Practicenet

 

Billing - The Way You Want To

Some systems force you to change your billing procedures to suit the system – Panache lets you choose the method that suits you. You can choose whether you want to bill time by job, by date or individually select each time posting. You can even bill one client and charge another, e.g. a director’s tax work. If you are billing in advance you may want to post an accrual or write back some time that you may be able to recover later.

Before you bill you will want to see the W.I.P. in detail with the narrative entered at the time of posting. But wouldn’t it be useful to see the previous bills and recoveries too and in detail if necessary. It may help you to decide the amount to charge for the extra work undertaken or possibly to decide upon the fee to be quoted for next year.

Although a pro forma invoice/payment request is provided you are likely to want to adopt your own house style and the integration with Microsoft Word achieves this. The software helps you with the process and you simply store your invoice template and it’s automatically used when you raise a bill. You can then view your invoices at any time in the future and also any correspondence you send to your clients. This feature alone will save you many hours each week.

If you decide that your fee earners will raise the bills, write off the time and generate the invoice or payment request then the system needs to be very easy to use and require the minimum amount of time. Panache meets this requirement whilst not restricting the flexibility for each user.

Any system that encourages managers and partners to perform tasks that were previously undertaken by secretaries needs to provide tangible benefits and be enjoyable to use. But you can use the secretarial function to raise bills if you wish – it’s your choice. You can set up Panache to suit your own way of working.

Knowing precisely the detailed work undertaken for a client before the fee is raised is possible if each time entry is described in as much detail as necessary. Only then can you justify increasing the previously agreed fee for additional work undertaken.

Enabling your fee earners to raise tax invoices or requests for payment to a professional standard speeds up the billing process provided it is integrated with your time & fees system. It also ensures that the documents contain the correct information so avoiding the all too frequent queries often used to delay payment. And more importantly it can be a "selling document" to reinforce the expertise used to provide the service to the client.