What Your Practice Needs To Know About Global Billing
May 24, 2019 10:02 PM EDT
Legal practices everywhere are making the leap towards international business markets because they understand that's where the future of their industry awaits. Despite the growing imperative to establish an international footprint for your legal firm, however, many lawyers have little idea how to approach the complex topic of global billing. It is made more confusing thanks to the frequent advancements made in the digitization of the payment process and technology.
Don't make the foray into global billing without first doing your homework. Here's everything your practice needs to know about global billing, and the financial mistakes that have sunk other firms.
American dominance is slowly fading
One of the most important trends in the legal world over the past few years is that American dominance over the global billing system is slowly but surely fading away. While the United States still remains far more influential over the global payments system that it helped forged, other countries are beginning to insert their own standards and practices into the equation, muddying the water for American lawyers who are being forced to confront new ways of billing for the first time.
Luckily, this trend isn't entirely a bad thing. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that American dominance has been fading is that digitization has swept up the global billing system. This has helped democratize it and make it more widely accessible to practices which were formerly locked out of international markets. We can't all be held to the same high standards as those of Cain Law Office, so reviewing the new international makeup of the global billings system is worthwhile for firms who want to make a name for themselves abroad.
One of the most important things to understand is that you'll need to be compliant with new laws and regulations that formerly did not apply to your operations. If you're an American business, for instance, you've never had to worry about the European VAT standards which have affected legal professionals across the pond for years. These days, American companies doing business in France or Germany must taken important steps to ensure they're complaint with local tax standards, lest they suffer from expensive fines or painful blows to their firm's reputation.
You'll need to be more patient
Once you understand the fact that you'll have to comply with a greater number of foreign standards and regulations, it will seem natural that you'll need to be more patient when it comes to your billing. After all, both you and your clients will need extra time to ensure that nobody is violating any laws or inadvertently letting something important slip through the cracks. Lawyers have attempted to mitigate these growing delays by turning to automating the process more and more, which could be promising. However, it remains unclear if legal professionals are ready to be managed by more automation.
Whether or not lawyers and other legal professionals are happy with digitization doesn't seem to matter since it is happening one way or another. Rather than attempting to resist change,your practice should be embracing the practices of the 21st century and trying to master the trend of digitization rather than risk falling behind.
It's also imperative that your practice doesn't allow ethics and principles to fall by the wayside in its pursuit of profits on the international stage. This may seem obvious, but many legal experts who are foraying into the world of global billing for the first time quickly forget this and wind up in ethical trouble. Reviewing some simple rules for billing ethically while still ensuring you get paid on time is highly recommended for legal experts about to embark on an international business tour.
Get ready for a more specific future
Whereas legal experts could once get away with generic billing standards which easily transferred from one client to the next, the future of the profession will demand that experts get more specific when it comes to who's footing the bill. Learning how to issue invoices which differ depending on which country the recipient business is based in will become a standard part of your practice if you want to become an international giant of renown, for instance.
Elsewhere, the business process in one country for managing records, vendors, or processing financial matters may vary drastically from the process in a neighboring country. It's important to remember that a one-size-fits-all solution to global billing does not exist, and that legal experts who make it on the international stage must remain flexible in the face of diversity.
The international market can seem intimidating, but it's where the future of business in the legal sphere is headed. Practices unfamiliar with global billing systems need to familiarize themselves with digital technology and a diverse approach to doing business, as the only other option is a slow but sure fading into obscurity.