Client and Office ledger
Being a system specifically designed for Legal Accounts, Insight Legal comprehensively deals with client and matter accounting. There are separate sections on the ledger for client, office and deposit accounts but they all reside within one client ledger, meaning you can easily view and manage all the different transactions that take place.
Disbursements are an integral part of most client ledgers. As a Solicitor, there are likely to be times when you have to make payments to third parties in order to progress the Client’s case and, of course, you will need to record details of those payments on your ledgers. Insight Legal has specific disbursement posting routines to do exactly that.
If you are in the Republic of Ireland, you will find that the Disbursement Types allow you to control and report on Third Party Returns.
Raising a bill consists of a number of different elements. Of course the bill needs to be recorded on your client’s ledger so that you can see how much they owe you, but it also needs to be recorded in your firm’s accounts so that you can analyse your billing in each area of law that you deal with. In addition to recording the bill in the accounts system, you may want to draft an invoice document to be sent to the client and recorded as part of the matter document history. Insight Legal has two different bill posting options so that each firm can adopt the procedures that are most appropriate.
For firms where the fee earners or support staff are responsible for drafting the bills, Insight Legal offers a Bill Request function. Using this method, the user will be presented with an on screen billing guide from which they can view and select time recording items and disbursements to calculate the values of the bill.
There are two different methods of interest calculation within Insight Legal.
The first is an ad hoc interest calculator which can be used for calculating interest on fixed sums using whatever date range and rates you choose. This simple calculator is most suited to working out projected interest if you wanted to give an estimate either to the client or the fee earner.
The other method of interest calculation is based on the client ledger. By right-clicking on a client ledger you have the option of exporting that ledger card with an interest calculation. Upon selecting this option, Insight Legal opens an Excel spreadsheet containing the relevant client transactions. All you need to do is enter the agreed interest rate and the amount of interest due over the course of the matter will be calculated, even including times when balances fluctuate.
As well as your standard client and office accounts, Insight Legal allows for an unlimited number of deposit accounts. These may be accounts such as high interest accounts used by a number of different client ledgers, or designated deposit accounts for a specific client or matter.
These deposit accounts are treated as an integral part of any matter, with the deposit account being visible next to the office and client accounts on each client ledger.
SRA Accounts Rules Compliance
Fundamental to any accounts office is compliance with the SRA Accounts Rules (formerly known as the Solicitors Accounts Rules). It is the basic principle of the rules that client monies must be kept safe, but of course that is not all there is to it!
Amongst other things, firms must keep separate ledgers for each matter, must ensure that any client ledger is never put in to debit and that the office side of any client ledger is never put in to credit. These are all areas where Insight Legal can provide invaluable assistance.
On each posting screen, Insight Legal will calculate the new balance on the ledger for you, so even before committing a posting you can check what the new balance will be. In addition, if you were to enter any posting that would put your client ledger in to debit or your office ledger in to credit, a message will be displayed on screen giving you the relevant warning and giving you the option to abort or amend the posting at that point.