App-makers are seeking new ways to add value to corporate legal departments. Businesses routinely object to charges by outside counsel associated with vague descriptions of large blocks of time. Seeking to address this problem, one service, Viewabill, offers a way to monitor the amount of time/cost billed by hourly service providers such as attorneys and accountants. As time is input into the system by the attorneys, reports are available to the client immediately.
I appreciate the transparency of the concept, but, in my experience, keeping track of billable time is inefficient even with the best system. Keeping track of billable time and then reporting it real time strikes me as doubly inefficient. I am biased in favor of value billing or a flat fee for a project and against the billable minute. (see post for my discussion of this topic). It seems to me even worse to spend billable minutes on the exercise of reporting billable minutes.