Firms get creative as holiday fever sparks billing chaos

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  • That's nothing - at my Oxford college we're having to have our collection exams on Thursday instead of Friday!
    It's an administrative nightmare that exposed the deep anti-monarchist elements among the Fellows.

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  • If one extra day's holiday is sufficient to cause "billing chaos" in top 50 law firms then there is something seriously wrong with their systems.

    Any law firm that does not in this day and age have systems and controls to ensure WIP is billed as a matter of course during the period rather than the antiquated "last day of the month" needs their arse kicking.

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  • As an accountant, I've been hearing grumbling by law firms for the last couple of months precisely on this issue. Of course it's unfortunate that there are so many short weeks and bank holidays in April, but this situation has showed up the lamentable financial management in even the major legal practices. That so many large businesses constantly rely on partners to get their clients to pay the bills and that those partners are manifestly unable to persuade their clients so to do, shows the profession in a very bad light, and it is a sorry state of affairs.

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  • @Noaccountingfortaste Isn't this the problem? Lawyers are trained in black letter law and not in business. Most partners can write a detailed 10page opinion letter but they are clueless about managing the business.

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  • This is yet another example of the uncommerciality and arrogance of law firms. What makes them think they are so different from other professional services firms. Hopefully the Legal Services Act will have enough impact to help them rethink their antiquated values and learn some basic business management and cash flow skills or is the real issue to get enough money in to improve their already huge annual pay outs?

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  • I couldn't agree more with the comments above - you would think that with modern IT facilities and proper business sense this wouldn't be a problem. The legal profession really is a joke sometimes.

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  • Many lawyers are more interested in poring over pedantic legal minutiae than sorting out the "admin" of billing, despite the fact that billing is the second most important aspect of a law firm after its reputation. I'm surprised that clients with multiple long running matters don't go beserk at being walloped with a flurry of bills once a year. Prompt final billing and regular interim billing should be par for the course. It's embarrassing.

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  • Never have understood this. All the big law firms will account for income on a time worked (WIP) basis and therefore it wont make any difference when they get around to billing it, as long as they do!

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  • Isnt it time these people realised where their pay comes from - no bills, no pay.

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  • To all the paragons of good housekeeping above, I am impressed that you have such excellent systems in place. If you didn't, I'd suspect that always being on top of your admin meant you didn't have enough work to do.

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