Some law firms experienced revenue growth during 2020, despite the disruptions and uncertainties brought by the pandemic. They weren’t just lucky. They worked to more rigorously manage their billing and collections processes, efforts that research shows were a prime driver of revenue growth during the COVID-19 crisis.
The firms that thrived in 2020 were likely not part of the 71% of law firms identified in a 2019 survey whose accounting/billing departments still circulated paper printouts of prebills. Labor-intensive manual efforts to print, review, revise, resubmit, and approve prebills drag efficiency and productivity rates down—even in the best of circumstances.
Adopting electronic prebill management software helps you modernize your firm’s operations. Your firm’s streamlined billing efforts will increase your firm’s long-term financial stability with enhanced abilities to:
- Accelerate prebill reviews, edits, and approvals in more efficient workflows.
- Significantly reduce billing errors, rejections, and delays.
- Confidently handle complex billing requirements and tailor each invoice to meet client expectations.
Read further to discover five fixes you can apply to fortify your prebill processes and help your firm prosper no matter what the future holds.
1. Stop errors from ever entering your timekeeping system.
When timekeepers fail to comply with client or firm billing guidelines during time entry, it creates more work for those who must later catch and revise those errors. Intelligent timekeeping software can enforce billing guidelines at the point of time entry. It produces error alerts and only allows timekeepers to submit entries after meeting all compliance factors. If your time entry software does not enforce the billing guidelines, the enforcement can also be done during the pre-billing process. This fix alone will help you significantly reduce the number of pre-bill revisions and save hours of work.
2. Enable electronic prebill processes for easier online review and editing.
Printed prebills crawl through slow routing systems and linger on desks or in physical mailboxes for days or weeks. Electronic prebilling software digitizes the entire process and automates routing for faster, more straightforward online reviews, edits, and approvals.
Ditch the printed pages and bring lawyers, their assistants, and billing specialists together in a collaborative online environment. Billing departments replicate prebilling templates in digital form and distribute prebills electronically. They interact with lawyers through a convenient online interface to quickly complete the same review, revision, and approval processes they did on paper.
Automated notifications keep prebills progressing swiftly toward approval, and the accounting team can instantly track the status of prebills throughout the process. You save paper and time while eliminating editing errors. Ultimately, faster, easier prebill processing means billing departments can process more bills without hiring more personnel.
3. Process revisions and approvals faster with streamlined electronic prebill processes.
Once lawyers and the accounting department are working in a more efficient, electronic environment, streamlined and automated processes eliminate the time-consuming prebill revise and resubmit merry-go-round. Billing specialists work more effectively from the start with automatic checks such as ensuring write-offs comply with firm-defined thresholds before sending prebills for lawyer review. Lawyers and billing specialists can add, share, and discuss on-screen notes in real-time to avoid the inevitable mistakes that occur when deciphering scribbled notes and confusing edits.
Prebill Management software allows users to validate or fix block-billed time entries in seconds as well as split time entries, adjust disbursements, and make other adjustments quickly and with much less hassle. Corrections and updates become instantly available. The billing department sees and processes revisions quickly for much faster completion of prebill processes.
4. Send more accurate invoices to increase client trust.
Modern prebill management software helps ensure compliance with billing requirements to reduce the number of e-bill rejections. Smoother billing cycles help increase client trust. More corporate clients are implementing billing guidelines and LEDES electronic invoice submission requirements to better track their outside spend. (In a 2021 report, 81% of legal departments identified the general enforcement of billing guidelines as the most effective measure in controlling outside counsel costs.) It makes sense that clients would prefer to partner with law firms that readily meet their invoice format standards and help them achieve their operational goals.
5. Ensure that your prebill edits can be made faster, with less latency than historical processes.
As firms roll out paperless prebilling initiatives, they can run into performance bottlenecks caused by software whose bloated architecture results in poor performance and responsiveness for the end-user. As lawyers often have to review hundreds of prebills each month, speed and responsiveness of the system are critical to minimizing the amount of time needed to open, review, edit and approve prebills efficiently. The process has to be quick and easy, freeing up lawyers to focus on generating more revenue for the firm instead of waiting for their prebills to load. Be sure that your prebill management software is up to the task by focusing on performance.
Iridium’s Steere PrebillManager transforms your firm’s prebill activities from manual, time-consuming chores to faster, more streamlined processes. To learn more about how we can help you take the pain out of the prebill process, schedule a demo with us today.