In this post, we’re rounding out our 3-part series “Using Modern Tools to Increase Your Productivity.” For a complete overview of how modern, legal software can help you maintain a more productive law office, read our posts on legal billing and practice management.
Accounting isn’t just one of the most commonly disliked parts of running a law practice – it can also be one of the most time-consuming. With the right tools, legal accounting doesn’t have to be such a headache. Instead, it can be an efficient task that contributes to your overall productivity.
General business accounting, fee advances, retainer accounting, and matter cost accounting all require careful management. There are also multiple account types to deal with, including operating, trust and credit card accounts. Once you add in dealing with posting, reconciliations, and reporting, accounting can become challenging when juggling the many other aspects of running a law practice.
Maintaining these records isn’t optional either. To stay compliant and make sure you have the information you need to make business decisions, you need accurate bookkeeping. But it is possible to have peace of mind knowing your records are up to date and could pass an audit without spending hours and hours of time on the task.
Modern Accounting Tools
Law firms have a number of options available to them when choosing the right type of accounting technology for their firm. While accounting may seem like something that would only be done in the office, having modern, accessible software gives you more than the ability to handle it from anywhere even if the office is closed – it gives you the opportunity to ensure your firm is functional in any situation.
With on-premise, installed software, firms are bound by the actual computers the software is installed on. With hosted cloud, you can access your desktop and the software from anywhere by logging in remotely. While hosted cloud increases accessibility, firms are still bound by software updates, additional licensing costs, and maintenance and IT concerns.
The final option, native cloud, is one you can log in to from any browser, meaning you can get to your information no matter where you are. Native cloud programs are known to roll out frequent updates. Rather than needing to purchase a new license the way you would with a traditional installed software program, you get the full advantage of upgrades and top-notch security services.
Be more productive with your accounting
Knowing all the many tasks that go into accounting, there are plenty of ways to cut down on the time spent on them. The easiest way to do that – leverage technology.
Today’s modern accounting tools come with a whole set of benefits designed to make your life easier.
Legal-specific tools. Without modern tools, you’re left to make sure you’re staying compliant with each and every transaction – which can be a little unsettling given the consequences. With tools designed for law firms, you’ll get the advantage of features meant to help you specifically. From trust safeguards to prevent overdrafting and commingling to mechanisms to maintain overall legal compliance, you’ll get an added layer of protection.
Bank feeds. Import the information you need automatically, eliminating entry errors, and taking one thing off the “accounting to-do” list.
Check printing. Avoid discrepancies and look professional with check printing. Get even more time-savings by printing checks in bulk rather than writing them individually.
Accounts payable. Tired of handling recurring bills? Track them all in your system and set up bill reminders and payments.
Compliant trust accounting means regular reconciliations, including three-way reconciliations. Doing them manually can take hours, especially if the numbers don’t match up. Instead, you can complete them in the click of a couple buttons.
Routine reporting is also part of compliance, but its value goes beyond adhering to requirements. Good business decisions require data. To be able to see what’s happening with your firm and view trends and opportunities, reporting is a necessity.
Modern accounting tools come with the templates you need for reports, plus the ability to export them to an editable format. From general reports to legal-specific ones, you’ll have the information in front of you at a glance to head off financial issues before they have a long-lasting effect on your firm.
Running a law firm isn’t easy. With the right tools, you can focus on practicing law and improving your firm while still making sure the other essential parts of your business are running smoothly. Accounting is necessary – but it doesn’t have to be a headache. Watch the full webinar “Using Modern Tools to Increase Your Accounting Productivity.”