Your clients are the heart of your business. If you’re a small firm or solo practitioner, your waking hours are spent focusing on winning for them. With only 24 hours in the day, there’s little time left to spend on time tracking, billing, and chasing after slow-paying clients. Regardless of practice area, these are three of the biggest headaches facing lawyers today. You may be thinking about leveraging a time and billing solution. But you also like staying in control of your practice.
So how do you get your hours recorded, processed, and delivered to your clients promptly—before they have time to forget about you and start prioritizing other debts—and in as little time as possible? Bottom line…you really do need a time and billing solution if you want to reduce the time you spend on unbillable administrative tasks and maximize profits. The key is to identify one that puts you in complete control of how you bill and allows you to work the way you want to. Creating future efficiencies requires investing a little time upfront to find the right application for your firm. Which one will work best for you and fit your business today and in the future? We’ve got four “must haves” that should top your checklist:
1. It must efficiently track your time
There’s no billing or invoicing without first accurately tracking the time you spend on client tasks and matters. Many lawyers dread it because they’re using inefficient means of tracking their time while on the run—pen, legal pad, napkin, receipt—whatever happens to be in reach. It can lead to lost and inaccurate timekeeping and even put your reputation at risk. Investing in the right software is essential to modernizing your timekeeping. You’ll also want to consider how accessible the solution is. Does it effortlessly capture every minute of your time and expenses—from anywhere and on any device? With the right tool, you’ll never have to waste downtime at the courthouse or spend late hours at the office just to track your time and expenses.
2. It must give you the flexibility to easily tailor every bill
Billing accuracy is vital to maintaining your reputation, building client trust, and maximizing your productivity. Studies have proven that clients who clearly understand what they are being billed for are willing to pay faster—and in full. This translates to higher revenue, fewer headaches, and more satisfied clients. Whatever solution you choose should have features that help eliminate billing risks. Because when you’re trying to complete your billing in as little time as possible, mistakes can happen. Even little things–like spelling and grammar errors–can lead to clients questioning your professionalism and their bills.
Ensuring your clients are billed at the rates negotiated each time a slip is saved is key to getting paid quickly and retaining lifetime clients. But even if your billing accuracy is spot on if your invoices aren’t professional and easy to understand you may still be a risk of not getting paid on time.
Make sure your solution has the functionality you need to create accurate bills—including the freedom to apply specific billing arrangements and rates as well as industry-standard billing formats like LEDES 98B and Litigation Advisor—and customize invoices to suit each client.
3. It must integrate with leading business applications
Your time and billing solution isn’t the only core application you rely on. To save the time and headache of switching between programs and mitigate the risk of errors, consider solutions with built-in seamless integration to your favorite financial, calendaring, and payment applications.
4. It must give you deep and actionable insights into your practice
To grow, you need insights into every facet of your practice. What’s your profitability? Could your team be more productive? Are your clients paying on time? Look for a tool that gives you total visibility with comprehensive and easy-to-pull reports to maximize your performance.
Sage Timeslips is synonymous with time and billing excellence. For 37 years, Sage Timeslips has been one of the most trusted time and billing solutions for the legal industry. That’s because it gives lawyers a simple, efficient way to capture billable hours, increase profitability, and deliver more accurate and timely billing to clients. We recently hosted a 30-minute webinar called, “Let your Control Freak Flag Fly”. It’s loaded with great tips and real-life examples of lawyers, paralegals, and billing assistants that are using Sage Timeslips to take control of their time and billing—accurately, on time, and their way. It’s available for you to view now here.