Bookkeeper User Guide¶
All the functionality necessary for a law firm to maintain accurate and up to date business and trust accounts is provided by LawPracticeZA. There are sections dealing with posting transactions, maintain files necessary for the accounting system, administration and management reports and a section for period-end procedures.
Certain accounting entries are generated automatically by LawPracticeZA. For example, when an invoice is generated,
- The Clients Matter business balance is debited with the invoice total and an invoice transaction generated.
- The debtors control account in the General Ledger is debited with the invoice total.
- The Income account is credited with the sum of fees invoiced, ex VAT (if VAT applies).
- The Disbursement income account in the General Ledger is credited with the sum of disbursements invoiced, ex VAT (if VAT applies).
- The VAT account in the General Ledger is credited with the VAT amount, if VAT applies.
This section covers the modules available to bookkeepers for recording all other accounting entries, maintaining necessary files and extracting appropriate reports.
LawPracticeZA provides several posting modules to make it easy to capture the various types of transactions that apply to South African law firms.
Transactions captured are a record of the physical transaction, for example, receiving money from a client into trust, where the payment received from the client has been paid into the trust bank account, whether via EFT or a cheque received and deposited.
LawPracticeZA automatically debits and credits the appropriate accounts, reducing posting errors.
The only time a bookkeeper is asked what to debit or credit is when posting journals. Based on the transaction type, LawPracticeZA determines what to debit and credit from the Matter or account selected.
The table of contents (left pane) for this section mirror’s the LawPracticeZA menu, making it easy to find the instructions and explanation you are looking for. Main items can be expanded to expose the sub-sections, much in the same way as the menu in LawPracticeZA.
Recording accounting transactions¶
This section explains the various modules available in LawPracticeZA for capturing transactions.
Receiving monies from clients¶
In the books of the law firm, a payment received from a client is considered a receipt, and posted as a Matter Receipt. All receipts from a client are posted to Matters, so there may be cases where a ‘control’ Matter is required, used to distribute a receipt between several matters for the same client. In November 2018 a new feature was added, where a receipt can be posted to separate matters (split the receipt), which can eliminates the need for a control account.
When receiving a payment from a client, the receipt can be deposited into either the business or trust bank account, updating the Matters business or trust balance accordingly.
To record the receipt of a trust transfer payment from trust into the Business Bank, post a Matter Receipt, Business, against the Trust Transfer Clear Matter.
Where a client is paying for work already done and invoiced, the payment should be made into the firms business bank account. If paid into trust (i.e. where there is an equal or larger business balance on the matter), the funds will be transferred when the next automatic trust transfer is run. In all other cases the payment must be receipted into the trust bank, and posted accordingly.
Whether the payment received is in the form of a Cheque or Cash, via a Credit Card or EFT, will influence how it is processed. See Banks and Receipt Methods for a full explanation of this.
The narration entered will appear on the clients statement.
Receipts to multiple matters / split receipts¶
A client may make a single payment in respect of multiple matters. Select Multiple (the default is single). You will then be asked to select the client, and the selected clients matters will be displayed, together with business or trust balance.
For business receipts, as you select a Matter, the balance, up to and including the receipt total, is automatically selected, but can be changed.
For trust receipts, the amount must be entered against each selected Matter.
In both instances, the sum of the amounts receipted to each individual matter must equal the total amount of the receipt entered.
Payments to or on behalf of clients¶
Where trust monies are paid to a third party on behalf of the client, a trust payment is posted against the matter.
The clients matter must contain a credit trust balance equal to or greater than the payment; if not, this will cause the clients Matter to go into a trust debit and a negative transfer to take place.
To record the payment of a trust transfer to the Business Bank, post a Matter Payment, trust, against the Trust Transfer Clear Matter.
There are rare occasions where a firm will make a business payment on behalf of a client, for example, in a property transactions were rates must be paid urgently and the money has not been received from the client.
Posting suppliers invoices¶
Suppliers providing a service submit an invoice, which is processed via the Suppliers Invoice module. Suppliers can include
- Advocates, Sheriff’s and Expert witnesses: Disbursements
- The landlord, phone company, the Bank (bank charges) and stationary store: Business Expenses.
- Furniture and Office Equipment suppliers: Assets
Multiple lines per invoice can be captured, to accommodate different VAT settings and/or expense allocations. If all line items are of the same type (VAT and expense category), one line item can be entered for the entire invoice.
Until the supplier is paid, the amount of the invoice will reflect as a credit on the suppliers account, included in creditors control in the General Ledger, and shown under the appropriate age period on the Suppliers Age Analysis.
As VAT is derived from invoices, it is important to accurately record suppliers invoices where VAT is involved (where the law firm is registered for VAT). This includes supplies such as telephone accounts and rent, even bank charges, were traditionally these might be posted directly from the bank / cash book. LawPracticeZA accommodates this type of transaction by including an option ‘Paid immediately’ on the suppliers invoice posting, so that the correct transactions are posted, (i.e. the invoice updating the supplier and expense account and the payment updating the bank and supplier) without requiring additional data capture. A ‘Cash or COD Creditor’ can be used for these type of transactions.
Also note that invoices from Advocates and others that are disbursed, are a ‘purchase’ as well as a ‘sale’, so must be captured as a supplied, as well as be posted against the client as a disbursement. There is an option to raise the disbursement ‘sale’ on the client at the same time as posting the disbursement ‘purchase’ against the supplier. There is some controversy as to whether a VAT registered law firm should charge a client VAT for a disbursement from a non registered supplier (e.g. an Advocate). Where a firm is registered for VAT, and a disbursement service is provided where the supplier (e.g. Advocate) is not registered for VAT, the ‘sale’ can be recorded using a non vatable posting code, and no VAT will be raised on the invoice to the client.
Once you have completed capturing the line item/s, click cancel to return to the invoice, then scroll down for the Paid and Disbursement options and when complete, do not forget to click OK to accept the entry.
Paid: by default not Paid (i.e. immediately), but can ‘Capture payment now’. This option requires selection of the bank, and the amount of the payment.
Disbursement is not selected by default. If selected (i.e. to record the disbursement cost against the client), select the Matter and the Posting Code (which can be a vatable or non vatable code) and enter the narration to appear on the clients invoice.
Posting suppliers payments¶
Supplier invoices increase the amount owed to suppliers, whereas a payment to the supplier reduces the outstanding amount owing.
If a client pays a deposit that includes an amount to cover disbursements, and the disbursement is captured and subsequently invoiced, the disbursement amount will form part of a trust transfer, and the supplier is paid from the business bank.
Posting business receipts¶
Business receipts are used to post receipts into the business bank where the account affected is a general ledger account.
An example is where a partner pays money into the firm, affecting his or her capital account.
Posting business payments¶
Business payments are for payments from the Business Bank account where a supplier is not involved; for example, paying SARS for VAT or Tax, or a partner a share of profit (Capital account)
Section 86(4) [78(2A)] Investments / Withdrawals¶
When an investment is made on behalf of a client, the clients trust funds are withdrawn and deposited into an individual Section 86(4) [78(2A)] account, in their name. LawPracticeZA automatically creates a separate Section 86(4) [78(2A)] account for the clients Matter, linked to the investment banking institution.
It is assumed that all investment are with a single investment banking institution but if there are multiple institutions, let us know and we will set them up for you.
The information required when posting is the Matter and the trust bank from which the funds to invest are to be withdrawn.
- Debits the Matter in Trust and Credits the Matter in Investment
- Credits the Trust bank and debits the clients Section 86(4) [78(2A)] investment for the Matter.
When an investment is withdrawn, the opposite posting occurs (the Section 86(4) [78(2A)] account for the Matter obviously exists and is not created).
Section 86(4) [78(2A)] Interest / Charges¶
When interest is earned on a clients Section 86(4) [78(2A)] investment, the bank notifies the law firm and the interest is posted, automatically updating the investment account and the clients investment balance.
For bank charges, post a negative amount (e.g. enter -35.60) and the same accounts are updated, in reverse.
An automatic trust transfer includes all Matters with
- trust funds available; i.e. trust credit less reserve trust, and
- a debit business balance; i.e. the client has been invoiced for work done and/or for a disbursement.
If a Matter has either a trust debit balance or a business credit balance, a reverse transfer will be generated.
The transferable amount for a Matter is the lessor of the available trust and the business balance. For example, if R500 in trust (credit) and R300 in business (debit) R300 will be transferred, leaving a R200 trust credit balance.
When Processed, the program updates each Matters business (credits) and trust (debits) balance, simultaneous updating the system-generated ‘Trust Transfer Clearing account’ (debit business and credit trust). The report total, i.e. the sum of all individual transferable amounts, less any reverse transfers (if applicable), is the amount available for transfer; this is the amount to be paid from the trust bank and deposited into the business bank (two separate postings: a Matter Payment - Trust, and a Matter Receipt - Business), both posted against the system-generated ‘Trust Transfer Clearing account’.
A report is produced reflecting the transferable amounts, with the total that is available for transfer. The totals are split by trust bank (determined by which bank received the funds). If a Matter has multiple receipts, from different banks, these amounts will be reflected under ‘Mixed’.
After physically paying the transferable amount from the trust bank account into the firms business bank account, the recording of the transfer is completed by posting
- Matter Payment - Trust, posted against the system ‘Trust Transfer Clearing account’, clearing its trust balance.
- Matter Receipt - Business, posted against the system ‘Trust Transfer Clearing account’, clearing the business balance.
Bank Recon from printed bank statement¶
The Bank Recon lets you select a Bank and a period, then provides options for
- Display unreconciled entries only,
- All Rows, i.e. unreconciled (red) and reconciled (green), and
- Export all rows to Excel
Remember to Apply selection or changes, and scroll down to view entries.
Click to toggle between unreconciled and reconciled; i.e. you can change an item marked as unreconciled (red) to reconciled (green), or visa versa.
If you have downloaded/emailed bank statements in spreadsheet or PDF formats then rather use Reconzilla for a faster bank recon experience. An additional advantage of using imported bank statements is that you can post transactions directly from the bank statement.
Where the payment method for receipts is EFT / direct deposits, the bank is updated immediately, so there is no need for a bank transfer, as is necessary for Cheques and Cash or Credit Cards.
When cheques and cash are received, they are first stored in the office before being deposited at the bank. The deposit on the bank statement reflects as one amount: i.e. the total deposited, which is the amount transferred from the in-house bank to the bank.
The Bank transfer is also used to record the transfer of cash from the Business Bank to Petty Cash. Petty Cash is considered a ‘Bank’ in LawPracticeZA (and can be reconciled like any other bank).
When credit card payments are received, they are not immediately reflected in the Bank account, but only reflected when periodically posted in bulk by the bank. For this reason, these type of receipts are posted to the Trust or Business Merchant Bank, and when transferred by the bank, the total is posted to the appropriate bank by a Bank Transfer, from the Merchant Bank (clearing the Merchant Bank) to the Bank account.
Journal entries are between Matters and Matters, Suppliers and Suppliers or General Ledger and General Ledger accounts.
For Matters, journal entries are between Business and Business, Trust and Trust or Investment and Investment.
General Ledger can be posted between business and business - all normal General Ledger accounts - or between Trust and Trust, typically Trust Bank accounts.
An example of a General Ledger journal entry is posting depreciation of an asset (e.g. office furniture and equipment that the firm has purchased): Debit the expense account Depreciation and credit the (contra) asset account Accumulated Depreciation.
Auditors years-end adjustments are typically journals between assets and liabilities (Balance Sheet accounts) There is a special ‘Auditors’ setting (need Auditors privileges to set) which allows posting to a previous period.
Maintain Master files¶
General Ledger accounts¶
Provides a list of all General Ledger accounts, with the option to add a new account, or update an existing account.
Although trust banks are not part of the firms General Ledger, they are included here to enable maintenance, but as trust, do not appear in the firms financials.
GL Account Categories¶
General Ledger accounts can belong to a number of categories.
This option allows you to view and add categories, as well as arrange GL accounts according to categories.
There are main categories such as Assets and Liabilities, which can contain sub-categories, such as Current Assets. A sub-category is a ‘child’ of a ‘parent’ category. There can be multiple levels of sub-categories.
The ARRANGE option enables you to assign General Ledger accounts within a category or sub category. The tool provided includes instructions on how to do so.
Suppliers are Advocates, Sheriffs and Expert witnesses (disbursements) as well as office suppliers, such as Walton’s.
You can also create a Cash / COD supplier for immediate payments, such as the telephone accounts and bank charges (where a suppliers invoice is still required to be posted if VAT applies, but where immediate payment can be recorded at the time of posting the suppliers invoice).
Department can be used to assign Matters to a department, or assign expenses to a department.
Departments are most commonly used in Matters to assign tariff bundles (see below).
If a department selected is from a tariff bundle (e.g. ‘Conveyancing’ or ‘Mag Court 2017 Defended’) then, when capturing a Unitary Fee for the Matter, the posting codes included in the tariff bundle will be available for selection under Activity.
Posting codes are used when Capturing Fees and/or Disbursements against a Matter.
Posting codes can be time-based (fee / time), Unitary (fee / qty) or Disbursements (disbursement / qty).
When capturing fees or disbursements, selecting Fee, Unitary or Disbursement will provide a list of the corresponding posting codes for selection.
If the Fee level on the Matter is set to Standard, High, Low or Subsidised, Fee Capture will default to time, else Unitary (A or B, C or D).
Generic codes are posting codes without a department.
Generic codes are included in all lists of posting codes, including where a tariff bundle has been selected for the matter under department.
Tariff bundles are groups of tariffs that are common to a specific type of matter; e.g. a Conveyancing matter, a Magistrates Court or a High Court Matter.
Produces a list of clients, which can be filtered.
Options to Add a new Client or update and existing client: click the three vertical arrows next to the client and Update. If a client has no linked Matters, you can also delete a client.
View Expired for a list of clients that have been deleted.
Produces a list of Matters, which can be filtered.
Options to Add a new Matter or update an existing Matter: click the three vertical arrows next to the Matter and Update.
View Expired for a list of archived Matters. Note that to archive a Matter, click on the Matter and once loaded, click the archive icon (top right on Matter).
To restore a Matter from archived, View Expired, click on the Matter and the Unarchive Matter icon in the top right corner.
Creating a Bank (Business or Trust) will automatically create a linked account in the General Ledger.
Apart from the regular bank accounts, an In-house Business and an In-house Trust account is used to store business and trust cheques and cash, respectively, before being deposited. Once deposited, the transaction is recorded by transferring the amount deposited from the in-house bank (reducing it to zero) to the Bank account. This is the amounts that also appears on the Statement from the bank.
Receipt methods link to bank accounts, and are displayed for selection (Business or Trust) when posting Receipts, etc.
Receipt methods include Cheques and Cash, EFT and Credit Cards.
Receipt Methods, in conjunction with Banks, allow for the various methods of managing different types of payment received; whether directly into the bank (EFT), stored in-house prior to deposit (Cheques and Cash) or recorded prior to transfer by the bank into the bank account (Credit Card receipts). The Bank Transfer module is used in conjunction with the latter (i.e. all except EFT, which are immediately debited to the bank); i.e. to transfer from the ‘holding bank’ to the bank proper.
In addition to the manual Bank Recon module, Reconzilla deals with imported bank statements, automatically matching against the firms corresponding Bank account, where possible, and providing the option to manually match, where not.
Reconzilla also allows you to post directly from the imported bank statement, by right-clicking an entry and choosing the transaction type. See see details below.
As different banks have different formats, various bank formats are provided. There can be different formats even for the same bank; for different account types, regions or languages. We are adding more formats all the time. Feel free to submit a new format which appears to not be supported.
Currently supports formats are:
- ABSA Transaction History CSV
- ABSA Transaction History PDF
- Capitec Statement PDF
- Capitec Statement OFX
- Fingo CSV
- FNB CSV
- FNB PDF
- FNB Transaction History CSV
- FNB Transaction History PDF
- FNB Trust PDF
- FNB Statement OFX
- Generic Excel (XLS)
- Nedbank CSV
- SnapScan CSV
- Standard Bank (BizLaunch) PDF
- Standard Bank PDF (various versions)
- Standard Bank Transaction History CSV
- Standard Bank TXT
- Standard Bank OFX
- Generic OFX
Previously imported bank statements¶
Each Bank name is displayed under IMPORT: click to select a Bank. The Banks details are displayed. Any inconsistencies or errors are highlighted by Reconzilla. The main function provided is to process the bank statement. You can also delete a previously imported bank statement, or click on the thumbnail to view the original statement.
Processing the Bank Statement¶
The imported bank statement details are displayed in the left of two panes, the LawPracticeZA bank details (Cash Book) displayed in the right.
If you post directly from the imported Bank Statement (see below), items are automatically reconciled. If bank transactions have been previously captured, you can reconcile them: -
- Auto Match. This will automatically find and match transactions between the Bank Statement and the Bank account that obviously match, reconciling the transactions.
- Manual Match. This is where you tick transactions that you can see are a match (where the auto match could not find an obvious match). Once ticked, click manual match and the transactions will disappear.
Posting transactions from the bank statement¶
Once the matching process is complete, any transactions remaining in the left pane, i.e. the Bank Statement, are transactions that have not yet been captured in LawPracticeZA; for example, receipts or payments, bank charges (business bank only, not allowed for trust banks) or interest. Right-click a transaction for the following options
- Quick bank charge (on a bank charge entry): the entry will be posted to LawPracticeZA, crediting the bank and debiting Bank Charges in the General Ledger, and disappear (automatically matched). Note: the bank must have a ‘Supplier’ selected for Bank Charges.
- Quick interest (on interest earned or charged): the entry will be posted to LawPracticeZA, updating either Interest Income or Interest Charges, and the Bank account, and disappear (automatically matched).
- Matter receipt: The Matter Receipt module will be loaded with Trust or Business selected, the Payment Method selected and the date, narration and amount from the Bank Statement filled in. Find and select the Matter, modify the narration if necessary and accept, as you would a normal receipt. The entry will be posted and the transactions disappear (automatically matched).
- Matter payment: same principle as Matter receipt.
- Bank Transfer: for example, Petty Cash withdrawal.
To provide for flexibility, all reports can be exported to a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel or the open source LibreOffice). The export has been optimized for reporting. There are two main categories of reports,
- Best analysed via a Pivot Table. For example, using a Pivot Table, Unbilled Fees and Disbursements and Invoiced Fees and Disbursements can provide details and totals per Client and Matter, Fee Earner and Period, in detail or summarised. Charts are are an idea way of presenting summarised data in a way that makes it easy to consume.
- Best analyzed via Tables, where every column automatically includes a drop-down filter and sort option. For example, for Statement of Accounts, from a complete list of General Ledger accounts with transactions for a selected period, a specific account can be selected, or only a particular type of transaction.
There are many short YouTube videos that explain how to use Pivot Tables and Tables, which are tools that make it quick and easy to analyse all types of data.
Statement of (General Ledger) accounts¶
Produces a list of all General Ledger accounts, with transactions, for the selected period.
Any transactions prior to the ‘from’ date in the selection are reflected as a Brought Forward balance.
The report can be exported to a PDF document or a Spreadsheet (e.g. Excel).
Everything posted to LawPracticeZA, whether automatically (accounting transactions when generating an invoice) or manually (a receipt or journal entry) is recorded in the audit trail.
The audit trail can be generated for a selected period, the default being from the 1st of the current month to the current date.
All transactions posted in LawPracticeZA are double-sided, so the running balance always returns to zero.
Various types of transactions can be viewed; by default, all accounting transactions are displayed.
A filter (search) option allows you to find transactions based on matches in the transactions, whether amount or type of transaction, or even a matter name.
Bank Recon report¶
The bank recon report shows the selected LawPracticeZA Bank balance and unreconciled (to the bank statement) transactions. The calculated result should be the same (reconciled) as the bank statement for the selected period.
Client Statement will produce a financial statement for the client reflecting all Matters with a balance or movement for the selected period. If the ‘to’ date is left blank, it will be to the current date.
The statement can be for all or selected Matters.
A summary of the statement is shown, with options to create a PDF (with or without page breaks between Matters), Send (email as PDF attachment to Matter email address) and hide reversals.
Statements show transactions in three sections; Business, Trust and Section 86(4) [78(2A)]. This makes it clear for clients to see the movement and what they owe, what is held in trust on their behalf and what is invested on their behalf. The release of trust funds for work done (transfers) is also reflected in the business and trust sections.
Produces a list of all Clients Matters transactions, for the selected period.
The output can be in the form of a report, with options to export to a PDF document or a Spreadsheet (Excel).
A second option is to produce a single PDF document, which included all Statements for clients matters with transactions during the elected period, emailed to the email address entered.
Provides a report of all transactions for the selected Matter, Supplier or General Ledger account, for the selected period, with the sum of transactions preceding the ‘from’ date shown as Brought Forward, and a graph of the movement and balances over the selected period.
For Matters: Business, Trust and Investment transactions for the selected period are shown separately.
Trust Transfers report¶
For every trust transfer processed, a report is generated.
All reports are listed in chronological order, with the most recent first.
Click on the three vertical arrows to select PDF; the report can then be viewed, printed or emailed.
The totals on the report per bank are the amounts that are to be paid from trust to business, with both the Matter Payment (trust) and Mater Receipt (business) posted against the system ‘Trust Transfer Clearing’ account.
If there is one or more reverse transfer included in the report, and the sum of reverse transfers exceeds the sum of transfers (or there are no transfers other than reverse transfers), the total represents a negative transfer, meaning that a payment must be made from business to trust, rather than the usual trust to business.
Trust Investments / commitments¶
Produces either a PDF or Spreadsheet with three tabs.
- Matters: includes a list of all Clients with Matters with either a Trust and/or Investment balance, with totals.
- Trust Banks: a list of Trust banks with balances and a total. The total equals the total of the trust column in the first tab; i.e. clients matters trust.
- Investments: list of each, individual Section 86(4) [78(2A)] investment. The total equals the total of the investment column in the first tab.
Debtors Age Analysis¶
A list of all clients matters business balances, aged from current to 120 days. Trust and investment balances are also shown.
Click on a client name (hyper-link) to load the clients Statement.
At the bottom of the screen report is an option to charge interest (raise a non-vatable journal for interested calculated per matter based on the selected parameters and Matter balance).
- Enter the monthly percentage; e.g. 2 for 2% per month, equivalent to 24% p.a.
- Select the general Ledger account to which the opposite entry should be posted (e.g. Interest Earned).
- Select the date on which the interest must be raised, typically the current date.
Interest is typically raised immediately before processing and sending Statement to clients.
Suppliers (Creditors) Age Analysis¶
A list of all suppliers with balances, aged from current to 120 days.
Click on the Supplier name and the statement details are loaded.
- The red button under PD can be clicked to indicate that this invoice has been paid; the button turns green
- Click on the icon next to the button above to launch the Supplier Payment module, with all details completed (which can be changed - e.g. the amount, if paying multiple invoices).
- By default, the statement shows at least 1 row in the statement and/or the last 30 days, then back until it was zero or a maximum of 30 rows. To show from the beginning, click on Opening Balance.
Where a billing target has been set for a fee earner, the fee earner is included in this report, showing, for the selected period, the monthly target against the fees written, with comparisons between target and actual for the month and MTD and shortfall or excess. The MTD is calculated as the number of working days in the month and fraction of hours in the working day (used as a proportion of the month to calculate the proportional target for comparison).
Unbilled Fees and Disbursements¶
Produces a report of ALL unbilled fees and disbursements, which can be exported to a PDF report or spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet export has been optimised for producing a Pivot table, to enable a firm to analyse their WIP in various ways; by fees outstanding by Fee Earners, by month, by Client, by Matter, etc. - with drag and drop.
See Pivot Tables under Concepts for more details. Also applies to Invoiced Fees and Disbursements.
Invoiced Fees and Disbursements¶
Produces a report of invoiced fees and disbursements for the selected period, which can be exported to a PDF report or spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet export has been optimized for producing a Pivot table, to enable a firm to analyse their invoices in various ways; by fees invoiced by Fee Earners, by month, by Client, by Matter, etc. - with drag and drop.
Produces a VAT 201 report for the selected period (based on the firm settings of Odd or Even months), with all figures completed.
The download option generates a spreadsheet with all the detailed VAT transactions (In and Out), categorised and with totals that correspond with the 201 report.
Generates a spreadsheet from General Ledger accounts with three tabs; Trial Balance, Income and Expense and Balance sheet.
Each General Ledger account is assigned a category. An example of a main category is Assets, whereas a sub-category could be Current Assets. Categories are customisable and hierarchical. Until an account is assigned a category, it is registered as Uncategorised.
- The Trial Balance lists every General Ledger account, including Debtors Control, which is a system account representing the Matter balances (business, trust and investment separately). Creditors control is a system account representing all suppliers balances. The report has separate columns for Business, Trust and Investments, with totals for each column zero.
- The Income and Expense Report shows all income and expenses for the year and month to date, determined by the period-end settings. The net profit or loss, the difference between income and expense accounts, is carried forward to the balance sheet.
- The Balance Sheet lists all assets and liabilities, including the profit or loss carried forward from the Income and Expense Report.
This option provides a number of reports and charts, which will be added to over time. An explanation of each report or chart is provided. Examples are
- Account Movement report: as per the explanation, “Shows the movement of money between accounts per month in a table for a given financial period”.
- Debits vs Credits: “All debits vs credits for a one-month period as a vertical bar chart”. Displays the current month, with an option to view previous months.
The period end includes a number of options that are traditionally run at month or year end. These options are nevertheless available at any time.
Send Proformas and/or bulk invoices¶
Produces a list of all clients Matters where there are one or more unbilled fee and/or disbursement.
Clients and their Matters are selected where the option on the client ‘Send Statement’ has been selected.
Selections can be changed: if changed on the client, will change all the clients matters. Alternatively, selective matters can have their selection changed.
Click SEND PROFORMA to email proforma invoices as PDF attachments for all selected Matters, or SEND INVOICES to generate and email invoices as PDF attachments for all selected Matters.
The email address used is the Accounts email address in the Client or Matter. A copy of each email with invoice sent will be saved in the Firms email backup account. If there is no valid email address, Accounts Email Not Set will appear in the email address column.
This option produces a list of all clients Matters with a balance, or transactions recorded during the month.
Clients and their Matters are selected where the option on the client ‘Send Statement’ has been selected.
Selections can be changed: if changed on the client, will change all the clients matters. Alternatively, selective matters can have their selection changed.
Click SEND STATEMENT to email Statements as PDF attachments for all selected Matters. As in the case of proforma invoices and invoices, the email address used to email the statement is obtained from the Clients ‘Accounts email’ address.
In the body of the email is a summary of the statement, with hyper-links to invoices and receipts. This means that the client can retrieve an invoice directly from the statement. For this reason, some LawPracticeZA users do not email invoices, rather instructing their clients to access invoices and receipts directly from the statement.
LawPracticeZA does not roll balance (as in most traditional system) but retains all transactions posted, forever. Balances are calculated as required; period ends are achieved by simply setting a ‘freeze’ date, which takes a second. There are options to set the new period for the month and year end.
The month-end freeze date would generally be set once all posting for the previous month have been concluded. The effect of this is to restrict further postings into a previous period (there is an ‘Auditors’ exception: see Set temporary freeze date in the Administrator Guide). Until the freeze date is set, you can post into the current or previous period.
The year end applies to a new financial year.
Two huge advantages are no month-end delay and no month-end backups. Fee Earners proceed as usual, while the bookkeeper can post transactions in the new month that relate to the both the current and previous month (e.g. from the bank statement). Another advantage is that reports can be extracted for any period, without having to first restore previous data backups.
LawPracticeZA currently provides integration with the following third party products.
Office 365 Outlook Calendar¶
When you select this option for the first time, you will be asked for your Office 365 Outlook Calendar details, and permission for LawPracticeZA to access your Calendar. There is also the option to Save all Diary entries. This option will update your Office 365 Outlook Calendar with all your LawPracticeZA diarised matters. Thereafter, whenever you diarise a matter in LawPracticeZA, it will be automatically diarised in your Office 365 Outlook Calendar.
Google Calendar and Gmail¶
When you select this option for the first time, you will be asked for your Google Calendar details, and permission for LawPracticeZA to access your Calendar. There is also the option to Save all Diary entries. This option will update your Google Calendar with all your LawPracticeZA diarised matters. Thereafter, whenever you diarise a matter in LawPracticeZA, it will be automatically diarised in your Google Calendar.
For Gmail you will also be asked for permission for LawPracticeZA to access your emails. With Gmail selected, an option to display associated emails will be available under transactions when selecting a Matter.
Paper Cut is a popular cost-recovery tool for assigning printing and scanning costs to matters. To get this integration up and running we will need to install a small Windows service on your Paper Cut server.
Papercut records photocopies, printing and scanning to Matters and the service raises the appropriate unbilled fees in LawPracticeZA, which ae subsequently invoiced to the client.
If your firm makes use of the Papercut product, please contact us to arrange for the implementation of the integration service, at no extra charge.
If you use DotNews to generate your newsletters to clients, this integration enables you to automatically add clients from LawPracticeZA to your DotNews subscriber list.
If you use E4 in your conveyancing department for property transfers, this integration allows you to automattically open Clients and Matters and post fees from E4 into LawPracticeZA. Additional options are included in E4 once the integration is set up.
A note of emails¶
When accessing a Matter the gmail button will display all emails where a list of search results from the user’s gmail account matches on either any email address associated with client or matter, or where the email contains the matter code.
There is a filter that allows you to quickly find any email by entering a word or phrase, much like you would in a Google search.