Recording Non-Billable Time - The Debate
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THE CASE FOR
THE CASE AGAINST
Ten reasons why I don't believe in recording non-billable time
by Peter Frankl - 11 February 2012
1. You don't need to include the time on any invoice to a client
2. If you have recorded your billable time then all other time is not-billed time
3. It creates unnecessary administration such as the need to codify different types of non-billable activity and then having to decide on which file to record the time
4. The results of non-billable activity are usually far removed from the actual time spent on it. One non-billable coffee meeting can lead to signing up a big client.
5. A break from any chore is a good thing
6. Non-billable time on business building involves a lot of right brain, creative activity. Do artists time record how long it takes to paint each quadrant of a canvas?
7. A lot of important non-billable activity occurs after working hours. There's a lot of grey area between personal time and work time. Do we need more committee meetings and management time spent on working through these issues?
8. It makes you look bad in front of clients. When you're out to dinner with a client, do you ask everyone to wait at the table until you finish making your time entry, now that dinner is finished and you're about to transition to the pub?
9. Down time is healthy time. Forced time recording puts the pressure on transforming down time into high-performing non-billable time.
10. Shouldn't we be just as kind to lawyers as we are to poultry? Free range is better than caged.
However there is one class of lawyer for whom I strongly believe that recording all time is beneficial to understanding a firm's productivity constraints: the managing partner.
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