QuickBooks Online is the preeminent accounting platform for small businesses. QuickBooks on its own can be used for legal billing, however, it’s a general accounting software. If you think of QuickBooks Online as a platform — like the app store — you’ll get a better understanding of what can be accomplished. QBO has its core functionality (like an iPhone), but it’s a platform that outside apps make smarter, leveraging the iPhone capabilities (text, data, phone).
Intuit has a QuickBooks Online app store. These apps integrate with QuickBooks to make it more custom to the task that you are looking to accomplish. For law firms, the top-rated legal app in the QBO app store is LeanLaw.
LeanLaw is the financial operating system built for law firms that administrators and attorneys use to ensure everything billable is being captured, money flows through the firm properly and reports are always run-ready, so firms can operate in a seamless way from anywhere and maximize firm profitability using any practice model.
LeanLaw takes the robust capabilities of QuickBooks Online and customizes them for law firm accounting. The deep integration between LeanLaw and QBO means that there is only one set of data with QuickBooks as the source of truth. With continual sync, the accounting folks can work in QBO while the law office staff works in LeanLaw and everyone is looking at the same data in real-time.
What software do lawyers use? Best in Breed is the way to go
Some law firms use practice management software (Clio, MyCase, PracticePanther). The idea is that every feature within the practice management software integrates and everyone is on the same page. In theory, that’s terrific. The reality is that most practice management law softwares are terrific for one feature, but the rest of the features are just OK, not great. You can’t be good at everything! Why settle for features you don’t love? You won’t use them, most likely. And that just means that you are overpaying for your legal practice management software.
Best in breed software is another route: since modern software can create integrations with other software, you can create a tech stack. Use only the best software for every task you need. For example:
- QuickBooks & LeanLaw for accounting
- Box.com or Epona / Microsoft 365 for document management
- Gravity Legal for trust accounting and payments
- Office 365 or Google Workspace for client communication
QuickBooks Online has a slew of integrations that make a tech stack much more appealing than most of the average features in legal practice management software.
Why law firms must use legal accounting software as core workflow
Economic vitality of the law firm and the financial opportunities for the stakeholder are the reasons why you modernize your legal accounting software. In today’s modern law firms, lawyers become transient based on economic opportunity and culture. Overhead and antiquated workflows impede opportunity and create hassles for the attorneys. Lawyers don’t want hassle; they want easy. How:
The full life cycle of a client, from onboarding, through reporting starts with timekeeping which you can input from anywhere, on any device. Keeping track of billable hours is crucial: without this initial data entry, you have a weak idea of what to charge your law firm clients – unless you work with flat fees. Timekeeping is not only useful in knowing how much to charge a client, it will also provide the law firm with insights into productivity, compensation, profitability and more. It all starts with timekeeping.
Additionally, the right software will create the proper business infrastructure so that the law firm and its stakeholders can realize their full economic potential. Streamlined operations are foundational to recruiting and retaining the best talent as today’s top earners are more transient than ever. (It’s never been easier to move a law practice or start a law firm.)
If your timekeepers don’t track time in a timely manner, they will lose time. Even recording time at the end of the day rather than contemporaneously will cause one to lose billable hours. It’s essential to have timekeeping and billing software that is easy to use, accessible, and available in different ways: calendaring, timers, and a mobile app. When timekeepers enter time on a consistent basis, bookkeeping, invoicing, accounting, trust retainers — the workflow instantly becomes more profitable because you understand the foundation of your business.
With LeanLaw connected to QuickBooks Online — and QuickBooks Online Advanced, a version of QuickBooks more suitable to midsize law firms — timekeeping gets pushed automatically to invoicing. The benefit of automation is that there are fewer opportunities for human error and a huge time savings and riddance of manual work. Time tracking on a legal pad and giving it to your secretary is a sure way to decrease productivity and profitability in your law firm.
What is the most used Legal Software?
QuickBooks Is the industry leader, with more than 200,000 Pro Advisors — accounting professionals who are proficient in QBO software. Having your pick from hundreds of thousands of bookkeepers and CPAs who know how to use QBO is a huge advantage.QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors are trained and certified. LeanLaw took the lead from Intuit and created their own type of ProAdvisor: we call them LeanLaw Accounting Pros (LAPs).
LAPs are experts in:
- QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Advanced
- Legal Accounting
Just like Intuit, LeanLaw believes in matching up our clients to accounting professionals so that it’s a win for everyone.
Another benefit of QuickBooks is that it is connected online to any bank that you could think of working with. You can make payments through ACH transfers, credit cards — QBO is a longstanding, trusted software.
LeanLaw, QuickBooks and IOLTA Trust Accounting
Where LeanLaw really shines in its customizing of QuickBooks is legal trust accounting, which can be overly complicated if you are not using software created specifically for this task. LeanLaw helps make staying in compliance with ABA regulations easier, helps you delineate between the operating bank account vs. the trust retainer accounts, and reduces what used to be a 12 step process in QuickBooks alone into a few clicks. Many law firms that used to shy away from retainers due to their accounting complexity are using them with great success. The functionality of taking retainers radically decreases accounts receivable and increases cash flow.
LeanLaw’s integration with Gravity Legal makes trust requests and balance reminders even simpler. LeanLaw invoices can even show the legal client’s trust balance in a custom field.
The best software for your law firm is legal accounting software that has been created and honed by people who have worked in law firms. That’s LeanLaw.
Please note that LeanLaw does NOT integrate with QuickBooks Desktop