QuickBooks® Online is not full-featured for all industries; however, Intuit® relies on best-of-breed apps to fill in the gaps. If you think of QuickBooks Online as a platform, like iTunes, where you shop around for apps for the functions and features you need, you’ll have a new perspective that you can use to your advantage.
LeanLaw, a QuickBooks Online app, has clients that include law firms with 20+ lawyers. Although many law firms believe the myth that QuickBooks Online will not work for their (larger) small law firms, LeanLaw finds this not to be the case. Here are some of the issues that have been brought up by these larger firms:
Reporting: Alone, QuickBooks might not be able to supply all the data needed by law firms to understand their profitability. With the addition of forecasting apps, CRM apps and, specifically, LeanLaw, law firms can find insight on timekeeper details, client, attorney productivity and, where applicable, compensation. LeanLaw also facilitates reporting related to origination and firm share models. This is done in real time, showing what was billed and what was collected.
Trust accounting: Although QuickBooks can accomplish trust accounting on its own, it’s a much more fluid workflow with LeanLaw. This is one of LeanLaw’s greatest features: our ability to simplify trust accounting into a few simple clicks. Your bookkeeper and accountant will love you: no more manual work, reconciling two sets of books. You are always in sync and reporting IOLTA trust accounts is in compliance.
Oversight: A comptroller for a larger law firm expressed concern that changes in the financial records might not be recorded in QuickBooks. She worried that someone could make a correction and she would not be alerted to the change. This is a misconception. Each transaction in QuickBooks has an audit trail. You can also assign very specific user rights, ensuring the correct visibility and control over your staff access to the financials, whether that’s a general partner, timekeeper, bookkeeper or someone else. Some users will have access to all the data and others can be limited to data input. With LeanLaw’s real-time communication with QuickBooks, even users who don’t have access to QuickBooks can see live accounts receivables (AR) and trust balances, including specific transactional details.
Online vs. Desktop: All of the above information only works if you use the online version of QuickBooks. We see a near-future conversion to QuickBooks Online (from Desktop) as a must for any law firm that wants efficiency, accuracy and the lifestyle of a modern law firm.
The law stack
The following apps have a focused expertise, so the workflows and features tend to produce better results compared to all-in-one apps such as law firm practice management software. With the right apps and the right support, QuickBooks becomes a finely-tuned machine for law firms or any professional niche. We call our list of add-ons “The Law Stack” (more on that in another post).
Imagine a law stack including:
- LeanLaw for the timekeeping/billing/reporting.
- CollBox for debt collections.
- InvoiceSherpa or Chaser for AR management.
- Hubdoc for financial document collection and storage.
- Expensify or Bill.com for receipt tracking and expense management.
- QuickBooks Payments (CC and ACH) to expedite invoice delivery and payments.
Get a LeanLaw demo here.