Sometimes, determining what to charge for your valuable services can be a daunting task. You may know what you want to make, but you have no idea how that translates into a reasonable billable hour amount. Even if you have decided to utilize fixed fee billing, you need to place a monetary value on your time in order to make smart billing decisions. An attorney billable hours calculator can be of great assistance in this situation. These tools provide an efficient way to calculate what you need to charge on an hourly basis in order to reach desired profit goals for your firm.
The Lawyerist provides a free hourly rate calculator. You simply input:
- How much you want to make each year – after taxes
- An estimate of your monthly expenses
- An average of how many hours you are willing to work per week
The tool then calculates a rough estimate of what hourly rate you need to charge in order to reach your goals. According to the Lawyerist, the provided amount is a pretty conservative estimate, so if you really want to earn the amount that you inputted, it’s suggested that you bill at the suggested rate or even a little higher.
Now that you know how much to charge, it’s time to make sure that every task and billable hour is properly compensated. TimeSolv legal time tracking and billing software helps you complete these tasks in an efficient, secure, and affordable way. The following are two of the software’s numerous features that keep you tracking time and reviewing your billing progress effectively.
The Time Entry feature
TimeSolv’s Time Entry feature makes your time tracking tool easily accessible at all times. Just choose “Time” from the home screen menu and “Entry” from the drop-down menu. You will access a page that includes:
- The Matter Name: The time entry feature enables you to quickly identify which matter you are working on. It is also useful for multi-tasking, when you may be working on multiple matters consecutively. Just start typing in the matter name and the field will quickly populate. There is also a pull-down menu option for your convenience.
- Timekeepers name: If there are multiple people working on a single matter, the software can be programmed to allow each member of the team to review the time tracked and tasks completed by other members of the team. This feature is also useful for supervisors who need to see a complete picture of the matter to ensure that each team member is working, and billing, as expected.
- Task Code: With TimeSolv, you have the option of assigning codes to each of the numerous tasks you complete in any given week. This allows for faster time tracking and billing because you no longer have to make the extra effort of typing long task descriptions. Just type them in once and assign a code. Going forward, all that’s necessary is entering the code onto the time entry page. It will automatically add the detailed task description to client invoices. The Time Entry feature also allows you to easily import and track tasks that are preassigned to a matter. For example, if you are using a legal project management system where you create specific tasks and deadlines to be completed in the future, timekeepers can quickly import those tasks into Time Entry once they are accomplished.
- Calendar: I know this is self-explanatory, but I do want to highlight how convenient it is to have a complete calendar right on your time entry page. If you need to add a task from yesterday, you can just click on the correct date and easily record your time. If you aren’t sure of next Tuesday’s date, there’s no need to turn to your desk calendar or hop online, it’s right in front of you on the page.
- Timekeeping options: When you are ready to record your time, there is a pull-down option for choosing whether the task is billable or nonbillable. You can also choose from categories that you program into the system, which further eases the challenge of invoices. You can then either record a set time by entering in the number of hours and billing rate, or run the timer as you are working with just a click of the mouse. The timekeeping page also includes space for additional task description if needed, as well as a space for internal notetaking.
The Dashboard feature
TimeSolv’s Dashboard feature is a unique and valuable timesaver for law firm managers and leaders. It gives you an overall view of each employee’s billing status, without having to go around to each of the timekeepers or collect information from multiple sources. Simply choose the dashboard option from the home screen to access an abundance of information, including:
- Target Billing Hours vs. Actual Totals and Actual Billable Hours: This option provides an easy-to-read chart comparison of the target billable hours for each timekeeper in comparison to actual totals. With this tool, you can easily and quickly see whether attorneys and support staff are meeting their billable hour goals. You also have the option of choosing from past and present years, as well as scrolling over the graph to review numbers for specific dates.
- Target Billable Amounts vs. Actual Billable and Collected Amounts: With this option, you can not only compare monthly target billable amounts to actual billed amounts, you can also review how much of those billed amounts have actually been paid to the firm. This is a useful tool for evaluating firm compensation and identifying possible patterns in overdue accounts.
- Target Billing Rate vs. Actual Billing Rate: Use this option to quickly determine whether each of your timekeepers are billing at the target rate that the firm has set for them.
The dashboard includes a pull-down menu where you can include all of your timekeeper’s names. So, moving between each member’s individual information is effortless.
To learn more about these and the numerous other TimeSolv features, click here for a no-obligation free trial. Trust me. It will be the best decision you make all day.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.