Providing Costing Services throughout England & Wales
Tel. 01772 36 99 20

We handle ALL aspects of cost budgeting.

Our unique software keeps track of your valuable data.

We will take the strain from beginning to end.

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We Also Provide a Full Range of Support Services for Solicitors' in-house Cost Departments.

Discover the complexities of Multi-Party Billing and how Veritas is different.

Multi Party Billing

What makes us different

The Problem

Multi party billing is certainly not for the faint at heart! By its nature, this type of billing is particularly complex due to the sheer number of apportionments and divisions each item may require.

Take a case with just three parties, each billing item may be apportioned to any one party; any combination of two parties or spread across all three; so:-

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the number of combinations for three parties is SEVEN.

for four parties it is FIFTEEN

and so on...

However, where division applies, there is no guarantee that costs are split equally amongst those charged for any particular item. You may have an order for costs which provides for certain work to be split in an uneven percentage. Consequently, the actual number of potential combinations can rise dramatically.

That's still not the end of the problem! Consideration also needs to be given where the Bill is required to be split into parts. Thus, the person drafting the Bill not only has to consider how the item should be apportioned between the parties and whether division applies, they also need to decide which part that item needs to be put in. New parts may be generated because of rate changes, vat changes, party drop outs, orders, and so on...

The Traditional/Manual Approach

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You may have thought the days of using methods akin to the abacus were long gone; not so for many in the costs industry! Incredibly, cost draftsmen are still asked to keep track of all these apportionments, divisions and parts using just pen and paper. Often different coloured pens will be used for different fee earners allowing the combinations to continue to accrue!

You may wonder why many continue to use manual calculations to record items on paper prior to transposing the same into Bill format. There is a reason for this; the programming of systems capable of flexibly handling apportionments, division and parts is considered extremely challenging and may be considered not a worthwhile endeavour.

Try putting yourself in the cost draftsman's shoes for a moment and work out how they do it!

For example, perhaps you have an item belonging in part three that needs to be apportioned between two out of three defendants and divided unevenly using a 66%:33% split - does it go in one pile? in a list? how do you record and keep track of it? And that's just one billing item....now imagine doing the file!

Consider the potential problems at the end of the case once you have finished this huge logistical feat. What if someone asks you a question about a particular item or part; how do you answer it a week or month later? Do you look back through your notes or through lists and lists of items? Can you really be sure that you will be able to give the correct and appropriate advice? Can you correct any errors should re-calculation be required?

It is our contention that this type of billing, unless it is of a very simple nature (few multi party bills are), cannot be done by hand and be maintained accurately without efforts of Herculean proportions.

Ignoring accuracy for a moment (though we know you never should) you should also consider how long will it all take to do it this way?

The Veritas Approach

Our new computer system allows us to enter ANY number of parties, ANY number of parts and apportion costs in ANY variation SEPARATELY for EVERY separate billing transaction.

In addition ANY one of those factors can be amended at any time and in any order.

Hair Pull It is fair to say that the programmer nearly cried when we set out our aims, but to be fair he came up with a great solution; though we are sure he had more hair before he started!

The benefits should be obvious, instead of the draftsman worrying over combinations, which lists to put items into and whether or not they are landing in the correct parts and whether or not the number of parts are even correct; the draftsman simply concentrates on the simple apportionment of the single item in hand.

The software pulls it all together for him/her; if there is a query the draftsman simply goes back to the item in the database and checks the detail and amends it if necessary - the software handles the rest.

The Resultant Bill

We are proud to have produced a multi party Bill format that is very logical in nature and easy to understand. It is even physically possible to separate out an individual party from the printed Bill and rebind it to become a separate Bill for that party should one wish – this is so that each paying party can readily identify the costs apportioned to them individually.

This makes settlement easier and more likely. We all prefer to pay Bills we can understand; had a utilities Bill recently?

The Time Taken

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The amount of time saved using this approach is huge in percentage terms and for complex cases the time can be measured in days, if not weeks.

Before coming to us our Technical Director had many occasions to calculate Bills with up to TWELVE different parties and had to do this MANUALLY. He believes that, with regard to the larger cases, it would have taken at least one WEEK's less costing time had he been able to use our system.

If you have multi-party Bills to produce, there is every reason to use Veritas and take advantage of its investment and no reason not to...