Are you still using QuickBooks for legal time tracking and billing?

Written by Erika Winston

5 min read

QuickBooks is a staple of small business. Millions of entrepreneurs use the software for their accounting and billing needs, including many attorneys and small to midsized law firms. However, while QuickBooks has plenty of valuable accounting tools, it falls short of what law firms need to track client work and create invoices. In this post, I’m going to tell you why you should not rely on QuickBooks for legal time tracking and billing.

Now, this is not an attempt to belittle QuickBook’s accounting capabilities, but the program does miss the mark on some key necessities within a legal practice. No worries though. I won’t leave you without an effective solution. TimeSolv legal time tracking and billing fills in the gaps of QuickBooks. These folks recognize that, although QuickBooks is a solid accounting program, that is where it ends. So, they have created a platform that seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks, allowing your firm to benefit from its accounting tools, while utilizing TimeSolv’s efficient time tracking and billing systems.


What the experts say

QB Seminar Systems is an organization that helps small business owners across numerous industries learn to use QuickBooks tools. One of their website’s training resources provides instruction on setting up QuickBooks within a law office. Ironically, the advice provided on the site speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the software in meeting the specific needs of a law firm.

As stated on the QB Express website, “OuickBooks for law firms has the capability to handle the majority of a law firms needs if it is correctly set up and data is entered in the proper manner on a consistent basis.” While this may sound like a positive at first, a closer look raises some questions. First, it says that the QuickBooks can meet most of your practice needs, which means that there are some tasks the software cannot handle (namely, efficient time tracking and certain billing applications). Second, it points out that successful execution requires the consistent and proper entering of data. Again, what appears to be a reasonable requirement actually results in a lot of extra work. Let me show you what I mean.

Accurate trust accounting is vital to effective law firm management. With QuickBooks, in order to completely segregate your client trust accounts from your firm operating account, you must establish a separate company profile within the program. Extra steps are also necessary when moving funds from a client’s trust account for payment of an invoice. Now, this may not be a big deal if you are only working with one or two client trust accounts each month. But for a firm that needs to make 10 or 20 of these transactions monthly, those extra steps can add up to a lot of wasted time. TimeSolv allows you to make these transactions with ease. Simply set up your software to automatically transfer funds from client trust accounts for payment of an invoice. It’s a tool that saves you and your staff members valuable time.

Another trust accounting issue where QuickBooks falls short is account replenishment. With QuickBooks, it is necessary to consistently review trust account balances and manually send out replenishment requests to clients. TimeSolv allows you to modify this process, by setting trust account thresholds and automatically requesting fund replenishment. For example, let’s say that you set Mr. Smith’s trust account at a replenishment level of $800. You then send him an invoice for payment that lowers his account balance to $500. With TimeSolv, a replenishment request is automatically included on your invoice. There is no need to send out an additional notice, or repeatedly review trust account balances. Just set the replenishment amount and let TimeSolv do the work.


Time tracking needs

Small Biz Club is a networking and resource organization for small businesses. The folks over there posted an article about the pros and cons of QuickBooks. The most common complaint was that the program is not industry specific, which is the crux of the problem with using QuickBooks for all of your law firm needs. It’s not made to handle everything your legal practice needs to accomplish. For instance, time tracking in QuickBooks is far from efficient or convenient. The desktop version only allows you to track time while sitting at your desk in the office, which is not exactly conducive to today’s mobile work environment. Even with their online version, you still need an internet connection in order to track your time.

TimeSolv is all about quick, accurate, and efficient time tracking. The program can be used on your desk top, a tablet, or any smart phone – even without an internet connection. It also allows time tracking for more than one timekeeper, so attorneys and support staff members can track and bill for the same client matter at various cost levels.

So, let’s recap. TimeSolv fills in the gaps left by QuickBooks in the following ways:

  • The ability to easily move funds from client trust accounts for payment of invoices.
  • The ability to automatically send trust account replenishment requests.
  • The ability for different users to simultaneously track time for the same matter at different billing rates.
  • The ability to see what tracked time has been billed and what track time still needs to be billed to the client.

While QuickBooks offers useful tools for general accounting, it is lacking in offerings that are specific to the legal industry and law firms. Time tracking and billing are major aspects of running a legal practice, and QuickBooks just does not provide the necessary support for handling these tasks. You need a legal time tracking and billing software like TimeSolv to fill in these blanks and provide the tools you need to efficiently track time spent on matters, accurately create client bills, and effectively take payments from clients – whether they are paying a bill or replenishing a trust account.  Rely on TimeSolv to fill in the gaps and provide you with the tools your law office needs. Click here for a free trial offer.

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. 

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