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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.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
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

Reviews of Zola Suite and Kurent; Encrypting Your Windows PC

By TechnoLawyer | Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Stephen Silverberg, Review of Zola Suite (Practice Management Software)

Donald Coker, Review of Kurent (Cloud Billing Software)

Tom Trottier, Tip: How to Encrypt a PC Running Windows Home

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Networking/Operating Systems | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | Privacy/Security | TL Serendipity | Utilities

Reviews of HomePod; Using Office 365 for Case Management; Tabs3 as an Alternative to Time Matters

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, February 16, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, Review of HomePod

GK Ganesan Kasinathan, How We Use Office 365 as Our Case Management System

Edie Owsley-Zimmerman, Tabs3 as an Alternative to Time Matters

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Entertainment/Hobbies/Recreation | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Kurent Offers Billing Software Without the Complexity of Practice Management

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, January 26, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud billing software for small firms seeking a standalone solution without practice management bells and whistles (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a legal research service that helps you get up to speed in new area with checklists, interactive forms, practice notes, and a new way to mine SEC filings for agreements and clauses, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

It's easy to get bogged down in practice management software with features you don't need. One company found that many small law firms only care about three core features — entering time, creating and sending bills, and getting paid. So, the company used its expertise to create a new product catering to these desires.

Kurent … in One Sentence

Tabs3 Software's Kurent is a cloud billing system with tools for managing hours billed, expenses, accounts receivable, receipts, and more.

The Killer Feature

"After more than 35 years of making Tabs3 billing software, we know that most solos and small firms just want a simple way to get their bills out," says President and CEO Dan Berlin. "Kurent is designed as an easy-to-use billing software without expensive practice management features that clutter the billing process, and it's made by us, the experts in legal billing."

Kurent's top navigation bar exemplifies this simplicity with always present buttons to enter a fee or cost, or create a new matter or invoice. From here, you can also search every record in Kurent.

Each major function in Kurent has a dashboard with charts showing Key Practice Indicators and one-click access to the underlying records. For example, the Home Dashboard lists your recent activity, recent matters, billable hours versus your target, and notifications about items that need your attention such as unbilled activities and overdue invoices. Click any item to drill down for more details or to make changes.

"Kurent is seamless and easy to use," says Jim Krzyminski of the Law Office of James M. Krzyminski, "Everybody's happy that we switched. It's all in the cloud, so we can safely access our files from anywhere."

Other Notable Features

Kurent's side navigation panel takes you to each dashboard - Home, Firm, Matters, Contacts, Invoices, Fees, Costs, Receipts, and Reports. The Firm Dashboard keeps you apprised of the financial state of your firm with charts showing top clients, accounts receivable, unbilled activities, cash receipts, new matters, and billing history.

As you would expect from the company behind Tabs3, Kurent supports custom rates for matter type or client, write-offs, LEDES-compliant eBills, contingency and flat fees, and batch invoicing. Choose from several invoice designs, customize invoice and fee details, and add your firm's logo.

Kurent further streamlines financial management through integrations with LawPay and QuickBooks Online. When clients use the payment portal to securely pay by credit card via LawPay, Kurent automatically updates their account when the payment posts. The QuickBooks integration keeps your accounting records in sync without having to retype anything.

Kurent's dashboards are designed to minimize your need for reports. When you do need a report, choose from accounts receivable, aged accounts, write-offs, unbilled activity, receipts, and many others. Use simple checkboxes to add columns and data to reports. You can export reports in CSV or Excel format.

What Else Should You Know?

Kurent costs $26 per user per month with an annual commitment ($29 if you pay monthly). If you switch from another product, the Kurent team can import your existing data at no charge. Kurent offers a 30-day trial with no credit card required. Learn more about Kurent.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
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 | TL NewsWire

Windows 10 Home v. Pro for a Lawyer's PC; Factors to Consider When Buying a Wi-Fi Router; Tip for Texting From Your PC; Review of OneNote

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, December 14, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Mark Olberding, Windows 10 Home v. Pro for a Lawyer's PC

Jeffrey Mitchell, Why Some Lawyers Need Windows Pro

Steve Perlmutter, Tip: Windows Home Doesn't Support Encryption

Ernest Lorimer, Three Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Wi-Fi Router

Bobby Abrams, Tip for Texting From Your PC via Pushbullet

Jeffrey Wilens, Review of OneNote

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Networking/Operating Systems | Privacy/Security | TL Serendipity

Drafting on an iPad Pro; Reviews of Mighty Text, RingCentral, Microsoft To-Do; Yesterday's Tickler Is Today's Feed or Dashboard

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, December 7, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Miriam Jacobson, How I Use My iPad Pro for Drafting Legal Documents

Ernest Marquez, Review of Mighty Text and RingCentral for Text Messages

Keith Turner, Microsoft To-Do Close to Greatness

Donald Coker, Yesterday's Tickler Is Today's Feed or Dashboard

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Review of Centerbase (Next-Generation Practice Management)

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Coming today to SmallLaw: We have witnessed The Innovator’s Dilemma over the past 10 years as startups wooed tens of thousands of lawyers to cloud practice management software without much of a fight from the companies behind legacy products. Now, the disrupters face disruption themselves as a new wave of startups seek to offer “next-generation” cloud practice management software with the extensive customization and deep feature set of the legacy products. One such product is Centerbase. Does it deliver? Find out in this review by lawyer and legal technology consultant Seth Rowland. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week to learn why Google has become more important than your own website.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Written by practicing lawyers who manage successful small firms and legal technology and practice management experts who have achieved rock star status, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in small law firms, as well as comprehensive legal product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. SmallLaw also ensures that you won't miss anything published elsewhere by linking to helpful articles (and podcasts and videos) about solo practices and small law firms. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Practice Management/Calendars | SmallLaw

Review of PhraseExpander; Pros and Cons of Software Subscriptions; Reviews of Office 365, Asana, Acrobat DC

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, September 15, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

John Creahan, Review of PhraseExpander

Michael Kelly, Software Subscriptions Are Fine If the Price Is Right: Reviews of Office 365, Asana, Acrobat DC

Connie Brooks, Software Subscriptions Come in Two Varieties, One Good, One Not

Tom Trottier, Four Questions to Consider About Software Subscriptions

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

TechnoLawyer's iPhone X Precise Cutouts; Review of 3CX Cloud PBX Phone System; Review of ASUS Zenbook UX330UA; iPad Fail for Brief Writing

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, September 14, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, TechnoLawyer's iPhone X Precise Cutouts

Mike Keller, Review of 3CX Cloud PBX Phone System

Harold Dye, Review of ASUS Zenbook UX330UA-AH54; iPad Fail for Brief Writing

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | TL Serendipity

Focus on Your Work, Not the Clock, With Smokeball

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system with a large forms library that automatically captures the billable time you spend on document drafting and email (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud practice management and accounting system that now includes free credit card processing via LawPay, a cloud practice management system with a new document management component that works locally on PCs and Macs like a network drive, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Accurate time tracking empowers law firms. Those that bill by the hour can maximize earnings while those that charge fixed fees can evaluate their profitability and staff efficiency. But how can you prevent lost billable time given human nature?

Smokeball … in One Sentence

Smokeball is a practice management and document assembly system that recently gained a new automatic time capture feature.

The Killer Feature

Attorney and Smokeball Legal Technology Content Manager Joshua Taylor walks me through a typical stretch of time in a law firm, drafting documents, sending and receiving email, etc. He then clicks on the AutoTime button in Smokeball's toolbar.

Not only does Smokeball capture the time spent on this work, but it creates nearly final time entries. Smokeball itemizes each task, connects it to the corresponding matter and creates a description of the work (e.g., Letter to Law Office of Arthur Kirkland). You review these entries, make any necessary edits, and post them if you bill by the hour. Every night, Smokeball emails you a report listing all your captured time for the previous day broken down by matter.

Early adopters of Smokeball's automatic legal time tracking software feature have captured 34% more time on average. "Smokeball has increased my law firm's profitability by over 30%," says Joshua Boehm, partner at Cottonwood Law Group, LC. Smokeball's Law Firm Insights report enables you to measure the impact of automatic time tracking at your firm, and prove time worked in the event a client transfers his case to another firm. The report breaks out time spent and cost for each employee.

Other Notable Features

Smokeball is a hybrid product, combining the capabilities of a native Windows client with the convenience of unlimited cloud data storage. This gives you the ability to work without an internet connection. The Windows client allows for tight integration with Microsoft Office. When you open a potential matter, choose from more than 250 Matter Types with all the information fields you're likely to need. Smokeball also runs a conflict check. Smokeball's mobile app gives you access to your practice on the go.

Smokeball's Legal Tasks and Workflows enable you to capture your firm's processes. A Workflow consists of a set of tasks, each of which is assigned to an attorney or staff member. You can create task dependencies, and generate due dates based on triggers.

Many law firm tasks involve document automation. Smokeball offers more than 14,000 legal forms and can help add your own during the onboarding process. Smokeball automatically enters information from the extensive set of matter fields. You can email completed documents directly from Smokeball and generate a PDF with one click. A clever feature lists the contacts associated with the matter, which saves time and prevents misaddressed messages. Alternatively, you can attach documents in Smokeball from Outlook. Either way, Smokeball saves all email in the matter, including replies.

What Else Should You Know?

"Smokeball helps small law firms increase the profitability of their matters," said Jane Oxley, Smokeball's President. "By providing our clients with features like full visibility into matter profitability and the most robust Microsoft Outlook and Word integrations in the industry, we help attorneys spend less time on administrative tasks, and get back to practicing law." Learn more about Smokeball.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
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 | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire
 
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