It’s a dreaded situation among managing partners and firm financial administrators: you finished up a hefty project for a client and sent the month’s bill the client’s way, and…crickets. You know your client has been reliable about paying in the past, and they have the funds and you did the work. Having your firm’s bills paid in full and in a timely manner is the only thing standing between you and angry creditors, so making sure the client pays up is essential. Obviously, you can ask the client about the delay, but it’s always better when you as the service provider become aware of your own shortcomings rather than having a valuable client having to point it out to you. Below are a few common reasons clients have for not paying bills in full and on time.
The Bill is Over Budget
Your client agreed to pay for $80,000 of billables related to exploring a particular legal strategy and your bill is for $110,000. You as the managing partner may have had every intention of keeping the project under $80,000 but your overeager associates pulled all-nighters going down every rabbit hole they could find. And perhaps they found what they are looking for, but now you’ve got an upset client not wanting to pay any of it. With TimeSolv’s project management features, you can keep all team members on the same page with regard to hours and duties, and you can always keep an eye on how close you are to going over budget.
Vague or Incomplete Work Descriptions
Few things make clients more upset than seeing a vague entry on a bill for services like “legal research” or “review of client documents.” Oftentimes, these descriptions are a result of attorneys who may have done great work for the client, but put off inputting their time until many days later, and those descriptions are their feeble attempt to recall and justify those hours. With TimeSolv, attorneys can input their time anywhere, anytime from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and so they have no excuse for waiting to input their time, resulting in more comprehensive and agreeable work descriptions.
The Work Descriptions Are Disproportionate to the Hours
Perhaps even worse than incomplete or vague work descriptions are descriptions for tasks accompanied by a number of hours that the client finds far too high for the task at hand. This can come from associate inexperience in either handling a task or apportioning the right amount of time to it, or, again, poor memory of what all that attorney did during the hours billed. Through TimeSolv’s project management and reporting features, you can keep an eye on associate hours as they are input to make sure they are proportionate to the tasks and not wait for the client to point this out to you.
The Bill is Disorganized
When you present a client bill that could be in the many tens of thousands, and it’s got time included from multiple attorneys with all kinds of varied work descriptions, time included from the previous month that somehow did not make into that bill, and all kinds of poorly labeled and disorganized expenses, you should not be too shocked if the client doesn’t immediately pull out the checkbook. That bill may sit on the client’s desk for weeks with the vague plan that they will need to take a closer look at it, call you up, and go through every single line to negotiate it, taking away valuable time from your day and lowering your chances for a full payment.
With TimeSolv’s streamlined approval process, you can make sure you get multiple eyes on the bill internally before it goes out to the client. Through this approval process, your co-workers can make sure all time entry is included (so there are no stragglers next month), expenses properly grouped and supported, and that work descriptions are as uniform and accurate as they should be.
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