Task based billing codes were established by the American Bar Association (ABA) and are used to organize time entries by category to meet the ABA's billing standards. In today’s Free Training Friday, we asked Zohra to explain how you can use these task-based billing codes to your advantage.

 

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Video Transcription

Welcome, everyone! Today we are going to be doing a great demo of Abacus Accounting’s task-based billing codes and go over some really cool features for you.

But before we begin we have a couple of housekeeping notes: we will be taking questions throughout the webinar in the question box on the right side of your screen. We're going to answer them at the end in the order that they were received. This is going to be a 15-minute demo, with a 15-min Q&A, lead by our very own Zohra. She is our Senior Sales Engineer and has 6-years of experience in tech. I'm sure you're going to learn a lot of great things. So, take it away Zohra.

Hello everyone and thank you so much, Allyson, for the introduction. Thank you, everyone, for joining and happy Friday to everyone!

So today we're just gonna go over the Task Based Billing Codes in Abacus Accounting.

So just as an overview of Abacus Accounting. AbacusLaw comes with case management software with integrated billing and accounting called Abacus Accounting. This integration allows you to stay on top of your payables and vendors, define your chart of accounts, process A/P invoices that have distributions to both the client and the firm, process 1099s and 1096s from vendors, and create detailed reports including payables, cash flow, and receivables.

So today the focus will be only on Abacus Billing and Accounting, and specifically on Task Based Billing Codes. So let's get started.

So Task Based Billing Codes, as you know, were established by the American Bar Association (ABA), and are used in Abacus Accounting to organize time entries by categories to meet the ABA billing stats and standards.

So, when you're setting up a matter in Abacus Accounting you can find ABA by clicking File>Setup>Task Based Billing Codes. I click on Matters and pull up any of my matters that I already have preset here in my demo account. Under the billing section, I can set up some of the default settings for my matters. Such as the billing format codes.

The billing format code when it's set to task based billing, it's basically defining how you want your bills to look. The link format codes determine whether you're going to print those on letterhead, stationary, or print your letterhead information directly on the bills. The type of bill and level of detailed information you want, when your invoices of those have posted. And as well as whether to include trust information on the bill, as well as other hourly and detailed information.

So we're gonna specifically focus on the task based billing one. And as part of the program, Abacus comes with a set of standard templates including hourly formats, contingency general, workers compensation, general and additional ones here along with task based billing.

So for this matter, I have selected task based billing, and as soon as I click save it will be saved in my database. And the next option would be is after you set up your default billing format code then you're going to click on time tickets to capture your time towards that matter.

I'm going to just go ahead and select my case. Abacus automatically selects the client because it is attached to this case. And as long as you can fill out the rest of the information such as Timekeeper. So, in this case, I'm going to go ahead and select a Timekeeper. You can start the timer. If you are capturing your time mark it as billable, block charge, no charge, misc if you'd like to.

And then here the most important part of today's demonstration that we're going over task based codes. So you have a list of standard ABA codes that you can select from. As you can see here, as I scroll down, it all starts with the codes itself, so L10, L110 and 120. And the type of code is all task. And it gives you a brief text or description, so I can select whichever ones I want here. So I can double-click on it and it tells me the description as well as the codes. I can add additional detailed information in the, see text box that I have as well.

So, soon as I click done, it creates my time ticket entry. I can always go back and modify my task codes if I'd like too. But I have a list of all of them that I can use at any time.

So I'm gonna kind of show you the next step. So the next step is obviously after you capture your time, you want to run your invoice. So Abacus has a two-step process. So under billing, you have a prebill, prebill is a draft of the bill. You can see all your captured time and you can modify it. You can add additional time ticket entries if you'd like to.

The actual bill is the pencil icon. I have already run a bill here or an invoice that I want to show you what it looks like. So the codes are listed on this invoice. So it shows your firm's letterhead and information, as well as your client information. Here’s your address information here and you have your CEs listed as well.

The second page as you can see here it shows my Task Based Billing Codes on the left-hand side. The dates and as well as the description. These are all coming from those time ticket entries that I have entered. And I can always go and add additional ones, modify my time and modify the task if I'd like to.  And I can also see other sections such as timekeeper summary.

This is just one example or layout of this invoice. Of course, this can be customized if you want to. Remove the codes and just want to - you just want to display the actual text you can. So these invoices are pretty customizable and flexible as far as changing the format of it. Okay.

So the next thing I want to show you is how we can modify these codes if you need to remove a few that you don't need. You can always go in under your user settings. You do have to have permission to access these. But, under file set up billing, Task Based Billing Codes, you will be able to see all those codes that we pre-populate in the program for you. It's always up to date and we make sure we keep track of any new ones that comes in.

But on here you can see there a few options here. When you're modifying or adding new codes in the system. So one of the following you would either add a new record or you would edit an existing one if you needed to.

You have a section for the actual codes. So you have category codes, where you would type in the number. And then you have task fields here. So Abacus allows you to enter up to 50-characters and you can describe the actual task that will display on your invoice. And then you can also mark it as a task or expense here. And then the summary level can be checked as well. When that is checked the code is to be used to summarize tasks of the same type.  So pretty much all the detailed and information you enter here will be saved in your database. All the users will have access to the same Task Based Billing Codes, and it will be available to you on your time tickets and you can use it at any time

In addition to Task Based Billing Codes, you also have activity codes that you can apply such if you'd like to. And these are additional codes that come pre-populated apart of the program. And you can always go in and modify an existing one, or add or delete a few if you want to narrow down your search at any time.

In addition to the last item or topic that I want to cover is under file setup. You have billing format codes. The billing format codes as I showed you in the beginning that you can define and assign billing format codes to a matter and that will be the default billing format code. However, you can always go in and modify it, an existing billing format code that comes in the program. As a user, as an administrator, you will have the tools if you want to customize a code. A format or different sections or headers that you want to include. Like your firm's logos or letterhead. As part of onboarding, we do provide training.  So you can always have the one on one training with a trainer. That will give you an overview of the program.  And as well as will show you how to modify your templates if you need to. As well as we will help you add your logos and letterheads onto these invoices.

But on top of that, you do have the tools. So you can get creative and you can always click on edit and be able to edit and add anything. Any information, such as a description at the bottom of the invoice if you can do that as well.

So these are just general settings that I can go in and modify. Specifically my tasked based billing invoice. I can always click edit, and then I will be able to see the different sections, so such as the letterhead. And the footer or the report at the body of the message. These are the different sections so I can always click on it.

As you can see pretty straight forward. Drag and drop. I can right click if I want to. The field so you can always do that as an administrator. And you have all the tools.

You also have reporting options here. So a way you can turn off or turn off some of the sections when you're working on an invoice. So you can check of some of the options here as well as the format options. You can show as detailed as you'd like here or as a summary of billing detailed levels. Or other information that is displaying on the invoices. You can always turn on or turn off the options right from your settings, at your fingertips. So those are always available to you.

So that is basically a summary of Task Based Billing Code again. The Task Based Billing Codes are established by ABA or American Bar Association. And they are in Abacus ready to go and populated, so you can always add them when you're capturing your time.

And we have a standard invoice that goes along and you'll be able to see all your codes on your invoice and ready to go where you can email it as an attachment or send it to your clients. You can print out those invoices at any time from Abacus Accounting.

For right now what I will do is, I will go through the Q&A section. And I will just take any questions that have come in.

Q & A

Can I add task codes on only one matter, or can I apply it to all the matters?

You can always apply it to all the matters. So this is a list of all the matters in Abacus Accounting. So you can always click on it. And then be able to either select the billing format code as a template and that is task based billing code as I mentioned earlier. And when your capturing your time you can simply just select your matter. And whichever matter you're capturing, your task based code and you can just apply that to any time ticket at anytime. So it's not tied to one specific matter you can apply it to all the matters if you'd like to.

Can I modify the task list, or can I remove any codes that we don't want?

Yes, you can. You can remove the codes that you don't want. It's under file, setup, Task Based Billing Codes, and you will see a list of all the codes that you have. And you do have the tool of the user on the right hand side. You can add or edit or modify, whichever one you like. And this will apply globally so all the users that will have access to Abacus. They'll be able to log in at anytime and they will be able to see those tasks.

Can I email those invoices right from Abacus Accounting to my client?

Yes you can. We do have full integration with Microsoft Outlook. So, Outlook is integrated and all the emails that you are sending, and as well as receiving in your Outlook. You will be able to attach those in Abacus. And any emails or invoices that you are composing and you're sending from Abacus Accounting you'll be able to send those. And it uses your Outlook to send those emails to your client.

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