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Legal departments and “expense audits”

A brief comment in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, May 2009 at 18, set me to thinking about audits of disbursements. A long article on e-billing cites Idearc (formerly Verizon Information Services) for its adoption of an online system for processing bills from outside counsel. “They were able to show concrete savings by putting expense guidelines into place with their firms, which were enforced through the system, saving approximately $50,000 on expense audits during the first nine months” (emphasis added). The guidelines were enforced by rules in the Serengeti system.

I am not familiar with “expense audits,” but if internal or external staff pore over the disbursements charged by law firms and charge the legal group for that analysis, calculations of the ROI from e-billing should be able to count reductions in those charges. The rules set in the e-billing systems check on many aspects of law-firm compliance with disbursement guidelines (See my post of May 1, 2005: ebilling rules and savings there from; May 14, 2005: savings from e-billing rules; July 31, 2006: have to know how to set the rules and at what thresholds; Sept. 18, 2006: some of the rules; Jan. 23, 2009: a patent for an e-billing function with rules; and April 13, 2009: CAGR of e-billing implementations.).