Like it or not, a law practice, at its core, is a business. And businesses of all shapes and sizes need to perform general bookkeeping functions and track their finances. The easiest way to do this is to use law firm accounting software. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense to some practitioners, this is not typically something your office can afford to go without.
As with any new application you implement in your practice, it may take some time to initially get your system running. Fortunately, many of these options, like Quickbooks, have robust support and documentation, to help you get started. However, it is not uncommon to have your system set-up by a professional. Either way, it is important to take the time on the front-end to set it up correctly.
The following article, and the related reviews, should help you determine what type of software is best for your practice. Keep in mind, however, that some Law Practice Management Software (LPMS) provides full accounting within their systems. For those of you just starting out, or on a budget, it may be worth looking into whether your LPMS already has that function.
Law Firm Accounting Software (Alphabetical List)
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- Looking for Bench accounting reviews? Bench is North America's largest bookkeeping service for small law firms. Learn more about Bench.
- Lawyerist's review of Gusto payroll software finds it a helpful add-on for lawyers and law firms without separate HR departments. Learn more about Gusto.
- QuickBooks is an all-in-one accounting solution and a good option for firms that may need to scale their accounting needs in the future. Learn more about QuickBooks.
- Xero is cloud-based accounting software suited for general-purpose accounting for small law firms and businesses, though it lacks trust accounting features. Learn more about Xero Accounting Software.
- ZipBooks is a cloud-based, intuitive, full accounting software that allows you to create invoices, track time and expenses, and integrates with your bank. Learn more about ZipBooks.
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How to Choose Law Firm Accounting Software
When choosing law firm accounting software, it can be challenging to know which specific features you need to keep your business running smoothly. We’ll try to make it easy.
- First, determine your firm’s needs. Some programs offer only accounting features, while others will allow you to accept credit card payments online, manage your payroll, and more.
- Read through our feature definitions list. Here, you will find the typical offerings of law firm accounting software, and be able to compare the features of each.
- Then, get more information about the software that most interests you by visiting the product page for each.
- Finally, sign up for a trial account with one or two likely software options, put them through their paces, and select the one that will work best for your firm.
Law Firm Accounting Software Feature Descriptions
Bookkeeping. Double-entry bookkeeping.
Connect Bank Accounts. Link your bank accounts for up-to-date transaction information with little or no manual data entry.
Online Payments. This means the ability to accept credit card or echeck payments within your accounting software, either through its own payment portal or via a third-party integration like PayPal or Square. Most online payments involve a separate processing fee.
Mileage Tracking. Keep track of miles traveled visiting clients or heading to the courthouse, making it easier to tally for taxes or billing purposes or add to your expense reports.
Bill Payment. Pay your firm's bills without leaving your accounting software.
Statement Reconciliation. Helps with the complex task of balancing your business accounts. Does not necessarily include more advanced reconciliation features like three-way trust account reconciliation.
Payroll. Payroll includes automatically calculating employee taxes, printing checks, and paying by direct deposit.
Tax Preparation. Some accounting software can also be used to prepare taxes for your firm so you can review, approve, and even pay your taxes all in one place.
Reporting. Businesses need reports to help assess key business performance indicators like profit and accounts receivable. Some products have more robust reporting features than others.
Contact Management. Store contacts for invoicing or billing purposes.
User Management. Manage multiple users, including your accountant and tax preparer, or multiple billers or timekeepers at the firm.