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All-in-One Accounting, Legal Billing, and Practice Management

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, March 8, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud practice management system that has added financial and trust accounting to complement its billing features, obviating third-party software such as QuickBooks (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of an online video tutorial service to help lawyers prepare clients for depositions, mediations, and trials, cloud billing software for small firms seeking a standalone solution without practice management bells and whistles, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Most cloud practice management products include billing features but require integration with third-party software such as QuickBooks Online for general ledger and trust accounting. This increases overall costs and cuts into efficiency. One company is betting big on one product doing it all for law firms.

Centerbase … in One Sentence

Centerbase is cloud billing, practice, and document management software that recently added fully integrated accounting, offering front and back office functionality in one product.

The Killer Feature

Centerbase's redesigned and customizable Dashboard now includes accounting data, providing full visibility into your firm. See your schedule, tasks, active cases, recent payments, open bills, marketing analytics, work in progress, etc. Click any data object and drill down for more details.

The navigation column on the left demonstrates Centerbase's deep feature set — Calendar, Matters, Contacts, Timekeeping, Billing, Documents, Reports, and of course Accounting. Each of these major areas has its own specialized dashboard. For example, the Accounting dashboard shows monthly income and expenses, top accounts receivable, bank accounts, and quick links to all accounting functions.

"A large segment of law firms wants to move to cloud-based practice management software but haven't made the jump because the majority of products require a third-party accounting integration," says Centerbase CEO and Founder John Forbes. "Centerbase fills this void by including legal specific accounting software right within our powerful billing and practice management software package."

ADLI Group, a 19-lawyer firm in Los Angeles, recently switched to Centerbase for its accounting (the firm was already using Centerbase for all other aspects of its business). "Centerbase has proven to be a necessity for growth," says Director of Operations Nicolette Hachem-Sawaya. "It is user-friendly and fast, which the attorneys enjoy, yet modifiable and accurate for the business and accounting departments. It's been a pleasure working with the Centerbase team that allowed our firm a smooth transition."

Other Notable Features

Centerbase's payment processing showcases the efficiency gains from having accounting and billing in the same product. Transactions automatically debit and credit the accounts you designate during setup. Batch processing and preset rules facilitate complex procedures with one click such as applying client payments to multiple invoices or simultaneously paying a bill and replenishing a retainer. Matter-specific rules can override firm-wide rules for payment handling. LawPay integration enables clients to pay via credit card.

The trust accounting tools comply with ethics requirements, preventing mishaps such as applying funds to a client bill from your operating account or from an inadequately funded trust account. You can apply payments from trust accounts via check or ACH, and generate a Trust Transfer Report for clients.

Think of a QuickBooks feature and Centerbase has it. Securely connect your bank accounts and credit cards for faster reconciliations. Customize the layout and design of your invoices. Generate consolidated invoices showing all fees for a client across multiple matters. Add vendors and pay their bills, and simultaneously charge reimbursable expenses to clients. Post journal entries. You can even print checks designed for QuickBooks.

What Else Should You Know?

Centerbase also overhauled the Report Creator. Select fields, customize columns, and create a custom report to display any data you need to visualize. Centerbase costs $62 per user per month or $52 without accounting (Centerbase integrates with QuickBooks so you can migrate your accounting on your own timetable). Learn more about Centerbase.

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So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire
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