I am not an accountant, but invariably I am pulled into discussions with law firms about their time and billing systems. A pain point that continues to come up for both small and large firms alike is the management of their trust accounts. Some firms choose to delegate this chore to internal accountants/bookkeepers or to outsourced accounting firms, while others prefer to keep track of this critical piece of their practice themselves. Up to now, I have seen (most) trust accounts very diligently monitored by attorneys.
But, most attorneys are not accountants. They keep track of their trust accounts in whatever way they can; through their billing system, separately in Excel or even on paper. Yikes!
Now, firms have a great alternative for keeping their trust accounts up to date. Trustbooks (www.trustbooks.com) is cloud-based trust accounting software solution for managing law firm’s trust accounts. For the reasonable cost of $25/month or $250/year, attorneys can be sure that their trust accounts are accurate and up to date.
The concept is simple, but brilliant. Trustbooks was created by a CPA who worked with law firms and found that attorneys needed an easier way to keep track of this important part of their practice. Trustbooks keeps track of the balances in your trust accounts, deposits, and payments, and allows firms to write trust account checks right out of this easy to use software.
Trustbooks allows attorneys to manage all of their trust transactions (for single or multiple trust accounts) in one place and access it 24 hours a day. Firms can quickly see their latest trust balances and transactions on the Dashboard screen and know exactly what is going on with their trust accounts even if they are not managing the accounts personally:
Firms can easily add deposits to trust accounts and make payments from trust accounts with the click of a mouse. The software immediately updates the accounts and makes sure the trust account doesn’t go below zero. You know it shouldn’t go below zero, right?
In addition, Trustbooks performs trust account reconciliations, including three-way reconciliations. If you are so inclined (or required) to do daily reconciliations, it is easily done.
Finally, something that you don’t see from other cloud-base software is the check writing feature. Rather than switching between software and your accounting system to write trust account checks, firms using Trustbooks can write checks directly from their software. Once the check is written, the trust account balance is updated immediately in the software to reflect any changes in the balance.
While the target market for this software is attorneys, if your firm has outsourced its accounting function, the firm’s accountants can use it as well to keep the firm up to date on its trust account.
As with most cloud-based software, Trustbooks is constantly updating their software. Some useful features that will be coming down the pike soon include integration with other software, month-end reports and on-boarding resources to help you make the transition to Trustbooks as painless as possible. Cool!
If your firm is using software like Quickbooks or Excel or manually tracking by hand, Trustbooks would be a huge time saver to make sure that your trusts accounts are up to date and ready for that State Bar audit. That is worth the price of admission. Check out the 30-day free trial and see if you don’t agree that it is a better way to work with your trust account.