When it comes to your law firm’s basic accounting needs, there are numerous legal accounting software options on the market. From cost-effective alternatives to extensive accounting platforms, you are sure to find the tools you need to address your general accounting needs.
However, while these platforms provide functions that allow you to perform your firm’s basic accounting tasks, they fall short when it comes to some of the specific needs of a law firm. Don’t panic though. With the right combination of general accounting software and a comprehensive legal billing system, you can ensure that your law practice has the tools necessary to handle all of your accounting needs accurately and efficiently.
The following are five of the most popular legal accounting software commonly utilized by legal firms:
NetSuite legal accounting software is designed to accommodate numerous types of businesses, including some aspects of legal practice. Using enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions, the program works to integrate the various tasks of business management, including sales, service and back-office processes. As a web-based program, NetSuite requires an internet connection to access your accounting records, but it can be used remotely through a web browser or mobile device. It also allows attorneys to export data into IIF or CSV file extensions.
The applications offered by NetSuite Financials include:
- Financial accounting
- Financial reporting and analytics
- Payment management
- Order and billing management
- Supply chain management
- Inventory management
Online reviews of NetSuite tend to be favorable, though they are mostly in relation to businesses within the sales industry and not specific to law practices.
QuickBooks is one of the most widely used legal accounting software options across all industries. It provides a quick and easy process for tracking revenue and expenditures, including payments from clients and all overhead expenses. The program is also useful for the management of billing and invoices, allowing lawyers to create custom rates and perform calculations automatically.
In addition to tracking, QuickBooks includes a reporting feature, which allows law firms to access and review various business reports. You can even preschedule them and have them automatically sent to you or your clients.
QuickBooks reviews are favorable for general accounting tasks, but attorney reviews tend to mention the lack of applications and feature specific to the practice of law. For example, certain trust accounting tasks and time tracking needs are not adequately met with QuickBooks.
AccountEdge offers legal accounting software, with no monthly subscription required. After the initial purchase, your firm owns the software, along with all of the valuable financial data you add to it. Its client management system allows you to maintain client contact information, including up to five addresses, emails, phone numbers, and other details. You can also attach representation agreements to your client contact cards and set appointment reminders.
With the AccountEdge command center, you can run reports on all aspects of your law firm, including sales and invoicing, purchases, payroll, and inventory. You can also handle your own payroll and utilize their direct deposit options to pay your employees. If payroll isn’t your thing, you can outsource it to AccountEdge with their Full-Service Payroll option.
Wave legal accounting software has been advertised as a great option for solo small practices, particularly due to its affordability. It offers various service options, including a free plan that still includes numerous features necessary for a firm’s general accounting needs. With Wave, firms can link their bank’s accounts to see income and expenses quickly on their easy-to-use dashboard. The program also allows you to import bank statements, so they can be organized and categorized. The program does not offer any tax preparation functions, but it does allow for some reporting to make tax filing easier.
For law firms that choose the paid service options, they can also use the credit card processor for an additional fee. However, these services may not be properly designed to meet specific law firm credit card processing rules. Wave also offers outsourcing options for a monthly fee. With this plan, Wave will handle payroll, direct deposits, and other check printing needs.
While Wave is a viable accounting option for small firms with a tight budget, it does not provide the comprehensive accounting options that law firms need for overall success.
Xledger uses automation, insight, and scalability to assist law firms with their accounting needs. Their automation capabilities range from work-flow and bank reconciliation to invoicing. Lawyers can view detailed insights into their firm’s accounting data, with scalability that easily allows for new entities and updates.
The company also offers various project management capabilities, allowing for a comprehensive view of such elements as:
- Project profitability
- Cost management
- Time management
- Budget overages
As a cloud-based system, XLedger allows for access from all devices, whether working in or out of the physical office. However, like the other mentioned accounting software, XLedger lacks some of the capabilities needed for a complete law firm accounting experience. But that is a problem that can be addressed and solved with the integration of the right legal billing and time tracking platform.
Filling in the gaps
Regardless of which legal accounting software you choose for your law practice, you still need a comprehensive legal time tracking and billing software to complete all of your law firm’s accounting tasks. TimeSolv fills in these gaps and then some. This cloud-based technology helps you efficiently track time and create seamless invoices. It also provides project management options that enable you effectively plan, implement and manage projects for the most efficient and cost-effective handling of client matters.
TimeSolv offers full integration capabilities for three of the highlighted accounting platforms – AccountEdge, Xero, and QuickBooks. You can effortlessly sync with each of these accounting platforms, transferring data bidirectionally between TimeSolv and each of them, so that you never have to enter data twice. Once it’s in either program, it’s in both.
To learn more about TimeSolv and its integration with popular accounting legal software platforms, click here for your free, no obligation trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.