Doing Nothing Does Nothing for Your Brand
Welcome to this month’s issue of inVOICE. These “5-minute reads,” brought to you by InvoicePrep, are short, informational executive briefs designed for law firm executives and managing partners. They provide practical tips and provoke new ideas to make your management of your Firm more effective. (For our prior newsletters please visit us here).
Last month we looked at some of the challenges of capturing metrics in the law firm environment, and we also stressed how law firms, just like other businesses, must measure and demonstrate their performance to be competitive in today’s environment.
We provided some basic how-to suggestions on getting started with metrics, and also talked about why it is almost always a combination of technology and expertise that makes big new initiatives successful.
This Month – An Easy New Year’s Resolution
This month, we’re going to keep it short and simple. First, let me wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and particularly a prosperous and successful New Year! 2017 was particularly successful for us at InvoicePrep and we have much to be grateful for. We helped more and more law firms improve their billing accuracy and the timeliness and amounts they were paid, and we also rolled out new technology and some new service features, so we couldn’t be more pleased.
As I was thinking about 2018 and the goals we are going to focus on at InvoicePrep – or the New Year’s Resolutions we plan to keep – I thought also about comments made to us by law firms over the course of 2017. So many of those revolved around a clearly recognized need to improve billing operations, but too frequently in the context of “we’ll get to it eventually.”
So let me suggest what may be obvious but is hopefully a timely and necessary nudge: “Doing nothing will do nothing for your brand”.
This saying came to mind recently when I was told a story about a claims executive at a mid-size insurance company. This executive relayed that his company works with a law firm in a certain city. They do a fair amount of work with that firm and the work with three primary partners in the firm. Two of the partners have very similar (and relatively decent) invoice adjustment rates. That is, the company marks down the invoices from those two partners, but not very much.
The third partner, however, routinely has his invoices marked down by 20 percent, roughly ten times the amount of the other partners. As might be expected, these adjustments have become a big topic of conversation at the insurance company. They’ve spoken to the attorney about his bills several times, but each bill looks the same. The client has formed the impression that he puts items on the bills just to see what sticks and what doesn’t. They said he never appeals an adjustment.
The person recounting this story to me was amazed. He asked the executive why his staff continued to use this lawyer at all, given the terribly high invoice adjustment rates, and was told “Oh, we don’t assign any new cases to this lawyer at all; we just don’t want to upset the apple cart with this Firm, so we’re slowly letting the existing files come to an end. At the same time we’re frustrated that the firm doesn’t have better control over this one attorney’s billing.”
So what’s the lesson here? In my mind there are a few. First, branding can be both firm-wide and attorney-specific. In this particular case, the specific attorney’s branding is horrible. In fact, unknown to him, he’s not getting any more cases. But at the same time, the overall Firm’s branding is a bit in jeopardy. On the one hand this company likes the Firm very much; at the same time, they wonder how this over-billing (as they would frame it) could be allowed occur. The Firm’s branding is taking a hit also, just not directly.
Also, though, my sense is that the client is probably right. The attorney in question may in fact just view the adjustments as “a cost of doing business” or “something you have to put up with” these days. Realistically though, as we know from behind the scenes, it’s not just a cost of doing business, it’s costing him his business.
Doing Nothing Does Nothing for Your Brand
So, in this holiday season, let me send you happy holiday greetings while also sharing one unsolicited tip: If you’re thinking about improving your invoicing in 2018, do something! Do at least one thing to make it better. Each of our newsletters in 2017 and before have had some helpful suggestions and many can be implemented easily.
Or, call us to explore how we can help you.
Happy holidays and Happy New Year!
InvoicePrep enhances law firm profitability by improving e-billing quality and accuracy. When invoices are prepared properly, payment is more prompt and the number of denied charges decreases. InvoicePrep’s system is streamlined, efficient and uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and professionals with extensive legal invoice compliance and e-billing software knowledge. To learn more about InvoicePrep, please visit www.invoiceprep.com