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A handful of points about e-billing systems

At a recent presentation, a client who uses an e-billing system mentioned that the software helps cull through bills and detect administrative errors. For example, the software makes sure the law firm is an approved firm, that the matter number and mathematics of the invoice are correct, and that there are no duplicate line items – even from prior bills. That latter inspection would be very difficult for a human to do.

The speaker said that in 2006 the savings for his department from use of the software was 11 percent and in 2007 climbed to 14 percent. Some 70 law firms use the e-billing software. The savings include discounts plus “adjustments to bills of about 3-4 percent.” Did the software itself spot amounts billed equal to that as overcharges or errors to be written off? Would manual reviewers not have spotted any of those charges?

I continue to be troubled that e-billing vendors claim as savings emanating from their software many of the cost-reduction steps taken by the law department. For example, if the department shifts work to lower billing-rate firms, can the e-billing vendor count that as a system-produced saving because the software monitors those firms’ bills?