In an effort to control outside legal expenses many clients have instituted strict billing guidelines. The early rules were quite simple and easy to follow, over a period of time many of these rules went from being objective to then include highly subjective requirements.
So, how do law firms deal with the ever expanding list of do’s and don’t? They spend a great deal of time (read cost) proof reading bills by billing specialists before sending them out. This manual process delays billing, delays cash and at the end of the day, costs both firms and clients a lot of money. Even after manual proof reading, the rejections still come and the specialists are back at it again, appealing, re-billing or in many cases just taking substantial write-off’s.
So, how can law firm’s deal with this growing problem? By utilizing a Bill Scrubber™.
New technology developments provide a way to “scrub” client bills prior to submission to insure they meet client requirements. A Bill Scrubber checks each bill for a series of client rules and points out time and cost entries that need “help” prior to submitting the bill.
How does a Bill Scrubber work?
- Using a template design, billing rules are set at the firm, client or matter level.
- Rules can be set to handle both electronic and paper billing requirements. For example, check that the time entry narrative does not exceed 255 characters on an e-bill.
- Depending on firm workflow have attorneys scrub their own entries or have centralized billing scrub the bills before and after sending pre-bills to attorneys for editing. The pre-bill can be set to show scrubber violations for further review.
- Advanced technology in the “scrubber engine” can even find target words that might cause a rejection, such as “inter-office ….” or “prepare for ….”. Pop-up screen suggestions can help deal with these target words.
- The scrubber will provide an “ignore” function to allow for subjective interpretations.
- The scrubber engine will look over both time and costs entries.
- A full audit trail is maintained to show the history of scrubbing, authorization for ignore, and results by client and attorney.
Firms using this new technology will make it harder for clients to reject bills or short pay because of not following the billing guidelines. The use of scrubbing technology will also identify clients with more difficult rules and additional training requirements that might be needed within the firm to reduce the billing violations.
Bill scrubbing will make money for a firm and improve adherence to client guidelines.
Bill Scrubber is a registered Trademark of RainMaker Software, Inc.