Five lessons you can learn from tracking Non-Billable hours

Bas Roodbeen
23 September 2019
Without non-billable hours, your firm would stand still. Non-billable hours comprise essential admin, business development, employee development and training, proposal writing, and (ironically) billing.

Despite the obvious importance and value of non-billable hours, lawyers aren’t always diligent in their tracking of non-billable time. This post will put forward the case for tracking non-billable hours. Here are 5 lessons you can learn from them:

1. Non-Billables Reveal The Real Cost of Services

Billable hours allow you to identify how much you earn from clients for particular files or projects. But it’s non-billable hours that identify the real cost of providing those services.

Non-billable hours provide you with the data you need to identify unprofitable clients and services. They highlight how much time goes into each file – which you can compare with the amount you ultimately bill for that time.

Knowing the real cost of your services empowers you to make informed business decisions about the pricing of your services and the types of services you provide.

2. Non-Billables Help You Streamline Your Services

How your lawyers spend their non-billable hours impacts the success of your business. Lawyers who spend the non-billable time on activities that improve your services or develop your business drive success. Lawyers who waste non-billable time on tasks that could be performed by someone (or something) else do not.

Tracking your non-billable hours empowers you to identify these inefficiencies. From there, you can streamline internal processes so that your lawyers are spending their time the best way they can.

3. Non-Billables Inform Investment Decisions

In the same vein, tracking the non-billable hours at your firm can inform firm decision making about investment in legal technologies. Legal technologies that automate repetitive and time-consuming aspects of legal practice free up your lawyers to spend more time on meaningful work.

TIQ Time, for instance, automates legal time tracking. It significantly cuts the amount of time you spend tracking time – reducing it to just a few minutes per day. By tracking non-billable hours, you’ll know how long your lawyers are spending on billing each week.

In turn, you’ll know whether TIQ’s legal technology costs more than what your lawyers will bill each week during the time TIQ saves them. Deciding to invest in TIQ is easy when you see that your ROI will be immediate and that it will drive profitability.

4. Non-Billables Make Your Firm Smarter

Investing in employee development is important for your firm’s success and reputation. It’s also often overlooked or avoided during particularly busy periods. That’s why intelligent businesses devote time to developing (and meeting) KPIs for employee training.

Tracking the number of (non-billable) hours your employees spend improving their industry knowledge is the only way to know whether your employees are meeting those KPIs. It’s a key step forward in making your business smarter and accessing all the benefits enjoyed by informed lawyers.

5. Improve Your Firm Culture By Finding Value In Non-Billable Hours

While non-billable hours are crucial to business success, the legal industry’s relationship with non-billable hours isn’t always a positive one. Lawyers at all stages of their careers feel immense pressure to bring value to their firm. Oftentimes, this is done by the lawyer’s demonstrating the amount of money they bring into the firm through billable hours. This is obviously crucially important. However, your firm derives value from the non-billable hours your lawyers work too.

By encouraging your staff to demonstrate the intangible or non-monetary value they bring to the firm through non-billable hours, you build an enviable firm culture. This will help you retain staff, saving your money and hassle in the long run.

TIQ’s intelligent legal software automates the process of tracking time. Get in touch with us today to see how TIQ can help your firm unlock all of the benefits outlined in this post.

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