Rejection is always difficult and I want to help you avoid it. Today’s post will not speak to your personal life, however. It will not include any words of wisdom to improve your relationships. I can’t give any advice in this area, but I certainly can triage an invoice! For those who struggle with submitting invoices electronically to an eBilling system, the Invoice Doctor is in and this post is for you.
With extensive experience in analyzing invoices that have either failed an eBilling automated testing process or were rejected during client review, I’d like to help you to avoid invoice rejection. There are a handful of simple and avoidable, yet common, mistakes made by firms and vendors when submitting electronic invoices. After helping to fix thousands of invoices, I’ve learned that these steps (which are listed in no particular order) can greatly reduce problems when you submit:
- Invoice ASAP and definitely on time. If you’re a sole practitioner or the only Billing Administrator for your firm, you may find yourself swamped with invoices. The challenge for you is getting those invoices submitted in time to receive payment. Failure to submit an invoice within a certain period of time can cause you to lose money if your client adjusts or rejects invoices through the use of automated invoice testing rules. Some clients may have a rule in their network that prevents billing beyond a certain number of days after a matter has been closed. Late invoices equal late payments and, in some cases, invoice rejection. Avoid this, by entering your timekeepers’ billable hours in a timely manner.
- Read the Rules! Many clients have billing guidelines or some form of vendor retention agreements that will state what kinds of tasks they will and will not reimburse for. Make sure that you carefully read their rules, to be certain your invoice doesn’t contain charges they won’t agree to pay for. Save yourself time in having to correct and resubmit a rejected invoice, by adhering to their guidelines on your first submission.
- Watch your time! When entering increments of time into the ‘Units’ field of an electronic invoice, take care when specifying how many units each charge is for. Add up the number of hours across your multiple line items and make sure that they’re reasonable. Many clients have submission rules that prevent a timekeeper from billing more than a certain number of hours per day. It’s impossible for someone to work more than 24 hours in a day, so make sure your charges reflect accurate billable hours. If you submit multiple invoices with the same line item charge dates for the same timekeeper, be careful to monitor the unit calculation (total hours billed) across all invoices. EBilling systems can often check against any previously submitted invoices that include the same charge date and timekeeper.
- Format properly. When creating very large LEDES files, it can be a challenge to make sure your format is consistent and correct. Ensuring that you have the proper format before submitting the invoice can help you to avoid having to figure out why the invoice failed or was rejected. I know how frustrating it can be to comb through a rejected LEDES 98B file and find that it was only missing one pipe delimiter. Make sure you have pipe symbols separating each field in all LEDES 98B invoices. In addition, make sure you’ve used the correct UTBMS codes and are submitting the correct tax rates, if applicable. If your firm has additional billing administrators, have someone else take a look at your invoice before submitting it. If you don’t have additional resources, then compare the format of your final invoice to sample files that can be found on ledes.org.
Taking the time to review your invoice drafts before clicking the Submit button will help you avoid rejection and increase your chances of getting invoices submitted successfully every time. Happy Billing from the Invoice Doctor!