Searching for the best legal accounting software for your business?

Save yourself time and stress. We’re here to help you find the right legal accounting software solution for your work.

What is legal accounting software?

Legal accounting software can help streamline the billing and invoicing process and provide law firms with valuable insight into their cash flow. Additionally, as firms deal with sensitive client data, using a legal-specific accounting software can help them remain compliant with laws designed to safeguard private client information.

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Do you currently use Legal Accounting Software?

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What 5 key Legal Accounting Software features should I look for?

Time tracking

Most law firms bill hourly, so the ability to track the time spent on projects and bill accordingly is crucial. This feature often includes support for flat-fee, task-based, split, contingency and retainer billing. Also includes stopwatch timers, which can be set up to record billable time based on the fee arrangement. Some systems can pull data from other applications, such as calendars or document management, to fill in gaps in billable time.

Billing and invoicing

Generate invoices based on the billable time logged by attorneys. Invoices can be sent through the mail or electronically over email and paid via credit card, electronic funds transfer or a secure payment gateway. Customization options allow law firms to personalize invoices with the firm’s logo and client information. Some systems can be set up to alert firms and clients when bills are past due and automatically calculate a late fee to add to the invoice.

Client portal

Some systems include a client portal, which allows clients to securely submit files and make payments for services rendered.

Contact & client management

Since client relationships are so important, a quality legal accounting solution will contain contact management capabilities, recording information for clients and related parties. Also referred to as “legal CRM.”

Project scheduling

Manage your caseload with a tool that stores information like deadlines, events, documents, notes, action items, billing and payments. Can sync calendar with email and create tasks, set reminders and view scheduling conflicts directly from email.

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Showing 1 - 20 of 97 products
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Showing 1 - 20 of 97 products

NetSuite

With an integrated system that includes ERP, financials, commerce, inventory management, HR, PSA, supply chain management, CRM and more – NetSuite enables fast-growing businesses across all industries to work more effectively by a...Read more

4.10 (817 reviews)

35 recommendations

Sage Intacct

Sage Intacct is a provider of cloud-based financial management and accounting software. Sage Intacct's software solution is suitable for small to midsize accounting firms and can provide financial reporting and operational insight...Read more

4.18 (320 reviews)

34 recommendations

PriceDemo

BQE CORE Suite

BQE Core makes it easier and more profitable to run your business. It organizes information, automates repetitive tasks and allows your firm to spend more time providing service to your clients instead of managing internal process...Read more

4.42 (543 reviews)

18 recommendations

Multiview ERP

Multiview Financials is the flagship ERP system developed, sold, implemented, and supported by Multiview Financial Software. Multiview is designed for organizations ranging in size from rapidly growing small businesses to large en...Read more

4.40 (10 reviews)

17 recommendations

PriceDemo

Sage Fixed Assets

Sage Fixed Assets delivers the most comprehensive fixed asset management solution offering 4 modules to allow businesses total control of their assets. From before they become fixed assets through the depreciation cycle and disp...Read more

4.04 (40 reviews)

7 recommendations

PriceDemo

Xledger

Xledger is a cloud ERP software that is scalable and user-friendly. Used by 6,000 companies, this integrated solution is great for companies seeking streamlined automation, business intelligence and the ability to track analytics....Read more

4.67 (6 reviews)

1 recommendations

PriceDemo

transcendAP

transcendAP, built on the Kofax TotalAgility Intelligent Automation platform, is an accounts payable automation solution that uses cognitive capture, document intelligence, AI, and process orchestration to dramatically transform a...Read more

No reviews yet

1 recommendations

PriceDemo

QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise is an accounting solution designed for SMBs across different industry verticals such as construction, nonprofit distribution, manufacturing, and retail. With QB Enterprise solution, any business owner can exp...Read more

Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks Online enables users to download and reconcile credit card transactions that allows businesses to organize weekly timesheets and track bank deposits. What is Quickbooks Online? Quickbooks Online i...Read more

Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM ecosystem for small, medium and enterprise organizations, with a focus on Sales, Field Service, Customer Service complete with strong integrations with Microsoft’s other Office 365 offer...Read more

Software pricing tips

Read our Legal Accounting Software Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

Xero

Xero is an accounting system designed for small and growing businesses. Xero connects small businesses with their trusted advisors and provides business owners with instant visibility of their financial position. As a web-based so...Read more

Wave Accounting

Online accounting software that provides features including invoicing, billing, payment tracking, payroll management, finance management, credit card processing, and receipt scanning. Wave Accounting is designed to help businesses...Read more

Happay

Happay is a cloud-based expense management solution that helps medium to large businesses manage and track expenses. It uses AI and machine learning technologies to automate processes related to expense claims management, reimburs...Read more

PriceDemo

QuickBooks Online Advanced

QuickBooks Online Advanced is a cloud-based accounting solution that helps small to large enterprises manage expenses, projects, invoices and more. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to gain insights into b...Read more

PriceDemo

TimeSolv Legal Billing

TimeSolv is a cloud-based legal time tracking and billing solution that caters to law firms, accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project ma...Read more

Zoho Books

Zoho Books comes with automatic bank feeds, collaborative client portal, accounting and taxing, online payments, invoice templates and analytical reports. The system allows users to manage multiple time sheets of different project...Read more

Zoho Invoice

Zoho Invoice is a 100% free cloud-based invoicing solution designed to help small businesses with invoicing, tracking expenses and, accepting online payments.Key features include project billing, time tracking, reporting, customiz...Read more

PriceDemo

CosmoLex

CosmoLex is a comprehensive legal management software designed for smaller and solo firms. It offers integrated features to manage all aspects of a practice: document management, case management, time tracking, and calendaring....Read more

Agiled

Agiled is an all in one business management platform. It comes with built-in CRM, HRM, Financial Management, Project Management and Time Tracking. Users can manage all of their business in one place and provide a client portal acc...Read more

PriceDemo

Sage 100cloud

Sage 100cloud is a market-leading cloud-connected ERP platform for medium-sized manufacturers, distributors, and professional service businesses. Financials, budgeting and planning, inventory, supply chain, production management, ...Read more

PriceDemo

Popular Legal Accounting Software Comparisons

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: May 16, 2022

Legal accounting software is an essential part of an attorney’s practice management system, and frequently revolves around projects and time logs. Because law firms often bill as a function of time, work time and schedules should be highly organized to produce detailed reports for the inquisitive client.

Time can be broken down into date, activity and billable or nonbillable criteria. Goals for total annual billable hours can be recorded and compared to the actual hours worked for evaluation. In addition, software can arrange invoices based on the time logged.

We wrote this guide to help those in the legal field evaluate accounting software. We’ll explain the features and functionality to be on the lookout for, as well as best practices for evaluating systems.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software?
Common Features of Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software
Evaluating Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software
Key Purchase Considerations

What Is Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software?

Legal accounting software can help streamline the billing and invoicing process and provide law firms with valuable insight into their cash flow. Additionally, as firms deal with sensitive client data, using a legal-specific accounting software can help them remain compliant with laws designed to safeguard private client information.

Firms can purchase legal accounting software in the following ways:

Best-of-breed, or standalone. Law firms may choose to purchase a standalone accounting system if they are currently using case management software that doesn’t have an accounting module, or if their existing billing and invoicing solution doesn’t have all the accounting features they need to accurately track their bookkeeping.

Offered in suite, as part of a larger practice management system. The accounting module is bundled with other business functions, such as the client portal, document management system and marketing. Data transfers seamlessly between applications, which helps save time and reduce errors due to duplicate data entry.

On-premise, hosted on-site on the law firm’s internal servers. Usually sold via perpetual license, the law firm owns the rights to the software. They are charged a one-time, upfront fee and are responsible for supporting and maintaining the software on their own. Firms can make an additional purchase of software updates and upgrades from the vendor as needed.

Cloud-based, hosted remotely on the vendor’s servers. Typically, cloud-based products are sold via subscription licensing, which means the firm pays a recurring monthly or annual fee to use the software for that amount of time. The subscription fee includes the cost for vendor-supplied support, maintenance and automatic updates.

Common Features of Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software

While capabilities vary, legal accounting systems typically include the following:

Time tracking Most law firms bill hourly, so the ability to track the time spent on projects and bill accordingly is crucial. This feature often includes support for flat-fee, task-based, split, contingency and retainer billing. Also includes stopwatch timers, which can be set up to record billable time based on the fee arrangement. Some systems can pull data from other applications, such as calendars or document management, to fill in gaps in billable time.
Billing and invoicing Generate invoices based on the billable time logged by attorneys. Invoices can be sent through the mail or electronically over email and paid via credit card, electronic funds transfer or a secure payment gateway. Customization options allow law firms to personalize invoices with the firm’s logo and client information. Some systems can be set up to alert firms and clients when bills are past due and automatically calculate a late fee to add to the invoice.
Client portal Some systems include a client portal, which allows clients to securely submit files and make payments for services rendered.
Contact & client management Since client relationships are so important, a quality legal accounting solution will contain contact management capabilities, recording information for clients and related parties. Also referred to as “legal CRM.”
Project scheduling Manage your caseload with a tool that stores information like deadlines, events, documents, notes, action items, billing and payments. Can sync calendar with email and create tasks, set reminders and view scheduling conflicts directly from email.
Trust accounting Managing a client’s funds, whether in real estate, family/estate planning, bankruptcy or any other trust situation, brings an extra level of complexity. Trust accounting software will include features to support managing multiple financial accounts, tracking funds, designating escrow agents and credit and debit allocation.
General ledger Allows law firms to manage accounts payable (liabilities), accounts receivable (assets), bank reconciliation and client retainers. Includes login/access for accountant and/or bookkeeper. Helps prepare tax filings based on the information stored in the system.
Financial reporting Generate reports on trust ledgers, client payment history, attorney productivity and more. Filter data by practice area, case file, attorney, etc. and gain insight into business trends.

Evaluating Legal and Law Firm Accounting Software

Legal accounting software should be able to record billing and time information in different ways for flexible application. Although law work is often based on time billing, the right accounting software will provide a range of pay options, as listed above. A good software package can also come with abilities to report for multiple clients at different rates and organize the information according to user preferences.

When evaluating these systems, buyers should consider the following:

  • How deep are the schedule reporting abilities?
  • Does it include appropriate payment arrangements?
  • Is invoice generation linked to payment records?
  • Does it provide adequate project sorting, tracking and progress features?

Key Purchase Considerations

Law firms should keep the following considerations in mind as they evaluate legal accounting software:

Integration: In a recent report, “integration with other systems” was cited as a major challenge by nearly 30 percent of legal software users surveyed. To avoid a similar issue, firms can purchase legal accounting software in-suite, as part of a larger practice management solution. Alternatively, when purchasing a standalone accounting system, firms are encouraged to demo products prior to purchase to determine if they are compatible with existing business software.

Mobility: Even in the legal industry, telecommuting and working remotely is gaining in popularity. Mobile applications allow attorneys to track their time and view client information from any location, on any device with a mobile connection. As billable time ties directly to the accounting system, check with vendors to see how popular their mobile apps are and compare uptime, speed etc.

Security: Since lawyers deal with sensitive and often confidential information, ensure your accounting software has advanced security controls to restrict sensitive information to only the people who need it.