Keeping an Eye on the Bottom Line
When we think of immigration case management, several competing priorities come to mind: efficiently managing active cases, monitoring pending expirations, and of course, doing everything possible to ensure consistent and effective client communication. And yet, underneath all of these concerns, we also have to factor in basic office management, staff needs, logistics, and of course, the all important bottom line. Understanding time investment in cases, resources allocated and returns generated from case volume are equally critical to the success of an immigration practice.
Every practitioner considers questions such as: Do I know how much my clients owe me? Do my set case fee amounts cover my costs? Do I have a standard procedure of passing billing information on to my billing department? Do the systems I have in place provide me with the necessary insight into my practice to ensure continued success?
If your answer is ‘No’ to any of these questions or if you are unsure, the tips in this posting may be very valuable to you.
A comprehensive case management system such as EDGE can provide you with a suite of tools to help you manage the billing side of your practice. Each organization will have unique requirements that need to be considered carefully when deciding how to utilize a set of billing tools integrated into their case management system. As I have mentioned in previous postings, some of the cleverest uses of the EDGE case management system come from our clients. Many smart practitioners will customize their use of the available tools to suit their particular needs. Quite often certain functionality (invoices to clients, for example) of the Billing module may not be used while others such as Reports are fully utilized. The best approach often is to learn about the system and then take selective advantage of the features that allow you to enjoy better Accounts Receivable management. I will share several ideas from our clients and perhaps one will strike a chord with you.
- When opening a new matter, create a case fee within the client file for the amount agreed upon in your contract for legal services. Add additional charges as needed, including administrative costs, the LawLogix case fee, delivery costs, and filing fees.
- Use the Billing Reports (such as the Sales Report and A/R Report in the standard report templates) to manage and monitor the charges generated. These reports can be grouped and sorted by Case Manager, Attorney, Petitioning Company, etc.
- Create a periodic Statement as a reference for your billing department to generate your standard Invoices. (This is useful if you are not formally using the Invoices generated by the Billing module). This method is beneficial for immigration departments of large law firms which often bill clients at the end of the month rather than when each new matter is opened.
- Display the A/R balance on the FN/Individual search results page to quickly identify when a client has an amount due for a particular matter. Within EDGE this is an Administrative optional setting. Also within the EDGE system, this dollar amount is a link to the client’s Billing tab for quick access to account history.
- Use the Timer icon to track time spent on a case and then create a periodic Report. This is an excellent way to manage your case fee amounts. It may be an eye opening experience to see how much actual staff time is invested in managing common case types. The results of this report may justify an increase in your case fees or a review of general office procedure. This management tool can also be used to track the productivity of attorneys and paralegals.
Selective use of key billing features is the key to success within your chosen case management/billing system. We hope these user tips help you consider what information you need to report on and better track your all-important receivables.
Want to learn how more about the Billing component within the LawLogix EDGE case management system? Current EDGE clients can contact Customer Support here or by calling us at 602-357-4240 ext. 2 for complete details. New clients interested in learning more the LawLogix EDGE system can contact us here or call 602-357-4240 ext. 1. Also, please visit our website at www.lawlogix.com for general information.