E-billing is a new development in the legal world, and it offers many advantages. The biggest is that it allows an in-house legal department to catch billing errors much earlier in the invoicing process, thus facilitating the saving of time and money. These systems can have a positive impact on the efficiency and profitability of any office.
Time is money in the corporate world, as the saying goes, and that is especially true for the legal department. The simple act of checking invoices thoroughly and automatically means that budgets are respected, and that alone can save a legal department large sums every year. E-billing is also an important tool to utilize for data analysis. It allows a legal department to see trends in how money is spent, which provides a clear picture for how budgeting should be handled in the future. E-billing has revolutionized the way that legal departments process invoices and compile budgets.
Benefits of E-billing?
Ask yourself this question: How many hours have you and your coworkers spent looking through detailed charges sent in by outside attorneys? How many crosschecks are needed to identify repeat entries? How many times have budgets been exceeded, or sometimes downright ignored?
All of this is eliminated with electronic billing. It is a system that simplifies the invoice review process, saving countless hours that are wasted by bureaucratic error and evaluation. E-billing streamlines the process, saving in-house counsel hours, if not days, of work time.
Bill Submission, Rejection, Approval & Payment
The electronic billing software comes with a number of preset rules for you or a coworker to apply against any invoice outside counsel sends for review. The system lets you make your own rules as well. All you’ve got to do is submit a matter to your outside counsel, and they respond in turn with the invoice for their completed work.
The invoice can be for matter type, not just litigation. This is where the advantages of e-billing are really obvious. The system automatically checks the invoices for errors, implementing any number of rules the legal department has chosen. If there are any entries that are simply unacceptable, those invoices are routed back to the outside counsel for correction. Once the errors are corrected, the invoice is routed back through the e-billing system. Here, it is once again put through a battery of review according to predefined rules. This includes budget considerations, duplication checks, and any other parameters the legal department sets up. The system flags anything else you might want to review personally, sends the invoice to you, and at that stage individual invoice review is a quick endeavor. Once the invoice is reviewed it can be approved and processed for payments.
So, by creating a streamlined, automated, electronic process, e-billing eliminates the need for wasting countless man hours in the review of invoices. Thus making a case management software a complete solution.
How to adopt Electronic Billing
Technically, there are no huge barriers to electronic billing. Most practice management systems used by law firms themselves can generate a LEDES format bill. We are now beginning to see the emergence of e-billing intermediaries who focus on the issues faced by law firms.