Billing, bookkeeping and financial systems ALWAYS matter. The finances of your firm, including your billing, is the foundation of your firm. Without money coming in, it won’t be long before you are out of business. Today, that is especially true!
There’s only so much time in law school – and you certainly did not go there to learn the administrative functions of running your own firm. Unfortunately, though, you realize very soon that those administrative functions are very important. The smaller the firm, the more time lawyers spend doing administrative/not paid work rather than billing clients. Time is spent on paying bills, recording time, tracking transactions, calculating expenses, doing the actual billing and trust account reconciliation. The trust account reconciliation is, often, left undone and that is all we will say about that.
There are great billing programs available right now. Almost every case management software program has a billing component that works with the rest of the case. An entry of a payment is entered into the billing program itself and when it’s time to bill – there is the payment. Payment plans can be entered into billing software and automatic payment reminders are sent to the clients.
Most of time keeping still requires time entries, especially for depositions, mediations, final hearings and trials. I tell all my clients – repeatedly – there is no substitute for contemporaneous billing entries made at the moment that work is done. It is impossible to remember every single thing that you did all month long to come up with 120 billable hours a month. Not to mention what a waste of time to spent a few days every month going back over the last month trying to remember every single thing you did?
The bottom line is – YOU CAN’T!! And a .2 doesn’t seem like a big loss. But multiply it out over the course of the month and you will see that you are losing HOURS of billable time.
If you want your firm to be successful, every timekeeper needs to bill their time EVERY SINGLE MONTH. Otherwise, there is no point in having timekeepers on the payroll who are not generating billable hours. There is no other way to say it – timekeepers who are not at least generating 3 times their annual salary and benefits are just a drain on the firm. And these days, some firms are expecting 3 – 5 times the annual salary and benefits.
Need help putting billing procedures in place? Need someone else to be the one responsible for making sure everyone bills what they are supposed to so the firm isn’t operating in the negative?
Call me at 813-340-9569. For me this isn’t personal – it’s business!! Unless you can afford to keep funding your law firm it’s time to make a change.
And remember – billing every month avoids the calls from clients who receive bills every few months from asking what happened to the money I gave you? Why do I owe you so much? Why didn't you send me a bill - I had no idea my money was being used up? I've heard them all and you have too!
Check out my website: www.fromlawyertolawfirm.