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Is your law firm’s e-billing system good enough

Published On : October 26, 2022

The process of electronic billing involves far more than just paying bills online. A truly powerful legal e-Billing system also provides spend management capabilities that give you a 360˚ visibility into how and where you use your legal budget. Now, ask yourself: Does your current electronic billing system help you manage a budget or just allow you to spend it?Generally, Corporate Legal departments tend to stick with the system they have simply because it’s what they’ve always used. But if any of the following issues sound familiar, chances are your electronic billing system isn’t nearly as robust as you think it is.

Limited Integration Create More Work

Disconnected systems automatically force your team to spend time moving between tools and entering the same data multiple times. If your e-billing system does not integrate with the apps and software you use on a daily basis, it just generates more unnecessary work for the entire department. And duplicate data entry isn’t just tedious — it’s error-prone. A legal survey report showed that 32% of business executives saw a decrease in human errors after automating some manual tasks, and 52% reported an increase in productivity. Teams can use advanced integrations to automatically update information across different systems — but again, not all integrations are created equal. With a continuous focus on innovation, Beveron’s Smart Legal Counsel has pre-built integrations with commonly used applications and software, such as Outlook and more. And because our LegalTech platform is cloud-based, setting up integrations with other programs is simple. Can you say the same about your current integration setup?

Lack of Configurability Leads to Confusion

Every organization has their own preferences and nomenclature, but many electronic billing systems lock you into their (often rigid) preferred terminology and out-of-box attributes for everything from invoices to reports. And lack of configurability can cause miscommunications among your team. Plus, historical data can get jumbled when input fields don’t line up during data migration. Because some older solutions limit the number of configurable fields for matters, you’re boxed into their matter setup. Smart Legal Counsel not only has multiple configurable fields for matters, vendors, and invoices, but it also allows you to report on any of those fields in real time. With that kind of granular control, your in-house team can decide what metrics matter most to them and design templates and reports accordingly.

Customer Support Comes at a Price

Customer service should be part of the package, not an additional cost. Whether the price you pay comes in the form of added charges on your bill, or days spent waiting for a response, it’s time to consider other options. Your e-billing system won’t be very helpful unless you know how to use it, but some companies seem to view training as a la carte service. Some LegalTech firms charge up to $3,000 to train admins on their software! At Beveron, admin training and ongoing support are included at no extra charge. It’s also crucial to consider the cost of your time. Slow response times might not affect your invoice but consider the cost of the reduced productivity.

Costs Are Always on the Rise

While most e-billing systems will advertise spend management and better budget control as major benefits, they often leave out information about their own fees. Take a closer look at your bills over the course of a year to see if any unexpected fees or other expenses surprise you.

Your Vendors Hate Using It

Your relationship with your vendors is important — unhappy vendors can lead to a variety of billing and administrative disputes. If the law firms and consultants you work with can’t stand your electronic billing system, they probably have a good reason. High costs and lack of support are among the top complaints. Some e-billing software vendors charge firms for every invoice they submit. Then there are others who do not offer any support for law firms, choosing instead to shift that responsibility to their customers.

Reporting Options Are Limited

Effective spend management solutions requires equally robust reporting. Unfortunately, many e-billing solutions are incredibly limited in their reporting capabilities. Reporting shouldn’t just show what you’ve already spent — it should also help you predict future spend. On an average, there is a 23% variation between monthly accrual estimates and what law firms actually invoice. If your current electronic billing system does not have an accrual accuracy report, you’ll have a hard time planning your budget. Custom reporting options are crucial as well. While standard reports can give you a general idea of how your budget is used, custom reports can help you dig into the details. For example, a report that categorizes spend by practice area allows you to narrow in on specific practice areas that might eat up more money than you think.

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