Wilson Allen: Time to transition to digital billing – the top five reasons
Has there ever been a time when the pain of paper-based proforma management processes was more evident? Unlikely. Law firms that have made the transition to digital are experiencing little to no disruption as a result of working from home. Those who are still transitioning are feeling the impact in spades, driving many to conclude that now’s the time to prioritise digital billing. Here are the top reasons why:
1) Greater speed and accuracy of bill preparation
Collecting input from timekeepers on a timely basis can be difficult, leading to delays in billing and inaccurate invoices that are rejected by clients. With Wilson Proforma Tracker, for example, firms gain a controlled workflow and a simplified user interface to enable the timely and accurate preparation and validation of proformas. The software integrates with Elite Enterprise and 3E to provide access to real-time time and billing data, reducing manual input and minimising the inaccuracies caused by the re-keying of information by multiple users.
2) Lower shipping and labour costs and billing service improvements
A digital proforma management process speeds up the bill generation, distribution, and review process by enabling finance teams to track and manage all stages of the billing lifecycle. Lawyers can quickly review and markup proformas from their desktop or mobile devices, eliminating the need to print, collate, ship and recollect paper. Billing teams can focus on higher-value tasks such as improved client delivery and service for invoices and collections.
3) Timelier billing
Billing delays lead to increased write-downs. Therefore, firms can significantly improve financial health and performance by simply streamlining the work-to-bill lifecycle. There is less work in progress (WIP) at the end of the month, and more time included in each proforma. Plus, digital proforma collaboration improves visibility into the overall status of the firm-wide billing lifecycle. That means finance teams can take appropriate action when necessary to identify and remove bottlenecks and get bills out the door more quickly.
4) Better compliance with clients’ billing rules
Many clients have complex billing requirements, which can be difficult for lawyers and staff to follow. Additionally, with increasing use of e-billing, firms have to follow more rigorous rules. Manually reconciling a high volume of draft bills can significantly complicate and extend billing cycles. Software that natively integrates with your firm’s financial management system and external validation systems makes it easier for your firm to adhere to client guidelines.
5) Improved realisation
What’s the bottom-line benefit of making the transition to digital – literally and figuratively? Clients appreciate the timelier delivery of accurate invoices that comply with billing rules, which should translate to quicker cash collection and improved realisation rates for your firm.
Making the transition to paperless processes can be challenging without the right technology and a realistic change management plan.