We do understand that even firms who time record may well be billing to an agreed or fixed fee and therefore the amount that you want to charge for your costs is still entirely within your control. You can either select the time recording entries that you want to bill and let Insight Legal calculate the value, or you can enter the amount that you want to bill and let Insight Legal select the entries. If the amounts of your time recording and billing are different, you can choose whether to leave the remaining items on the matter to be billed later, or to write them off.
Bills are not just made up of costs of course, you may also wish to include disbursements or outlays. The Disbursements tab provides you with a list of all disbursements recorded on the matter, whether they are already paid or not yet paid. As with the time recording, the user simply has to tick which of these items they want to include in the bill.
In addition, if you get to this stage and find that there are additional disbursements that have not yet been recorded but which you want to include in the bill, they can be recorded here. They will be added to the matter as prebilled disbursements, ready to be dealt with by the accounts staff at the appropriate time.
Once you have completed the time recording and disbursements tabs, the values of your bill will be calculated along with any applicable VAT. You then have the option of viewing or setting the allocation of the costs between your fee earners.
If you have time recording included in the bill, Insight Legal will automatically allocate the costs between the fee earners. If you are not time recording, or if you simply want to change the allocation, you can change the allocation method, overtype the values, add new fee earners on or take existing ones off. We do not expect users to have to make any changes here as Insight Legal will look after the allocations, but if you do want to make any changes then it is completely under your control.
The final stage of raising the bill is to produce the document. Insight Legal allows you to incorporate your own invoice templates, meaning that your bills can look exactly as you want them and not just one of our pre-set designs.
For the user, it is as simple as choosing which template you want to use and then choosing who it needs to be addressed to. The bill can be automatically addressed to a single client or multiple clients, you can choose whether you want separate copies of the bill to be generated for each client or one bill for them all together or, if it is appropriate, you can address the bill to one of your contacts on the matter (such as an insurance company) rather than the client.
Our bill documents are created in Microsoft Word, meaning that you have the ability to make changes to the document once it is produced. Whilst you will not have to amend any of the figures (as Insight has already done all the calculations), you will have the flexibility to customise narratives as well as any other text that might be appropriate. The document may be automatically produced, but it does not have to look that way.
The Summary tab is the final part of the billing process, giving you a quick overview of the bill that you have raised and bringing your attention to anything it thinks you may have missed, such as a disbursement that has not been included or a VAT rate that is missing.
When you then click Submit, Insight Legal does a number of things. Firstly, the document is produced on your screen. As it uses Microsoft Word, it is fully editable and of course you can use your normal printing routines. One thing that you don’t need to worry about is where to save the document, as a copy is automatically saved on the matter the moment it is created.
When you return to the matter, you will see that the bill request is now displayed on the Bill Requests tab for that file. It will stay there until the bill is approved or processed, at which time it then moves on to the ledger and also on to the Bills tab.