What Your Legal Accounts Staff Will Love

What Your Accounts Staff Will Love

Bank Reconciliation

As part of the SRA Accounts Rules (formerly the Solicitors Accounts Rules), firms have to reconcile each of their accounts at least every 5 weeks.

Insight Legal has inbuilt bank reconciliation functions to enable quick and straightforward reconciliations along with reports that you can print or save to show what has been done.

The basic principle of the bank reconciliation is that every time you post an entry which affects a bank, the system will save those transactions in one area. When you are ready to reconcile, you simply go to the bank reconciliation screen and select the appropriate bank from a drop down list. All the entries that you have posted to that bank will then be listed, with a check box at the side to indicate whether the entry has already been cleared or not.

As the user, all you need to do is put a tick in the box when the entry has cleared. It’s just like playing pairs! There are a number of useful tools on the reconciliation screens, such as the option to search for a value or to search for a specific reference (such as a cheque number). In addition, entries which have been posted with the same date and reference can be grouped together, meaning that if you see a batch of paying in on your bank statement, you will easily be able to see that same total on your Insight Legal reconciliation and clear all those entries together with just a single click.

Batch Posting

For users who have more than one posting with a common element, batch posting can be used to input your entries quickly and efficiently.

For example, on one day you may have a number of cheques paid in to your client bank account. Those postings will appears on your bank statement as one lump sum and, when you post them, you will likely have to enter some of the same information on each.

The standard posting options will allow you to record all the information specific to that posting, commit it and then move easily on to the next, but the batch posting will allow several postings to be entered on to one screen and then submitted all together after checking that you have the correct total.

With batch posting, you first enter any common information such as the date, reference, description, posting type, amount and VAT rate. You can enter as much or as little information as is relevant to that batch. You then add as many posting as you require in to the batch, with the common information completed for you each time, but still available for editing if required.

As with all postings in Insight Legal, you have the reassurance of the ledger and bank balances being checked to ensure that no breaches will occur by perhaps overdrawing client or putting office in to credit. Once you have taken the time to enter details of all the postings, there is just one button to press to update each of the individual ledgers.

Multiple Open Periods and Years

An invaluable feature within Insight Legal is the ability to keep multiple financial periods open at both month and year end.

The first thing to mention is that this is not compulsory. For firms who wish to just have a single period open at a time and close that period before moving on to the next, that is no problem at all.

However, at the times when you may not be able to close the previous period but you would still like to keep your ledgers up to date, you can choose to have several periods unlocked.

If you choose to have several periods unlocked, you don’t have to worry that your reports or your month or year-end procedures will be compromised. Reports such as matter listings, trial balance, profit & loss and balance sheet can easily be run to either a specified date or period, giving you the confidence to post in the order that suits you and keep all your ledgers up to date, whilst knowing that you will still be able to produce accurate and comprehensive reports. In addition to assisting with the smooth working at month or year end, the facility to post in to other periods can also greatly assist at times when you might need to make amendments or corrections.

Historical Nominal Records

It is standard practise in many accounting systems that when you run the year end routine, your ledgers clear down. This is not the case in Insight Legal.

Being a modern system, Insight Legal retains all the information on your ledgers and other important areas such as your system banks and VAT accounts, meaning that you can view old ledgers and reports at any time.

Within nominal ledgers, a simple drop down list allows you to select a previous year and, at any time, you can view the nominal ledger for any financial year that you choose. Always useful when you need to look up an old transaction or are asked how much the firm paid for something last year.

In addition to viewing old ledgers, you can also run historical reports. It is often the case that your accountants or auditors will ask for a trial balance, a nominal listing or a balance sheet for a particular period and of course is likely that the one date range they ask for is the one you can’t find! With Insight Legal, you can run these (and many other) reports at any time. This means that your month and year end routines can be completed much quicker as you know that reports can be generated later if required.

Posting Requests

Legal accounts departments are famous for using pink and blue slips, or a ‘chit’ for the fee earners and other staff to request monies on a file. These are bits of paper filled in by the staff and passed to accounts for them to record either monies coming in or required to go out.

Insight Legal has an electronic posting requests function to streamline that process for both the accounts department and also the staff working on the files.

From the case enquiry screen, users who wish to send a payment request or a receipt notification to the accounts department can complete a posting request form. Details such as the amount and the payer/payee are entered and the user then submits the request. Once this is done, two things happen: Firstly, the request appears on the ledger as a memo. This does not mean that the user has done the posting as that can only be approved by an accounts user with the relevant permissions, but the request will appear as a memo and in a different colour, showing all who view the ledger that a payment or receipt is pending.
Secondly, the payment request appears on the home screen for the accounts user/s with the relevant permissions. The accounts user can view these requests at any time and, of course, perform their usual checks on the matter balances and the ledgers. Once checked, the process for the accounts user is a simple as clicking a button. The posting is made and the ledgers and system banks are updated accordingly.
Using posting requests is not compulsory in Insight Legal, but can provide an invaluable time saving tool by reducing the time it takes to enter transactions as well as meaning that you don’t have to decipher a fee earner’s handwriting on a paper request!

Cheque Printing

For firms who make payments by cheque, Insight Legal can print your cheques alongside your postings to save you having to handwrite them.

Integrated in to the posting routines, it is as simple as ticking a box to tell Insight Legal that you want to print a cheque for a particular transaction. Those postings can be reviewed at any time by the accounts user/s with the relevant permissions and you then choose when you want to print your cheques.

Using pre-printed cheques provided by your bank (usually on to A4 sheets, 3 per page – although this is customisable), Insight Legal can print the date, payee, amount and other required information on to your cheques , giving you a professional finish and also ensuring that no mistakes are made. Once you have printed your cheques and confirmed that everything has printed correctly, Insight Legal will update the various ledgers with information such as the cheque numbers, ensuring that the whole process is completed with minimal effort for the cashier.

Drilldown on Ledgers

Insight Legal provides a large amount of information about each transaction, both on the ledgers themselves and on the various system reports.

There may be times when you look at a ledger and want to see more information, such as which bank account the transaction affected, where the other side of a transfer was posted to or whether or not the entry has cleared in the bank. To help with this, Insight Legal allows you to click on any posting on your ledger to display further drill down detail.

This information will be customised depending on the posting type, but can include details such as how a bill was made up, whether a cheque has cleared the bank or which ledger/s have been affected by a transfer. There is also further assistance in the form of a note to tell you which transaction list report the particular posting appears on, so if further analysis is required you can easily view that audit trail report at the click of a button.

Work Your Way!

Insight Legal understand that every legal practice has a different way of working. Some practices have full time legal cashiers who are posting, reconciling and reporting all day every day, others may have a part time book-keeper come in for just a few hours a month and, in some practices, it may be the sole practitioner doing their own accounts. However your practice works, Insight Legal has a number of helpful features to ensure that you are able to work the way that you and your business want.

For example; when billing, you can choose whether the staff draft their invoices and send them to you for approval or whether you take care of the whole process within the accounts department. You can provide your fee earners with electronic posting requests rather than having to rely on slips of paper. You can choose which staff have access to particular reports, meaning that they can generate their own reports, saving you time at month and year end – as well as just the ad-hoc requests whenever someone wants to print out a ledger card. These examples are really just scratching the surface of what Insight Legal can do to help make your day to day work quicker and easier, whilst still retaining the control that you need.