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Rolling the dice: Why relying on A/P and invoice approval software is a dangerous game for your legal department

Corporate law departments often hire and manage more outside vendors – primarily law firms – than other business units within a company. Effectively tracking vendor spending and legal matters is therefore of the utmost importance to efficiently managing even a small legal department. Accounts payable (A/P) software is capable of tracking spending by cost center and vendor, but is unable to track spending with the type of detail necessary for the legal department to project and report on the true value it provides.

That said, it is startling how many legal departments rely on their organization’s A/P software, often in conjunction with a spreadsheet, when attempting to track their spend. And when the legal department is investigating e-billing and matter management solutions that dramatically drive down costs, they are often met with resistance from their accounting, IT operations, finance or procurement departments that incorrectly believe legal spend is already being adequately tracked with current A/P and invoice approval systems.

When mounting a case for the purchase and implementation of a true legal e-billing and matter management solution, in-house legal teams can articulate a three-point counterargument to prove their case:

  1. A/P software is not designed to accurately capture and report data that is critical to effective management of the legal department;
  2. due to the unique type and volume of invoices received by the legal team, invoice approval software costs the legal and A/P department an enormous amount of unnecessary time and money; and
  3. e-billing and matter management software provides vital functionality and capabilities to the legal department that A/P software simply cannot. 

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