Viewabill brings transparency to billing industryBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on April 1, 2013 at 8:00 am
A new product developed by entrepreneurs David Schottenstein and Robbie Friedman, and legal heavyweight Alan Dershowitz, uses cloud-based technology to give clients insight into their service providers’ billing activity.
Launched March 11, Viewabill lets clients know where their money is being spent in real time via free web and mobile applications, giving them access to their bills anytime, anywhere.
The legal and accounting industries have long been plagued by billing issues, specifically the sticker shock clients frequently experience when opening their bills each month. Previously, there was no way for clients to monitor whether hours were being entered regularly and accurately, or crammed in at the end of each month.
“For more than a century, law, CPA and other firms have provided complicated, murky and inaccurate bills to their clients, leaving them paying more and understanding less,” said Friedman. “Viewabill eliminates surprises and provides a safe, efficient process.”
By giving control over billable hours to the client, Viewabill’s creators say it increases accuracy and incentivizes service providers to keep current billing and performance updates.
“Transparency, visibility and accountability should be at the core of every attorney-client relationship,” said Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor since 1967. “It’s imperative our billing systems become more efficient and capitalize on the myriad of opportunities created by the digital revolution.”
Viewabill’s dashboard allows clients to see work being performed on their behalf across multiple firms, even industries. It also lets clients request real-time clarification about activities, receive alerts or emails when specified thresholds are reached, and use the “Pencils Down” feature to notify providers when to stop work.
Additionally, Viewabill integrates seamlessly with existing billing software systems.
In 2011, Schottenstein −founder of Columbus-based custom clothier Astor & Black− and Friedman −a corporate attorney in New York City− began working together. In an attempt to maintain their friendship, the pair worked out a successful billing process that became the foundation for Viewabill.
Schottenstein, who sold sold his interests in Astor & Black in 2011, said the Viewabill team realizes that transforming the billing industry won’t happen overnight.
We feel like David taking on Goliath,” he said. “We’ve definitely experienced resistance from some big firms, but as clients continue to push for it, everyone will eventually embrace transparency. If a firm refuses to adopt Viewabill, the client should ask why.”
To learn more about Viewabill, visit Viewabill.com.
Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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