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October 26, 2008

"Tip of the Week" - Are you E-billing Your Clients?

H/T to Enrico Schaefer of The Greatest American Lawyer for this blog post where he discusses how beneficial it is to e-bill clients when he asks the question, "Why Wouldn't You Send Your Clients Their Bill By E-mail?".

Even large players such as the 310-attorney firm Loeb & Loeb have gone to e-billing.  In this step by step article, Loeb & Loeb Embraces E-Billing, you can learn everything you need to do in order to implement an e-billing system.  If you manage to also bill on a flat fee basis, you won’t ever have to send a past due or collection letter again.

It is cost-effective and time saving from the perspective of creating bills to mailing bills to waiting on checks to receiving checks to cashing checks and all the time and energy involved in the process...not to mention growing receivables.

Will this cure the problems associated with the client who simply can't or won't pay?  Probably not.  But it flushes out the non-paying client quicker and helps you decide whether you are willing to continue representing them.

While this may not work for every class of client or practice area it is certainly something worth investigating if your practice lends itself to this type of convenience.

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Matthew Crider

E-billing can range from sending a client a PDF of an invoice, to on-line billing and collection systems. FreshBooks (www.freshbooks.com) falls into the later category. I've played around with the free version, but haven't use it yet with clients. Clients get either an e-bill or an e-mail with a link, and can actually pay on line using PayPal or a credit card. This could potentially cut down on collection times and transaction costs. Has anyone used FreshBooks in a law practice?

Carolyn Elefant

I use Freshbooks and in fact, 2 clients complimented me on my bills recently. I expect that I'll be paid fairly promptly after that!

Susan Cartier Liebel

@Carolyn - Please follow up with us on that. There is the philosophy, 'create bills your clients will want to pay' because they are user friendly and made 'easy' to pay.

If you find they pay more easily and with less complaint or delay because of receiving e-bills...then you prove it true.

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