Why the Best Billing Software Matters to Law Firms


billing-software-for-law-firms

The financial security of a law firm depends on their billing. Let us explore why the best billing software matters to law firms.

Accurate and efficient billing is essential for law firms. When you have an array of clients, each with their own sets of rules and regulations, you have to be very careful while billing them for your services. That is why you need a good online billing software. It can be a game changer. The right software can streamline the billing process, which means, you can create invoices quickly and accurately. It is also crucial for the financial security of the law firm.

Online invoice software come with a bundle of personalized tools that make invoicing a piece of cake. Let’s take a look at them –

Different types of Billing
Law firm invoicing should be handled properly. Here are some of the billing practices that they follow –

Alternative fee arrangements: Lawyers do not charge the same amount for every client. This is why they need different types of billings for each client.

Hourly Billing: A good time tracking software is a must for this type of billing. Lawyers charge by the hours they spend on the case. This is the most common billing method in legal practices.

Retainer Billing: Before the lawyer starts working on a case, they establish a retainer fund with the client. And then charge fee, depending on the hours spent on the case. The retainer fund is replenished by the client if required. After the case is finished, the unused fund in the retainer is returned to the client.

Flat Fee Billing: This is a fixed fee billing. It is a clean billing option for predictable cases. The arrangement is done before the start of the case. And it clearly states the exact legal service cost. Barring a few additional costs, this type of billing contains no unexpected costs at the end.

   Also Read: Advantages of Using Invoicing Software

These are few types of billings required by a law firm.

Personalized Billing Tools

Since law firms follow matter-based billing, they need tools that are specific to the job, which will generate invoices for all the clients. An automated e-billing software is extremely handy in such cases. A good software comes with personalized tools like expense tracking, billing reminders, and scheduled billing. These tools can be used for different types of billing like expedient time tracking allows accurate billing for an hourly billing model. You can start billing from the first client interaction. Automated billing reminders are helpful for a longer case. A good online invoice software also allows the client to pay invoices with different payment methods. This eases out the payment process, which makes the client pay the amount on time.

Generic Software don’t Work

Generic software don’t understand the idiosyncrasies of legal invoicing. If you use a generic invoicing software, you will end up making a hundred different templates for invoicing. Let us assume, you do all that and start drawing client specific invoices. But, one fine day, you receive a call from client A.You look up his records and find a flat fee billed for a divorce case in his name. You might use that model further. But the same client A could have had another hourly billing case with your firm. This ends up creating a lot of unnecessary confusion. You might lose a lot of money using the incorrect billing model.

   Also Read: Online Invoicing for Small Businesses: Brief History & 5 Essential Invoices You Need

Purchase The Billing Software of Your Dreams—Top 5 tips


Purchase-the-Billing-Software

Choosing the best billing software is the most prudent investment a business can make to get timely payments. Itis is also crucial to continue operations and pay employees and vendors. Having automatic billing software is mission-critical due to the inefficient and time-consuming nature of sending a physical invoice.

A small business, however well-financed, can never outrun the effects of a faulty billing system. Given that clients routinely find excuses to delay the payment —60 percent of all invoices are paid late —acquiring a proper billing software becomes all the more necessary.

However, as the market is flooded with thousands of options, picking the ideal one can be a challenging task. So, let us learn how to pick the best billing software for small businesses.

The best legal billing software is the one that is easy to use

Producing an accurate invoice during the first attempt is crucial, or you end up upsetting the client and/or wasting a lot of time. This can be achieved with a user-friendly and intuitive invoicing solution like the one offered by Cloud Books. Also, the billing software must allow you to access all the necessary details, such as cash flow, bank accounts, open/closed invoices, and recent user activity, in one place.

It would also make a lot of sense if the billing solution can easily onboard all your present data.

The presence of predefined templates is an advantage

The appearance of the invoice is key to the growth of your business. It determines whether you stand out as a brand and whether your bill will be noticed by the client. Predefined templates also save you a ton of time, as you do not have to create invoices from scratch.

  Also Read: Important Key Aspect of Every Billing Software

Industry-specific billing software

Different industries have different billing needs, and the company’s niche should be an important consideration while choosing invoicing software. For instance, a small warehouse that relies on payments from multiple clients may have different needs than a contractor with a single client who is billed every month.

Prioritize safety

Your invoicing product has not just your data but also the client’s confidential information, which makes it your responsibility to use secure billing software. Hence, it is preferable to use an invoicing solution that can work even without the internet. However, the business owner needs to ensure there is an automatic backup option.

Proper customer support and service

Due to the sensitive nature of the information handled by the billing software, it makes sense for the business owner to purchase one that offers rapid and easy to access customer support via call/ chat/ email for issue resolution.

Further, ensure that the replies from the customer support team are prompt and that they are free of charge. You are also entitled to proper notifications of any alterations to service & maintenance, updates & up-gradation, annual, and subscription charges.

Support for multiple currencies

Ensuring that this feature is present is important, as you might have to deal with clients from locations other than your own.

Ability to do your taxes

Besides ensuring that you get the best value for your money, purchase an invoicing solution that calculates your taxes and provides insightful reports on the same.

   Also Read: Billing Software for Small Business

Bottom-line

Getting the most value-adding billing software online should be a priority for every small business, even though it might come across as a trivial matter that requires little or no consideration. Acquiring the best online billing software that fits your budget will drive business growth, and at the same time, provide you with the peace of mind that comes from not having to deal with faulty or delayed payments.

Also Read: Benefits of Using Invoicing Software in Business

Top 6 Excuses by Clients for Late Invoice Payment and How to Deal With Them


late-invoice-payment-excuses

According to a comprehensive study by MarketFinance, formerly known as MarketInvoice, around 60 percent of all invoices are paid late. The report goes on to reveal that the average invoice is paid six days late and that one-fifth of all invoices are paid more than two weeks late.

This is, especially devastating for a small business owner, who depends on constant cash flow to run the operations smoothly and pay employees and vendors on time. It is hence, prudent to know the top excuses given by clients for non-payment of the invoice and also how to deal with late payment —your businesses’ survival depends on it.

1) “Our check is in the mail.”
Since there is no way for you to verify if the client has posted the check, they might blame the postal system and tell you that the check has not been delivered to you due to the inefficiency of the postal department. This might just be an excuse to buy some time. So, if the payment is delayed for long, it would make sense to take a firmer stand and demand they cancel the previous check, pay you via certified mail, and give you the tracking id.

2) “We have not gotten your bill.”
When you hear this excuse, first of all, recheck the address you sent the invoice to. If that is accurate, send your invoice again through fax/certified mail with the requirement of getting the client’s signature on delivery.

3) “We did not receive the product.”
If your product is a digital file/document, you can quickly send it again. But if it is a physical product, you need to track the shipment and delivery process and get the client’s signature upon receipt.

4) “The person who takes care of this is unavailable.”
This can be heard from the clients especially around holidays. During other days, they might respond with the classic “he/she is sick” excuse. If they are set to return in a couple of days, it is reasonable to wait and reach them to take care of the payment later. However, if the client is unsure of the time, ensure that you find out the contact details of a substitute and urge them to process your payment. You should stress the importance of your account and the fact that payment is long overdue.

5) “We are yet to receive payment from a bigger client.”
One way to deal with this excuse is by having your client pay you in installments. If you realize your client has cash flow issues, you can ask them to make payments ahead of time or at least put up a deposit during future dealings.

6) “The system is down.”
Shifting the blame to technology is a common way to delay payments. Be upfront with your clients, and ask them when they expect it to be resolved. Request them to send a check if they respond by saying that they are not sure when the system will be up again.

Bottom-line

Small businesses can avoid most of these excuses through the use of top-notch invoicing software, such as the one provided by Cloud Books. The client cannot claim that the payment check is “in the mail” or “we have not received a bill” or “the system is down.” Cloud-based invoicing software can keep track of all the transactions and the details are stored in the cloud. The information can be accessed at any time from any device.

For a small business, on-time payments from clients are mission-critical. Hence, learning to deal with late payment excuses efficiently can go a long way in ensuring your success. Crucially, it fosters an atmosphere of mutual respect and sets up the precedent for better future dealings.

Also Read: How to avoid unpaid invoices and the best ways to deal with clients who pay you late