Traditionally, when you think of the work that an attorney handles on a daily basis, you don’t think of billing. While an attorney is responsible for entering his or her time, the attorney might be entirely disconnected from billing rules and outside counsel guidelines in most firms. However, when an attorney does become engaged in this process, the effects are profound for both the attorney and the firm.
This traditional disconnect between the completion of work and billing is costly to the firm. Until now, there was not much that could be done to avoid this. However, time entry compliance (also referred to as real-time compliance) is a game changer for firms.
“Say, what?” How Real-Time Compliance Works
Real-time compliance is just a fancy term to describe the breakthrough technology that now (for the first time!) allows the accounting and finance departments to work directly with attorneys to ensure that outside counsel guidelines are met.
Due to the disconnect that exists between an attorney's time entry practices and a client's guidelines, firms often bill for time that is not in compliance with the agreed-upon billing guidelines. More times than not, this leads to a host of complications, costing the finance department time and money dealing with rejections, corrections and resubmissions.
Real-time compliance bridges the gap by presenting bad news early enough so that it is actually good news. This is accomplished by the attorney's time cards being validated immediately upon entering time, rather than later, ensuring that they comply with client billing guidelines.
When attorneys get involved in the billing process, both the firm and the attorneys benefit in the following ways:
- Increased compliance with client billing guidelines.
- Enhanced relationships and trust between an attorney and the client.
- Reduced man hours spent fixing and correcting errors, which frees up resources to be used more strategically to advance the firm.
- Decrease in resubmissions, which leads to faster payment cycles.
Real-Time Compliance Brings the Power to Attorneys
This connectedness to the billing process places attorneys in a lucrative position. Here’s how:
- Billing issues are resolved before an invoice is submitted to the client, which makes the attorney and his/her firm more credible in the eyes of the client.
- Real-time compliance saves the firm time and money by adhering to guidelines, leading to fewer write-offs, corrections and resubmissions. While other functions within the organization are involved here, the attorney is the critical piece in understanding the importance of outside counsel compliance for the firm.
- Client trust and satisfaction is earned and maintained. Real-time compliance is yet another tool that helps attorneys manage their client relationships more closely.
Simply by entering time more accurately, attorneys now have the ability to better manage their client relationships, impact productivity and expand their contribution to the firm’s financial performance. Now that you know this, it is easy to understand why we are so passionate about this technological breakthrough that is defining the future of legal technology.
What do you think would be the impact of real-time compliance at your firm? If so, share your experience in the comments section below.