At Envolta, we’re passionate about leveraging technology to make your life easier and your business stronger.

So, if you happen to work in the legal field, then you should pay close attention, because we’re seeing some major shifts in how legal practices handle tracking, accounting, and billing today!

Much of this has been driven by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with more legal professionals working remotely – plus a shocking 79% of consumers saying that the ability to work with a lawyer remotely is a key factor in choosing who to work with.

These changes (and more) are highlighted by Clio, one of our key partners, in their fascinating new Legal Trend Report 2021. Clio is a giant in the legaltech space, and with our recent attendance at the Clio Cloud Conference, the Envolta team wanted to highlight what’s new in the lawyer billing software space – and why Clio Payments may be a good fit for your firm!

Issues with basic law practice management software

There are a lot of benefits to the cloud-based Clio Payments software, but before we touch on them, let’s talk about what traditional law practice management software tends to look like.

Most firms try to piece together multiple software solutions to handle a number of different functions all at once:

  • Case management
  • Legal document management
  • Contact management
  • Accounting
  • Calendaring
  • Task management
  • Online payments
  • Time and expense tracking
  • Law firm insights

Needless to say, this is cumbersome and hard to integrate among your staff.

What’s more, traditional practice management software is installed on computers on the premises with individual licenses, and data is backed up on a central file server. That means the software is usually difficult to access out of office without expensive VPNs, making it harder to integrate it into your actual legal workflow.

But even worse, from an accounting standpoint, is the potential for billing mistakes with traditional software.

4 Common billing mistakes by legal professionals

Legal firms lose countless man-hours and dollars to the unnecessarily complicated billing process.

Here are just a few of the most common billing mistakes we see. If these seem like familiar issues for your firm, it’s an indicator that you should be thinking about new legal billing software like Clio.

1.) Miscalculating interest on late invoices

It’s easy to make mistakes when calculating interest manually on overdue bills. Late fees are usually assessed on a monthly basis, taken by dividing the annual interest rate by 12, and then multiplied by the amount due to determine the monthly late fee.

But what if you exceed legal limits or assess an incorrect amount in interest? It’s a huge headache for legal billing – not only is it embarrassing to overcharge your clients, but it can also open you up to liability for billing abuse.

2.) Applying inconsistent billing practices

You need a public policy regarding client billing. These include things like:

  • When clients should expect a bill
  • How often they’ll receive an invoice
  • How long a window they have to pay (grace period)
  • What their interest rates will be on late fees for overdue bills

The more these billing practices are carried out manually instead of automatically, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with mistakes and inconsistencies in how bills are sent out and payments are collected.

3.) Dual billing tracking

From an ethical and legal standpoint, dual billing is a real problem. It should be easy to tell if the time you’re billing multiple clients overlaps, whether this dual billing occurs working on another case while traveling for a client, taking a meeting involving multiple clients at once, or padding out hours spent on different clients.

You don’t want to discover after the fact that dual billing has been happening at your firm without your knowledge!

4.) Failure to bill for time spent on a matter

The counterpart to dual billing is failing to account for the billable hours that are actually spent on a client. When tracking is left up to the lawyer or paralegal, it can be easy to get hours mixed up and fail to adequately bill for time.

Again, having an automated way to track time can help ensure that all billable hours are accurate and accounted for.

Clio Payments: Legal e-billing software to help avoid billing mistakes

Cloud-based legal management software like Clio Payments makes it much easier to manage all of your tracking and billing in one place. Your entire staff can access it from anywhere to keep tabs on clients, cases, invoices, and more.

Plus, Clio can automate and streamline day-to-day tasks so your staff can focus on what’s important.

3 Advantages of Clio Payments

Here’s a look at why Clio Payments may be a good fit for your law firm, especially in light of the changes we’re seeing in the world of legal work right now.

1.) All-in-one payment and billing software

Clio includes all payment and billing in one place. You can find invoice management, branded bills, reimbursable expenses, and online payments inside Clio.

If your staff is spending a lot of time manually working on billing, Clio can reduce it considerably with automated payments plans. Most importantly, these features can be accessed from anywhere, anytime.

2.) Flexible payment plans for clients

One of the best things about Clio is that it helps you bill clients in the way that’s easiest for them.

By creating specific custom payment profiles, you can designate different grace periods, discounts for prompt payment, and custom interest rates, then assign these profiles to individual contacts.

3.) Convenient electronic payment methods

Another huge benefit of Clio Manage is the accessibility of electronic payments. You can easily collect online payments for a simple flat rate of 2.8% per credit and debit card or $2 per eCheck transaction – no hidden fees.

As covered in Clio’s new Legal Trend Report, there’s been a surge of client interest in easy online payment options. This isn’t just convenient for your clients, but also helps you streamline billing and boost revenue!

In fact, according to Clio’s report, law firms that grow their revenues consistently are 37% more likely to be using online payment solutions, 41% more likely to use client portals, and 46% more likely to use client intake and client relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Accounting software and Clio Payments integration

As full-featured as the Clio Suite is, it’s important to point out that Clio is billing and practice management software, not accounting software – but it does integrate with the most popular accounting solutions for legal practices, including QuickBooks Online!

Let’s take a quick look at this.

Streamline legal accounting with QuickBooks Online

Clio Manage can sync seamlessly with QuickBooks Online for the following key features:

  • Sync time tracking for billable work from Clio to QuickBooks
  • Sync financial information, contacts, invoices, and transactions between Clio and Quickbooks to avoid the need for manual check writing or repeat data entry
  • Free up more time for billable hours with streamlined billing through payment plans, online credit card payments, and customizable billing plans

Overall, the integration with QuickBooks Online helps you ensure that all trust transactions are in sync and disbursements are accounted for.
And that’s especially important to us at Envolta, because we can help your firm get set up on the accounting and financial planning side with QuickBooks, but the practice management side of things is up to you. The good news is, if you run Clio, we’re very familiar with the tool, which means we can make sure that it’s properly integrated with QuickBooks and managed by our accounting specialists.

Better legal billing software for attorneys and law firms

With automated billing features, payment plans, custom invoices, and integrations with popular tools, Clio is a world-class legal billing software solution for both solo attorneys and bigger law firms.

We wanted to bring Clio to your attention because practice management is such an important part of the financial health of your firm. Bookkeeping and accounting are only part of the picture, and we’re committed to our clients having everything they need to invoice clients, record transactions, and more.

Envolta + Clio

At Envolta, our history with Clio goes way back. We handle the accounting and bookkeeping for plenty of lawyers, and we always recommend Clio as a time tracking, billing, and payment tool for our own clients. Ultimately, if you think you could benefit from any of the features we shared in this post, I encourage you to learn more about Clio here.

And if you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to grab Clio’s 2021 Legal Trend Report to discover where the world of legaltech is headed next!

Last but not least…

Do you have questions about how to move forward with your accounting? Need help getting set up with QuickBooks? Contact us at Envolta to get started!
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