Electronic Billing in Sage Timeslips

Some companies — primarily attorneys who work with insurance companies — must submit to audit firms electronic bills for services rendered. By using the Sage Timeslips Electronic Billing add-on, which supports a variety of electronic billing formats used by most of the large audit firms, you can track your time, prepare a bill in the proper electronic format, and then export it to the audit firm.

Visit the Sage Timeslips website to read about the electronic bill delivery formats that Timeslips can support.

Setting up electronic billing

To use the Sage Timeslips Electronic Billing add-on, you must set it up by following the instructions that come with the add-on. Then you can produce bills in the proper format for the audit firm with which you work. Remember, each audit firm has unique settings and file formats.

In addition, you need to identify the clients for whom you use electronic delivery. Begin by choosing Names→Client Info. In the Client List window that appears, double-click a client for whom electronic delivery applies. Then click the Arrangement 2 tab of the Client Information window and set the Electronic Delivery field to the appropriate audit firm.

In most cases, you also need to add custom fields and assign them to the clients who use the recipient firm.

The Electronic Billing add-on saves you time and enables you to add predefined sets of custom fields associated with specific audit firms.

For some audit firms, you must use the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Litigation Code set or the Uniform Task-Based Management System to identify tasks, expenses, and references. If you created your Timeslips database using the Legal with ABA Litigation Codes database style, these codes already exist in your database. If you used any other template to create your Timeslips database, you need to enter the codes for tasks, expenses, and references in the Nickname 2 field of the task, expense, and reference nickname, and use the Nickname 1 field to enter a descriptive name that you'll easily recognize as you create slips.

In the American Bar Association Task Litigation Code set and the Uniform Task-Based Management System, codes begin with the letters A, E, or L. Assign codes that start with A to tasks, codes that start with E to expenses, and codes that start with L to references.

Examining the electronic billing process

The process for electronic bill delivery in Sage Timeslips is similar to the process for generating other bills. You still place your bills in proof stage initially, and then review them and make changes. But when you're ready to send the bills, you export them and send the files to an audit firm for review.

From the bottom of the Bills menu, select the appropriate electronic bill delivery or audit firm and then click Export. Timeslips prompts you for a folder in which to save the exported bills. After the export finishes, you can send the bills to the audit firm.

In most cases, when the export has completed, Sage Timeslips moves the bills from proof stage to audit stage. For some audit firms, however, Timeslips approves the bills.

Timeslips treats bills in audit stage similar to the way it treats bills in proof stage: Timeslips locks the bills while the audit firm reviews them. When the firm contacts you with their assessment, you approve the bills that require no changes, and you clear bills that require changes from audit stage by using the Bill Stages window (choose Bills→Approve or Clear Audited Bills→Approve or Clear Bills) and making the necessary changes. Then you print the bills again and repeat the process.

If Timeslips approves the bills you send to the audit firm and the audit firm requires changes, you can clear selected bills from the Undoable tab of the Bill Stages window, edit them, print them again, and repeat the printing and electronic delivery process.

It's possible that an audit firm won't assess your bill before you're ready to submit another one. In this case, approve the bill you already submitted and, if the audit firm requires changes to it, try to undo it. If you can't undo the bill, you'll need to enter an accounts receivable credit transaction for the original bill, re-enter the data that appeared on that bill, and generate a new bill to send to the audit firm.

Splitting electronic bills

If you use the Split Bills feature in Timeslips, which enables you to establish rules to allocate, or split, the charges on a bill among timekeepers, be aware that different audit firms handle split billing in different ways. Some allow it but ignore it, others allow it and use it, and still others don't support it.

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