Friction with clients often doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. It’s a number of small things that go wrong, kickstarting the domino effect. Alley is a brilliant finance professional at a bustling law firm. Every month, Alley spends hours chasing down missing billable hours. The work that is done before a client is officially onboarded is swallowed by a disorganized system and quite often not billed. Clients raise eyebrows at inconsistent invoices. The firm loses revenue, and Alley’s morale plummets.

As you can see many things can go wrong, but when they happen around the same time, client frustration escalates which can be disastrous for firms of any size. The solution? Optimize processes to the extent that these recurring issues become a thing of the past.

In today’s competitive legal landscape, law firms are under immense pressure to do more with less, while still providing superior service to their clients. One of the biggest pain points for many firms is the laborious and error-prone process of billing and invoicing. From dropped billable expenses to navigating complex client billing guidelines, the administrative burden can quickly eat away at your firm’s profitability and your team’s morale. You can explore all the other financial pain points linked to payments, collections, taxes, and reporting in our comprehensive eBook, The integrated imperative: Driving finance to achieve legal excellence.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. By addressing the root causes of these billing and invoicing challenges, you can streamline your processes, boost your bottom line, and give your team the tools they need to thrive. Here are five ways to get started:

1. Capture all billable work

It’s all too common for law firms to have work fall through the cracks, especially when it comes to tasks performed before a client is officially onboarded. This “pre-engagement” work often goes untracked and unrecorded, resulting in lost revenue for the firm. This could leave your team feeling a sense of unease and insecurity about the firm’s financial health. The ability to allocate this specific pre-engagement work to the client after onboarding would make a significant difference.

2. Automate billing workflows

Manually managing client-specific billing guidelines, invoice approvals, and payment tracking is a recipe for errors and delays. This can lead to increased friction, both internally and with your clients, as they experience inconsistencies and a lack of transparency. By automating these repetitive, error-prone tasks, you can ensure consistent, accurate invoicing while freeing up your team to focus on higher-value work. Look for a solution that can adapt to your firm’s unique billing models, from fixed-fee to time-and-materials, and apply global discounts seamlessly across relevant client matters.

3. Streamline invoice processing

The manual back-and-forth of creating, reviewing, and approving invoices can quickly become a bottleneck, leading to delayed payments and frustrated clients. Even if this isn’t manually done, your team could be using multiple point solutions for finance that do not talk to each other, requiring additional work to get actionable insights. This might burden your team as they struggle to keep up with the workload. Implementing a centralized invoice processing system that connects all stakeholders, from timekeepers to accounts receivable, will allow you to route invoices for approval, make updates, and track the entire lifecycle in one place.

4. Improve transparency and reporting

When it comes to billing and invoicing, there’s nothing worse than feeling in the dark about the status of your firm’s receivables, cash flow, and profitability. This lack of visibility can make it difficult to plan for the future and take informed decisions. Invest in a solution that provides real-time visibility into key metrics, from accounts receivable aging to anticipated disbursements. Armed with this data, you can make more informed decisions, identify problem areas, and proactively address any issues.

5. Use data-driven insights

Your firm’s billing and invoicing data is a goldmine of insights that can drive strategic decisions and improve your overall financial health. Look for a platform that not only streamlines your day-to-day billing processes but also offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities. This will allow you to spot trends, optimize your pricing models, and make data-driven adjustments to enhance your firm’s profitability, helping you manage the financial side of your practice.

By addressing these key billing and invoicing challenges, you can free your team from the administrative burden, improve your firm’s cash flow, and deliver a better client experience. In effect, you address the individual problems before they snowball into a massive nightmare.

And the best part? You don’t have to go it alone.

As you can see from the insights shared above, technology can level the playing field. In fact, the overwhelming majority of legal function are turning to technology solutions to alleviate these challenges, with only a small minority (just 11%), postponing the implementation of analytics, technology, and/or automation projects.1

A connected, composable cloud platform like evergreen can provide the tools and functionality you need to streamline your entire billing and invoicing workflow, from capturing pre-engagement work to automating invoice processing and generating insightful reports. It works in tandem with empower, our suite of productivity apps that integrate your data, business logic, and processes to boost process excellence. With such a connected system, you can:

  • Centralize and automate your billing processes to reduce errors and delays
  • Apply flexible pricing models to meet client demands and boost profitability
  • Gain real-time visibility into your firm’s financial health and performance
  • Leverage data-driven insights to optimize your billing practices

Don’t let billing and invoicing woes weigh you down. Take control of your firm’s financial future with the right tools and technology. By addressing these key challenges, you can unlock new levels of efficiency, profitability, and client satisfaction.

The advantages of evergreen and empower extend beyond just enhancing billing and invoicing. Explore more about it here.

15 legal technology predictions through 2025