There are two key workflows that we aim as making as simple and painless as possible: tracking time during the day, and creating bills at the end of the month. Billing can be complicated because it often involves multiple people. And if you are just on your own, what should be simple is made complex by software written for larger teams!
We try to make it easy for the solo, the small team and the larger firms by some simple workflow options. It boils down to the steps an invoice goes through from when it is created to when a client receives it (and pays!).
Keep it simple!
By default, LeanLaw is set up to have as few steps as possible to create an invoice. You head to the "Billing" tab and you see clients and matters that are "Ready to Bill".
Next, you pick a matter to bill which will lead you to the screen where you can format and edit the invoice:
When you are happy with the invoice, you simply click "Submit to QuickBooks" and the invoice will go to the accounting system and it is ready for the client.
How simple is that?
Teamwork through drafts
Many firms have one person, typically a book keeper or office manager, who will create invoices on behalf of one or more partners and require the partner's approval before the invoice can be sent to the client. The simple flow where the invoice goes straight to accounting won't work as well. We need at least one extra step:
This extra step can be enabled in "Firm Settings" under the tab "Invoice Workflow". Now at the end of the month, the book keeper can create all the invoices and instead of going straight to QuickBooks, they go in a "Drafts" bucket waiting to be approved. The drafts can be found in one of the tabs under billing:
From this screen, the billing person can select all the invoices and print them for review. When the invoices come back with changes, they can click on the draft invoices that need to be updated. And once all drafts are updated, they can be sent over to QuickBooks all at once.
It is even better if the person that need to approve the invoice does so directly in LeanLaw instead of on paper. Why not save those trees? (and all that time!) By default the list of draft invoices show the one you are responsible for, so you can go through them and approve them on that screen.
This brings us to a final option for invoice workflow.
Draft and Approve
In the case of a book-keeper creating the invoices and a partner approving them electronically, some firms prefer that the invoices don't go straight to QuickBooks when approved. So we set up the "Draft and Approve" workflow:
The partner approves the invoice and they go to an "Approved" bucket. From here the book keeper can send all the invoices from one or more partners to the accounting system.
Draft, Review, and Approve
If your firm wants even more verification in book-keeping, you can add the Review step to your invoice workflow. This will create a space where your invoices can await yet another team member's approval before being finalized.
What works for you?
We encourage you to keep your workflows as simple as possible, even if it means changing the way you have been doing things for years. The biggest opportunity for simplification are found when you have workflow involving printing out pieces of paper. If you are doing this, we encourage you to try to have review and approval done electronically instead of on paper.
You'll be surprised how much easier it is.
But in either case, pick the workflow that works for you and your team. The head to "Firm Settings" and "Invoice Workflow" to pick the right option that makes the monthly invoicing process as easy as it can be!