The Cream Rises To The Top
Today we will continue our look at the keys for success when starting your own law firm. This is part two in a feature on billing, and if you missed part one you can find it here
As more and more lawyers enter the profession, and greater numbers of people continue utilizing online self-help resources for their legal needs, competition among lawyers is going to become fierce.
This is why you must be sharp in all facets of your operations, and this most definitely includes your billing systems.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools and resources you can use to ensure your billing practice is up to snuff.
Minutes Stack Up Like All The Rest
In a recent Facebook post I brought attention to what ten extra minutes a day over the course of a year can mean to you and your firm. If you are working five days a week, 48 weeks in a year, this amounts to 40 billable hours.
Of course, the good part is when you multiply that by your hourly wage.
The point I am trying to make, however, is that this dynamic could swing both ways. What if you are missing ten minutes per day due to poor time tracking?
It doesn’t seem like much, but all those minutes add up.
Those 40 hours would never be invoiced and billed to your clients, and you would be out a week’s worth of time.
This is why it is so vital that you give attention to this matter.
Make It Easy On Yourself
Forget trying to record your time at the end of each day. It is simply impossible to remember everything and you will end up missing billable time.
You need to use software to passively record your activity during the day.
Now, it can’t hurt to keep a notepad on hand (in fact I recommend it) to jot times down, but please make sure you do this in accompaniment with your software, and record it when you start rather than try to guess later.
There are a number of options worth looking at. To get started, check out Rocket Matter. Rocket Matter will help you accurately track your time as well as meet your billing and invoicing requirements quickly and efficiently.
Chrometa, is another system worth qualifying. Chrometa has a 30-day free trial so you can test the waters before you invest. It works in the background recording the time you spend working on everything, so you don’t have to worry about input.
Another key to successful billing practices, and thus, a successful law firm, is to ensure that you are getting paid for the work you are doing.
A no-brainer right?
You would be surprised how many lawyers have collections in arrears and aren’t even sure how much their accounts are out by.
Pick one day of the month that you send out your invoices on and keep to this regular schedule.
The consistency will allow you and your staff to prepare for the process each month, and your customers will become conditioned to paying automatically.
The End Goal
What I want for your firm is a smooth and efficient billing system. You should be passively collecting all your billable time, regularly generating invoices, collecting for your services, and tracking all your payments.
All this information will help you stay on top of the financial fundamentals of your firm, so you always know where you stand, and can predict your potential cash flow.
So, when you are starting your own law firm, make sure to get this up and running right from the start so you can stay ahead of your competition and balance your successful career with a happy lifestyle.
Until next time!