Showing 1-20 of 86 products
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
Recent recommendations: 65 recommendations
Deskera ERP is designed as a powerful and intuitive suite of business solutions with one goal in mind – to make digital transformation simple. This transformation has to be simple and economical. It is why Deskera has trusted users... Read more
Recent recommendations: 64 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 60 recommendations
FINSYNC provides multi-user cash flow management in the cloud to US-based small and medium-sized businesses. Businesses can upgrade from payments to invoicing, bill pay, payroll, project tracking, time tracking, expense reimbursement,... Read more
Recent recommendations: 51 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations
Deskera’s business app and the first B2B super app is designed for today’s workforce that’s always on the go. Built for all platforms the DESK App is available for iOS and Android and is feature rich at no cost. Desk Mobile... Read more
Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations
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
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
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
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
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
Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations
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
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 business... Read more
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
Wave is a web-based integrated accounting solution exclusively designed for small businesses, freelancers, and consultants. Wave provides features including accounting, invoicing, billing, payment tracking, payroll management, finance... Read more
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, reimbursement,... Read more
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
TimeSolv is a cloud-based time tracking and billing solution that caters to accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers, helping them manage daily business operations. TimeSolv integrates project management features such... Read more
Zoho Invoice is a cloud-based solution designed to help small businesses automate processes for tracking expenses and accepting online payments. Key features include project billing, time tracking, reporting/analytics, customizable... Read more
CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management solution that offers features including time tracking, billing, trust accounting, task and document management. The solution connects all modules so that users do not have to enter information... Read more
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?
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.