What is Lack of Compliance with your Timekeeping Policy Costing your Firm?

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What is Lack of Compliance with your Timekeeping Policy Costing your Firm?

Is your firm’s timekeeping behavior preventing or perpetuating leaked revenue?

Now more than ever, law firms are embracing previously unexplored avenues of cost consciousness in order to safeguard against future uncertainties. Given that timecards are the units of revenue for law firms, an obvious path to ensure that all money earned is both billed and received is to take a serious look at how the firm is managing time entry.

That said, time entry and its associated policies are often approached as an afterthought, and non-compliance is brushed aside as a “cost of doing business.” The origin of this problem is in the manual processes firms have relied on to manage and enforce their time entry policies. While 98% of firms do have a timekeeping policy in place to ensure that best practices such as point-of-task time entry are followed, few (42%) are able to effectively enforce it.

“Why the discrepancy?” you might ask. Of course, the reason for the lack of enforcement points back to the complexities and resources required to do so.

Firms settle for subpar compliance with their timekeeping policies because managing compliance at most firms is a manual process that requires staff members to wrestle with hundreds of thousands of rows of data in a spreadsheet, that gets them no closer to understanding timekeeper performance – nevermind giving them the ability to make data-driven decisions that can lead to both better timekeeping practices, and an increased bottom line.

Today’s Firms Can and Should Emphasize Compliance with its Time Entry Policy

Simply put, a lack of compliance with the firm’s timekeeping policy enables poor timekeeping practices which ultimately leads to time leakage, billing errors and lost revenue.  Today’s firms have accepted noncompliance with timekeeping policies as a cost of doing business because it is too cumbersome and resource-intensive to enforce. But what if there was a way to reduce the labor load and turn that aforementioned Excel monstrosity into actionable data?

By leveraging a policy management solution to automate the majority of the activities associated with managing time entry policy compliance, firms now have the opportunity to not only eliminate the burdens of managing the policy but to make thoughtful adjustments to policy and process based on accurate insight into timekeeper performance. This removes the barriers to time entry compliance and enables the firm to pinpoint the issues with timekeeping behavior that lead to invisible time leakage and ultimately, revenue loss.

This will allow firms to improve compliance through:

  1. Identifying the “Problem Children”: Like most families, your law firm will have varying degrees of cooperation when it comes to their timekeepers’ time entry practices. Analytics provided in dashboards give real-time insights into timekeeper activities and trends, including delinquencies, inefficiencies or errors. Firms can customize notifications based on specific groups of timekeepers. AKA, leave your compliant timekeepers alone while giving a nudge to those that really need it.
  2. Giving the timekeeper visibility into performance. When we know better, we do better. With a policy management solution, timekeepers can see where they stack up against not only the firm’s policy, but against their peers as well. Promoting a healthy sense of competition will organically ensure better alignment to the firm’s policy.
  3. Timekeeper engagement: Gamification and real-time data eliminate the need for ineffective and morale-draining “carrot or stick” approaches to enforcement. Engaging your timekeepers in the process allows them to choose their own destiny.

In the short-term, a time entry policy solution allows firms to improve time entry policy compliance and better use the firm’s resources. Beyond that, it drives long-term behavior changes to ensure that all time worked is time billed.

Your firm’s time entry behaviors and the way that they align with the time entry policy have a direct impact on your firm’s financial performance. Ask yourself, can you afford not to address compliance this year?

Effectively enforcing your firm’s timekeeping policy is only a part of your firm’s non-compliance issues. Protect your complete billing cycle from end-to-end with Aderant’s entire suite of compliance products.