In the article we’ll discuss how to, and when, to use the Split Billing feature of Perfect Practice. Split billing is not delivered as a standard, but can be added to your system at no charge. It requires that you have the Perfect Practice billing module, but you will find that Case Management provides many additional features. First, what does split billing do? In certain instances, you may have a case, which involves several parties. Since they all have a stake in the outcome, they may agree to split certain fees and costs between the parties. Since your firm is tracking each time entry and cost advance as a single entry, split billing allows you to divide the charges between the parties, on a percentage basis to which they have agreed. This arrangement is commonly found in insurance defense matters, but can be used whenever appropriate.
The first step is to set up a master case. Once you’ve set up the master case, you need to set up a matter for each party to be billed. All fees and costs to be split will be entered on the master case. If you have charges that are specific to one of the party’s matters, you would post those directly to the appropriate case.
Once you’ve set up all the matters, you would go to the master case. Select the highlighted tab.
The split billing allocation screen is at the lower right had portion of the screen. To add an allocation, click into the split billing matter ID box. An ellipsis will appear. Click on the ellipsis. This will display a list of available matters. Choose the matter you wish to allocate.
Now move your cursor to the percentage window for the matter you’ve selected. Enter the percent of charges for which this matter will be responsible. It’s important to note, that you need to calculate the total percentage to be allocated prior to starting this process. Perfect Practice does not limit to, or require allocations of 100 percent.
This is a view from the case management case list. Note that we assigned a case number to the master case, and then used this same case number, with a suffix for the related cases. This keeps all of the cases together for easy review.
In this example, we took the additional step of relating all the cases to the master case, in case management. This is not required but can be very useful.
Select time cost from the activities tab on the master case. It’s important to note that timing is everything with split billing. If you add a new party and the percentages are going to change, you need to determine if they will be sharing in the charges already incurred. If not, you need to process the existing charges, before you add the new party and reapportion percentages.
Selecting the Split Billing Questionnaire on the master case, will give you three options. The first and most commonly used option is to split all transactions between the parties. The second will split fees only and the third will split costs only. If you do not wish to have some of these options available, you can turn them off, using security. In this example, we’ll select the split all transactions option.
Once we’ve processed these charges, you’ll see they are no longer shown in the time cost screen, for the master case. You can see which transactions have been processed, by changing the filter.
Perfect Practice has provided a filter that will allow you to see all the allocations that have been made. Select the split billing filter and you will see how the charges have been allocated.
In this article, we allocated 25 percent of all charges, to each of 4 different cases.
You can see the charges for a specific case by selecting it from the relationships tab. Keep in mind, you may also have charges that were not split and were allocated directly to this matter. If you have any additional questions or need help setting up filters, please contact our support or training departments.