QuickBooks for Law Firms? A Software Review

QuickBooks for law firms?  Would I possibly recommend that? 

As I continue with my review of apps, this week is about using QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Online Advanced for your law practice.  And by that, I mean using it alone, with no additional app, and manually -- with all the workarounds.

If you have trust accounting, I must warn you that if you are an estate planning attorney or an attorney that does a lot of trust accounting, you may want to consider adding time and billing app and one that does a great job of trust accounting. Don't forget, you are handling other people's money, it's best to get an app to track it. Remember that's not your money.

The only type of law practice I would consider only using QuickBooks Online as a stand-alone is with a personal injury practice. With this type of practice area, you are handling the funds at the end of the case or matter. The trust funds are not much of a factor other than depositing the settlement check and running some reports to calculate the costs.

In the video below, I demonstrate the steps and the workarounds to do this in QuickBooks. You'll see in the video below to show you the pluses and minuses of doing it without additional software.  If you would like to learn the steps to find the right app for legal software selection, click ​https://www.artesanibookkeeping.com/how-to-find-the-best-law-firm-apps/.

QuickBooks Online

"Organize and manage your business with the number one solution"

Pros

  • It’s web-based and accessible from all devices. 
  • It is a great accounting platform.
  • You can add a bunch of add on apps to customize the program.
  • Bank feeds, time saving auto workflows (in QuickBooks Online Advanced only).
  • Data metrics tracking, revenue streams tracking and a business performance page.
  • Merchant services and ACH and credit card payments will improve your cash flow.
  • Bank feeds make reconciliation easy.
  • Multiple users, defined roles (QuickBooks Online Advanced has a higher level of defined roles).
  • Custom Fields allows for a versatile tracking of data (QuickBooks Online Advanced only).
  • Affordable!

Cons

  • It is a general accounting platform.  Not law specific without an app.
  • There is no way to automatically track trust accounts, especially with the protection of not paying out more than you received. 
  • No calendaring, no docketing storage.
  • If you track trust accounts as sub accounts, you will easily go over the 250 limitation on the Chart of Accounts forcing yo to move to the more expensive SKU, QuickBooks Online Advance.
  • No case management inside the software.

Conclusion:

Whenever you start to manipulate the data with manual entry and tracking, there's always a chance you can make a mistake.  I know a lot of law firms try to save money here, but it's penny-wise and pound-foolish. This time/billing/trust law firm software doesn't cost a lot. For less than $50 a month, you'll recoup that in time that you spend.

Dashboard View of QuickBooks

QuickBooks Business Performance Screen 

QuickBooks - Summary

App Integrations

There are so many!  You can integrate with multiple apps.

Easy to Use

Very very easy to use.  Especially for an attorney or non-accountant type user.

Cost

I gave it one less star as some users may use QuickBooks Online Advanced. However, with the features that are bundled into this product, the value is there.

Overall rating :  4.5/ 5

This product shines if you add an app to it to make it law friendly.   It is lacking as a stand alone because of the manual workarounds but is acceptable for Personal Injury law practices.

You may recognize the girl in the advertising on Quickbooks Online Advanced marketing page.  You can also download the white paper of a big success story we had migrating a firm from a desktop software to my favorite workflow, QuickBooks Online and LeanLaw.  I have been using Quickbooks for over 20 years and do love the product.  Since moving to the legal niche, I feel you need the right tools for the job.  That is where my other apps come into play.

Of course, if you need help with detangling your trust accounting or help with your bookkeeping, we're here to please. If you're in a software that's not working and you'd like to move to QuickBooks and LeanLaw, reach out. We are data migration specialists!  Call us at 239-349- 2004. We're more than happy to help you.

If you're an accountant or bookkeeper that needs assistance with anything accounting-related or even business-related, join our Facebook group QB Community Live!   It's a free resource where we help one another. We believe, "Together we all succeed!"

Lynda Artesani

Lynda Artesani is the president of Artesani Bookkeeping where she uses her expertise and organizational skills to help her clients thrive and become profitable. Lynda is a member of the Intuit Trainer Writer Network. She is an alumni member of the Intuit Advisory Board. Additionally, she is the first Expert Columnist for the QB Community forum. She is also a co-founder in a Facebook group called QB Community Live!