There is a new ebilling offering for law departments called Viewabill is a very new take on the client’s desire to manage better. The system gives clients the ability to monitor work performed by outside counsel real time. It allows clients to monitor services provided while work is underway instead of discovering four or more weeks later when a bill is submitted that the work deviated from the agreed to plan. With this system there should never be any surprises.
I am intrigued by this product for a couple of reasons: it completely eliminates the need to provide accrual information, and it provides insight into the actual services performed under a flat fee instead of producing a shadow invoice. These are two of the most cumbersome manual processes in ebilling today and with Viewabill they are not a factor.
More importantly, it represents a new take on ebilling. I always have been intellectually interested to see how ebilling will evolve. Will this be a better mouse trap? I can’t wait to see.
I do feel the need to caution law firms. Now is the time to get your billing practices in order. Because Viewabill allows clients to see real time data, time must be entered on a timely (daily) basis, as cleanly as possible and in accordance with the client’s billing guidelines. You don’t have the luxury of the billing process to massage raw entries under this system. I suggest you don’t wait until one of your clients requests your firm to use this kind of system before you start to put your timekeeping practices in order.