Before we dive into all the details, here’s a quick TDLR: Clio is a tech stack software that allows your firm to easily manage clients, billable hours, business development, and accounting, making it easy to keep up with multiple tech streams. TrustBooks is a trust accounting software that allows you to manage your clients’ trust accounts, generate reports, and stay within state bar compliance – making trust reconciliation easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
Capiche? Capiche. Now for the deets.
You know that feeling when you’re just driving along and all of the sudden, your “check engine” light comes on? You might think to yourself, ‘Maybe I can get a few more miles in before I need to do something about it.’ Or, ‘Yeah, that thing’s been on for A WHILE – and I’m not super sure what it even means. But this machine is still kickin’.’
Either way, it’s a problem that will need to be addressed before you end up stranded on the side of the road…in the middle of the night…during an epic thunderstorm…with a dead cellphone…and nothing in sight except for a terrifyingly obscure house at the end of the street. *Dun, dun, dun.*
As a trusted small business accounting firm, we know how important it is to have a reliable system, so we’re spelling out what you need to know about the tech-stack “oil change” you might need. And it’s two words: legal help.
Today we’re diving into Clio and TrustBooks – two types of legal accounting software that provide an integral management system and trust accounting services, respectively, that help your law firm avoid a catastrophic breakdown. As an added bonus, they’re also essential for giving you the power to focus on client needs and optimizing your time.
Legal Accounting Software: Clio
First up is Clio. Clio is a dual-functioning platform containing “Clio Grow” and “Clio Manage” features. Grow and Manage work best hand-in-hand, which is offered in Clio Suite, but you have the option to subscribe to either independently.
Clio Grow acts as a CRM for presales, compiling existing, new, and potential client information. With all of your client information in one place, your firm can easily assess client hireability, manage materials, and stay up-to-date on client activity. Ultimately, you can get to know your clients holistically; because we’re all people just trying to figure it out. Clio Manage also works to continuously and automatically update client portfolios with pertinent matter, allowing you to cohesively manage their credentials and essentials.
Clio Manage is the ultimate homebase – a place where your firm can track all things billable. It provides you with a personal dashboard that’s available to paralegals and includes comprehensive agendas, task lists, scheduling, and metric features. You can also better understand your pipeline and conversion rates with access to visual ROI and lead source reports, giving your firm quantitative and qualitative insights into growth opportunities.
In addition, Clio syncs with your accounting software, providing you with uniformity and transparency across your firm’s client and matter-related material, firm activity, and accounting, enabling your firm to function like the well-oiled machine you know it can be. We like to think of this as the supreme, long-lasting and rust-reducing oil they recommend at the body shop. So, this aspect of Clio is the Holy Trinity for ultimate firm functionality.
Legal Accounting Software: TrustBooks
TrustBooks is your trusted partner in trust accounting. (Try saying that tongue twister five times fast.) TrustBooks provides legal accounting software to smaller firms with trust-related needs and clients. Your firm can choose from two different plans, the first being a generalized DIY approach that adheres to state bar compliance, provides one-click reporting, and delivers best-in-class security. The more robust option includes a TrustBooks appointed manager and CPA oversight on trust accounts to alleviate your firm’s backend workload.
This legal accounting software will allow your firm to manage multiple trust accounts and their matters; maintain a healthy, synchronized trust reconciliation process between ledger, client, and bank account to ensure state compliance; and gives you the ability to automatically generate the documentation necessary for trust management.
There is one caveat: TrustBooks does not integrate with your accounting software. With TrustBooks, exporting data from your accounting software will require manual review and selection before pushing over. While this may seem like a cumbersome approach, it works to avoid duplicate entries or balance reconciliation discrepancies, and it’s one of the things you can ask your bookkeeper or accountant to manage, so no sweat there.
Want a side-by-side comparison of Clio and TrustBooks? Check out our chart below for the platform highlights.
You might be thinking, ‘Okay, all this information is great, but which do I choose?’ If your firm is in need of a legal accounting software that bridges the gap across all of your firm’s departments, Clio is for you. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your trust account management – less the benefit of syncing to your accounting software – TrustBooks is the right choice. Either way, having a system in place to help manage your firm is always better than no system.
Whatever your needs may be, we’re here to guarantee the best tech-stack practices to keep your machine up and running. Got questions? Feel free to drop a comment below, tweet at us, or fill out our contact form, and we’ll be happy to act as your trusted “accounting mechanic.”