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Comprehensive Guide: Billing Workflow

  • Introduction

    In Clio, the life of your client invoices has a number of different states depending on if your firm has a billing approval process.

    In this chapter, you will learn how to manage the billing process from generating the invoice, editing and approving the Draft bill, sharing the bill with clients, and paying the bill.

    Did you know? You can personalize bill share emails by using your own email address instead of the default generated alias Turning on this feature is an easy way to ensure bill collections through better bill deliverability when bills are shared within Clio (immediate notifications when bills bounce back or get blocked), higher degree of trust from the client, and more control and efficiency. See these support articles on Clio's Outlook Add-in and Gmail Add-in for more details.

    You will also be introduced to the Quick Bill feature that allows you to add a new client, Matter, and charges at the time of generating an invoice.

    For a quick start to understanding the billing workflow in Clio, we suggest starting with the "Billing in Clio" video on the next page.

  • Video: Billing in Clio


    Additional billing videos can be found on our Billing Workflow playlist.

  • Bill States Overview

    Bills in Clio are categorized into six states and move through each state as part of the billing workflow.



    Pending Approval



    By default, bills are generated into the Draft state.

    While in Draft state, you can take the following actions on your bills:

    • Edit the bill details including adding and removing line items.
    • Send the bill.
      By default, a printed or sent bill will have a "Draft" watermark.
    • Delete the bill.
      Deleting a Draft bill will return the line items to the Matter so that they can be included on a future bill. 


    Pending Approval

    Pending Approval Bills have the same properties as Draft bills.

    The Pending Approval state is useful for firms that require bills to be approved by someone other than the timekeeper.

    When submitting bills for approval, the timekeeper can send a notification to the Clio user responsible for reviewing and approving bills. Until approved, these bills will be in the Pending Approval state.


    Unpaid Bills

    Bills that have been approved and are ready to be paid can be found in the Unpaid state.

    While in Unpaid state, you can take the following actions on your bills:

    • Edit certain bill details such as the Invoice ID, Subject, P.O., and Notes.

      By default, line items cannot be edited on approved bills.

      Instructions for enabling the ability to edit line items on approved bills are detailed in the "Bill Settings, Bill Themes, & Payment Profiles" chapter of this guide.

    • Send bills for clients to review or to pay online with our Clio Payments feature.
    • Void bills with no payments, if required. 

      Approved bills cannot be deleted. If a bill was approved in error, it can only be voided. For more information about voided bills, see below.



    Once a bill has been paid in full it can found in the Paid state.

    • Paid bills cannot be edited, deleted, or voided.
    • Paid bills can be printed or shared with clients.



    Bills in draft, pending approval, unpaid, and paid states can be found in the "All" state.



    Approved bills that have been voided or deleted can be found by clicking the "Archive" subtab.


    The Void state provides a record of those bills that had been approved then removed for whatever reason.

    • As with Paid bills, Void bills cannot be edited or removed from Clio.
    • Void bills can be printed or shared with clients and will display a "Void" watermark.
  • Generating and Editing Bills


    Generating Bills
    Editing Bills
         Modifying Individual Line Items
         Adding Line Items Directly on a Bill
         Deleting Line Items Off a Bill


    Generating Bills

    Once you have added time and expenses to a Matter, you will be able to generate bills for that Matter.

    To generate a bill, go the the main "Billing" tab and click on the "New Bills" tab on the top right corner.


    All Matters with billable activity (time or expense entries) are listed here.

    To find a specific bill or to restrict this list to those Matters with time and expenses entered within a specific date range, click "Filter" on the right side.


    Once you have found the Bill you want to generate, click the checkbox on the left side to select it.

    Click the "Generate" button to open the bill generation options.


    For detailed information on the bill generation options available, see the "Creating Bills" article. 

    Once generated, the bill can be found in the Draft state.


    Editing Bills

    By default, only bills in the Draft and Pending Approval states can be edited. To edit the line items on bills in Unpaid status, you will have to enable that option from the "Bill Settings" page.

    Instructions for enabling the ability to edit line items on approved bills are detailed in the "Bill Settings, Bill Themes, & Payment Profiles" chapter of this guide.

    To edit the content on a bill:

    1. Open the bill
    2. Click the "Edit" button

    On the Edit bill screen, you can make changes to all bill details (such as the Invoice ID number, taxes, Due Date, notes etc.) and line items. This is also where you can apply discounts to individual line items or to the entire bill total.


    Modifying Individual Line Items

    Did you know? You can generate bills with only time or only expense entries? Learn more here.

    You can modify the details of a line item on a bill except for the user. Additionally, you can specify which taxes and any discounts that are line specific. 

    Changes you make to line items will populate back to the Matter unless you de-select "Update records". Make sure to click "Save Invoice" when you are done editing.


    Adding Line Items Directly on a Bill

    To add line items directly to a bill, click on the "Add time" or Add expense" link above the line items. 

    Complete the fields for the new line item as required and then click "Save Invoice".

    Deleting Line Items Off a Bill

    If you delete a line item from a bill, that time or expense entry will be included on the next bill that you generate for that Matter.

  • Approving Bills

    When you have finished reviewing a bill in the Draft state, you will have to approve it before payments can be applied. 

    If your firm requires a secondary review before a bill can be approved, see the Submitting for Approval steps in the "Billing Workflow" article.

    To approve a single bill:

    1. Open the bill
    2. Click the "More actions" menu button
    3. Select "Approve"

    To approve multiple bills in bulk:

    1. Navigate to the "Draft" section of the main "Bills" tab
    2. Select the bills to approve by checking the boxes at the left
    3. Click the "Submit for approval" menu button
    4. Select "Approve"

    Note: If you want to apply available trust funds to a Bill while approving it, you can follow the workflows shown above. Just select "Approve & apply trust" instead of "Approve".

    If the Issue Date of a bill that you are approving is in the past, you will be given the option to the Issue Date and Due Date. By changing the Issue Date, the interest and early payment periods will update accordingly.

  • Sending Bills

    Clio offers four methods for sending bills with your clients.


    Sharing a PDF Bill via Email
    Sharing a Bill via Email for Clients to Pay by Credit Card (Clio Payments)
    Sharing a Bill via Clio for Co-Counsel/Clio Connect
    Sharing Bills in Bulk

    To send a bill using any of these options, navigate to the bill and select "Send" from the "More actions" dropdown menu.


    Sending a PDF Bill via Email

    In the "Send bill" window, select your client or enter in the name of another Contact to send the bill to.

    You can only send bills via email with clients or Contacts that have a valid email address in Clio.

    For the subject and body of your bill message, you can add autofill that will pull-in information from the matter and contact.

    When sending a single bill or multiple bills by email, you can see a preview of what your client will see. The bill email preview will show next to the send bill modal. When sending bills in bulk, click "Next email" and "Previous email" to see what each bill will look like.

    Under "Send method" ensure that "Email with PDF via secure link" is selected to send the bill to your client via a secure link where they can pay online. Select "Email with PDF attachment" to send the bill to your client as a PDF attachment.


    Click "Send bill" to send the emailed bill, or "Send" to send multiple bills.

  • Note: When you share a bill with multiple recipients, they are included on a single email thread to make communication and payment clear and easy.


    Sending a Bill via Email for Clients to Pay by Credit Card
    (Clio Payments)

    Accounts with Clio Payments enabled can send a bill with a client for payment online. 

    The steps are the same as sending a bill via email without Clio Payments enabled (detailed above) except that the client's email will contain a "Pay Bill" button. 

    Clicking "Pay Bill" will open a payment form in your client's browser. 

    For more information about allowing you clients to pay their bills online using the Clio Payments feature, see the "Sending a Bill to your Client via Email for Payment" article.


    Sending a Bill via Clio for Co-Counsel/Clio Connect

    When sending a bill with your client via Clio for Co-Counsel/Clio Connect, the client will receive an email notification with a link to view the bill. 

    If this is the first time that your client is accessing the portal, they will have to set up a password before being able to view the bill.

    In the "Send bill" window, select your client and then select "Clio for Co-Counsel" under "Additional settings."

    For the subject and body of your bill message, you can add autofill fields that will pull-in information from the matter and contact.


    Once your client has logged into the portal, they will be able to view their bill. 

    For information about how how your clients can interact with their bills in Clio for Co-Counsel/Clio Connect, see the "Working with Bills in Clio for Co-Counsel/Clio Connect" article. 

    Sending Bills in Bulk

    To share bills in Bulk, select the desired bills and then select "Send" from the dropdown menu.


  • Receiving Payments


    Payments on Bills
    Payments from Trust
    Payments on Multi-Matter Bills
    Payments on Multiple Invoices
    Receiving Credit Card Payments Online


    Payments on Bills

    Payments can be recorded on approved bills in the Unpaid state. 

    When viewing a bill, click "Record Payment".

    In the "Record payment" screen, you will be provided with the following options: 

    1. Payment date
      The default is today's date, but you can change this.
    2. Source
      This is where you are drawing the funds from. Select "Direct Payment" for cash and check payments, an account (IOLTA/Trust, or an Operating Account) to use prepayment funds, or "Credit Card" to process a credit card you have on hand for the client. 
    3. Destination Account
      Lists the Operating Accounts available to deposit the funds into. (IOLTA/Trust accounts, as per most trust accounting rules, are not permitted to contain funds earned by an attorney, and cannot be selected as a destination account.)
    4. Reference
      You can add a checking or reference number if necessary.
    5. Amount to record
      Enter the amount the client is paying towards their bill. You can overpay a bill (put more in the Payment field than what is due), but you cannot pay an amount greater than what is in the Source Account.
    6. Description
      Edit or add to the payment note which will be recorded on the bill.

    After filling in the details of the payment, click the "Record payment". 


    Payments from Trust

    Trust funds are not automatically applied to Bills. In order to show the application of trust funds, you can either use the Auto Trust Application feature, or record a payment from a trust account.

    Detailed steps for adding trust transactions are covered in the "Bank Accounts and Transactions" chapter of this guide".

    When recording payment onto a Bill, the trust account must be selected as the Source Account. Once you save the payment, the funds will automatically be moved from the client’s trust account to the operating account that you've selected.


    Payments on Multi-Matter Bills

    For clients with time or expense entries in multiple Matters, you can generate a multi-Matter Bill.

    For detailed steps on how to generate a bill for multiple Matters, see the "How to Generate and Pay Combined Multi-Matter Bills" article.

    When recording payment on a multi-Matter Bill, you will select the payment Source and Destination just like on a single Matter Bill. However, you will be able to choose the Payment amount for each Matter individually.

    If you are paying from a Trust account, only Trust funds at the client level will be available.


    Receiving Credit Card Payments Online

    Accounts with Clio Payments enabled can receive payments on client bills when given access to the client's credit card information.  

    When recording payment on a bill, select "Credit Card" as the source. The "Record Payment" button will change to say "Billing Information". Click that button to proceed.

    Enter the billing information to record the payment. Note that Clio Payments does take 24 hours to process the payment and deposit the funds into your account.

    For full details on how to record payments with a credit card, see the "Accepting Credit Card Payments in Clio" article.  

    Clio Payments is only available to our Boutique and Elite subscribers.

  • Applying Writeoffs

    Clio’s credit note feature allows you to write off amounts owing on bills.

    There are two ways to accomplish this:


    Adding a Credit Note While Receiving a Payment

    To add a credit note while receiving a payment, enter a payment amount less than the total amount owing on the bill. Once this amount is entered, the option to write off the remaining balance will appear.


    Adding a Credit Note from within a Bill

    To add a credit note when viewing a bill, click on the "Credit Notes" tab, then click "Add credit note". 

    Both of these methods result in the creation of a credit note which is visible in the “Credit Notes” tab of the bill page. Credit notes can be tracked in Clio using the following reports:

    • Revenue Report
    • Work in Progress Report
    • Invoice Payments Report
    • Billing History Report
    • Accounts Receivable Report
  • Quick Bills

    Quick Bills can be created when viewing a Contact Card, or when viewing a Matter. The Quick Bill will pull in all billable time and expense for the relevant Contact or Matter.

    Creating a Quick Bill when Viewing a Matter

    On the Matter detail screen, click "Quick Bill".

    The "New Quick Bill" page will display the time and expense entries which will comprise the bill. Clicking "Generate Bill" will create a bill exactly the same as the ones generated from the main "Bills" page.

    For more information about creating Quick Bills, see the "Quick Bills" article. 

    Next Chapter topic: Tasks

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