Serving as an expert witness is akin to running your own small consulting business. You provide unique expertise on short-term projects without being employed full-time by an attorney or firm. For many experts, this flexibility to contribute to legal cases is a welcome professional outlet apart from their primary job.
However, experts are most likely not approaching consulting roles for the associated administrative tasks. Payment is, of course, an essential component of the attorney-expert relationship. We can’t all be accounting experts, and thankfully, there are tools to help you manage your consulting financials. Here, we’re sharing tips for streamlining your invoicing process through Expert iQ and leaving the administrative headaches behind.
Establish Fee Structure at Retention
An expert’s legal participation—whether spurred from a sense of civic responsibility, a desire to learn, or an opportunity to earn supplemental income—centers on their ability to share specialized knowledge. But first, a hiring attorney must select you to serve as an expert witness—known as retention. Once an attorney has decided to retain you as an expert, a retainer agreement enters the scene. This is the first instance of establishing expert fees. Within a retainer, the attorney and expert will define the scope of the project, set a timeline for deliverables, and settle on compensation rates.
Also within a retainer agreement, experts can set expectations for their invoicing cadence. This is particularly important for lengthier cases that require periodic billing statements. At this stage, experts should also establish their preferred payment method. Traditionally, firms would pay by check or money order. However, with working styles becoming increasingly remote and tech-dependent, preferred payment (for the convenience of both parties) is moving towards direct deposit and credit card.
Step Up Organization Within Your Payments Hub
Now the nuts and bolts of fee schedules are sorted and the work begins. Expert consulting is often a research-heavy, analytical endeavor. Consequently, this does not always leave ample time for extensive bookkeeping or drawing up custom invoices. This is why Expert iQ provides a comprehensive Payments dashboard for experts. Your Payments dashboard is your hub for all pertinent financial information. At a glance, you can check on all completed and pending payments, see the status of your invoices, or get started on a new bill. Expert iQ Payments keeps all financial documentation organized, secure, and always accessible.
Access One-Click Invoices
From the dashboard, you can generate invoices for any case where you’re a retained expert. It’s simple to add each billable item and its corresponding amount. Each field is customizable, allowing you to easily bill for a trial appearance, retainer, deposition, or travel. Plus, you can add an invoice memo for any additional information.
From here, Expert iQ automatically compiles these fields into a professional, clear invoice ready for review. No more wrestling with fickle templates in Word or Excel. Plus, Expert iQ already houses all the case information. This makes importing your hiring attorney’s contact details effortless. With one click, your invoice is on its way to your contact’s inbox.
Stay Secure with the Power of Stripe
Expert iQ Payments is powered by Stripe, the leading payment processing platform. Through your Payments dashboard, you’ll be prompted to register your financial details with Stripe. This links your preferred financial institution to the invoicing system. As a result, you have a more direct, reliable way to get paid. In fact, it’s the preferred payment method for 90% of attorneys. No more paper checks to walk to the bank or waiting on snail mail correspondence. That’s what we call a win-win.
Review Your Payments Archive & Reporting
You’re busy—chances are your consulting role is in addition to your primary job. But your Payments dashboard is always on. Here, you can always check on the status of your invoices, download them as a PDF, Excel, or CSV document for your own record-keeping, or resend an invoice to a hiring attorney. You can also opt into email or SMS notifications for instant updates on your payments.
Expert iQ Payments also acts as your financial reporting center. You’ll find every invoice sent and every payment received. Also, you can access historical reporting by month or by year. Additionally, you can easily visualize the data, track your earnings, and stay on top of your financials. With Expert iQ Payments, you can spend less time wrangling spreadsheets and more time offering critical insights as an expert witness.