The use of legal billing software is an important part of record keeping, automating redundant tasks and tracking billing, payments and overall office accounting. It is important, however, that the legal billing software in use at a law office is flexible enough to make adjustments as the law office adapts, based on the needs of their clients.
Changes to Legal Billing Software
At a minimum, legal billing software should be able to track time spent on a client, generate invoices and document payments received. As a law office evolves, however, it is important that the legal billing software in use be able to evolve and adapt to meet the law office’s needs.
Many law offices charge an upfront retainer. It would make sense, therefore, that the legal billing software accommodates retainer information, work off that information and provide accurate billing statements to the client in a timely fashion. It is equally important that the legal billing software allow for customization of invoices and billing statements so the information collected and sent to clients makes sense to everyone. If the statements sent to clients are confusing, unnecessary, and potentially frustrating, calls from clients will ensue, which is ultimately a waste of time and will affect productivity.
Reporting in Legal Billing Software
In order to understand the financial health of a law office, the legal billing software in use should be able to provide accounting, billing and banking reports that can be easily customized to view data in different ways for ongoing analysis. The legal billing software should be able to print checks, track paid expenses, account for refunds, if needed, and record income that is not necessarily related to client legal-support.
Ultimately, it is important that the legal billing software used by a law office is flexible enough to adapt as the law office grows and changes, so it is not necessary to replace the software already in use, thus wasting time transitioning to a new system and ensuring all the past information is ported over error free.
If a law office is in the initial phase of reviewing different legal billing software options, these are just some of the issues that should be considered. The reviewers and testers of the software should not just think of what is needed now, but what may be needed in the future as the law office evolves.