Fee Earner User Guide

A Fee Earner overview can be found in the Fee Earner: Getting Started section. This section includes more detail information relating to the functionality available to Fee earners.

Understanding Fee Earner and Matter access

LawPracticeZA is based on the principle of client accounts, each with one or more matters (instruction from a client). Every Matter has an ‘owner’ (a Fee Earner), who may give other users access to the Matter. Users may alternatively be given access to all matter.

When capturing fees, the logged on fee earner is the default fee earner. Other fee earners who have access to a matter are included in the list for selection, and anyone with access to the matter can capture fees on behalf of anyone in the list of fee earners.

The Dashboard (when you login)

When you login, the dashboard provides a convenient method to quickly access your most common and important functions and information.

https://lawpracticeza.com/

Pie chart (diarised matters)

The Pie Chart represents all Matters, grouped by due, overdue or due in the future. Click on the appropriate segment to load a list of Matters (e.g. Due today). From the list, you can select a Matter by clicking on its name.

Note

LawPracticeZA incorporates a ‘dynamic’ diary: i.e. the diary entries are attached to Matters. A Matter can contain multiple diary entries, which can function as tasks. For example, if an attorney is to appear in court on Friday at 10h00, the attorney could also diarise for an assistant to collate documents for court on Thursday. Both entries will appear in the attorneys diary on their respective dates.

Fees recorded for …

The chart represents all the fees captured for the current and previous month (whether invoiced or not), by day, against target (if set), for the logged in fee earner.

Held in Trust / Clearing

Held in Trust shows the sum of trust balances for all your (the logged in Fee Earner) matters. If you select ‘Include Others Matters’, their trust balances will also be included. Click to produce a client aged analysis.

Clearing shows the trust transfer clearing balance, which should be zero. If not zero, means the trust transfer update has been run but the payment from trust to business has not been processed.

Unsent Invoices

Invoices that have been produced but not emailed automatically, or marked as having been sent.

Note

Some users of LawPracticeZA elect not to send invoices (which is why there are options to invoice without sending) as a Statement emailed to a client, often at month-end, includes a link to each invoice, whereby the client can click on the invoice number in the statement to view the invoice online, with the option to download in PDF format. Statement also have the option to append all invoices to the statement sent.

Draft Invoice items

Draft Invoice items produces a summary of all your Matters that contain one or more unbilled fee and/or pending disbursement (i.e. all your WIP), with options to email proforma invoices and/or process and email invoices to all or selected matters displayed (bulk email).

The list of Matters includes the total amount and any trust balance per matter. This provides a useful cash-flow management tool: where there is money in trust and the matter is ready to invoice, funds can be immediately released from trust to business.

Click on an individual Matter to load the Matter (where an invoice can be generated), or select Matter/s (and scroll down) to email.

Clear sample data

If your database still contains sample data from Getting Started, there is an option to clear this sample data. Once cleared, the option disappears.

Clients to receive statements

Clients to receive Statements displays clients who have been marked to receive a statement, but a statement has not been emailed to them during the past month.

Timers

If when capturing fees the timer is used and you exit the matter (with the timer running or paused - for example to attend to a different Matter), an entry showing the Matter and time transpired is displayed on the Dashboard. Click to reload the Matter, or delete the entry (bin).

Suppliers to be reviewed

If a supplier has not been reviewed during the past 30 days, the supplier is added to this list. Click on a supplier, where transactions are displayed with an option to review, and record a note, is presented

Note

Periodically new info blocks, similar to the above, may be added, often for information purposes, They are generally self explanatory.

Documentation and user guidance cards

On-line and PDF manual, and Guidance Cards for Fee Earner, Bookkeeper and Administrators. These bold, interactive cards mirror the respective menu’s: click on the info icon opposite each entry to load the appropriate section of the on-line manual. Click on the entry to load the option. There is also a card depicting the debit and credit transactions typically found in a law firm.

Recent Updates from the Developers

A record of all updates made to LawPracticeZA, in chronological order. This list includes enhancements as well as bug-fixes.

Note

NB! At the bottom of every page is SUBMIT A SUPPORT REQUEST. Use this to communicate any request or bug report: everyone at LawPracticeZA is immediately notified and we receive the information necessary to enable us to attend to the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please provide as much information as possible, as prompted by the form presented.

Fee Earner menu options

Click on the menu item on the left to load one of the following.

Dashboard

This is you ‘home’ screen. Click to return here at any time. If you do so from a screen where you have not completed an entry, you will be warned that leaving the screen will lose the information that you have entered.

Calendar

By default the calendar will show all your Matters diarised for the current month, in the monthly view.

Each Matter is displayed in a coloured box; rest the mouse cursor on the calendar note and the full details are displayed.

You can drag any Matter to a different date.

You can also mark an entry as complete by clicking the check-sign (it becomes a double-check); click again to reactivate the diary entry for the Matter.

To select a Matter, click in the body of the coloured box and the Matter is loaded.

https://lawpracticeza.com/matter/calendar

Time Sheet

The time sheet reflects all fees captured during the day, for the selected fee earner.

Time-based entries are displayed in the daily calendar at the appropriate time. For example, if you captured a fee at 14h00 with a duration of 90 minutes, the entry will fill the slot 14h00 to 15h30.

Unitary fees (i.e. not time-based) are displayed at the top of the page.

https://lawpracticeza.com/salesagent/timesheet

Percentage fees (e.g. Postage and Petties)

Raise a fee per matter based on a percentage of fees and disbursements invoiced and/or captured during a specified period (typically a month) for selected departments. There is an option to cap the fee.

Note

As this function generates fees in bulk, it is important to check the details very carefully before accepting.

Prior to first using the function, it is necessary to create an appropriate posting code. For example, a Fee or Disbursement code could be created with a description of “Postage and Petties” based on 10% of the amount invoiced for the period, to a maximum of R400”.

The fields to be completed are

  1. From and To dates: the date range for the inclusion of invoices and/or fees captured. For example, if for the month of February 2021, 2021-02-01 to 2021-02-28. If producing Statements on the 25th of every month, would be 2021-01-26 to 2021-02-25.

  2. Generate From: Billed (Invoiced) and unbilled Fees or only Unbilled Fees or only invoices.

  3. Percentage: This is the percentage to apply to the select Matter amounts. For example, if 10, and the amount is R4 560.12, if capped at R400.00 will generate an unbilled fee of R400. If not capped (or a higher cap), will generate a fee of R456.01.

  4. Max Amount: This is the amount to cap the fee at. See example above.

  5. Posting code: Start typing the required posting code description (e.g. post) and select the code.

  6. Narration: The default narration is the posting code description, but can be changed. For example, for the above example, you may change the narration to “Postages and Petties for the month of February 2021”. The narration will appear on the proforma invoice and invoice.

  7. Department: To select Matters within a Department, tick the Department check box. The sum of all unbilled and/or invoiced amounts will be displayed opposite each matter, with the unbilled fee or disbursement (depending on the posting code) amount to be raised. Before clicking RAISE AS UNBILLED FEES ensure that you are satisfied that these are the fees that you wish LawPracticeZA to automatically raise, based on the options selected.

  8. RAISE AS UNBILLED FEES: When you click this, LawPracticeZA will automatically raise an unbilled fee for each Matter as indicated, based on the options selected. Depending on the number of fees to be raised, this can take a few minutes, so wait until complete.

    Note

    The fees raised are unbilled, so this process should precede the generation of invoices. When the invoices are generated, they will include the fees raised above.

Recurring Billing

This function is used where a regular, recurring fee is to be raised against one or more Matters, and consists of two components: -

  1. Schedules, where the timing of the fee generation is defined, and
  2. Subscriptions, where the Matter to raise the fee against is selected, as well as details of the fee.

Schedules

You can create a number of schedules, which determine when the associated subscriptions run. The run time is 4h00 (4 in the morning) on the designated day.

For example, if on the is selected with 25 th day and a month or months checked, on the morning of the 25th on the selected month/s at 4h00 the Matters selected in Subscriptions will have the designated fees automatically raised.

Subscriptions

After creating a Schedule (you can have a number of different schedules) you add subscriptions. A subscription is a Matter with a designated fee. Complete the following

  1. Schedule: select from the list of schedules that you have created (see above).
  2. Item: This is the narration you want to appear for the unbilled fee.
  3. Client: Type part of the client’s name and select the client. The clients Matters will be available for selection in the list below.
  4. Matter: select the clients Matter.
  5. Fee: Type part of the fee description and select the posting code. The code could be something like “Monthly retainer for legal services”.
  6. Quantity. If a fixed amount: 1, but could be a number of hours, for example, with unit price the hourly rate.
  7. Currency: Typically South African Rands
  8. Tax Type: e.g. Not Registered or SG_15 if registered and 15% VAT to be added.
  9. Unit Price: the fee to be raised (multiplied by the Quantity above).
  10. Total ex VAT: calculated.
  11. VAT. The calculated VAT amount, if VAT is applicable.
  12. Total including VAT: The fee total amount.
  13. Activation date. This is the first date for the automatic recurring billing to take place.
  14. Fee earner. Select the fee earner to assign the fees when invoiced.
  15. Expiry Date. Forever is the default; i.e. until you cancel the subscription. Alternatively, you can assign a date, whereafter the generation of fees will cease.

Note

Click OK to Save but check the details carefully as this is a bulk posting function, which will happen automatically at 4h00 on the designated date, based on the selections that you have made above.

Also note that you can ‘Trigger now’ from the Schedules option.

Matter Receipts

The option is provided for both Fee earners and Bookkeepers, and is used to record monies received from clients, whether trust or business.

See details in the Bookkeeper User Guide.

https://lawpracticeza.com/customerpayment/capture

Tariff bundles

LawPracticZA provides a number of tariff bundles, for example, Magistrates Court Defended - effective 11 September 2020, High Court Tariffs effective 11 September 2020 and LegalWise Labour matters, to name a few.

New bundles may periodically be provided by our clients, and added.

This option enables you to add a set of tariffs to your system.

Importantly, the bundle name corresponds to the Department on the Matter. Once a bundle has been added, the bundle name will appear in the Department drop-list on the Matter. Selecting a department in the Matter will make the tariff items in the bundle available when capturing fees to the Matter.

The Fee level on the Matter must also be selected: A if the tariff has only a single amount (e.g. High court) else A, B, C or D (e.g. Magistrates Court) to set the scale.

Note

If the firm operates on an Attorney Own Client basis, then do not import tariff bundles for tariffs such as High and Magistrates courts.

If you import a tariff bundle, the Posting code VAT settings are based on your VAT setting in ‘Firm Details’ at the time of the import, so it important that your VAT setting (Firm details) is correctly set prior to importing any Bundles.

https://lawpracticeza.com/product/importbundles

Documentation Automation

Consists of two parts: templates and documents. Templates contain the (Word) document content with variables (e.g. clients name and matter description, fee earners and their hourly rates). Document are the result of templates merged with the selected matters variables.

A typical use of Documentation Automation is to generate a Cost Estimates for every new Matter opened (instruction from a client) as per the new LPA requirement. A typical template name might be “Terms of Engagement and Cost Estimate” or “Cost Estimate ito LPA sec 35 Divorce Action”.

Note

Documents are generated and accessed directly from the Matter. Templates can also be accessed directly from Matters (as opposed to via the menu option below).

Templates

You can add a new template, or update an existing template (click on the Template name or Update on the menu).

Existing Template have the following menu options (three vertical dots)

  1. Detail: full details of the template, including content and variables. Also includes other menu options; Update, delete, plot or generate.
  2. Update: Change the content of an existing template.
  3. Plot: provides a time-line of when the template has been updated, and by whom.
  4. Generate: this will merge the template with the selected Matters variables and create a document, which when saved is attached to the Matter, and can be opened as a pdf document or in the browser for printing.

The template consists of the following components: -

  1. A template name. Make it descriptive, so it is easy to identify.
  2. Type of template: use Word Document. The other two options are older versions, not recommended, and remain only for older versions.
  3. Generate for a Matter or Supplier. Document Automation is a work in progress, so additional options may be added in future. Matter is the most common option: this will enable you to include variables from both clients and matters in the document. The variables available can be found by scrolling down to ‘Available Template Tags’.
  4. Department, if the template applies to a particular department only. Else leave blank.
  5. There is an option to import an existing document as a basis for the template. Browse for the document you wish to import, and the content of the document will be loaded into the template, which you can then change. Alternatively, you can start with a blank template. See notes provided.
  6. A template can include text and variables. A list of available variables can be found under Available Template tags, contained in twin curly brackets ({{variable}}). Variables with multiple items (e.g. Fee Earners) can be included.
  7. Your letterhead can be added to the template by selecting the option provided.
  8. The ini file provides the ability to include variables, which includes calculated fields, but does require some programming.

Note

LawPracticeZA can assist you with your first template, which can then be used a blue print for additional templates that you may wish to produce. Contact us via REQUEST A SUPPORT ISSUE.

Import WIP / Invoices

Bulk WIP can be imported from a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet content has to be in exactly the given format. This function is normally used when taking on LawPracticeZA from a legacy system, but can also be used for bulk fees (usually very similar fees, for example producing and billing for many letter of demands for a large client) are involved.

Importing invoices applies where an invoice to a client has been generated for a client externally to LawPracticeZA. This is again usually when taking on LawPracticeZA from a legacy system (and the invoice is not included in the take on balance).

Adding a new client

The most common method for adding a client is by clicking the icon (customer outline with +) in the LawPracticeZA header. Clients can also be added by the Bookkeeper.

Every Matter is linked to a client, so a new client must be added before a new Matter for the client can be added. There can be multiple Matters linked to the same client.

Mandatory fields are marked with an *. Important fields are: -

  1. Client: the official name of the client. The client’s name is shown on Invoices and Statements, so must be the full name.
  2. Customer code: automatically generated by LawPracticeZA, derived from the Client name. Matter codes for linked Matters are the Customer code + a suffix. For example, for customer code ABC, the Matter code for the first attached Matter will be ABC-001, the second ABC-002, etc. The primary purpose of the Matter code is to be used as a reference by the client when making payment. For this reason the code generated, although unique, is as short as possible. If, for some reason, the firm elects to use their own Client code, this code can be overwritten, but note that the code entered must be unique.
  3. Department: can be ‘Default’ or select an appropriate department from the list. The Department selected is the default department for all linked Matters, but can be changed on the Matter. The department can also be used in conjunction with Tariff bundles to assign sets of tariffs to a Matter (e.g. High Court tariffs).
  4. Email, mandatory field: the default for all linked Matters, is the email address used for automatically emailing Invoices and Statements to clients, unless an Invoice or Accounts email is entered. If an email address is entered on the Matter (Invoice email), this will override any email on the client when emailing Invoices from LawPracticeZA.
  5. Postal address: used on invoices and Statements to clients. For separate address lines, press Enter after a line.
  6. Tax number: this is the clients VAT registration number, and if present, will print on the Tax Invoice generated by LawPracticeZA that you send to your client.
  7. Effective and Expiry dates. By default selected (forever). Do not change.
  8. Tax Type: Only used if the default tax is not applicable to this client; for example, an overseas client where VAT is not applicable. Only applies in exceptional circumstances, and is usually left blank.

After completing all fields click OK to save the Client details.

Note

If any mandatory fields (*) have not been completed, the record will not be saved, and the field/s with missing data will be marked in red. Complete and click OK again to save.

FICA

When you add or update a client, a ‘traffic light’ icon indicates the FICA status of the client. Grey indicates nothing yet done, green FICA’ed, amber partially processed and red not compliant.

If you click on the traffic light icon, you are presented with the following options: -

  1. Select the type of entity, as this determines what information and documents are required.
  2. A unique URL will be generated. Click on the copy icon, open an email to the client and copy this link into the body of the email. When the client clicks on the link, they will be prompted for the appropriate data and to attach copies of the appropriate documents.
  3. When the client submits this information, it will appear as an issue (envelope icon with incremental number in the top right corner). Click to display the issue: the data completed by the client, as well as all attached documents, will be displayed. The details and documents will be attached to the client record and accessible when accessing any matter for the client. Peruse the data and documents (e.g to check that appropriate documents are valid), and select the FICA status.

When accessing a Matter, the FICA traffic light icon will indicate the status. Click on the icon to update the status.

https://lawpracticeza.com/customer/insert

Adding a new Matter

The most common method for adding a Matter is by clicking the icon (court document folder, right of new client) in the LawPracticeZA header. Matters can also be added by the Bookkeeper.

Every Matter is linked to a client, so a new client must be added before a new Matter for the client can be added. There can be multiple Matters linked to the same client.

Mandatory fields are marked with an *. Important fields are: -

  1. Client: start typing any part of the client’s name, and select the client from the list. Even if only one client is displayed, select (click on) the client.
  2. Matter description: enter a meaningful description. The description will be shown on the invoice to the client, so should include information that the client might need such as a policy number, company registration number or erf number. A comprehensive description also makes it easier to find the matter you are looking for, as in the search you can enter any part of the client name or matter description.
  3. Matter code: automatically generated by LawPracticeZA. The standard method for generating Matter codes is to append the sequential matter number to the Customer code. For example, for customer code ABC, the Matter code for the first attached Matter will be ABC-001, the second ABC-002, etc. Note: in some instances, LawPracticeZA uses a ‘custom’ assignment. For example, where systems have been converted from Ghost Practice, the same method as Ghost Practice can be applied, i.e. assign the next sequential number for clients (CNTn) and Matters (MATn). The main purpose of the Matter code, quoted on invoices, is to easily associate payments received from a client with the Matter (where the client includes the Matter code as a reference when making payment, as requested on the invoice). In Reconzilla this is especially relevant, where the Receipt can be posted with a single click after being imported from the bank statement.
  4. Owner: The Fee Earner responsible for this Matter. By default, the person logged in, but can be selected from the drop-list (for example, if the Matter is opened by the secretary on behalf of the Fee Earner).
  5. Also give access to: select other Fee earners who should have access to this Matter. Note that some Fee Earners may be given access to all Matters. In this instance, it is not necessary to give individual access per Matter.
  6. By default, the Matter is diarised for the current date. If a new diary date is not set, the Matter will become overdue (until a new diary date is set).
  7. Department: defaults to the Client department, but can be overwritten on the Matter. The department can be used in conjunction with Tariff bundles to assign sets of tariffs to a Matter (e.g. High Court tariffs).
  8. Reserve trust: this will reduce the amount of trust available for automatic trust transfer. For example, if a deposit is received for fees and to pay a third party, the amount to be paid to the third party can be reserved until the third party has been paid. This will prevent the automatic transfer program from transferring this excess amount if the fees invoiced exceed the portion available for fees. Reserve trust can also be assigned when receiving a trust payment from a client.
  9. email: not used for automatically sending invoices or statements, just an additional email reference. Can be left blank.
  10. Invoice email: for emailing invoices for this matter. if blank, will use the email address on the client.
  11. Fee level: the default used when Capturing fees. If time-based (Standard, High, etc.), will default to Time and the Fee Earners hourly rate as applicable; if A, will default to Unitary. B, C and D also default to unitary and are used to indicate the scale, where applicable (e.g. Magistrates Court and some company tariff structures, such as Legal Wise).
  12. Dead file number. If a Matter is to be archived. LawPracticeZA will generate the next available dead file number, which can be changed (i.e. if using a third party such as Metrofile, where the box number would be entered when archiving and dead filing).

After completing all fields click OK to save the Matter details.

Note

If any mandatory fields (*) have not been completed, the record will not be saved, and the field/s with missing data will be marked in red. Complete and click OK again to save.

Finding a Matter / searching for a Matter

There are several methods for finding a Matter, the most common being the magnifying-glass icon in the LawPracticeZA header. This can be activated by clicking on or tapping the magnifying glass, or pressing the / key. The most recent matters accessed will be displayed in a list.

Type part of the client name or matters description (or matter code) and a list of matters is displayed with matches or near matches, the most likely candidate at the top of the list. If you imported matters from your legacy system and included your legacy file number, this can also be used in the search.

Select (click on or tap) the Matter you are looking for. The selected Matter details are displayed-

Client and Matter details

Whenever a Matter is selected, details of the client and matter are display, with a number of options available. The sections displayed are

  1. Client and matter details, including contact details, department, Fee Earner/s and Associated matters, diary entries, document attachments and Document Automation options.
  2. Capture (unbilled) fees and disbursements.
  3. Transactions, including options to Invoice, add and view attachments, etc. Unbilled fees are selected as the default, with options to view business, trust and investment transactions.

Note

Documents can either be attached directly to a Matter, or a ‘share’ link can be entered in the matter (uri) if one of the on-line document storage options is used: e.g. DropBox, Box, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive or Sharepoint.

Diarise a Matter

A Matter can include multiple diary entries; a diary entry can be assigned to yourself, or another user.

On a diary date, the Matter will appear as due in the assignee’s diary (Pie Chart Due). It will also appear as due in the Assignor’s diary.

When a diary entry is made, it must contain a note, which is displayed together with the diary entry.

For example, a lawyer could assign a diary entry to his or her secretary for Wednesday to collate documents for a court appearance on Friday, and a diary entry for him or herself for the court appearance on Friday.

There are various places where a diary entry is highlighted and shown

  1. The Pie Chart on the Dashboard shows the number of Matters diarised for ‘today’ as Due (Matters that are not dealt with on time show as Overdue, Matters still to be dealt with as Future due). Once a Matter’s diary entry has been dealt with, the diary entry is deleted or ticked as complete.
  2. In the Calendar, diarised Matters are shown as coloured blocks, with the Matter name and diary note (e.g. Jane, please collate documents for Fridays court case A vs B).

Associated matters

Associate Matters: for example, if you have a buyer and seller in a property transaction, by associating them, you can ‘flip’ between them, having selected one or the other. You can have more than 2 associated matters, and define the association.

Document Automation (including Cost Estimates)

You can view, edit or expire templates. A typical template could be “Terms of Engagement and cost Estimate”. A template is a Word document with variable fields, for example clients name or matter description, that are merged from the selected matter to generate a customized document, which is attached to the Matter and can be recalled as a Word document (for further editing) or PDF document (for printing or emailing).

See Document Automation on the Fee Earner menu for more details.

Capture a fee or disbursement against a Matter

After selecting a Matter, scroll down to Fee Capture (or press Enter) to record an unbilled fee or pending disbursement against a Matter (for subsequent invoicing).

If the Fee Level on the Matter has a time-based setting (e.g. Standard or High) the time-based posting codes will be available for selection and the Fee Earners appropriate hourly rate applied. The number of minutes is entered (or the timer used) and by default, time-based fees are calculated per 6-minutes, i.e. (tenths of an hour) or part thereof (national and international standard for lawyers. See FAQ for more details). The 6-minute default can be changed in Firm details.

If the Fee level on the Matter is set to A (or B, C or D where there is a fee scale), the unitary setting will be the default, with the unitary set of posting codes (which can include default amounts, for example cost per km for travelling or cost per photocopy) available for selection under activity. If the department is set to a tariff bundle, then the tariff entries (e.g. High Court tariffs), with their associated amount, will be included in the selection.

Note

Tip. Where there are many Activities available for selection, the filter will enable you to quickly find the item you are looking for. Simply start typing any part of the Activity description.

To capture a disbursement (e.g. an Advocates account) select Disbursement, and the disbursement posting codes will be presented for selection. There is some debate as to whether a firm that is registered for VAT should charge VAT on a disbursement where the supplier (e.g. an Advocate) is not registered. LawPracticeZA can accommodate this by having two posting codes; one with VAT set to VAT Sales Goods, the other set to Not Registered.

Note

There is the option when capturing the disbursement against the Matter, to simultaneously Also capture expense - the suppliers (e.g. Advocate, Sheriff or accommodation) invoice.

  1. Select the supplier and enter the suppliers invoice number and date.
  2. Select the Expense account (use filter): normally Disbursement Costs.
  3. A scanned copy of the suppliers invoice can be attached. This will be sent as an attachment together with the invoice if emailed via LawPracticeZA.
  4. If you select “Capture Payment Now”, enter the date, select bank account and enter amount. Once saved, all the appropriate accounts will be updated: the Matter, the Supplier and (if paid) the Business Bank.

If the bookkeeper captures the suppliers invoice for a disbursement (the ‘purchase’ leg of the entry), there is also an option to capture the disbursement against the Client’s Matter (the ‘sale’ leg of the disbursement, normally captured here). The latter is the equivalent of capturing the disbursement as described above. If this option is taken, the Fee Earner will not capture the disbursements.

The selected Activity code becomes the narration default, which can be changed / extended.

Unitary fees and disbursements have a unit and rate. For example

  1. An Advocate’s account is entered with a unit of 1, with the rate being the the invoiced amount. If the Advocate and the firm are registered for VAT, the ex VAT amount should be entered, as LawPracticeZA will calculate and add VAT.
  2. For photocopies or travelling, for example, the unit will be the number (20 pages or 50 km) and the rate the unit cost (from the posting code, e.g. cost per page or per km). LawPracticeZA calculates the total amount by multiplying the two.

If the Matters Department is set to a ‘Tariff bundle’, the related Posting Codes will be included in the list for selection. If a tariff scale (i.e. A, B, C o D) is applicable, the apppropriate tariff will be loaded automatically as the rate.

Transactions: includes options for generating invoices, etc.

By default, all unbilled fees and disbursements are selected.

Transaction groups with balances

There are balances for the various groups of transactions. Click on a balance to select the group. By default, ALL UNBILLED is selected. UNBILLED FEES included only fees, whereas UNBILLED DISBURSEMENTS, only disbursements.

  1. All Unbilled (WIP): displays unbilled fees and disbursements, which can be edited (pen icon) or deleted (bin icon). There are a number of options available for unbilled fees and pending disbursements.

    1. Invoice Selected: this will generate an invoice (includes selected items, all by default) and automatically post all the appropriate accounting transactions and update the affected account balances. Generally a proforma invoice is generated prior to invoicing, either to check the invoice details internally, or with the client. When sending the invoice, an option is provided to include a message, with ‘tags’. For example,

      Dear $formal (or could use tag $firstname for less formal letter) Herewith this month’s invoice. Kind regards

    Note

    There can be a discrepancy between VAT calculated per line, compared to VAT calculated on the invoice total amount. The method we use is to calculate VAT on each line item, rounded to 2 decimal places. The total VAT for the invoice therefore is the sum of the VAT which was actually charged on all the line items, whether at a rate of 0%, 14% or 15%. If there is a discrepancy between the two VAT amounts due to rounding, this is reflected on the invoice as ‘rounding’.

    The other option for unbilled fees and disbursements are: -

    1. Proforma invoice: generates an invoice, without updating any balances or generating accounting transactions.
    2. Unbilled report: this is a dump of the unbilled fees and disbursements to a spreadsheet.
    3. Delete selected: if you need to delete more than one entry, select the entries to be deleted and click this button.
    4. Move selected: move the selected unbilled fees and disbursements to a different Matter.

    Note

    Can be very useful in the instance where an invoice issued to the incorrect client is credited (click reverse icon with invoice selected to automatically generate a credit note and reverse all entries). All line-items on the invoice can be COPIED TO UNBILLED and the unbilled fees and/or disbursements can then be moved to the correct Matter, and invoiced.

    Note that if an invoice is credited by LawPracticeZA in this way, because the credit note is a mirror image of the invoice, the option the Hide Reversals will hide both the original invoice and credit note on the client’s Statement.

  2. Business and Trust (Accounting Entries): includes business and trust transactions, in separate columns: e.g. invoices, receipts and payment, and trust transfers.

    1. Generate a Matter Statement: Display a statement of account for the client’s matter, with various options (e.g.to Send - email to client - or produce a PDF statement. The PDF Statements is in the same format that the client receives, with separate sections for business, trust and investment transactions and balances, showing how much the client owes, how much is held in trust for the client, and how much is invested for the client. Sections only show where there are transactions.
    2. Send Matter Statement now: will email the statement details with the (PDF) statement attached to the client. Note that the statement is summarised in the body of the email with hyperlinks to invoices (so the client can recall any invoices in the statement by clicking on the link). Statements can be sent (emailed) in bulk at (typically) month-end, selectively, where multiple Matters can be included in one clients statement, whereas this option includes only the current Matter. When sending a statement, there is also the option to include invoices with the statement.
    3. Fee Allocation Report: This option applies when a fee allocation has been defined for a Matter. To define the fee allocation, which must be done prior to reporting, click on the gear icon to the right: this will load a form where you can enter the allocation parameters.
  3. Section 86(4) [old 78(2A)]: Investment and withdrawal transactions, including interest and charges. Includes the same options as Business and Trust, above.

  4. Gmail: If Gmail integration is activated, this option will display a list of emails from your Gmail account which match either any email address associated with the client or matter, or where the email contains the matter code.

  5. Notes: You can add notes, with or without attachments, to the matter, for internal use.

Note

The number of notes (with or without attachments) is displayed. Click to list existing notes and attachments, with option to add a new note with or without an attachment. Existing notes can be deleted. An attachment can be any electronic object, for example, a scanned document, a recorded voice message or even a video clip.

To view existing notes, the list includes a filter; type any word or phrase in the filter, and only matching notes will be displayed.

Accounting transactions displayed under any of the above can be selected by clicking the transactions reference number. The transaction will be loaded, with a number of options available. For example, if an Invoice is loaded, there are options to Send (email), reverse the invoice (generate a credit note), copy the line items back to unbilled, etc.

When you select an invoice

The invoice details are displayed, with a summary of the account and fee earner allocations, and a number of available options: -

  1. PDF: Produce a PDF copy of the invoice. This can be printed or saved. The saved PDF can be attached to an email.
  2. XLS: Generate an Excel spreadsheet of the invoice line-items.
  3. SEND: Sends email to client (to email address as indicated by the Matter details displayed), with the PDF document attached. If the invoice includes a disbursement and a copy of the disbursement invoice (e.g. Advocates account) was attached when capturing the disbursement, then a copy of the disbursement invoice will also be attached.
  4. COPY TO UNBILLED: Will restore all the invoice line items to their original state as unbilled fees and disbursements, where they can be edited, deleted, or moved to a different Matter. Usually used in conjunction with ‘Reverse’ (see below).
  5. MARK AS SENT: When LawPracticeZA automatically emails an invoice, it is marked as sent. If you manually email the invoice (for example, save the PDF and attach it to a customized email sent to your client), you can mark it as sent, so that it does not appear in the list of unsent invoices on the Dashboard.
  6. REVERSE: Generates a Credit Note and posts all the accounting entries and updates balances, which are opposite to the invoice. If the Hide Reversals option is set, will not show the original invoice or credit note on the client’s statement.
  7. CHANGE DATE: There may be occasions where you wish to change the date, for example if the invoice is generated on the first day of a month but you want it to reflect in the previous month, and be included in the previous month’s income and expense report. The invoice date can only be changed if
    1. The invoice has not been sent.
    2. The date falls within the accounting period; i.e. cannot be changed to a date prior to the last ‘freeze’ date.