In my last post I revealed the details on a study I conducted to see how successfully firms were able to get attorneys to get their time in from the prior month. The results were not bad, 74% reported they had attorney time posted no later than the 2nd business day of the month.
Now we’ll really separate the firms with a new survey that reveals how quickly firms can get edited pre-bills back from attorneys and bills out to clients.
From the time you give attorneys pre-bills hope long before they are due back in business days?
- 33% 1 – 3 Business days
- 33% 4 – 7 Business days
- 20% 8 – 14 Business days
- 14% 15 Business days or longer
Note: One firm reported that the “billing assistants” bill all month long and there is no requirements; the busiest billing day is the last day of the month.
When in an average month when are you done billing and the bills are sent, emailed or e-billed in business days?
- 13% 1 – 4 Business days
- 40% 5 – 10 Business days
- 13% 11 – 15 Business days
- 34% 16 Business days or longer
Note: Many firms reported that their billing routinely stretches into the next month and they are sending bills at the same time they are doing pre-bills for the next month.
Here are some quotes:
Worst: “We are very rarely completely done with the bills prior to sending the pre-bills out for the following month.”
Best: “We give the Attorneys 24hrs to respond back with changes or corrections. The morning following the 24hr review period the invoices are created, stuffed and mailed out within 4-5 hrs.
There is a wide disparity between law firms regarding how efficiently they manage the billing process. My review showed it had little to do with size of firm, number of branch offices or type of law they practiced. For example, the “Best” firm above has over 200 timekeepers and many offices. They however are highly disciplined, automated and structured. The law firms cash flow is directly related to getting bills in the hands of clients in the shortest period of time. There are ways to improve the billing process. You might want to review my 10 part series on improving the billing process starting here.