Billing Time Periods are a required Field for the creation of Rates and are used to distinguish Rates of the same Rate Type and Resource Type that have been adjusted for whatever reason. A normal example would be if your Billing Time Period is named 2020 for last year and another Billing Time Period was named 2021 for this year. Using this setup, you can have Rates that applied in 2020, and different Rates that apply in 2021 (because you’re now able to charge more, you lucky ducks!).
In this Guide, we’ll go through the extremely simple process of creating Billing Time Periods, show where they are applied to Rates, and then show you where they’re set in the Business Center. A couple of things that you may want to check in context to this Guide are:
A Guide to Rate Types, found here.
And a full walkthrough of the Rates System, found here.
Creating a Billing Time Period
To begin, simply click the Billing Time Period Entity on the left side of the screen.
Then choose +New.
Then all you have to do is decide what you want to name it. In our example, we’ll create a new Billing Time Period for 2021.
Then click Save & Close at the top of the screen.
What to do with Billing Time Periods
Now that we’ve created a new Billing Time Period, where does it go? Billing Time Periods are used in two places, new and existing Rates and the Business Center. When you create a new Matter, you choose the Business Center and the Rate Type at the beginning, and then the system uses those options to choose the proper Rates for the Matter. I’ll give you an example below.
Let’s say that I create a new Rate with our new Billing Time Period for my Resource Type (again, all of this information on Rates is covered in the above Guides). It would look something like this.
But now we have an odd problem. When we look at the Rates, we see that there are two Rates for the Matthew Jones Resource Type with the Standard Rate Type. How can the system distinguish which Rate to use when Standard is selected as the Rate Type on the Matter?
Simple! The system will distinguish based on which Billing Time Period is set in the Business Center, shown below. I just set the Billing Time Period in my Business Center to the new one we just created.
So now, when we create a Matter and we set the Rate Type to Standard and the Business Center to Example Law Firm 2.0, the system will go the Business Center, find the Billing Time Period that has been selected, then go to the Rates, and apply all Rates using the selected Rate Type and using the selected Business Center’s current Billing Time Period.
This can all be a bit to take in, so I highly recommend checking out the included video above. I make learning fun!
Updating your Billing Time Period
As the new year or a new fiscal period rolls around, you may find yourself wanting to update your Rates for the new period. To do this, you’ll want to follow these steps.
Step 1 – Create your new Billing Time Period.
Step 2 – Create new Rates that include the new Billing Time Period.
Step 3 – Update your Business Center with the new Billing Time Period.
Step 4 – *ONLY* for the Matters on which you’d like to have the updated Rates (usually not for Matters that were begun before the change), you’ll need to Add Missing Rates. To do this, go to the Matter in question, click the Ellipses on the top right, and then choose Add Missing Rates.
*MAJOR NOTE* – This CANNOT be undone if you do it to a Matter, so be VERY careful when Adding Missing Rates, as it will update the Rates across the entire Matter to reflect the new Billing Time Period and newly-created Rates.
And that’s it! Billing Time Periods, while an extremely basic Data Structure on their own, are used to control a few moving parts in the Rates system, so fiddle with care, and come to me for any help!