Sunday, September 18, 2011

Transfers Between Matters

It often occurs that clients with multiple matters either request that you transfer entries or you ask the client for permission to transfer entries between matters. There are many reasons for this, but could include:
  • your wanting to merge two matters after obtaining a court order to have them tried together.
  • funds from a real estate sale matter transferred to a purchase matter.
  • one matter may have been resolved, and you wish to transfer a few small expenses rather than issuing two separate invoices.
  • there could be settlement funds or an unused retainer balance in one matter, that could be applied to accounts receivable in another matter.
To transfer expenses from one matter to another – Data Entry – Transfer Expenses – enter matter that has the expenses and then the matter you wish to transfer them to. By default, all expenses will be listed - to shorten the list, choose a start date – then click the Select button. All expenses within the date range will appear and be selected for transfer. To stop one or two expenses from being transferred, click to remove the “X” – then click “Transfer”.

To transfer trust funds, Data Entry – Trust Bank – Matter to Matter Transfer or Quick Step Trust Tab – Matter to Matter Transfer - enter the matter that has the funds and then the matter you wish to transfer the funds to – the date – the amount – an explanation – OK.

To split trust funds when entering a receipt, just enter the two matters and their respective amounts on the trust receipt.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – HST on long-term billing.

PCLaw Error Evaluation

My PCLaw bookkeeping practice is actually comprised of two separate but related components. One portion is the legal bookkeeping services I provide to regular monthly clients, including bank reconciliations, HST & payroll remittances, and general bookkeeping entries. I also provide a PCLaw Error Detection and Correction consulting service. I offer this service to anyone who needs help, whether they be regular clients or one-off customers.
What does error detection and correction entail?

PCLaw is a terrific program for legal bookkeeping, as it nicely ties together in one package all aspects of clients, matters, trust and general banking entries, disbursements recovery, receivables, and payables. However, all these sub-ledgers interacting with each other can make for a complex web of entries. It is this complexity that can cause minor errors to accumulate over time.

Some errors are as simple as using the wrong method to post an entry. The entry may be correct strictly from the point of view bookkeeping, but PCLaw “reads” it as an error. These types of errors are what cause your bank ledger balance to differ from the amount shown on your balance sheet. These errors can be present even though your bank account has been reconciled.

Some of the more difficult errors to find and remove are partial or hidden errors. A partial error is something only half posted. For example, a receive payment is entered in the general bank, but an accounts receivable balance is still showing on the A/R report. A hidden error is usually an entry that has been deleted, but is still having an effect on report balances.

I am pleased to offer this PCLaw Cost Error Evaluation to anyone subscribing to this blog. The evaluation is is only $25.00 including HST, and I will provide you with a report outlining any issues that need to be addressed. Likewise, this service can offer you great peace of mind if no issues are found. The evaluation takes approximately 30 minutes.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next week – Billing for a Satellite Office.


Sunday, September 11, 2011


Archiving matters is a must if you want to reduce the time it takes to generate and print reports. Contrary to popular belief, this does nothing to change the matter’s information. When you archive matters, you also set its destroy date, which is the date you will shred the client’s file. But the archived matter is available and can be reopened if needed (please note that there have been some issues with reopening matters archived in older versions of PCLaw – always print/save copies of the client ledger).

The archiving tool can also be used to destroy the matter information, which will completely remove it from PCLaw.

Pre-conditions – A matter you want to archive:
• cannot have unbilled disbursements
• cannot have remaining trust funds
• cannot have a general retainer balance
• cannot have an outstanding A/R balance
• cannot have activity in an open month.

You should also set a default destroy date – System Settings – Matter – “Files Can Be Destroyed After __ Years”. LawPRO Magazine had an article on file retention in their December 2010 issue. Here is a link to the article:
To archive – File – Matter – Close Matter – enter matter number – make sure “Archive Name/Address and Accounting Information” is selected - OK.:

Bulk Archiving - Do not enter a matter number, Achive all matters before - you choose at date - OK. PCLaw will archive all matters that meet the conditions set out above.

To reopen a matter – File – Matter – Closed Matter Register – select the matter – OK.
As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future posting topics. Next week – Transfers Between Matters.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How does virtual legal bookkeeping work?

My July 3rd posting was on why I provide my bookkeeping services virtually. Richard from Michigan suggested that I could further explain what I do and how the whole virtual legal bookkeeping process works.

Each month, I generally do the bank reconciliations (statements emailed or faxed to me), plus the remittances to the government for payroll taxes and HST (consumption tax). If something on the bank statement does not appear correct, I simply email to ask for clarification / explanation; just as I would have to ask for an explanation if I was on-site.

I also assist with law practice compliance issues. The law society in Ontario requires specific bookkeeping procedures, records, forms, etc.  I review practice / office procedures, help fill out forms, look for any bookkeeping errors made by staff, and advise and correct as needed.

I maintain the General Ledger in PCLaw, which has a tendency to gather posting errors that cause sub-ledger imbalances (i.e. bank ledger balance is different from the amount shown on the balance sheet). With the exception of partial postings which require the involvement of a PCLaw engineer, I can correct most of the other errors.

I can print or save any reports as are needed or requested. I can assist with billing disputes and other accounts receivable issues. And, I can also assist with overall small business advise in respect to running a law practice.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next week – Archiving.