How Payment Automation Benefits Your Firm (and Your Clients)
Automation. It’s a buzzword on the lips of professionals in every industry, from the obvious (engineering) to the not-so-obvious (art)...and, of course, the legal profession.
With some notable exceptions, such as document assembly, though, lawyers have been reluctant to embrace automation. Lawyers often fear that relinquishing control will lead to costly mistakes and compliance risks, and they instead default to manual operational processes.
In reality, though, law firms that avoid automating administrative processes actually increase the likelihood of mistakes, reduce productivity, and decrease the quality of the client experience.
We get it. Incorporating new technologies into your law firm can feel like a big leap. If you want to test the waters of automation, start with an area that delivers big ROI for your investment.
Our suggestion: automating your firm’s payment processes.
How will payment automation help my clients?
Most articles singing the praises of automated billing focus on the benefits it will provide your firm. We’ll be talking about that too, but first let us explain how automated payments will make things better for the most important people out there—your clients.
A 2022 survey found that nearly 90% of consumers use some form of digital payment regularly. In fact, 74% of consumers prefer digital payment over more traditional methods , and 37% of 18–24 year olds are planning to pay via cash or check less often (or not at all) moving forward.
Long story short: your clients have come to expect online payments as an option, and your law firm is no exception.
Giving your clients the option to pay online—or even better, enable automatic payments—saves them time, keeps their balance sheet updated, and shows them your firm is a modern business committed to providing the best possible service.
It takes a good deal of effort to arrange the billable work, organize and contextualize it for a client, and prepare it for delivery. And when it’s all done manually, there’s a lot of room for error.
Automating your invoices reduces the margins for error, though. What’s more, it leads to better payment results across the board.
For example, you can:
- Automatically translate “time track” to “time billed” to ensure accurate invoices every time
- Automatically apply invoice templates to create an on-brand client experience
- Automate invoice delivery to create a consistent and predictable schedule for clients
- Set up recurring payments so clients don’t have to think about sending you a check to settle invoices or refresh their retainers
One of the most client-centric benefits of automating your payment processes is the increased amount of communication they’ll receive from you.
Use automation to send your clients detailed invoices, acknowledgment of payment receipts, and reminders for overdue payments. Not only does this foster strong client relationships, but it also helps your clients avoid unnecessary late fees (which they are sure to appreciate!).
How will payment automation help my firm?
Now that you’ve seen how automating payments benefits your clients, get ready for this fun fact: your firm can benefit exponentially more.
Automation dramatically streamlines your billing and collection processes, which allows you to increase productivity and collections, cut bottom-line costs, and improve relationships with your vendors.
Creating and sending invoices, receiving and entering payments, and making deposits manually is an incredibly time-consuming process. And at a law firm, time is quite literally money.
At most firms, administrative staff—not attorneys—handle payment processes. Batch invoicing integrated accounting reconciliation, and automatic reminders for late payments can save your administrative staff hours that can instead be spent on resolving issues, communicating with clients, and helping with other projects like process improvement.
On the attorney side, automated invoicing and payment processes make it much easier to track expenses and billable hours. And when these charges are systematically recorded and populated into invoices, lawyers have more time for billable, client-focused work.
Not only does automation make it easier for your clients to pay their bills, it also makes it easier to realize revenue after basic errors like bad expiration dates or incorrect CVC codes. And besides reminding clients about outstanding payments, automation programs can improve collections by offering your clients more payment methods and accommodating retainers.
Increased collections can also lead to faster payouts and improved cash flow, which makes it more feasible to invest in growing your business and upgrading your technology.
According to Adobe, for most businesses, manually processing invoices costs somewhere between $15–$40, even more, if payment is late and staff has to spend time following up. While labor costs are the most expensive part of manual invoicing, firms that don’t automate their payment programs also end up spending more money on office supplies and postage.
IOFM’s 2021 World Class AP Performance report found that companies with low or moderate invoice volume can save between $2–$3 per invoice if the process is automated. This means that a firm with 50 invoices a month could save $1,200–$1,800 annually while still improving productivity and increasing its collections rate.
Added automation awesomeness
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention automated payments that help both you and your clients. At the top of that list: enhanced account security.
A good automated payment program will provide you and your clients with high-level encryption and secure payment portals that eliminate the need to pass account numbers or other sensitive financial information through many different hands. Not only does this protect your client’s sensitive information, but it also keeps your firm compliant with strict regulations (and protects your reputation!).
The icing on the cake? Enabling digital payments can reduce your firm’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of paper, ink, and transportation fuel you need each month.
Automate with Rocket Matter today
There’s no question that online or cloud-based bill-pay is the way of the future. If you don’t offer it to your clients, you can bet your competitors will.
At Rocket Matter, we’ve spent years helping small and medium-sized firms get paid faster and more frequently. Our system can release funds in hours—not days—and we offer competitive rates for every type of credit card payment.
If you are interested in how we can help your firm streamline your payment processes and improve your profitability, schedule a demo today.
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