Sunday, October 30, 2011

Adding a New Bank in PCLaw

There are many reasons you may need to add a new bank account. Maybe you have moved, and want to bank closer to your new location. Maybe you want to add an account to track your credit card purchases. Maybe you want to separate investment trust funds (GICs, etc.) from your everyday mixed trust account.

Old established law firms can remain in the same location and bank at the same institution for decades. The need to add a new bank account into PCLaw never arises, so the knowledge of how to do this is lost. I once took over from a bookkeeper that left all the entries in the original PCLaw bank accounts, leaving me to sort out which entries were from the old account and which were from the new.

“What I do NOT understand is how to open a new general account … Further, how do I open a new trust account in PCLaw and transfer my data to where it belongs?” 

I replied as follows:
“I am assuming the entire bank balance went from general A to general B.  Data Entry - General bank – Date - Bank to Bank transfer - 1st box, transfer from acct #1 (assuming 1) - next box, transfer to - click on right side of box to open pop-up window listing general banks - click Add - name the new bank TD, RBC etc. - OK - OK - Enter $$ - OK.”

“Trust account - first get a trust listing of the old account - Reports - Client - Trust listing. Then same as above - Data Entry - Trust bank - Bank to bank transfer - add the new account - transfer amount - only this time use the trust listing to enter the matter numbers and amounts in the lower portion - OK.”

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next week – Steps to follow while moving your bank accounts.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Adding a Different Address for a Satellite Office in PCLaw

I am a member of the PCLaw group at LinkedIn. Cindy asked:

“Is there a way to get invoices to print with a satellite office address at the top, instead of the firm's main address?”

My answer was:

Use the Template Editor in Tools to select the bill you are using now. You can confirm the current billing template in Systems Settings - Billing - there are 3 - Bill, Quickbill, and Prebill.

After you open the bill in the Template Editor, immediately "save as" a new name. Then click on the Element containing the firm's address at the top and delete. Then, Edit -Insert - Text element. In the text element type the name, address, phone, etc. of the satellite office. Re-save this template.

You cannot change the default bill template in Systems Settings, as it will change for the whole firm. Instead, use the Billing tab in Matter Manager to set the billing template for clients of the satellite office only.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next week – Adding a New Bank in PCLaw.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

HST On Long-term Billing

Note: (This posting was scheduled for September 25th, but for some unknown reason it did not publish to the blog as scheduled.) 

I received a question from Mandy:

“I'm getting accounts to put through that have a HST amount and a GST amount. For example I recently received an account to put through for a criminal matter that was started a year before the HST.

As the work on the matter was pretty much 50/50 before & after HST . . .  the assistant is calculating the disbursements & time spent on the matter based on when the work was done or the disbursement was incurred (before or after HST).  I'm having difficulty with some of these files that do not meet the 90% rule.”

The solution:

Two invoices – one ending June 30, 2010 and one starting July 1st, 2010 to today.


For one invoice - Run your client’s ledger to June 30, 2010.  Then run the client’s ledger from July 1, 2010 to today.  Compare totals on both ledgers to determine whether the 90% rule applies. If the 90% rule does not apply, calculate 5% GST on 1st ledger total, and 13% HST on second.  Add together the GST and HST, for the total tax on the invoice, and then use this amount to adjust the tax on the billing window.

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


PCLaw Error Evaluation - Confidentiality

I am updating the posting of September 18th in response to several inquiries. Just to be perfectly clear, I do provide confidentiality agreements.

I will not disclose, discuss, or reveal any of my findings to anyone but you.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bank Reconciliations

One of the worst habits to get into when doing your bank reconciliations, is failing to carefully examine each entry to ensure the PCLaw entry exactly matches the bank statement.

If you are a small practice, you can sometimes get away with looking for a $500.01 entry and checking off $500.10. If you have a hundred or more entries each month, this short-cut method creates much more work than the time it saves. There is nothing more frustrating than checking off all your entries and finding the balance is out by $0.09. You now have to go back and start over, re-examining each entry to find the error.

Instead, take the few seconds needed to check that the numbers the teller entered are exactly the same as the entry in PCLaw. Correct any errors as you find them. You will quickly find that by using this system, your last checkmark consistently result in a balanced account.

Tricks to aid you in the bank reconciliation process:
  1. Deal with bank errors immediately – inform the bank or correct in PCLaw as needed.
  2. Use the sort function – by clicking on the headings at the top of the columns. If you are having trouble finding an entry, sort by amount. To find a cheque, sort by cheque number. You can also sort by checked/unchecked entries.
  3. Use multiple sorting. First sort by date, then by unchecked/checked.  The unchecked items will be grouped together, and sorted by date. Sort by amount then by unchecked/checked. The unchecked items will be grouped together, and sorted by the amount.
As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next week – No cost error evaluation.