If your firm is moving its billing processes to 3E, then your billing templates will essentially have to be redeveloped. Before you embark on this effort, here are some suggestions from our team of 3E and Design Gallery (3E Templates) specialists. Through better planning and preparation, you’ll save time in the long run and get a better end result.

1. Treat it as a separate project

As you pursue a 3E implementation, it would serve your firm well to think about your billing templates as a separate entity from the overall project. Coming from a legacy environment and before you’ve completed 3E training, you might not even realize what your options are. You don’t know what there is to know, so how can you scope out what needs to be done? Rather than include this effort in a larger scope of work, establish your own project plan and timeline.

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel

It may not make sense to simply recreate your old templates in 3E. If you do, you may risk introducing bad habits into your new processes. For example, if your firm has been running the same practice management software for many years, then most likely the billing templates your finance team uses to generate invoices have lots of workarounds built in. Instead, begin with a template strategy session to document your needs but also understand what’s now possible in 3E. Consider what your templates do well, but also how you can improve them. Take the time up front to learn what’s possible with a new system.

3. Think ahead

Your firm may be reliant on paper-based invoices. Use your 3E Templates project as a way to futureproof your billing processes. If your firm is planning to migrate to the use of more electronic devices like tablets, that should be a factor in your 3E Templates planning. Pursue ways to automate processes to speed up the workflow. For example, see if invoices can be automatically routed to a document management system and whether you can leverage PDF bookmarks to make invoice review more efficient as you scroll through a 40-page document.

4. Explore formatting options

In legacy software environments, options for solution formatting are somewhat limited. With 3E, there are more options available to customize billing templates to match your firm’s branding and make invoices easier to consume through electronic formats. For example, you may want to leverage different cell shading or switch fonts for better online readability.

5. Do your homework

Think about it this way. Say you’re planning to paint your living room. There are two methods you could pursue. One is a quick and dirty method where you jump in and start painting. You could skip cleaning the walls or filling in surface cracks or frame holes. You could paint around outlet covers rather than remove them. You’d get the room painted, but not very well and you’ll find yourself coming back to do touchups. The other method is to prepare. You could move your furniture, prep the surface, tape off your woodwork, etc. It may take longer to get started, but the end result will be cleaner and more efficient.

It’s the same with a 3E Templates project. Do your homework and preparation first by adequately planning and the end result will be a well thought out and organized effort.