3 Secrets to Law Firm Invoicing and Billing Success
Law firm billing and invoicing can be a source of frustration for many. From invoice creation to monitoring the billing cycle, chaos can erupt quickly. It would be easy to place the blame on clients not paying on time, but much of the billing process starts with your law firm creating practices that set your clients up for success to pay you on time. If you’re noticing more clients not paying on time or longer billing cycles, these 3 billing and invoicing tips will help you clean up your billing.
The secret to legal invoicing success isn’t about invoicing
It starts with a solid foundation with clear billing practices. Your clients don’t know, what they don’t know. As a part of your initial client intake, you should create a process of communicating your billing process. Clearly laying out what your clients can expect to pay, when payments are due and payment options will diminish any push back once the invoices start rolling out. Here are three strategies you can use to increase your firm’s realization rates and the odds that clients will pay you on time.
Secret #3: Determine your client’s expectations
During client intake, ask strategic questions that open the conversation to what your client expects out of the services you provide. This “screening” process will help you connect with and build a relationship with your client but it will also assist you in:
Protecting your clients best interest
Determining if you can meet their expectations
Finding solutions to opposing expectations
Expectations are important to dictate your client’s perception of success and can help your firm create a plan that satisfy everyone. Mapping expectations, creating a client profile — it’s a map you can use to boost firm realization rates. Carefully screening, interviewing, and assessing prospective clients is a surefire way to increase invoicing success.
Secret #2: Clearly outline your law firm’s billing and invoicing policy
No matter if it’s a new client or one you’ve worked with for years, you should always make it a best practice to break down your law firm’s billing and invoicing policy. It’s not the responsibility of the client to decipher this information along the way. Not only will this lead to confusion, it will likely end with your invoices not being paid on time. You don’t necessarily need to get into the weeds of how legal billing works. However, your communication to the client should highlight:
Scope of work and anticipated fees: this should be discussed during client intake but should be outlined again
Important billing due dates: verbal and written communication of when your billing cycle runs will assist the client in meeting your expectations and paying on time
Available payment options: having multiple payment options is attractive to your clients because it gives the option to pay you in a way that they’re comfortable with. Having options like online payments or an accessible client portal, will enhance your clients payment experience.
What to do and who to contact if they can’t pay on time or have issues with payment: it’s important to remember that your clients are human and things come up. If they ever need anything, providing them with the proper avenue to communicate mishaps will save you a headache in the long run.
Secret #1: Automated billing reminders
Yes, your clients have lives outside of waiting around for their next legal bill. We all get busy and as humans, prone to a mistake here and there. With this understanding in mind, it’s important to create automated processes that keep you and your client on track. Automated payments reminders allow you to easily communicate with your client ahead of time to remind the a payment is coming due soon. Having practice management software allows you to easily manage your billing and invoicing process. When it comes to billing and invoicing, having an automated system that works in the background for you will quickly result in a cleaner, faster billing cycle.
Good relationship building is the key to law firm billing and invoicing
If you haven’t caught on yet, communication is the ultimate key to the law firm billing and invoicing success. Starting each client relationship with a solid foundation, clear communication and automated tools to help them stay will ultimately lead your law firm’s billing department to success.