ELM Amplify user conference
LegalDecember 16, 2020

ELM Amplify: Benchmarking helps keep billing guidelines current and effective

ELM Amplify 2020, the ELM Solutions annual user conference, took place online this year from October 20 through 22. We are highlighting a few of the sessions that were offered at the conference and all are available to watch on demand here.

In a session entitled Beyond the Invoice: Maturing Your Outside Counsel and Non-Law Firm Vendor Billing Guidelines, Alyza Tarmohamed, General Manager of BillAnalyzer at Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions, and Katie Larson, Manager of Fulfillment with Wolters Kluwer GRC, discussed what steps organizations should take to ensure that their billing guidelines are effective.

Most legal and claims departments have billing guidelines for their outside counsel and other vendors, but there is a great deal of variation in those guidelines. Some organizations have guidelines that fit on one page, while others may fill 100 pages. More guidelines – as well as more detailed and complex guidelines – don’t necessarily yield better results, however. It’s important to follow some best practices for billing guidelines and to benchmark against those of other companies to make sure you strike the right balance between simplicity and detail.

Best practices for billing guidelines

Katie explained that, on a high level, billing guidelines should reflect an organization’s objectives and strategies, be appropriate to their sector, reflect the company’s culture and management philosophy, and account for past experiences. Keeping these principles in mind, there are several other, more specific best practices you should follow when designing your guidelines:

  • Make them focused: Guidelines should specifically address the tasks that are compliance drivers for your organization and should not be generic.
  • Keep them brief: Balance the specificity with conciseness. If your guidelines are too long, law firms and other vendors are unlikely to read them thoroughly.
  • Give them clear intent: In order to comply, firms need to understand the purpose of each guideline.
  • Make sure they are well written: Well written guidelines are easier to understand and can more easily be kept brief.
  • Properly segment them: Don’t make individual guidelines too complex. Break out your requirements logically into separate guidelines to make them easy to understand.

Following these best practices will help billing administrators better understand your goals and requirements and submit more compliant invoices.

Benchmarking to improve guideline quality

In addition to these best practices, legal and claims departments are advised to compare their guidelines to benchmark data to measure them against industry standards. Benchmarking your guidelines against those of other similar organizations is a way to make certain that your guidelines are not outliers and helps you avoid making them overly complex. It can also point to areas where your guidelines may be missing common issues.

ELM Solutions offers a billing guideline benchmarking service, which compares your guidelines to other companies within your industry, as an optional part of LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer. Benchmarking can keep your guidelines at the high-performing end of the spectrum by identifying market trends over time and helping your organization keep up with peers in the marketplace.

Visit our event page to hear much more detail, including specifics on how guideline benchmarking works and how often organizations should revisit their guidelines for a tune-up. Fill out the registration information or, if you previously registered for ELM Amplify, click the Already Registered button and enter your email address. Once you’re on the event page, click on Theater at the top and select Agenda for a list of all on-demand videos. For this session, click the On Demand button next to Beyond the Invoice: Maturing Your Outside Counsel and Non-Law Firm Vendor Billing Guidelines.

For additional information about BillAnalyzer Guideline Benchmarking, please contact your account manager.

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