Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped dozens of law firms choose the right accounting software so they can accurately track billable hours and automate invoicing.

Showing 1-20 of 84 products

NetSuite

NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 69 recommendations

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Multiview

For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 53 recommendations

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Deskera ERP

Deskera ERP is a cloud-based enterprise business management suite that automates sales, billing, fulfillment, distribution (including pick, pack and ship process), sales commission calculations, purchasing, payment processing, product... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 44 recommendations

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Sage Fixed Assets

Sage Fixed Assets is a hybrid asset management solution that helps businesses track and manage the fixed assets through different steps of asset lifecycle. The solution offers integrated accounting features and multiple methods to... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 24 recommendations

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Xledger

Xledger is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that caters to midsize and large businesses that helps them to manage day-to-day operations by automating routines ranging from bank reconciliation to invoice entry.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Workday

Workday is a cloud-based enterprise resource management (ERP) suite suitable for global businesses of all sizes in a variety of industry verticals. Workday delivers user and administrative tools across financials, HR, planning, talent,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management, formerly known as Sage X3, is an ERP software suite that includes integrated functionality for financial management, sales, customer service, distribution, inventory, and manufacturing, and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Bench Bookkeeping

Bench is the online bookkeeping platform for small business owners. Each month, Bench automatically gathers transaction data from all connected business accounts. Then, a dedicated team of bookkeepers ensures books are tax-ready. With... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Infor CloudSuite Financials

Infor CloudSuite Financials is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the cloud. It delivers... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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BQE Core - Integrated Accounting and Project Management

BQE Core is a cloud-based solution that offers integrated business accounting, project management, and business intelligence. It can support the operations of a variety of industries, including legal services, architecture firms, engineering,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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EBizCharge

EBizCharge offers a suite of payment processing, billing and invoicing solutions. It includes payment integrations to accounting, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, e-commerce platforms, mobile solutions... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Beyond Software

Beyond Software is a project accounting and management software system available for small to mid-size companies. The system allows organizations to manage and execute around their projects by increasing visibility and creating accountability.   Industries... Read more

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QuickBooks Enterprise

QuickBooks Enterprise is an accounting solution suitable for small to midsize businesses across several industry verticals including construction, distribution, manufacturing, and retail. The solution offers functionality to manage... Read more

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QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a web-based accounting solution that caters to individual accountants and small businesses. The solution helps with bank reconciliation, tracking expenses, drafting invoices and monitoring financial reports, among... Read more

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Freshbooks

Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution that caters to small businesses. Freshbooks serves various industries, such as marketing, legal services and business consulting, trades and home services and information technology (IT). Key... Read more

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Xero

Xero can support the needs of law firms with functionality for time and billing to bill out at a flat-free, contingency or task-based rate. The software also includes features for inventory tracking and fixed asset depreciation. Read more

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Wave

Wave is a web-based integrated accounting solution exclusively designed for small organizations. Collectively, the solution features accounting, invoicing, billing, payment tracking, payroll management, finance management and receipts. With... Read more

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Zoho Books

Zoho Books is a cloud-based accounting solution suitable for small organizations. It features contact management, invoices, expenses, sales and purchase orders, project time tracking and inventory management. Zoho Books comes with... Read more

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BillQuick

Law professionals across the globe use BillQuick for daily tracking and case management, while managing retainers and trust funds. It also allows lawyers to divide large cases into phases: deposition, discovery, proceedings, etc. Read more

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Sage 50cloud

Sage 50cloud is core accounting software for small business. It provides billing and invoicing, inventory management, security and analytics/reporting. It offers industry solutions for a variety of business segments, including construction,... Read more

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Buyer's guide


Last Updated: March 14, 2019

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.