Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to pay A/R with a general retainer

No matter how careful people are doing their entries in PCLaw, we are all still human, and mistakes do happen.

I have stressed in the past, that general retainers should be transferred to trust, as is required by the LSUC. But what about the situation where you discover a general retainer amount but the same amount or more is owing to you in Accounts Receivable? There is nothing technically wrong as far as the LSUC is concerned, as your billing invoices total matches or exceeds your receipts total from this same client. The receipts, for whatever reason, have just not been correctly entered as against your receivables.

To correct this situation:

1. Enter a General Retainer receipt using today’s date, but for a negative amount equal to the general retainer held by this client. This will remove the general retainer balance.

2. Enter a Receive Payment, using the same date and the same amount, only this time with a positive value. This will apply the amount against the receivable balance owing.

When doing your bank reconciliation, the positive and negative receipts will cancel each other out, and the bank will balance.

You may also find two A/R invoices offsetting each other (+$500 fees, -$500 discount). Even though the net owing is zero, the program reads these invoices as outstanding, and you cannot archive this matter. Tools – Mark Offsetting A/R as Paid – enter matter number - OK.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – Numbering Variations.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Past Due Notices

By default, Past Due Notices show the billing date, matter number, invoice number, the amount of the invoice, any interest you have charged, any amount paid, the balance now due, the interest rate, and the aging of the invoice. You can change these settings – System Settings – Past Due. By default, a 30 day grace period is set before interest is calculated, in compliance with the Solicitors Act.

You can add custom phrases too, however they will not appear until you add the “phrase” token using the template editor. Alternatively, you could save custom templates, with your phrasing, plus any other changes you would like to make. You can assign a default template for most of your clients, and use the Billing tab in Matter Manager to set special templates for certain individual clients.

For example, you may have a large corporate client that pays on 60 days. There is no need 30 days to appear on your template. Make a custom template for this client with 60, 90 and 120 days.

At the end of the month, you can run Past Due Notices for all clients with A/R balances; just leave the matter box empty. On the Options tab, you can set the program to ignore A/R balances below a certain amount.

To reduce client inquiries, try to put as much information on the Notice as possible. A checkmark placed in “All Matters for Client on One Notice”, will avoid clients asking where their payment went, if you can show that it was applied to an invoice outstanding on another matter.

Checkmarks placed in the activity section will show the history of billings and most importantly, their payments, and this will likewise reduce inquiries to your office. If your matters have lengthy histories, you can set a Starting cut-off date. On the options tab, you can also choose to group the activity by date or by matter.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – How to pay Accounts Receivable with a general retainer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deposit Slips

Deposit slips are a useful feature for reducing addition errors when adding up the list of cheques in the bank deposit book. First consult with your bank to gain approval of the form. Some banks want two copies of the deposit slip, as one goes with the cheques to the clearing house and one stays with the branch/teller. And, of course, you will want a copy for yourself.

Deposit slips are turned on in System Settings – Banking – checkmark in “Use Deposit Slips”. Turning on this feature also activates the pull down list for method of payment on receipts. You will now be able to select cash, cheque, money order, credit card, etc.

To use deposit slips for the first time, you may need to remove some old receipts.

To start, Tools – Deposit Slips or Ctrl + D, select the bank - OK. On the next window choose Select All. Clicking on the date twice will bring the newest entries to the top of the list. Carefully review the items and deselect the cheques you want to appear on your final deposit slip – then OK. This will clear the old entries.

Then repeat these steps - select bank - select all - select "Printer" output to print your deposit slip.

The totals on the deposit slips will always be equal to the receipts entered in PCLaw. Unless you misread the cheque when keying in the entry, the chance of bank errors will be greatly reduced. You can “Use Deposit Slips” when doing your bank reconciliations too, by placing a checkmark on the “Select Account” window.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – Past Due Notices.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Accounts Receivable

We have covered pre-bills and bills, now we want to get paid. There are many ways clients choose to pay their invoices, each requiring a different method of posting the receipt.

For a payment in the exact same amount of the invoice(s) owing, or less – use Receive Payment, enter matter number and enter the payment amount.

By default, PCLaw wants to apply the payment to the older invoices first. Your client may wish you to allocate their payment to a specific invoice, which is not necessarily the oldest. To avoid any issues that occur due to the default settings, do not enter the matter number. Instead, enter the invoice number, which will still populate the other boxes, but will also ensure only this invoice is paid.

For payments that are for more than amount owing – this cheque, even if just one cent more, must be deposited into trust - and then immediately use Trust to General Transfer to pay the amount owing.

For a client paying the exact amount or less of multiple invoices on multiple matters – use Receive Payment, only instead of entering a matter number, enter the "Client" name/number, and then select the invoices.

Enter the cheque number, credit card transaction number, wire/bank transfer number, etc. Be sure to also record the method of payment, cheque, certified cheque, bank cheque (draft), cash, credit card, direct deposit, money order, wire or other. It is especially important to note the method of payment on trust receipts, as the LSUC requires you to return the trust funds by the same method as they were received.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – Deposit Slips.