Why Your Law Office Cannot Rely on Excel for Billing

Traditionally, Microsoft Excel has been the go-to product for businesses that were looking to upgrade their accounting processes and use modern methods for time tracking and invoicing.  For many, it worked completely fine due to the large number of available templates that Microsoft had released with it.  Law firms especially were attracted to it as a better way for tracking client data and generating reports.  At the time of Excel’s original release, it revolutionized the old-school ways that companies produced bills and created reports.  Today, using Excel for such matters is an obsolete process that has been outclassed by newer, far more efficient systems.

The Excel Spreadsheet is a Manual Process

The sad truth is, regardless of how many templates Excel has available, it still relies on manual input.  That is, an individual must type, enter, and organize all of the data within the application in order to retain accurate documentation.  This becomes especially time consuming when there are multiple spreadsheets that need to be updated to accurately reflect the most up-to-date data.  The process becomes even further convoluted and time consuming when we account for the extra work required just to handle varied-fee arrangements.  No matter how you look at it, manually entering data eats away company resources and consumes valuable time.  Fortunately, the advent of legal billing software has eliminated many of these redundant processes through the use of advanced automation.

Duplication of Data and Effort

Law firms usually have multiple clients that they need to routinely communicate with, with multiple spreadsheets spread out amongst various parties.  The clients and other associated parties need their own separate records for their own bookkeeping.  This makes it critical that all of the information is sufficiently transcribed and shared with the necessary parties.  If not, conflicting data may arise that can lead to costly disputes.  Regrettably, this can happen at any time information is updated, like when an attorney receives an email that needs to be forwarded to the accounting department.  Because there is no consolidated system with real-time updates, it becomes extremely difficult to discern what the most reliable information is.  Attorney billing solutions alleviate these cumbersome experiences by providing vendor/client portals that allow real time updates and access for everyone involved.

Less Chance of Integration

It’s difficult to find a suitable program that capably integrates with Excel out of the few available graphic and word processing offerings.  It’s an even bigger issue when your company needs you to import data and communicate with other systems that Excel does not support.  In this day and age, it is critical that your time keeping and billing systems are able to effortlessly communicate and share data without any additional effort.  Advanced legal invoicing applications like Claims Manager® offer superior integration with all of the top systems, which should include powerful communication capabilities through Microsoft Outlook.  Without integration, your company is at a much higher risk for miscommunicating and misplacing critical pieces of information.

Restricted Data Access

Microsoft Excel is a system based application, and therefore requires you to use a computer that is preloaded with the software along with any existing relevant information e.g., flash drive, CD, etc.  Without either one, users are completely incapable of accomplishing any business-related tasks.  In other words, Excel necessitates that its users perform their operations with restricted data access and limited mobility.  The repercussions of which, can have devastating effects as users may often need a vital piece of information at an inaccessible time.  Modern billing solutions are cloud based for convenient access from any network connected device, freeing users from the outdated anchors of past applications.  Meanwhile, the bank grade security system digitally secures all of your information in a state-of-the-art vault.

 

Less Flexibility for Complex Billing Calculations

Attorneys commonly need to split their bills up into different fee arrangements.  A process that often requires them to calculate the amount billed against complex formulas that split multiple percentages against numerous individuals.  Regrettably, this area of work is often subject to costly errors due to the natural limitations of the human mind and the sheer complexity of numbers.  At the end of the day, attorneys just don’t have enough time left to dedicate to proper accounting.  Because Excel only acts as a digital calculator, it’s futile to use for split-billing.  Thereby making it essential that lawyer billing solutions are able to provide various fee arrangements in an autonomous manner that is easily communicable amongst the necessary parties.

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