Q&A With LeanLaw Accounting Pro and QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor Laurette Clash

A QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor since 2009, Laurette Clash confirms that if you’re ready to have clarity about your money, grow your business with vitality, and create healthy financial habitudes, then she can assist you. Laurette is one of our first LeanLaw Accounting Pro partners.

Tell us about how you onboard a new client.

During the complimentary consultation, I get the client to think about goal-setting. For most firms, this includes taking a look at workflow, then the workflow in relation to financial management. This helps me to see how QuickBooks Online can streamline the tasks to be more productive. I customize my work with a new client based on their business needs.

How do you advise your law firm clients regarding IOLTA trust accounts?

We encourage the best practices:

  • separate accounts
  • establishing liability per client/matter
  • reconciling each month

Most law firms I meet with initially don’t even have liability accounts set up. To be more productive and to be able to see at a glance the cash flow and balance is crucial. When trust and liability accounts are set up and itemized, my clients can track when trust is received and each time it was transferred to pay for client invoices. Reconciling each month solidifies that whole process.

How are law firm clients different from other clients?

My law firm clients have different workflows that require the tracking of time, reimbursed costs and trust accounts per matter. Beyond that, it’s the same: recording business transactions, pulling that into client invoices and cash flow statements.

Why did you become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor?

There are multiple benefits of being QuickBooks ProAdvisor. A ProAdvisor is a student-teacher of QuickBooks: Intuit provides update on trends and best practices for a bookkeeping/accounting firm. Secondly, there is always an opportunity to learn about procedures on to how troubleshoot various bookkeeping issues. Lastly, it a pleasure to share my knowledge and experience as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor with my clients and business associates.

What financial information should an attorney be reviewing to ensure her practice is fiscally healthy? With what frequency should this data be looked at?

There are three primary reports that an attorney and/or business owner should review. They are:

  • the Balance Sheet — reports on the firm’s variance of cash (assets) to liability to determine its net worth
  • Income Statement — demonstrates how a firm manages its cash operation for potential expansion
  • Statement Cash Flow — should be done monthly – the review of the income statement reveals the firm’s ability to be profitable and sustainable throughout a specific period

If a principal attorney were to look only at one report, which is the most important?

The statement of cash flow focuses solely how the firm is managing its cash flow variance and how-to strategize for potential capital expansion.

We have a slew of clients moving into QuickBooks Online from non-QuickBooks accounting platforms. What guidance can you offer to help them manage this migration?

Most clients do not like change, so I focus be on the “Benefits” of the change.

During accounting migration, there are three procedures to identify;

  1. the “Familiar” procedures with a new look
  2. the “Efficiency” procedures
  3. the “Good-Bye” procedures

The Familiar procedures with a new look includes typical accounting procedures with new screen looks. For example, client invoice, checks and reports have the same function, but a new look.

The Efficiency procedures would include the bank feeds and reconciliations. Both procedures save time and improve productivity.

The Good-Bye procedures include data entry, single screen access, and other outdated procedures.

Given an inherent bias that folks have who use QuickBooks Desktop over QuickBooks Online, what do you say to those considering moving online? Is the bias valid?

Bias is not the right word. Ten years ago, baby boomers would never think about working online. Since then, everything has moved in that direction: this is the future.

I focus on accessing and serving the goals and needs of our client, and then determine the appropriate accounting platform to improve the firm’s efficiency and productivity.

What makes QuickBooks Online a better tool for small law firms?

QuickBooks Online is designed for non-financial individuals and it is user-friendly. There are different versions to meet the needs for new and existing firms. Lastly, QuickBooks Online has automated tracking of business transactions to reduce the time and effectiveness for firms.

How is QuickBooks Online affecting the accounting community? Is it changing how bookkeepers and accountants interact with their clients?

It’s been a wonderful change! QuickBooks Online has increased the bookkeepers’ efficiency and productivity especially with supporting apps like Leanlaw and hubdoc.com.

Good bookkeeping seems to be about repeatable workflows. How do you get an organization trained when you start working with them?

Good bookkeeping is not about repeatable workflows, but rather, the ability to interpret and properly record a business transaction. Even though automation has streamlined workflow, we still need to scrutinize some transactions. It is more than just data entry.

Once we understand the goals and needs of a client, the next step is to develop a workflow and system to meet those objectives. The final step is to establish a procedure manual that can be used to maintain the accounting operation and train staff.

For More information about Laurette Clash and PIE Accounting, please visit her website.