Everything You Need to Know About Legal eBilling And Why Your Firm Needs It

Although eBilling may seem intimidating if you have never done it, there are ways to make the adoption easier. You may have questions if you’ve never done eBilling, or if you’re thinking of taking on a client that relies heavily on an electronic billing system, but don't worry, we have some tips on how to make this painful process a little bit easier. 

What is eBilling for Law Firms?

eBilling, summed up, is electronic billing for your clients, so your billing department doesn't have to send invoices through the mail. This makes transactional payments for matters easier – especially in a COVID-19 world where in-person contact is made to be limited. 

Importance of Following Strict eBilling Protocols and Procedures

Many guidelines have been put in place for law firm billing procedures for standardization and convenience for your billing staff. The nice thing about establishing eBilling as a precedent is that it helps avoid errors earlier on in the legal billing process. There’s no more re-typing or manually generating invoices with eBilling – as you can program what in-house can enter in as a bill against invoices outside counsel sends for payment. 

System parameters such as checking for budget limitations or accidental duplicate entries can be caught before it’s officially submitted on a matter. The same can be said about bundling bills, which can create confusion when processing and understanding what’s being paid for. 

This one-time implementation of eBilling in practice management software (or combined in a software solution you may already be looking at) helps put a stop to rogue charges that are difficult to track. 

How to Submit eBilling Invoices

Using a preconfigured billing system, outside counsel will need to submit a digital form detailing what the charge(s) for clients are in that cycle. Then, the eBilling system typically accepts and generates an invoice and ensures there are none of the aforementioned parameters that can occur due to human error before going to the in-house team to evaluate. 

Top Benefits of eBilling

Although eBilling may seem intimidating to those doing billing the traditional way, there are many benefits for firms ready to make the switch

The best value for implementing eBilling? Data insights. You can automatically capture data insights and ensure your matters don’t exceed the budget for certain services from outside counsel. All of this can be configured into the system so it automatically sweeps for this every time. 

  1. Cost Reduction

    It’s undeniable having eBilling in place saves time – thereby saving money. Many firms that have switched over experience valuable time to focus on revenue-generating tasks, rather than the arduous manual upkeep involved with bill processing. eBilling helps by setting caps on a type of case, meaning you’re protecting the bottom line for everyone involved.
  2. Increased Efficiency

    While anything takes a learning curve to understand, the amount of time saved over the months and years will be paramount to your firm’s budgeting and in-house team. At Centerbase, we have a proven system to get bills out 30% faster for your timekeepers. Imagine the boost in time that can be spent on refining processes and getting invoices paid quicker.
  3. Ease of Use

    Being able to control costs and save time processing invoices from outside counsel are big benefits to eBilling software. Ultimately, this ease of use will boil down to managing costs much better and being able to analyze where discrepancies and limits may be becoming a recurring problem. eBilling makes spotting these problems with robust reporting and is a huge benefit to gain insights with just a few clicks..
  4. Improved Client Experience with Online Payments

    Credit cards are the primary way your clients and prospective clients pay for purchases today. With an online payment solution, you can send bills that include a payment link, which your client can pay instantly from the safety and comfort of their home. Centerbase's payments feature is powered by LawPay, and it makes securely accepting credit and debit cards as well as IOLTA compliance easier than you might think. By giving your clients the ability to pay online, you will not only see your bill gets paid faster, but you will also be able to control payment options on a matter-by-matter basis. Services like LawPay do all the leg work for you, allowing your firm to seamlessly send and receive payments so you can spend more time serving your clients.

What Firms Love About e-Billing

For many of the reasons stated above, firms love the convenience of sending electronic bills for the quickness and added accuracy from the settings. Having a simplified invoice review process makes managing budgets and keeping track of where your billing is at during any given time is a huge convenience many firms have already switched to and reaped the benefits. 

Read more: Key Demands for Your Next Cloud-Based Law Firm Billing Program

Eliminates Printing eBills

With eBilling, there are no more wasted ink or duplicate bill prints. With legal billing software, you can make markups and approvals for bills directly in the software. Having trackable comments and feedback also ensures those extra copies and notes don’t get thrown in the trash in lieu of the newest, most updated copy. No one misses anything, and that multistep process gets whittled down to smooth, easy sailing.

Streamlined Approval Process

Because you won’t have to print pre-bills, the multiple rounds of approvals can be completely eliminated. That single pre-bill can be moved up the approval chain, with the software automatically tracking it to the next person needed to see once it’s approved. This relieves pressure from your billing team to have to track anyone down or clog the inbox with reminders.

Visibility and Documentation

Electronic records will always be kept of any notes attorneys make on pre-bills, making it easy to go back into the software to check anytime. This is especially useful if someone is out of the office or an attorney has left, who may have taken tribal knowledge with them on a certain client matter or bill. With extra visibility comes increased alignment from all departments.

Improving Your Staff and Your Clients’ Billing Experience

There’s no getting around it: eBilling has boosted efficiency and accuracy in law firms, all while saving time. By getting bills out more efficiently, clients have more time to review and pay their bills, keeping everything neater than before. At Centerbase, we’ve been able to help timekeepers at firms get bills out 30% faster – creating more room for firm-wide improvements that generate revenue and maintain a “work smarter, not harder” mindset. 

How Firms Can Prepare for a Move to eBilling

Interested in learning more based on the question “What is eBilling?” Some systems sell eBilling as a separate offering that can be on-premise or in the cloud. But while that can offer customization, it won’t integrate seamlessly with any existing software or outdated systems you may currently be using. 

You can prepare to move to eBilling with a few simple steps:

  • Review your existing billing process
  • Talk to your timekeepers and billing department about what they need 
  • Compare budgets (and keep in mind you often get what you pay for)

Read more: 5 Questions to Ask a Legal Practice Management Software Vendor Before Purchasing

Are you Ready for eBilling?

Cloud-based practice management software and eBilling are packaged together with Centerbase, which means you only have to worry about one software for everything vs. a la carte options. We’ve helped thousands of firms implement solutions that work with their team, and not against them. 

We encourage you to read more into how you can integrate eBilling into everyday processes sooner than you think, and hope this has been helpful. Feel free to subscribe to our blog or check out our resources page for more content.


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