal e-billing platform will make it possible for a legal team to set up rules which automatically check an invoice and approve, reject, or flag it for further review.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
These days, big data is big business, and for good reason: data is incredibly powerful. It gives you quantitative insights which, when used properly, inform your decisions and enhance your judgment.
In other words, backing your decisions with cold, hard facts does a lot to ensure you’re achieving the outcomes you’re after. Just as you shouldn’t try to lose weight without having some idea of your calorie consumption, you shouldn’t try to maximize profits or ROI on marketing spend without having a firm grasp on the relevant numbers.
This, too, is a place where electronic billing software for law firms can help. By collecting data on your finances, legal e-billing software can allow for a range of advanced analytics; a few examples include deposit and transaction details, accounts receivables, productivity and compensation, and trust accounting. This gives you the ability to measure the impact of different strategies, identify places where your budget can be trimmed up, and more.
Improve your Client’s Experience
Today’s customers have high expectations when it comes to a client-focused experience, and there are several ways legal e-billing software can enhance your customers’ experience.
For example, it dramatically improves the experience of paying bills. By sending bills out at a consistent time, making it easy to pay them, and creating unobtrusive reminders for bills that need to be settled, legal e-billing software substantially reduces the burden your clients experience as they settle their account with your firm.
An arguably even bigger advantage of legal e-billing software is that it allows for greater transparency in your pricing and fee structure. In doing so, legal e-billing software makes it more likely that clients will understand what they’re paying for. This reduces the chances they’ll be surprised later when the bill comes due and contributes greatly to building client trust.
The more a client trusts you the more they’ll feel taken care of, which will lead to referrals, repeat business, and a stellar reputation.
How to Utilize Legal E-billing Platforms in Your Firm.
When using electronic billing software for law firms the overall workflow is largely the same. A basic billing process would look like this:
- Track and record any time, fees, and expenses related to your work. In LawPay’s case, this can be easily automated by integrating your account with a time tracking software or a law practice management tool, like MyCase. LawPay has custom integrations built with over 70+ tools, so whichever solution you choose to use for tracking your work should work seamlessly with the rest of your billing process.
- The software generates bills automatically, which can then be electronically distributed to clients.
- After a client has received their bill, they can easily settle their payment online.
- If there’s any delay in the above steps, the software can be set up to automatically send periodic reminders to keep things moving.
In the next few sections, we’ll cover some specific aspects of incorporating legal e-billing platforms into your firm.
Create Invoice Requirements
One best practice in using legal e-billing software is to create standardized invoice templates. Regardless of your firm’s size and the client base you serve, having a single, consistent layout for bills will make processing easier and streamline your account substantially. LawPay offers this standardization while also allowing you to create customizable invoice templates and payment pages. This means that you can always create documents that are branded to your firm.
Be Accurate with Time Tracking
Lawyers have always needed to track time scrupulously, but legal e-billing software makes this easier than ever before. This will bolster trust with your clients as well, as they won’t feel like they need to carefully monitor you on top of everything else they have going on.
MyCase’s case management software is built to make time tracking easy. MyCase’s ‘Smart Time Finder’ will help you discover billable hours you overlooked in the past, for example, and MyCase also uses a prompting system to ensure that you track time spent on calls, sending emails, or uploading documents. This cutting-edge approach to time tracking means you can capture every billable minute, effortlessly.
Similarly, trust is also created through transparency. By communicating your billing policy with clients upfront, they’ll know what to expect, what your services will cost, how they can pay you, and when they’ll need to settle any bills.
When you’re handling billing manually, it’s easy to let standards slip or make one-off exceptions for individual clients. By standardizing and automating your billing process, good legal e-billing software makes you less prone to these inconsistencies.
Choose the Right e-billing Software
Software solutions need to be evaluated based on several factors. An important one is the kind of integrations it supports.
There’s nothing worse than spending weeks incorporating a new tool into your process, only to find out that you have to start over because it won’t work with another software that’s crucial to your workflow.
More generally, try to imagine things from the perspective of your future self. Is this tool going to make things easier and more secure for you?
This is exactly the perspective taken by LawPay and MyCase. With decades of experience in creating billing and payments solutions for the legal industry, LawPay helps firms get paid 39% faster while ensuring ABA and IOLTA compliance. That’s why it is trusted by thousands of law firms. MyCase's case management software, on the other hand, has robust billing features like time tracking, invoice creation and templatizing, and syncing with case details.
Together, these two tools are incredibly powerful, and will do a lot to make your firm vastly more efficient and effective.
Final Thoughts on Legal E-billing Software
Technology is driving a great deal of change in the world, automating what was once done manually and revolutionizing the way businesses are run in the process.
Legal e-billing software is bringing this kind of welcome disruption to one of the more tedious parts of running a practice: sending out bills and getting paid.
By automating these tasks, you can streamline your operation, lower costs, boost efficiency, make your customers happier, and free yourself up to focus on the invigorating challenges of your profession.
Contact us to figure out how LawPay or MyCase can supercharge your legal billing.