5 signs your law firm is ready for automated time tracking

Daan Pruijssers

23 October 2018

Time tracking has long held its place on the list of ‘least favourite’ activities of lawyers around the world. Whilst it’s easy to harbor the ill-will felt towards billing, especially in light of the inefficiencies it is known to cause, developments in automated time tracking technologies mean that capturing time is now easier than ever. We’ve compiled some food for thought to guide your decision as to whether automated time tracking will benefit your business.

1. Time and billing are causing inefficiencies.

Did you know that, on average, 12% of billable time is lost? Small tasks, like one-liner emails or quick phone conversations are often missed as lawyers who don’t bill contemporaneously scramble to reconstruct their days. Couple that with the tendency of lawyers to juggle matters, taking a phone call on one whilst reviewing an advice on another, and the fact that out-of-office functionality is something that is incomplete or entirely absent in traditional timekeeping software and it’s easy to see how time can be overlooked. The more time that passes between an event occurring and it being billed, the more likely it is that it will be lost entirely. You don’t need to be a savant to realise just how expensive missing 12% of billable time might be for a firm. Integrated automated time tracking technologies can help minimise the leakage by making entries at the time they occur.

 2. You lack the data for accurate pricing.

It’s myopic to consider that the billable hour’s sole purpose is billing. Time tracking allows for inefficiencies to be identified and addressed. It empowers businesses in a competitive market in terms of pricing, decision making, and analytics. The importance of this cannot be understated in times where clients are increasingly aware of alternative fee arrangements and lawyers are more frequently required to consider how to price AFAs. Pricing should be based on accurate historical data but, in circumstances where this isn’t available, timesheets are key. Reliance on inaccurate data when determining pricing for AFAs is likely to result in drops in profitability. Realisation of captured time increases when time capture is fast and accurate resulting not only in increased revenues, but also more accurate data that can be used to inform pricing.

3. You wish to attract and retain talent by providing them with the best legal technology.

There’s no doubt that technology plays a role in attracting and retaining the new generation of legal talent. Mobile time entry was a game changer when it entered the market but it is no longer enough. Lawyers want the billing process to be as streamlined as possible, freeing up time for them to focus on building and maintaining client relationships and practicing the law. Sophisticated mobile time tracking apps with intuitive functionality and automated time entry are one tool that HR can take advantage of in the competitive legal marketplace. These technologies act as a support for legal staff, ultimately promoting staff retention and assisting with recruitment.

4. You want to promote value and transparency towards clients and reduce rejection of bills.

Clients are evermore demanding in terms of value for money and billing accuracy. Detailed time entries sate the curiosity of clients who are hoping to cut costs and those hoping to ensure that your services are adding value to their business. Contemporaneous time entry has been heralded as the antidote to inaccuracies in billing but is known to eat into lawyers’ valuable time. Automated time tracking helps ease the burden here on two fronts. Firstly, it intuitively notes time spent on matters as it happens so that it can later be approved or added to by the file operator. Secondly, it promotes appropriate detail being included in each billing entry. When you consider how much time and effort fielding client queries can take up, the value of detailed billing becomes apparent. What’s more is that this kind of transparency and attention to detail has been shown to fuel customer loyalty. 

5. You’ve got capacity to collect the data, but you aren’t sure how to use it.

Time capture is actually quite simple if u use the technologies that are available to you to organise the data in a meaningful way. If you already use a DMS or programs like Microsoft Office, Online Meetings or similar, you are creating useable data that could promote in-office efficiencies whilst allowing for compliant and effective billing. Automated time tracking softwares, like TIQ, can be easily integrated with the programs favoured by lawyers without any major downtime due to migration.

The benefits of automated time tracking software are immediately tangible and grow over time as a result of the software’s ability to learn from your activities. It’s now possible to intuitively capture and enter time with minimal intervention required on the lawyer’s end. Time spent inputting time entries can be slashed to just minutes a day whilst the overall picture of time spent on matters improves and becomes more detailed. This facilitates better communications with clients, promotes transparency, pleases staff and reduces rejection of bills. If you feel that your business could benefit from TIQ’s automated time tracking software, feel free to get in touch.

 

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