There are many cloud-based solutions for legal billing, practice management or accounting, but very few that do all of these in a single package. CosmoLex is a multi-featured law firm solution that may not have every feature possible, but if your clients want a cloud-based all-in-one product, it’s a solution you definitely should consider. This is one cloud solution that won't require you to have or use another 'accounting' program.
As always, the first step for 'trusted advisors' is to understand their clients' needs and wants in each area of their law practice. For example, “what type of billing arrangements does the firm need/want,” and “what are their practice management requirements?” Once you have this needs and wants assessment you can evaluate solutions to decide how each possible solution will work.
CosmoLex - Multi-platform capable
All in one solutions have the advantage of single data entry without worrying about linking data or support from multiple vendors. If you can use a single step and write a check on behalf of a client and know that it will be automatically included when you bill the client, then you can be assured that advanced client costs won't be missed. Similarly, if you have an appointment on your calendar and can quickly convert that to a billable fee, you are more apt to capture the time you spend and bill the client appropriately. This single entry philosophy is what CosmoLex strives for.
CosmoLex - Check printing
CosmoLex is highly focused on billing and accounting. You have a choice of hourly, fixed fee or contingency billing arrangements. All time can be made billable, non-billable or no charge. You can assign different billing layouts to different clients in order to make your billing quick and easy. Bills can be generated individually or using a batch billing approach, allowing all your bills to be generated in a single click. The generated bills can then be printed or emailed.
CosmoLex Collections window
CosmoLex also offers batch reminders to help keep you, or your staff, on top of collections. In one click all your overdue matters can be sent reminder notices with copies of overdue bills.
To help clients pay, CosmoLex also offers credit card integration via LawPay.
Tracking for both hard and soft costs is another robust feature. CosmoLex also makes it easy to get the accounting for client costs correct since you can assign default accounts to eliminate guessing on the part of those making cost entries.
You can have operating retainers, if allowed by your state, in addition to IOLTA retainers. Retainer replenishments can be automatically included on each bill. Dr. Rick Kabra, CEO of CosmoLex, told Insightful Accountant, "One of the most heavily scrutinized areas for law firms is their trust account bookkeeping. If a firm makes a mistake here it could mean the end of their business. The best firms tend to employ systems that have safeguards against any potential errors." We think he is right, and in deference to those states where auto-pay from a trust account is not allowed, and to reduce the risk of inappropriate payments, CosmoLex includes a safeguard that requires that payments from trust accounts be manually initiated. However, once started, all the accounting allocations are properly posted. To meet state reporting requirements there is a one-click three-way IOLTA reconciliation report available.
CosmoLex - IOLTA Accounting
CosmoLex includes profitability reports by timekeeper and client, along with other reports to help track and measure the business. One feature I really like is what I refer to as the client - matter overview. On a single list you can see each matter, its associated client and the AR, WIP, Operating retainer and Trust retainer. This makes it easy to see who should be billed and what needs to be collected. You can also import downloaded banking and credit card account transactions.
Since CosmoLex is cloud based it is easily accessed from not only your desktop, but any device including laptop, Android or iOS tablets or phones. For those who prefer, the program’s internal calendar can also sync to Google calendar. Email integration is presently under development and expected soon. Each firm will have a forwarding address to which they will send any emails to be stored in CosmoLex. Once emails are forwarded, those will be automatically tagged with the matter by matching Client e-mail or other emails associated with a Client matter. (Emails can also be manually tagged.) CosmoLex also integrates with Box.com and DropBox for organizing your documents.
CosmoLex - Document mgmt
One feature not currently available in CosmoLex is Accounts Payable. While you can write checks, you currently can't enter vendor bills and be reminded to pay them later. For many small law firms this may not be an issue, but still, I would like to see it added to the product.
I would also like to see more "practice management" type features incorporated into the product, like custom fields to track specific types of information related to matters. Since CosmoLex is constantly adding new features, I will keep watch out for these, and other product enhancements.
For accountants, bookkeepers and consultants there is a Preferred Partner Program that includes a free account. This makes it easy for you to work with your clients without requiring them to purchase an extra license. There is both a pre-recorded demo and a free trial available along with good technical support. Prices are clearly stated on the website, and CosmoLex is licensed based on actual product users, not timekeepers.
For those looking for a Law-firm-centric cloud-based solution, especially focusing on billing and accounting features, CosmoLex should be on your list to review.