You’ve heard the one about how forgoing an expensive cup of coffee each day can add up to save thousands. It may not be much fun, but it can be a practical way to save money.
Many lawyers who keep track of the billable workday in six-minute increments can reverse this concept to describe their law practices. It goes like this: available timekeeping software does not offer simple ways to capture certain billable matters, especially client calls. Additionally, most timekeeping software does not work on multiple devices, like smartphones. As a result, attorneys often don’t input all of their time, which leads to a loss of billable hours. A few minutes here or a half-hour there adds up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve left sizable revenue on the table.
Consider these statistics:
• Surveys show that lawyers spend about 25 percent of their billable time on the phone, with two-thirds of that time spent on desktop phones.
• Lawyers report spending an average of 23 percent of their time working outside the office. However, while they are out of the office, over 85 percent make work calls on smartphones.
• Interestingly, a majority of lawyers responding to the 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey use their own personal devices for work (making them part of the growing bring your own device, or BYOD, movement), yet 66 percent have never downloaded a general business application. Even fewer have tried a legal-specific smartphone app.
• Many lawyers estimate that they lose approximately five billable hours related to phone calls each month. Some of these hours are never billed due to incomplete telephone records, while others are spent reconstructing their call histories for billing purposes, an arduous and inaccurate task.
At an average hourly billable rate of $295, an office of four lawyers stands to lose nearly $6,000 every month, just on billable phone time. That is a lot of coffee.
With numbers like these, it’s never been more important for attorneys to have access to timekeeping software or services that make it easy to track billable hours while on the phone. When tackling this problem, here are some requirements to consider.
Choose software that’s so simple, compliance is a snap. The software or service should include an app that is compatible with mobile and desktop phones. From here, the lawyer can easily capture the details and billable time of each call as it happens, no matter which device they’re using, to ensure that every minute spent on the phone is billed.
Simplify the billing reconciliation process with 24-by-7 access to the captured calls. A worthwhile solution will reclaim the hours previously spent digging through voicemail, paper phone messages and calendar appointments to reconstruct billable phone time. The Internet is the perfect platform for the billing staff to gain access to the data of the captured calls whenever and wherever needed.
Impress your clients with descriptive, auditable billing records. Capturing comprehensive call details as they happen will improve your billing accuracy and show your clients exactly what they’re paying for. The more detail you can provide, the more they will trust your records, and the more likely you will be to collect on each invoice.
Minimize training time and increase usage by ensuring that the app is virtually identical on any device. If the process of capturing call information is the same on both office and mobile phones, it will quickly become a habit, no matter which device is in use. Consolidating the records generated from every device in a single, intuitive place online will help billing staff easily export and create line items for invoices.
Telephone timekeeping software with these features will eliminate lost revenue for billable phone time, provide an audit trail for your clients and allow attorneys to focus on billable, rather than non-billable administrative tasks.
Now go celebrate your newly found cash with a great cup of coffee.