This month we are closing out our summer series to help you better understand your firm’s profitability. In case you missed the earlier parts, you can find them here:

For the last part in our series, we will talk through some best practices to streamline your billing. Last month we focused on the importance of understanding your cash flow. Making sure your billing workflow is working for you is a key part in keeping cash flow up. After all, you can’t collect cash without sending a bill.

There are five key areas to focus on when setting up a billing workflow.

  1. Create a checklist. This may seem obvious once you read it, but a checklist can go a long way in ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. The CPN Legal team has sample checklists ready to be customized for you.
  2. Matter set up matters. 
    • Setting up matters with your billing process in mind will make sure you get correctly started every time. A few things to consider when setting up matters:
      1. Make sure you add an assigned billing attorney or responsible attorney.
      2. Use good descriptions, you don’t want to have to dig for information each month.
      3. Identify billing recipients as part of your onboarding process. 
      4. Know the type of matter for billing purposes:
        • Will it be billable, non-billable? Or a flat fee?
      5. Have accurate billing rates and set these up ahead of time.
      6. Know if the matter should have a minimum trust balance and have a way to identify this in your workflow.
  3. Preparing for billing is just as important as sending bills.
    • Being prepared ahead of time may take some extra work up front but will save you hours of time during the year for each billing cycle. One trick we use at CPN Legal is making sure we are leveraging custom fields to further refine your workflow. A lot can be streamlined if you work with custom fields. For example:
      1. Set milestones and stages for flat fee cases to trigger earning fees.
      2. Group clients or type of cases together.
      3. Identify how cases should be handled during the billing workflow.
  4. Finalize bills and send them to get paid.
    • Seems simple, but a lot goes into the last step to get paid. A few key parts to finalizing and sending bills are:
      1. Applying trust funds during the billing cycle.
      2. Identifying trust funds to be transferred.
      3. Communicate how much is owed and how much to replenish retainers.
        • This might need to be more than just sending an invoice. You can leverage bill message templates to streamline this step.
      4. Identify evergreen retainers, how much needs to be replenished and sending out requests.
  5. Generate a billing summary report to align with your cash flow report.
    • A billing summary report will include important pieces of data for each billing cycle and can tie directly into your cash flow report. This includes:
      1. Number of invoices sent
      2. Amount billed
      3. Amount collected through trust
      4. Amount due – to be collected in under 30 days
      5. Credits issues and write-offs

You don’t have to create a process from scratch. CPN Legal has an invoicing team ready to help you streamline your workflow and invoicing process. Our experts can help create a workflow that works for you.

Need to reach out? Contact us here or reach out to Nicole Tedford at