Can you put your hand in the air and swear that your firm is capturing as much billable time as possible? If not, your obvious question is “How to increase your firm’s billable hours“? What’s holding your firm back from maximizing billable time and therefore, profits.
Let’s attack this problem from another angle. Do you know what your attorneys are doing when not billing time? If you know your firm isn’t capturing maximum billable time, you should at least know where the non-billable time is going. Is that even possible?
Seeing the Unseen
With one simple change in your time-tracking policy, it is possible, and it can fundamentally change how you view time at your firm. Treat your time as money. You can always make up lost money some way, somehow, but you’ll never, ever make up for lost time. So it’s critical as a firm that bills by the hour to know where the non-billable time is going. Simply start having your timekeepers track their non-billable time as well as billable.
This one simple change in documenting what’s happening with non-billable activities opens up all sorts of information to help make critical decisions that can affect profitability.
Let’s imagine a scenario where Attorney A has billed 30 hours for the week. Let’s assume she’s a hard worker and spends 50 hours a week at the office. What is she doing those other 20 hours? Once you see that information and realize she’s spending too much time marketing for new clients in those 20 hours, for example, you can reallocate those resources to those in the office who do not bill time. The revenue-producing people at your firm should always be the last people to perform the non-billable work. But without that insight of tracking the non-billable activities, you’d never know where to start.
Your time-tracking software should make the ability to track non-billable work as easy as possible. With TimeSolv, it’s as easy as choosing whether an entry you create is billable or non-billable. This is even true with when creating entries on the mobile application.
No policy, no good
I mentioned above the idea of making one simple change in your time-tracking policy. This assumes of course, that your firm HAS a time-tracking policy. If you don’t, why not? If billing for your time is the way your firm makes money, how can you not have a policy in place about the expectations around how your firm captures time? If you run a business selling can openers, you’d surely have in place a policy on the process of selling that product to distributors and people. Why should that be different if your business relies on revenue from billing time?
Even having a bare-bones policy of just tracking your non-billable time is better than nothing and will work towards getting the most out of your billable hours. If nothing else, it shows everyone at the firm that time-tracking is a critical component of success and be taken seriously.
In summary, every firm should be asking themselves the hard question about if they’re getting the most out of their billable hours and if not, what steps can be taken.