Administrator Guide

Administrators require special rights; usually there is only one administrator in a firms, as the administrator can do things like add or delete users, change passwords, etc.


Every user needs a login name and password.

The login name must contain alphanumeric characters with no spaces, and excluding dots or @ signs. For example, andrew or spjohnson or even aj. The name must be unique.

The user logs in with a combination of login name, followed by a dot or an @ sign, followed by The firm code. This combination comprises the username. For example, andrew.orangelegal or spjohnson@acmelaw.

In addition, the users name and email address must be entered.

For password, there is a password generator. Once the login has been saved, this is the password that is required to login the user. The password is saved in encrypted format for security reasons.

User can belong to different ‘Roles and Permissions’. Everyone has General Access, whereas user can in addition belong to one or more of the following roles: -

  1. Fee Earner can see and access the Fee earner menu options.
  2. Bookkeeper can see and access the bookkeeper menu options.
  3. Access any Matter gives the user access to any matter without requiring the matter owner to explicitly give access (in Matter Also give access to …) .
  4. Administrator has access to this function and associated functions.
  5. Auditor has the ability to lift the freeze date (i.e. to post adjusting journals into a previous period). This lifting last for 1 hour, to prevent it inadvertently being left set, with potential problems arising. If an hour is insufficient, can be set for another hour.

When Fee Earner is selected from Roles and Permissions, this additional information relating to the Fee Earner must be completed

  • Fee earner name.
  • Monthly Fee Target
  • Hourly rates to be used when calculating time-based fees.


LawPracticeZA calculates time-based fees on the number of minutes in 6-minute blocks (tenth’s of an hour), based on the hourly rate selected.

Fee Earners

Provides a list off all Fee Earners, with monthly targets (if assigned).

Adding Fee Earner is the equivalent of adding a new user under Logins above.

When a Fee Earner leaves a firm, they should be ‘expired’ from the firm. See “If a few earner leaves, how do I manage his or her Matters?” under Concepts.

Fee levels

The fee levels are generally setup with the system, but can be expanded or modified here.

Time-based fee levels (Default unit: time) are typically Standard, High, Low, Subsidised (hourly rates).

Unitary fee levels (Default unit: qty) are typically A, B, C and D

The sequence determines the order in which they are presented for selection in the Matter Fee level drop-list.

Fee levels are used when capturing fees, to determine the appropriate rate or tariff scale to use.


The Fee Level selected on a Matter will determine the default setting when capturing fees for the Matter; i.e. whether Standard or High (hourly rate - time-based fee) or A or B for Unitary fee (e.g. tariff item).

Firm Details

Contains firm details, such as address, logo and other contact details, typically used on Invoices and Statements. The more important fields explained below.

  1. Firm is the name that will appear on Invoice, Statements and reports, so should be the official firm name.
  2. The logo will also appear on invoices and statements: browse to select a png or jpeg image of your logo.
  3. The notify email address is used when emailing clients invoices and statements automatically, as is the backup email for saving a copy of the emails sent. It is recommended a separate email address is created for this purpose, where all invoices and statements are then automatically stored.
  4. The VAT number and flag (E for Even months, O for Odd months) determines VAT reporting. N if not registered (i.e. standard invoice without VAT).
  5. Banking details will appear at the bottom of the invoice generated.
  6. ‘Invoice show minutes’ provides the option to show fraction of an hour for time based attendances, as opposed to the default, minutes (e.g. 0.2 rather than 8 minutes). Note that LawPracticeZA applies the standard for law firms; calculating time based on 6-minute (tenths of an hour), so 3 minutes and 6 minutes will both be 0.1, with a calculated charge of R150 for an hourly rate of R1,500. It is recommended that this is explained in a firms letter of engagement with their clients, together with  fee rates and other terms and conditions.


A standard message on invoices (e.g. Payment due within 7 days of invoice) can be added below Banking details.

Set Sequences

This option allows you to change the next number in the sequence for automatically generated reference numbers for the various transaction types.

Set temporary freeze date

This option is only available to a user with ‘Auditor’ privileges.

When the final set of accounts is signed off by the auditor, often months after the financial year end, he or she will generally provide a number of journal adjustments to Balance Sheet accounts.

This option allows the temporary lifting of the ‘freeze date’ for an hour, i.e. to allow transactions to be posted into a previous financial period (which is normally not possible). If an hour proves insufficient, it can be reset. The reason for the 1 hour limitation is to prevent  the freeze date from accidentally being left unset.

Import data

When converting to LawPracticeZA from a previous system , existing data can be imported.

If using a computerised system prior to converting to LawPracticeZA, the data can usually be exported to a spreadsheet, where it can be rearranged in the format required by LawPracticeZA.

The data can be imported in the following categories: -

  1. Clients and Matter, with the option to import Business, Trust and Investment balances.
  2. Suppliers, including Advocates and Sheriffs (for disbursements) as well as office suppliers.
  3. General Ledger accounts.
  4. WIP (unbilled fees and disbursements) can also be imported.
  5. Posting codes can be imported, typically if the posting codes provided by LawPracticeZA are inadequate. Note that it is also possible to add or modify posting codes at any time using the Postiong Code module, and be aware of the Tariff Bundles.


Instruction are included with each import modules. The spreadsheet must contain the precise headings as contained in the listing, but only headings with an * are mandatory.


Import Clients with their associated Matters and balances or Matters for existing clients. There is also an option to import balances for existing Matters, typically use when the balances were not available when initially importing the Matters.


If Matters for existing client/s, the exact client name or code must be entered for each Matter. Their is an option to list the clients currently in the system, where you can cut and paste the name or code. If importing balances only, the Matter code is required.

For balances imported, the General Ledger account DEBTORSCONTROL is updated with the total of all balances in business, trust and investment, respectively.

The opposite entry is posted to the General Ledger account DEBTORSCONTROLSUSPENSE.

  1. For Business balances, a Journal entry (Business) can be posted to debit DEBTORSCONTROLSUSPENSE and credit the imported General Ledger Debtors Control account, as the LawPracticeZA system Debtors Control account is automatically updated (debited) with the import.
  2. For trust balances, a Journal entry (Trust) can be posted to credit DEBTORSCONTROLSUSPENSE and debit the trust bank/s, as the sum of trust creditors should be reflected in the trust bank/s account/s.


The sum of supplier balances will credit the CREDITORSCONTROL account in the General Ledger, with the opposite entry debiting the CREDITORSCONTROLSUSPENSE account.

Once the General Ledger import has taken place (which must be from a balanced trial balance, and will therefore include Creditors), credit CREDITORSCONTROLSUSPENSE in the General Ledger (Journal entry) and debit the imported Creditors control account, as the sum of the creditor balances will now be in the LawPracticeZA system CREDITORSCONTROL.

General Ledger accounts

The spreadsheet to be imported must contained a trial balance of all General Ledger accounts as at the date of take-on; i.e. where the total debits equal credits.

If at the beginning of a financial year, there Income and Expense accounts will have zero balances, and the trial balance will include a retained profit or loss for the previous financial year.

If during a financial year, the income and expense accounts will include balances, with no current profit or loss, as this figure is calculated as the difference between income and expenses.

If Clients Matters with business balances and suppliers with balances are imported, the Accounts Receivable (Debtors) and Accounts Payable (Creditors) balances will be journalised against the DEBTORSCONTROLSUSPENSE and CREDITORSCONTROLSUSPENSE respectively, as detailed above.

Posting codes

Posting codes are used when capturing fees and disbursements, and can be individually added or modified in Masterfile Maintenance.

This option enables you to create a spreadsheet of your own posting codes for bulk import.

As with other imports, adhere strictly to the guidelines presented when you load the module.


For recording unbilled fees and/or disbursements in bulk, the details can be entered in a spreadsheet and imported by this module.

As with other imports, adhere strictly to the guidelines presented when you load the module.