What to ask when choosing legal accounting software

The ABC of trust audits
May 27, 2019

What to ask when choosing legal accounting software

Accounting software is designed to save you time and to make your life easier, not harder. The more automation offered, the better. What features and automations are on your wishlist? What extras would you add if possible? You might want auto invoicing either single or in a batch at any time of the month (not just month-end). As well as bank imports and auto bank reconciliations.

  1. WHAT AM I CURRENTLY USING AND WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT IT?

When you decide to change your current way of doing your books, you need to know why you are looking to change. Is it because your current system does not help you achieve your goals? Are you relying on old technology? Maybe your firm has grown so much that an excel sheet does not do what you require from it any longer.

  1. WHAT DO I NOT LIKE ABOUT MY CURRENT SYSTEM?

Think carefully about what does not work for you and make a list of what isn’t working. This will be a good start when choosing new software.

When you understand what is working and what is not, you will be able to choose new software.

  1. WHICH FEATURES DO I ABSOLUTELY REQUIRE FROM MY SOFTWARE?

What features do you need to achieve the goals you set out for your firm? Herewith a list of features you might need:

  • Trust and Business ledgers as well as Investments
  • Invoicing or pro forma invoicing
  • Online receipts
  • Importing of bank statements
  • Auto bank reconciliations
  • Export of payments to the bank
  • Detailed general ledger accounts.
  • Income statement
  • Expenditure reports
  • Time tracking
  • Creditor ledgers
  • Monthly statements

And the list goes on.

  1. HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO SPEND ON SOFTWARE?

Most legal accounting options in South Africa is based on a monthly rental agreement. When choosing your option, make sure it includes updates and support. Monthly rental agreements vary from vendor to vendor. Cheaper is not always better and the same applies to the more expensive options. Look at the options on offer and decide what you require for your firm. Also, remember, the software must grow with your firm.

  1. CLOUD OR LOCALLY INSTALLED?

Decide what your needs are. When deciding to go with the cloud-based option, remember that the speed is depending on your internet speed.

  1. DO I NEED OR WANT ANY OTHER INTEGRATIONS?

Some of the vendors offer integration into other software products. If you require any integrations, ask them if they can do the integration.

Now that you have your list of requirements, you need to ask the software vendor the following questions:

  1. Is it an accounting system?

It must have a double-entry system. This ensures that all entries are debited and credited in the same transaction. It must be designed for legal firms.

  1. Does it offer a full general ledger with general ledger reporting?

Trial balance, Income & expenditure reports, Trust surplus reports etc.

  1. Does it generate client reports with the click of a button?

Client balances, ageing reports etc.

  1. Does it offer Trust, business and Investment ledgers in one system?

If it does not, it is not a product designed for legal firms. When using an off the shelf product, it will require more time to ensure your trust and business side is in order.

  1. Does it offer all the features I have on my list?
  2. Does it offer the features I require?
  3. Does it offer integrations?

Bank imports. Integrations with other software products.

  1. Is it affordable?

There should be no hidden costs

  1. Will my data be secure?

How are backups done?

  1. What are other people saying?

Call the clients on the vendor’s website for a referral

  1. Is there good customer support?

Will I get support when I need it? How long does a support call take?

  1. Is the software updated on a regular basis?

Updates are required to ensure you get access to all the new features on offer

  1. Do I like the look and feel of the software?

Did you like the way the product looked when you saw a demonstration?

  1. Will it save my firm time?

A manual task is automated.

The most important aspect when choosing accounting software, is this, do you like using the software? If you don’t like it, you will not use it.

When you test the software, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I like the design? Ugly colours and clumsy layouts will make you negative.
  2. Is it easy to use?

It all comes down to what you like and what will work best for your firm.

Call us on 083 395 8271 or visit our website at www.quantim.co.za.  We can offer all of the above and more.