Accountants & bookkeepers

Simplify your general banking

ContactsLaw gives you all the tools you need to manage your general banking. Receipt and payment activities model the movement of funds in and out of your bank, loan and credit card accounts. Specialisations for different methods of payment collect more relevant information and improve overall accountability. Deposit and bulk payment activities help you streamline your banking, and better align your records with your bank statement.

ContactsLaw doesn’t just record transactions after they occur; it provides activities to assist in the entire process involved in handling each type of transaction. Whether it’s a debtor receipt, a disbursement, a creditor payment or a simple general ledger transaction, there’s an activity that collects the information that’s relevant and provides intelligent features to save you time.

ContactsLaw makes it easy to record direct debits to your bank account(s). Taking advantage of the fact that most recurring payments share common details, you can define pro-forma transactions to represent each one; when a direct debit is discovered on your bank statement, you can quickly match the amount or reference number to find the applicable template.

From the bank view, you can quickly list the most recent transactions on your bank account, view pending receipts/payments and review the current and forecasted balance. This is also the starting point for deposit and bulk payment activities; these enable you to group together funds to be deposited – or electronic payments to be processed – and deal with them as a group. You can conveniently export bulk payments for use in online banking applications. ContactsLaw improves the efficiency of your banking by allowing you to doing more, less often.

Manage your general ledger and chart of accounts

ContactsLaw is a complete general accounting package, tailored specifically to the needs of the legal profession. With it, you can manage your entire chart of accounts, configure budgets, produce financial reports and search transactions.

Accounts can be created for any purpose, with specialisations to model bank accounts, credit cards, debtors, creditors, disbursements, GST, salaries/superannuation and more. If an account is defined for a particular purpose, ContactsLaw will select or post to it automatically when required by an activity. When viewing an account, you can browse and filter its transactions, maintain its budget or reconcile its activity against a statement.

In addition to transaction types for banking, a range of specialised accounting journals are offered. You can easily transfer funds between accounts, either individually or en-masse. Activities are provided for entering opening balances and performing end of financial year roll-overs.

ContactsLaw includes fully-interactive financial reports to enable you to explore your balance sheet and profit & loss, drilling down to get more detail and comparing periods.

Confidently operate a trust account

ContactsLaw makes it easy to operate a trust account and comply with regulatory requirements. In addition to being fully integrated with contacts, files, documents and workflows, all trust accounting features in ContactsLaw adhere to the 2009 WA Legal Profession Regulations and the 2005 NSW Legal Profession Regulations.

Each trust accounting activity is designed around the relevant record-keeping and conduct requirements, which are enforced through intelligent business rule modelling, workflows, permissions and auditing mechanisms. You can record receipts, payments, journal entries and bank deposits, safe in the knowledge that the information is complete, correct and safeguarded from change. ContactsLaw also provides specialised activities for ordering bank cheques and transferring funds from trust to general (simultaneously updating your general account). Reconciliations enable you to verify and demonstrate the integrity of your records. The trial balance identifies all matters for which trust funds are held.

A comprehensive set of reports are available on-demand, to help you manage, monitor and audit your trust account; including all reports required under legal profession regulations. ContactsLaw includes wizards to automate the process of issuing trust statements to your clients, either periodically, on closure or upon request. Special provisions are made for handling transit cheques and controlled money, as well as reporting powers and estates.

Centrally manage dealings with creditors

ContactsLaw takes a whole-of-life approach to dealing with creditors; from the establishment of the relationship, through recording invoices, reconciling statements, reporting by age and allocating payments to invoice items.

At a glance, you can view all your creditors and payment terms. Authorised members can promote contacts to creditor status when they enter their first invoice. ContactsLaw supports payment on statement or invoice, altering its behaviour accordingly.

You can configure a document workflow to streamline the process of registering and accounting for a creditor invoice. Invoices remain on the creditors ledger until reconciled against a statement, at which point they become payable. Viewing the interactive aged creditors report, you can quickly identify those creditors to whom payment is due, and react accordingly.

You’ll never over/under-pay a creditor when you initiate a creditor payment in ContactsLaw; only reconciled invoices are displayed, and the activity draws upon these to build the transaction. Through a granular allocation mechanism, you can easily track which invoices you’ve paid and which are outstanding.

Reconcile your accounts quickly and easily

Reconciliations are a powerful mechanism for ensuring the accuracy and integrity of your financial transactions. Required under trust account regulations and promoted as best-practice for general accounts, they validate your electronic records by comparing them to a trustworthy source (usually a bank or credit card statement). ContactsLaw offers specialised reconciliation activities for trust and general bank accounts, credit cards, GST/PAYG and creditor statements.

Streamlined using a document workflow, the reconciliation process begins by registering the document against which the account is to be reconciled. The reconciliation activity displays all transactions recorded in ContactsLaw for the relevant period (including any unreconciled transactions from previous periods). You enter the target balance and total debits/credits and then, working through the list, tick off transactions which have a match on the statement. Time-saving sorting and search features help you get the job done quicker. You can make any necessary corrections from within the activity.

When your electronic records agree with the statement, ContactsLaw allows you to finalise the reconciliation, which locks down the period and safeguards against subsequent edits. You can print a report for any reconciliation period, showing the unpresented and cancelled cheques, undeposited funds, suspense activity and a summary the reconciliation. Naturally, you can access the original statement quickly and easily by following the link to the document.

Model workflows for financial transactions

“One-size-fits-all” accounting packages often fail to acknowledge the drastically different business processes associated with different methods of payment. While these systems focus on simply recording transactions after the fact, ContactsLaw models the entire processes for receipting, paying and transferring funds. By configuring workflows for financial transactions, you can build activities which reflect the way your practice actually conducts them.

The ability to split and clone accounting activities allows you to define separate workflows for different methods of payment. For example, funds received by cheque or cash may go through separate holding and depositing steps, while funds received by credit card might allow for authority, processing and reconciliation steps. Likewise, payments by EFT could follow a workflow that allows transactions to accumulate and be paid in batches, while each payment by cheque would run through to completion individually.

Another principal benefit of this whole-of-life approach is that information is entered into the system by the members responsible for each step of the process, freeing the bookkeeper from guesswork or having to make assumptions about each transaction. This leads to greater detail and fewer mistakes in your accounts.

Report GST and prepare your BAS

ContactsLaw’s general accounting features have been designed from the ground-up for the Australian taxation system, with features to painlessly capture and report GST and PAYG tax withheld. Both cash and accruals-based tax methods are supported. The system also helps you prepare your BAS and manage your dealings with the ATO.

ContactsLaw simplifies the process of recording GST when entering transactions; depending on the account to which you post, ContactsLaw will suggest, allow or prohibit a GST component. There’s no need to manually journal amounts to the GST account; everything is done automatically. When completing the payroll activity, ContactsLaw captures tax withheld and posts the relevant transactions to the PAYG account.

At the end of a reporting period, you can interact with a comprehensive set of reports to review your sales and purchases subject/not-subject to GST, as well as your capital/non-capital purchases. You can also use these tools to identify anomalous transactions where the GST position conflicts with that of the account.

The culmination of all of the above features comes in the form of the BAS activity, which automatically populates the figures required to complete a business activity statement; you simply review the amounts, override or add any additional figures and use the calculated totals to lodge the BAS. You can drill-down on a pre-populated figure to view the transactions which it comprises.

Pay wages, superannuation and record leave

In addition to its extensive accounting features, ContactsLaw is also a small business payroll package, helping you pay wages and superannuation, and record leave. Its functionality is tailored to the needs of small-to-medium-sized law firms. While by no means a comprehensive payroll solution, it suits the circumstances of most users and mitigates the need for a separate package.

Member profiles for your staff include all necessary payroll information, including employment terms, leave entitlements, superannuation fund details and a full TFN declaration. ContactsLaw offers provision for both fixed and variable hours, as well as casual employees.

Leave can be recorded retrospectively or, by configuring an appropriate workflow, members can request leave from a supervisor. Encouraging transparency, the requestor may view their annual leave balance. Electronic leave applications dispel the need for separate office processes and keep all parties informed as they progress.

The payroll activity itself draws upon all applicable information in the system for a given pay period, identifying the members to be paid, the hours worked (less leave), superannuation accruals and preferred payment details. Assuming no variation in gross pay, tax withheld is carried forward from the previous pay period for convenience. When finalised, the activity generates payment and banking tasks and directs them to the member(s) responsible.

Superannuation accrues for each member with each payment. When superannuation is paid into members’ funds, ContactsLaw provides a convenient activity to determine the amounts payable, as well as the payment arrangements for each member. Tasks are automatically generated to pay each fund.