An invoice is a bill of the products or services that a seller or service provider renders to a customer or client. It includes a list of items that the latter has to pay for based on agreed-upon prices, as well as the payment terms for the transaction.
What is a lawyer’s invoice called, and is it different from a regular invoice? A lawyer’s invoice is simply called that, or an attorney’s invoice or a legal invoice, and it’s not much different from a regular invoice since it also has the same purpose.
It’s mandatory to send an invoice in the legal industry. This ensures that all charges are accounted for, attorneys are rightfully paid for their work, and clients pay fair fees. It also helps in fulfilling financial obligations, such as bookkeeping. Still, many lawyers put this process on the back burner as they focus on more taxing matters. This is where a free legal invoice template from Invoice Ninja can help!
The Invoicing Process
The way you send bills to clients usually depends on your firm’s specific billing policy. Here is a general step-by-step look into how invoicing works in the legal field:
Establish Your Billing Terms
Once you get a client and take on a matter, you must establish the billing process. Do this by discussing rates, billing methods, and billable activities. Make sure to document these in writing so that the terms are clear on both sides.
Log Billable Time and Expenses
Once the work itself has started, it’s crucial to accurately and consistently log all billable activities. This is especially important if you’re billing hours.
Draft the Bill
Once the project is over (or you’re at the end of the month if it’s a long-term matter), draft all the logged billable expenses into a draft bill.
Review the Invoice
The draft bill must be sent to the accounting team or senior lawyers who will review the draft to check for corrections. At this point, the bill must be compared against the agreed-upon terms to make sure that everything checks out.
Send the Bill
After a final bill is drawn, you can send it to your clients, along with a reminder of payment terms and instructions.
Accept or Follow-up Payments
Clients must pay based on the agreement from the first step and by the invoice’s due date. You can accept payments depending on the methods available to your firm. If the client isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, you may send up follow-up notices.
How to Improve Your Firm’s Billing Process
Having a solid billing process is key to guaranteeing your firm is paid on time and correctly for your services. Here are some tips to help you strengthen your invoicing procedures:
Create Guidelines and Standards
Create a uniform billing system that applies to everyone in your firm. Write out the entire process from start to finish, including standards on reviewing bills, collecting payments, and settling invoicing disputes—even if you’re a solo attorney. Get into the details, even answering questions like, “How do I invoice a self-employed client?” Know this procedure by heart to reduce any hiccups along the way.
Enforce a Billing Policy
Your billing guidelines shouldn’t just be internal. It’s important to communicate these policies to your clients, as well, so that they’re aware of what they can expect at the end of each billing cycle or project. Put this in writing and give them a copy so that they can go back to it as needed.
Use a Template
Having a template streamlines your billing process and makes it consistent across the firm. You can get multiple lawyer’s invoice templates from Invoice Ninja that you can easily use. And the best part is that you don’t have to format them every time; you can simply put the necessary details for each bill and send them!
Make Payments Easy for Clients
Make it more convenient for clients to send you payments by integrating different methods into your collections, including credit card and online payments.
Invest in Automation
Invoicing is a routine task that you clean to technology to do more efficiently. Invest in automation tools like Invoice Ninja so that you can continue focusing on more serious legal matters while knowing that the financial backbone of your firm is solid.
Easier Invoicing with Invoice Ninja
Invoice Ninja is a powerful invoicing software for small businesses. It can significantly improve your billing process, helping you keep on top of your invoices and payments. Try Invoice Ninja for your legal business today!