Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP takes control of the e-billing process
With more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices across the globe, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP handles a full range of corporate and technology matters, high stakes litigation, and complex financial transactions for companies all over the world. In the United States, the AmLaw 100 firm’s clients include half of the Fortune 100 companies, who turn to Sheppard Mullin to deliver prompt, high-quality, and cost-effective representation.
Sheppard Mullin was founded in 1927 and key members of its billing staff have been with the firm for decades. The firm continues to provide services to its growing client base of large companies across the globe, resulting in a significant increase in the number of invoices produced — and a gradual shift in clients opting for e-billing. Today, the firm’s billing staff is responsible for producing hundreds of e-invoices each month, which amount to approximately 20% of its total billing volume. This process would not be possible without the ability to submit multiple e-invoices at once.
Resolving a growing challenge
According to Assistant Manager Karen Frankwick, bulk e-invoice submission wasn’t an option for billing coordinators before the firm implemented eBillingHub® in 2007. The structure of the firm’s billing department consisted of four billing coordinators located in the main office and one coordinator in each additional location, each of whom would generate their own LEDES formatted invoices and then log in to each individual vendor site for submission.
“Not only was this previous e-billing process time consuming, it was also unreliable,” says Frankwick. Because the firm’s third-party spend management vendors would only have contact with the person who submitted the invoice, rejections often weren’t followed up on in a timely fashion. For example, one of the firm’s clients became impatient while waiting for an invoice and contacted Frankwick and her team. Only then did they realize that the client’s rejections were sent to an account manager who was on vacation, leaving Frankwick and her team to track down the invoice.
“Having rejections getting lost in the mix was the trigger that prompted our decision to implement an electronic billing solution,” Frankwick explains. “Our firm was continuing to grow in size and we knew this issue was only going to get worse as the number of invoices being submitted started to multiply.” It was then that Billing Manager Theresa Warman and her team set up a meeting with the eBillingHub team at Thomson Reuters Elite.
Warman said, “We felt confident that eBillingHub would provide us with the control we needed to effectively manage overall e-billing processes.” Warman continues, “The solution addressed the two main obstacles we were trying to overcome: manually submitting individual invoices and not efficiently handling invoice rejections.”
eBillingHub is a fully integrated, Web-based electronic billing solution that integrates seamlessly with a broad range of financial platforms. eBillingHub provides a comprehensive and collaborative approach for preparing, tracking, submitting, and managing the e-billing process. By streamlining and reducing the complexity and administrative costs of the process, eBillingHub helps firms efficiently and effectively manage the e-billing process and ultimately improve cash flow.
“Once we understood eBillingHub’s full capabilities and how our clients would benefit, we realized that there wasn’t anything else on the market at that time that could improve e-billing efficiency as well as eBillingHub,” states Frankwick. “In fact, there still isn’t.”
Since implementing eBillingHub, Sheppard Mullin’s billing staff has had no trouble keeping up with the high volume of invoices submitted each month. The firm processes more than 600 e-bills each month and relies on eBillingHub to submit those bills through the 20 spend management vendors used by its clients.
eBillingHub has significantly saved time during the billing process by not requiring individual log-ons to each vendor site in order to upload specific formats, get approvals, and make sure invoices meet client billing requirements. “It was a huge hassle. We are thrilled to have the entire process centralized with eBillingHub,” says Frankwick.
Since implementing eBillingHub, the billing process has also become more automated. The firm’s billing coordinators perform a preliminary, manual scan of e-bills to see if any errors are present and then they send the invoices to be processed through eBillingHub. “If eBillingHub doesn’t identify anything that doesn’t comply, the e-bill is then sent for final submission,” says Billing Coordinator Laurie Tovalin.
Since eBillingHub centrally stores all invoices, Frankwick says anyone on her team can now closely monitor the status of invoices. “We can use eBillingHub’s search filters to quickly locate and address rejected bills.” Frankwick continues, “This has been one of the biggest benefits of using eBillingHub.”
Frankwick also says that being able to edit invoices directly within eBillingHub has also contributed to a more streamlined and faster billing process. She states, “The process is much smoother. Having a centralized solution gives us more insight and control. We are able to generate, validate, and submit invoices all in the same day, so clients get their bills faster.”
In addition to centralizing billing processes, the firm has also centralized its billing staff, with two people responsible for handling e-billing out of the firm’s main office. “I’ve heard of other firms not being prepared when they get a new lateral partner or a new client because they don’t have the staff to support it,” explains Warman. “But with eBillingHub, we really don’t need a large billing team.”
She continues, “Other firms have bigger billing departments to handle the work we can manage with a small, dedicated team. If it weren’t for eBillingHub, we too would require a larger staff to manage e-billing.”
Consistent success with continued support
As early adopters of eBillingHub, Frankwick and her team continue to experience prompt response times to support queries, even as eBillingHub itself continues to grow. “We always get the service we need,” Frankwick states. “When we need assistance, such as a change to a certain format, we know that support is only an email away.”
A recent request Frankwick sent to the eBillingHub team resulted in a substantial savings in time. Because one of the firm’s clients is billed quarterly, Frankwick and her team had to produce more than 400 invoices by the end of the quarter. A setup issue at the client-end would have required each of these e-bills to be submitted manually had it not been for the quick actions of eBillingHub’s support team.
“We simply made the request, and the eBillingHub team was able to change the format so we could submit all invoices at once.” Frankwick and her team are also pleased with the ongoing improvements to the solution. A recent update to eBillingHub enables the billing team to send attachments along with invoices. “This is a terrific benefit because typically we need to send cost back-ups, such as hotel bills and airfare receipts. Now we’re able to do it all through eBillingHub,” Tovalin explains.
Overall Frankwick, Warman, and Tovalin are most pleased with how eBillingHub has streamlined functions internally, making the entire billing process easier. Frankwick elaborates, “eBillingHub is essential because it enables us to stay on top of all e-bills, rather than having to deal with lost rejections and manual submissions. I don’t know what we would do without eBillingHub!”
The firm needed a centralized e-billing solution to eliminate inefficiencies during the submission process.
eBillingHub® is a simple, cost-effective solution designed to make law firms’ billing systems more efficient, speed cash flow, and provide more trouble-free service to clients.
- Automatically submit electronic invoices in bulk
- Easily track invoice status and modify rejections
- Centralize billing processes and department staff
- Ongoing support and satisfaction