Tom Boyle, the Co-Founder of TrustBooks, has good news to share. Trustbooks, the cloud-based program designed to make trust accounting simple for solo, small, and mid-sized law firms, has expanded its platform to also provide operating accounting. This will allow law firms to manage both their operating and trust accounts within a single product.
Tom has long been a friend to Lawyers Mutual. Prior to TrustBooks, Tom owned his own CPA firm and provided accounting to law firms. He has written articles for the Lawyers Mutual blog, consulted with us, and spoken at several Lawyers Mutual CLE programs.
Today, we are going to spend some time with Tom learning more about the latest TrustBooks offering.
LMCS: Tom, when you had your CPA practice working with small law firms, you came to believe there had to be a better software solution for lawyers’ trust accounting than QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel. Since you couldn’t find it, you developed your own.
Boyle: That’s correct. We wanted a focused solution that would be very simple and easy to use. With TrustBooks, we’ve taken the accounting language out of the mix. We let small firms get up and running without needing to understand complex accounting. Over the past six years, what we kept hearing from thousands of attorneys is that they love the simplicity we bring to trust accounting and they are looking for a better way to manage their operating accounts as well. We believe the TrustBooks update provides the solution they are looking for.
We designed TrustBooks operating accounting to be a simple-to-use product for lawyers to track their daily and monthly accounting. The TrustBooks dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of a firm’s trust and operating accounts. Everything is designed for the small law firm, so all trust activity is tracked down to the client level and the operating activity can be tracked at the firm or client level too. The feature that our users enjoy the most is viewing all their clients with their trust balance on one page. From here, the user can navigate to a specific client to see their trust and operating activity at the client level. We have other features like a three-way reconciliation being created with every reconciliation so that state bar compliance is built-in to our workflow.
LMCS: Product integration is key to software platforms today. Does TrustBooks play nicely with others?
Boyle: TrustBooks integrates with the practice management platform Clio, so that matters created in Clio and transactions recorded in Clio can be easily imported into TrustBooks.
TrustBooks also allows check printing, which Clio does not natively offer. That enables a lawyer to record a payment in Clio, import it into TrustBooks, and then print the check.
It also integrates with the electronic payments software LawPay to synchronize payments received there, and with your online banking accounts, to allow easy transfers of data and avoid duplicate data entry.
By offering both trust and operating accounting, TrustBooks makes it easy to transfer earned fees from a trust account to an operating account. The user simply opens our dedicated Transfer Earned Fees page and in a couple of steps can move funds between their trust account and operating account and ensure that all the correct buckets like trust ledger, client ledger and operating accounts are updated correctly.
LMCS: The feature that differentiates QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel from TrustBooks is TrustBooks prohibits payments from a trust account in an amount greater than the client’s available funds. If you attempt this, the system blocks the payment and warns, “You cannot make a payment in excess of current balance.” Another key feature of TrustBooks is its ability to automatically perform three-way reconciliations of trust accounts, a requirement of state bar trust-accounting rules. These features are of particular interest to Lawyers Mutual and we believe these provide safety and peace of mind for our insureds who use your products.
Boyle: Agreed. Something else our clients like is the “easy button” for reporting. The easy button automatically generates month-end reports for payments, deposits, client activity and ledgers. Users can also create custom reports that can be filtered according to a number of parameters.
New Tiered Pricing
With the introduction of operating accounting in addition to trust accounting, TrustBooks now offers three tiers of pricing:
- $49 a month per user for trust accounting only.
- $69 a month for both firm and trust accounting.
- $149 a month for both firm and trust accounting, plus hands-on reconciliation services in which a TrustBooks CPA oversees your reconciliations, completing them each month and fixing any issues that may arise.