In every industry, there are best practices that should be followed. This often includes the utilization of different industry codes and acronyms in order to keep information organized and industry compliant, as well as have an office work as efficiently as possible. The legal field is no different and no where is this more important than tasks related to law office accounting and legal billing software.
What is UTBMS?
The Uniform Task Based Management System (UTBMS) is a series of codes utilized by law offices in to classify the different legal services provided by a law firm when using an electronic invoice submission process.
During the 1990’s, major United States law departments and insurers wanted to better understand the services provided by outside counsel and corresponding billing. When paper billing was utilized by these different law firms, this information was incredibly difficult to ascertain. In order to resolve this issue, The American Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel and PricewaterhouseCoopers assembled in order to develop a standard electronic billing process.
In order to better organize the different services a law office could provide, those services needed to be grouped by task. At that point, codes were developed in order to classify those services. This resulted in a coding system and standard billing format now known as the UTBMS code sets.
UTBMS and Legal Billing Software
In order for legal billing software to provide efficiency in time tracking and billing, the software utilized by a law office must recognize and understand how to interpret UTBMS codes. This is why utilizing a standard off-the-shelf accounting program is not the best option for a law office. While off-the-shelf accounting programs could easily handle some functions, if the system does not recognize UTBMS codes, a correlation between time spent on a legal issue and billing could not be established. It would also prove difficult, if not impossible, to automate billing, receive payments and other accounting-related functions. This would result in lost efficiency and potentially lost revenue due to possible errors in time tracking.
When a law office decides to utilize legal billing software instead of an off-the-shelf accounting program, only the functions of a law office have been considered. Therefore, by utilizing software specifically designed for a law office that will understand how to handle UTBMS codes, efficiency and time tracking will be improved, as well as ensuring bills that go out are accurate.