We are 15 years into the 21st Century, yet there are firms who still use “snail mail” as the means for sending bills to clients. Here are some of the reasons:
- The firm enjoys paying for postage and using up their stationery
- The firm likes the time it takes for the mailed bill to reach their client
- The firm wants to give clients a reason to tell them why they never received the bill from the firm
- Sending a bill via mail announces the user has retained that firm – a real “plus” particularly in sensitive matters, such as divorce cases
If, however, a firm does not wish to take advantage of these reasons, they’re in good company: law firms are increasingly sending their bills to their clients by E-mail. Yet even then, our clients tell us they print their bills, scan them to .PDF, and then send them one… at… a… time with E-mail messages.
There is a better way. PCLaw has automated and streamlined the E-mail billing process, allowing users to set up E-mail templates, assign them to matters, and send them out via their MAPI-compliant E-mail accounts.
Step 1: Enable the new feature “Invoice E-mail Queue”
This new feature in PCLaw Version 14 allows firms to easily e-mail client invoices. It provides filtering, sorting and previewing options for both sent and unsent invoices. And it uses your e-mail client, e.g. Outlook for the delivery of the invoices.
To turn on this feature, go to Options System Settings |Billing Tab
Under the section “Billing Output Options”, check the box for “Use Invoice E-mail Queue”. When a bill or bill run is printed to “E-mail”, invoices will be listed in the queue. The option to use the Invoice E-mail Queue will also be present on the Billing menu.
Step 2: Set up E-mail Templates
To create, edit or copy E-mail templates, go to Options | Lists | E-mail Templates
Click on the “Add” button to set up a new E-mail message that will be used when sending invoices:
- Give the new template a name and general description
- Choose a subject line or create your own
- Enter the main body of the message to appear on the E-mail message
- Select any additional elements you would like to display in the E-mail (invoice number, matter name, amount due, etc.)
- Fill in the signature block
- Optionally choose whether or not to include the firm’s name and address at the bottom of the message
- Save the template
Step 3: Assign E-mail Templates to Matters
- In the Matter Manager, highlight the Billing tab
- In the upper right corner, next to the “Billing Template” field, select your “E-mail Template”
- Save the change to your Matter
Step 4: Create Bills & Print to E-mail
Now set up your bill run as you normally do, but be sure to include “E-mail” as one of your output options. As bills are created, PCLaw will include them in the Invoice E-mail Queue
- Users may use filters to limit the displayed invoices, with the most recent invoices displayed at the top
- One or more invoices can be chosen by using the selection boxes in the first column of the queue list and clicking on the “Send E-mail(s)” button
- Users may override the E-mail template selected in the Matter Manager from here
- When invoice e-mails have been sent successfully, a dialog box appears indicating that they have left PCLaw and were sent to your e-mail client. Successfully sent invoice e-mails are automatically moved to the “Sent” tab.
- If any invoice e-mails are not successfully sent, they are moved to the top of the queue list on the “Current/Unsent” tab and their Sent Status is displayed as “Failed.” Users may choose to resend the unsuccessful e-mails immediately, or at a later time.
- Users may optionally choose not to e-mail an invoice to a client. In that case, select the invoices that are NOT to be e-mailed and click on the “Remove from List” button
- Finally, users can generate a report based on the current filtering criteria selected in the queue, by clicking on the “Invoice E-mail Report” button
From time to time, we’ll report on the many benefits in PCLaw that go beyond basic billing and accounting functions. Remember: When you purchase software, you own 100% of it. Call us at 1-877-ELS-0555 to see how you can get the most out of your investment in PCLaw and your software programs and applications.