Most attorneys make their money by billing “by the hour,” but keeping an accurate record of your billable work often proves cumbersome. Instead, most attorney timekeeping is based on guesses or averages, often to the favor of the client. As a result, attorneys and other professionals typically only bill for about 67% of the work they do, losing nearly a third of their potential income to poor timekeeping.
That said, it may come as no surprise that many attorneys are shorting themselves when it comes to billing the appropriate number of hours, especially if you rely on a manual timekeeping system. Having multiple clients only complicates your records, leading to a higher possibility for inaccuracy.
If you’ve struggled with timekeeping in the past, you’ll be glad to know there’s an easier way. Timekeeping apps, like Chrometa, were designed with attorneys and other professionals in mind, and has forever changed time recording as you know it.
How a Timekeeping App Works
Changing the way you’ve always done something can be overwhelming, stressful, and sometimes downright scary. To make matters worse, there’s an abundance of technology that promises to simplify tasks and save time, yet often only complicate your existing methods and falls short of your expectations.
Timekeeping apps actually do what they’re promised. For example, here’s how Chrometa works:
- Users can install Chrometa on their PC, Mac, iPhone or Android phone.
- The app is triggered each time you send an email, make a phone call, or work on your computer
- While you work, the app runs in the background counting every second you spend on tasks, including reading emails, making notes, performing research, and more.
- Chrometa compiles its findings into an easy-to-read report, breaking down how much time you spent on specific tasks (email, phone calls, etc). The report integrates seamlessly across multiple devices so you won’t miss a minute of productivity.
Attorney Timekeeping Pitfalls You Can Avoid
Despite the existence of automated restaurants, driverless cars, and wireless everything, many attorneys still largely rely on Excel sheets and paper records to keep track of their time on client work. True, manual timekeeping does have its benefits, like easy preparation or quick accessibility, but those benefits come at a cost – nearly a third of your potential income, according to timekeeping studies. What could you do with a 33% raise?
Using a timekeeping app offers plenty of benefits that far outweigh any costs. As a result, you can avoid several common pitfalls of time recording errors:
Having multiple clients is great for your firm, but also increases your risk for timekeeping errors. The APA estimates that companies without automated timekeeping system see up to an 8% human error rate on payroll. To put this in perspective, a client case worth $10,000 would be short up to $800. Multiply this by the number of clients you see in a year, and this quickly amounts to a serious financial loss.
Automating simple tasks like calculating billable hours can help you spend less time doing things that aren’t contributing to your bottom line. It might not seem like much, but logging your time spent on tasks for each client translates into valuable minutes each day that could be better used.
In addition, using paper records leaves them vulnerable to spills, smudges, and other accidents that may require additional time fixing. Even if you spend a total of 10 minutes every week preparing each record, you could be wasting hours.
Poor Employee Productivity
Passive timekeeping isn’t just for your own benefit. If you have a team of paralegals or other office staff, it’s an easy way to gauge how they’re utilizing their time on the clock. Even a mere five minutes of “wasted” time each day can add up to over 6,000 minutes (or 105 hours) each year per employee.
While you may not mind employees checking their personal email or glancing at social media during the workday, monitoring their time can help you identify potential areas for improvement. For instance, you’ll see if your team is missing deadlines due to work-related activities or if they’re spending more time on their personal agendas.
In addition, passive timekeeping can further help you bill your clients accurately based on the work your team is doing. Even if you’re an expert at documenting your time, your team may struggle with this task and could affect your earning potential.
The Benefits of Passive Timekeeping are Priceless
Aside from avoiding the downsides of manual timekeeping, passive timekeeping offers a multitude of benefits that translate into better results, both for you and your clients:
More Time for Tasks that Matter
Unlike time clocks and manual recording, there’s no action required from you to initiate recording. Everything is done automatically to give you one less thing to worry about, so you can focus more on your clients and less on the clock.
Low Cost for Peace of Mind
Chrometa offers a risk-free 30-day trial to let you test-drive the app before you commit. This gives you time to understand how it works and gauge its accuracy to see how it truly benefits your accounting practices. You can cancel at any time during the trial if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, and will cost you nothing. If you find you can’t live without it, you can get started for as little at $20 a month.
When you can eliminate stress and mundane tasks from your plate, you are better positioned to provide your clients with the best service possible, and it won’t go unnoticed.
There’s no doubt that attorney timekeeping is riddled with areas for improvement, especially when it comes to ensuring you are paid as much as you should be owed. When you can take the guesswork out of timekeeping, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting paid for your services. You may find that your pen-and-paper method is costing you more than you might have thought – the only way to know for sure is to discover it for yourself.