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Time and Billing Best Practices

Although there is no one "right" way to use TurboLaw Time and Billing, there are some recommended best practices that you'll probably want to follow to make your billing as easy as possible.

Enter Time as you do Work for Clients

Recording your time as you do work for your clients is the best way to get the most out of TurboLaw Time and Billing and make doing your billing as quick and easy as possible. Not entering your time as you do it increases the chances that you'll forget to enter something, losing out on billable time.

It doesn't matter whether you enter your time from the Home screen or by opening up the client first - the important thing is that you enter your time as you do it.

You can also use the stopwatch feature built into TurboLaw Time and Billing if you want to track your time even more carefully.

Remember that at this stage you are only entering time and expenses for your clients - you are not billing it yet, you are just recording it - so don't create a bill for your client just yet.

Create Bills for Clients all at once

Instead of creating bills ad hoc, pick a time when you'll do all of your billing - for example, at the end of the month.

To see which clients need bills sent to them, you can click on "Clients" from the left-hand navigation bar to switch to the Clients view. Make sure that the "Group By" option (under Client Views) in the navigation bar is set to "No Grouping" so that all the clients are just shown in a simple list.

Next, click on the "Unbilled" column heading to sort the list so that clients with unbilled amounts are at the top. The clients with an unbilled amount are the clients that you've entered time and expenses for and now need to have bills created.

The easiest way to create bills for all these clients is to use the "Generate Bills" feature. You use this by clicking on "Bills" in the left-hand navigation bar and then clicking on "Generate Bills."

When you click this, it will open the "Generate Bills" window. From here, you can select the options for how your bills will be generated.

You can select whether to create a bill for each client or each matter. If you do "combined" billing for all your clients – that is, you only send them one bill which shows all work done for them for any and all matters – or if you don’t use matters at all – then you would select the option to create one bill for each client. If instead you send your clients a separate bill for each matter, then you would select the option to create one bill for each matter. If you have some clients with matters, but some clients without matters, you will need to generate bills twice - first for each matter, then for each client.

You can also select whether the generated bills should include all time and expenses that haven't yet been billed, or only those items that fall within a specific date range. For example, if you do your billing on the 15th of each month, but you only want to bill for items that were done in the previous month, you would use this option to set the date range to the previous month. This way, any work that has been entered for the current month won't be added to the generated bills.

You can also select whether the bills you generate should be paid immediately out of client funds (if available). If your clients have retainers, you would generally want to select this option - otherwise, you will have to mark each bill as "paid" manually one by one afterwards.

You can also set the date for the bills you are generating, if needed.

Finally, you can select the clients or matters will have bills generated for them. If you don't want a bill to be generated for any particular clients or matters, you can un-check them from the list.

Once you've made your selections, click the "Generate Bills" button and TurboLaw Time and Billing will generate bills for all the clients or matters you selected, using the options you set. Once the bills are created, you can edit them further individually if needed.

 

Print Bills all at Once

To print all of the bills you just created, click on "Bills" from the left-hand navigation bar, and again set the "Group by" option to "No Grouping." You may also want to select the option to show "All Bills."

Now, just click on the "Date" column to sort the list so that all the bills with today's date are at the top - these are the bills you just created. Select these bills - either click and drag the mouse, or click and hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard to select a range - and then click on "Print Bill(s)" from the left-hand navigation bar. (Alternatively, you can click "Save Bills(s) to PDF" instead.)

Send out Statements (Optional)

Statements give your clients an overview of their account, showing activity on an account over a period of time. Statements don't show the details of the time & expenses like bills do, but statements can show multiple bills and multiple payments over a range of time.

You can control the statement period - which is the range of time the statement shows. For example, you might create a statement which shows all activity - bills that have gone out to your client, and payments your client has sent in - over the last 6 months, or since the start of the year.

If your clients generally pay bills on time (or have retainers), you might not need to send a statement. But if you have clients that owe money, or clients that have several past-due bills, a statement can help summarize what they owe - especially if you don't have any new bills to send them.

Enter Payments when you Receive them and Apply them to Open Bills

Recording payments as you receive them from your clients helps keep your clients accounts accurate. You should enter payments into TurboLaw Time and Billing as soon as you receive them, and if a client has any open bills, you should apply the payment to those bills - this is how you "pay" a bill.

When you enter a payment, you can pay a bill by applying that payment to a particular bill - basically, you are choosing how that money should be used to pay bills. (You can choose how to split a payment among multiple bills, for example.)

Just select the bill you want to be paid using the payment you are entering - if you have multiple bills to pay, click "Save & Apply" as you pay each bill.

Be Consistent with Matters

You can use Matters to help organize the time, expenses, bills, and payments for different matters (or jobs, etc.). Clients can have multiple matters, and you can create bills for just one matter or for multiple matters.

However, payments (and retainers) can only be entered in a single matter, and a payment entered under a matter cannot be used to pay bills from a different matter (or bills that show multiple matters or have no matter selected).

For this reason, it is important to be consistent with your use of matters. Matters are optional, but if you do choose to use them, you should make sure that all the time, expenses, bills, and payments you enter are entered under the appropriate matter.

 

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