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A new update to Outlook will soon allow users to both send and pay bills directly in their email. For lawyers and law firms, this could prove rather helpful as spending less time paying bills, and making it easier for clients to pay your bills, is always welcome.
Unfortunately, unless you use Stripe or Braintree, and have been invited to early access, you won't be able to use the service just yet. However, if you use Zuora, FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, Xero, or Fiserv, the new Outlook payments service may be able to help you when support for these services are rolled out on the platform in the coming months.
What is This Service Exactly?
Microsoft is not trying to compete with the many payment processing companies out there. Rather, it is working on incorporating the ones that already exist and have significant market share into the Outlook payments platform. That means that if you already use one of the above listed payment processors, when the Outlook functionality is publicly released, you'll be able to plug in your account info for the process you already use, and start invoicing away.
Why Do Law Firms Need This Service?
Simply put, the new Outlook payments service has the potential to be a real time saver, especially for transactional practices. For one, making it easier for clients to pay your bill means you, or your staff, will have to spend less time crafting carefully worded emails and letters, or calling to ask about a missed payment. Additionally, sending digital invoices and receiving payments digitally can drastically reduce the amount of administrative paper that gets generated around invoicing.
The New Microsoft Office Suite
If you've been on the fence about the new Office 365, it's probably time to check out the (not so new) update, as it is not nearly as bad as you might have come to expect from previous updates. The new Office suite has taken the whole office in the cloud philosophy and created a really functional piece of software.