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The legal field keeps the paper industry alive. From giant text books, to legal opinions, to filings and even bills -- lawyers like paper. But as technological developments increase office efficiencies, it's important for your law department or office to keep up with the times.
Whether you work at BigLaw, or are in-house counsel, you've probably encountered eBilling. If you haven't then it's time you have. If you work at a small firm, or are a solo practitioner, don't feel left out -- eBilling may be for you as well.
The Association of Corporate Counsel ("ACC") and Serengeti* conducted a survey of ACC members in 2010. Based on this information, the ACC posted an informative guide on the basics of eBilling written by Serengeti, which we're summarizing for you below. For a detailed review, you can purchase their 2010 survey.
Why eBilling Is a Great Tool
1. eBilling Saves Money and Creates Efficiency
Because of the ease of reviewing bills and budget tracking, legal departments have an opportunity for increased savings. There is also a savings of human resources because there is less filing and scanning involved.
2. eBilling Is Cheap and Easy to Use
According to the ACC, many eBilling systems cost less than "1% of legal spending" and "require little training."
3. eBilling Generates Reports and Metrics
eBilling has evolved and does much more than billing. You can generate reports such as budget and billing audits, allowing you to measure performance.
4. eBilling Is Widely Used
If firms or companies that you work with are using eBilling, then you don't want to be left behind.
Choosing an eBilling Service
1. What Systems Do Your Colleagues Use?
If you know that you will be receiving or submitting bills to particular firms or clients, find out what system they use or prefer.
2. What Functions Do You Need to Perform? What Info Do You Need to Track and Report?
Figure out what you want out of the system and see what systems offer the features you seek.
3. Do You Deal With International Firms?
If you do, make sure the system can handle "foreign currency conversions and Value Added Tax (VAT) reporting."
4. What Are Your Security Concerns?
You'll need to consider whether information in the eBilling system will be co-mingled creating privilege issues. Also consider what data recovery systems are in place.
5. What Is Your Budget?
What can you spend on an eBilling service? Instead of a straight cost, look at it as an investment in business development.
*Disclosure: Serengeti, an eBilling provider is owned by Thomson Reuters, who is FindLaw's corporate parent as well.