Frequently Asked Questions - Amicus Accounting - Administration

If you need another license for Amicus Small Firm Accounting, contact Gavel & Gown Software first. Once you have requested, purchased and received your new License Key, you can add a new user.

  1. Choose Start Up, Users.
  2. Click New. A new message might appear as follows: "If you have already purchased and received your License Key from Gavel & Gown, click Apply License Key below." Apply the License key then proceed to the next step.
  3. Type the user name for the operator you are creating the password for. Usernames must be unique, and are always entered in capital letters.
  4. Enter the user's first name and last name.
  5. Select the group the user is to be a member of. Groups determine the access rights the user will have. Users must be a member of at least one group.
  6. Type the password to be assigned to the user. Passwords can be up to eight characters long, can be made up of letters, numbers and symbols, and are case-sensitive. Re-enter the password in the space provided.
  7. Click Save.
Individual Amicus Small Firm Accounting users are identified by their user names and passwords - user names identify the user in Amicus Small Firm Accounting and therefore must be unique and passwords are used to authenticate the user name. These items are set up in the Start Up, Users function.

The Reset User Status utility is used to reset an operator's login status if his or her computer shuts down improperly while in Amicus Small Firm Accounting. If someone exits improperly out of Amicus Small Firm Accounting, their user status may not be reset and Amicus Small Firm Accounting will not "know" that they are out of the program, which will prevent you from installing updates or running backups or utilities.

Resetting the status of a user who is legitimately in Amicus Small Firm Accounting will not force them to log out. In other words, you cannot "kick a user out" of Amicus Small Firm Accounting by resetting their user status.

  1. Choose Maintenance, Reset User Status. The screen will list the currently active users.
  2. Click Reset Selected Users.
  3. Click Close.
You can delete a lawyer (timekeeper) if the lawyer is no longer listed as the Responsible or Originating lawyer on any File, and if all unposted unbilled time balances for the lawyer are at zero. However, don't delete a lawyer number if you will still want to produce reports for that lawyer. Instead, simply designate the lawyer as inactive (from Lists, Timekeepers). This will prevent transactions from being posted to the lawyer accidentally and you will still be able to generate reports based on the lawyer number.

File types are used to specify the type of law associated with a Client File. Reports can be printed by file type, allowing you to group Client Files. When you open new Client Files, you must specify the file type. Not all firms differentiate between file types. If your firm does not, just add one file type called General.

File types are set up in the File Types function in the Lists module.

Billing cycle codes are similar to file types in that they provide a method of grouping Client Files. For example, a firm might use weekly and monthly billing cycle codes and assign them to Clients so when billing, Clients can be grouped through the billing cycle to which they belong. Billing cycles are optional, and can be assigned to Client Files either at the time the File is opened or at any point in the future.

Billing cycle codes are set up in the Billing Cycles function in the Lists module.

Activity and expense codes are used to speed the process of posting. Example activity codes are "Telephone conference with" and "Attend trial". Expense codes describe charges posted to Client Files, for example, "Postage" or "Photocopies". A unique code is assigned to a time or expense description and, when you want to post using that description, you simply enter the corresponding code or select it from a list. Expense codes also determine tax treatment and appearance on bills.

Amicus Small Firm Accounting comes with sample activity and expense codes but you will probably want to add your own and remove those you don't intend to use.

To add or edit these codes, use the Expense Codes or Activity Codes functions in the Lists module.

The System Settings tab on the Firm Settings screen enables you to make changes to the setup of Amicus Small Firm Accounting. Changes made here affect all Amicus Small Firm Accounting users. Don't modify these settings unless you understand how the changes will affect your system. Choose Start Up, Firm Settings. The System Settings tab is the first tab displayed.

Setting

Meaning

Firm Name

This field should contain your firm name as you want it to appear on reports.

Common City

Use the common city field to record the city in which most of your Clients reside. This saves time when you are opening Files - you will be able to press F6 to automatically fill in the common city instead of typing it each time.

Year End Month

This field should contain the month number of the last month of your fiscal year. For example, if your year-end is in December enter 12.

Month Last Cleared

This field should contain the last accounting month that you have cleared. For example, if you are currently posting in September, enter 8. This does not mean that you can no longer post to the month you enter here, nor does it mean you must have reconciled your banks for this month. This simply provides a warning to users when posting to an earlier month.

Financial Year Start and End Dates

These dates represent the date range of your current financial year. They are used by General Ledger reports and by posting programs and are incremented when you run the year-end program.

Billing Allocation

When bills are posted, fees must be allocated to the correct lawyer. The Billing Allocation field enables you to specify how the fees will be distributed by default. Enter A or leave blank to automatically distribute the fees to the Responsible Lawyer on the Client File, or enter P to prorate the fees based on the time transactions on the bill.

Next Invoice No.

If you want Amicus Small Firm Accounting to number invoices automatically, enter the next invoice number. The numbering series is not user-specific - all Amicus Small Firm Accounting users will have the same numbering series.

Next Client Number

If Amicus Small Firm Accounting is set to automatically number client matter files, enter the next Client number that Amicus Small Firm Accounting will use when creating a new Client.

Next Trust Receipt #

If Amicus Small Firm Accounting is set to assign trust receipt numbers automatically, enter the next trust receipt number the Amicus Small Firm Accounting will use when posting trust receipt.

Date Format

Reports, posting programs, and all other screens will display dates based on this format. Enter MDY to format dates as MM/DD/YYYY. Enter DMY to format dates as DD/MM/YYYY. Enter YMD to format dates as YYYY/MM/DD.

Use Originating Lawyers

If you select this option, you will have the option to specify originating lawyers when you are opening files.

Confirm Save of A/P Invoices

If you select this option, you will be prompted before saving the A/P invoice when you press enter in the Invoice Entry program.

Display Audit Trails

If you select this option, the audit number will be displayed after each transaction is posted.

Combine Audits

Select Combine Audits to print both pages of your transaction audit reports on a single page.

Allow Trust Overdrafts

Select whether you want to allow trust overdrafts on Files. If you choose to allow overdrafts Amicus Small Firm Accounting will display a warning message but you will be able to override it.

Spool To Disk

Select how you want your audits printed. If you want to be prompted to print your audits each time you post, ensure Spool to Disk is disabled. If you don't want to be prompted to print your audits and instead want to print them later, enable Spool to Disk.

Automatic Trust Receipt #'s

Select this option if you want Amicus Small Firm Accounting to generate trust receipt numbers automatically.

Automatic Backup

Select Yes (recommended) or No to activate or deactivate the automatic backup reminder.

Accounting methods are different ways of recording revenue and expenses. Amicus Small Firm Accounting offers three accounting methods. You must select the appropriate accounting method before you start posting in Amicus Small Firm Accounting.

The accounting method may be Cash Accounting, Modified Cash Accounting, or Accrual Accounting (you record billings as revenue). Your accountant will be able to determine which method is best for your firm.

  • In the Accrual accounting method, revenue is recorded when it is earned and expenses are recorded when they are incurred. A bill is recognized as an expense to your firm when you receive it, not when you pay it, and revenue is recorded when you post bills.
  • In the Cash accounting method, revenue is recorded when payment is received and expenses are recorded when they are paid. For example, bills are generally recognized as expenses when you pay them, not when you receive them. Firms using cash basis accounting typically don't record Accounts Receivable, accounts payable, or accrued expenses.
  • In the Modified Cash accounting-method, revenue is recorded when it is received, expenses are recorded when they are paid, and recoverable Client expenses are treated as work-in-progress.

The system automatically assigns Client/Matter ID numbers. In the Start Up > Firm Settings function - System Settings tab you can assign the first Client number (up to 9 digits). If desired, you could enter a new starting number at the beginning of each year-for example, "120001" at the beginning of 2012.

In a full Client File ID, the first digits comprise the Client number and the last 3 digits comprise the Matter number.
Tax and company information is entered on the Firm Settings screen in the Start Up module. The System Settings tab contains options that control how Amicus Small Firm Accounting operates. Don't make changes to this information unless you understand how it affects your system. The Control Accounts tab allows you to configure your control accounts, which are a subset of your Chart of Accounts and are used to generate the automatic journal entries each time you post. The Tax Settings tab allows you to set up information about your firm as a vendor, such as default tax settings.

Use the Timekeepers function in the Lists module to add new lawyers and timekeepers and to edit, delete and print existing lawyer and timekeeper information. You must set up lawyer code numbers before you start adding Client Files. For each timekeeper, consider the following information:

  • Unique number between 1 and 999
  • Status - active or inactive
  • Last name, first name
  • Position in the firm " Default billing rate
  • Start date with the firm
  • Optional rates (up to 25)

To review or make changes to your General Ledger accounts, go to General Ledger > Account and Budget Maintenance. Before you add a new account, ensure you've reviewed your Chart of Accounts and have decided where the new account should appear, and ensure you understand how it will affect the totals and subtotals on your financial reports.

Bank accounts are General Ledger asset accounts and are set up in the same manner as other General Ledger accounts.

  1. Go to General Ledger > Account and Budget Maintenance.
  2. Enter the account number to be assigned to the new account. It is recommended that your account numbers be all the same length, from three to six digits long.
  3. Click Yes in answer to the prompt that appears, asking whether you wish to add a new GL Account.
  4. Enter the description of the account.
  5. Select an account class from among: seven levels of Header Accounts, a Posting Account, and a Totals Only account.
  6. Select an account type from among: Asset, Liability, Revenue, and Expense.
  7. If you are adding a Totals Only account, select a total hierarchy level from first to fourth. This determines how far to the right the account will be indented on your Chart of Accounts.
  8. Because you are adding a new bank account, select General Bank or Trust Bank in the Bank Type field, as appropriate.
  9. The Do not show on Income Statement checkbox applies only to the Income Statement report. Select the checkbox if you don't want the account to appear on the Income Statement, and instead want to see only the related Total account. (Income Statement is called Operating Statement in version 2009 and earlier.)
  10. Leave the Show on Next Page checkbox blank except for where you want to start a new page. This option is used to indicate that this account should start a new page on your printouts.
  11. Click Save.
No. You cannot delete a General Ledger account after you have posted to it. Instead, set it to inactive (from General Ledger, Account and Budget Maintenance).

When you will no longer be working on a Client File and all balances on the File are at zero, you can close the File. Closed Files are not deleted from the system and can be re-opened at a later date. Closed Files can still be viewed in the Account Inquiry and Client Matter Details screens, but will not appear on most reports.

  1. Go to Month/Year End > Close Client Files.
  2. Enter the Client Matter ID number to be closed or select from a list of Files.
  3. Enter the closing date.
  4. Enter the closed number to be assigned to the File.
  5. Enter the destruction date. Files are never deleted from the system, even when the destruction date is reached. This date is for reference only, to indicate a date on which the hardcopy of the File can be destroyed.
  6. Enter Y to confirm that the File can be closed. The File is automatically added to the list below.
  7. Select the Print Closed File Details option or the View Closed File Details option to see the posting details before closing the Files. Alternatively, select the Do Not Print Or View Closed File Details option.
  8. Continue entering Files to be closed.
  9. When finished identifying Files, click Close Clients.
  10. Go to Month/Year End > Move Closed Transactions. The details will be moved to the closed File. This might take a few minutes, depending on the number of Files closed.

Amicus Small Firm Accounting enables you to re-open closed Client Files. You can re-open the original closed File; however, keep in mind that the transactions posted prior to the close date will no longer be visible in the Account Inquiry view until you close the File again. Depending on the situation, you might want to open another Matter for the Client. When the File is closed again, the new transaction details will be appended to the old and will again be visible in the Account Inquiry view.

  1. Go to Clients > Client Matter Details.
  2. Select the Closed filter at the top of the Select Client Matter File dialog, select the File you wish to re-open, and click OK.
  3. Clear the Closed checkbox at the top of the Client Matter Details dialog, and then click Save. Amicus Small Firm Accounting will display a message prompting you to print the details. To print the existing details (highly recommended), click Yes and exit Client Matter Details, and then go to the Account Inquiry screen to print the details. Return to Client Matter Details when you are ready to re-open the File, and follow the above steps.
A list is available from the Support > Bulletins section of our website at www.amicusattorney.com.
If you have an existing technical support plan, and you add a new product, you must also purchase support for that product. This will ensure that all products are covered under your current technical support plan. Support can be added for $50 seat.
Technical Support Plans can be purchased to cover the cost of all Amicus products (e.g., Amicus Attorney Small Firm Edition and Amicus Small Firm Accounting) used by your firm. The cost for two product support is $295 for the first user, and $145 for each additional user. This will cover the firm for any technical support issues that arise concerning either product.
The cost of adding support for your second product can be pro-rated to make sure that your support contract length is taken into account when purchasing.
Paid upgrades to new versions of the software include free technical support for the first 30 days after the date of shipment or 3 service incidents per firm, whichever comes first.
All service plans run for 1 year from the date they are purchased. We will remind you when it is time to renew.
Of course. But the early days of adopting a new piece of software are when you might need our help the most. You will benefit from having a technical support plan in place so that there is no limit on your calls during this important time.
Gavel & Gown is committed to providing the highest possible quality service to all its customers. If a given customer is calling so much that in Gavel & Gown's view the calls are compromising its ability to properly service its other customers, Gavel & Gown retains the right to terminate any service plan and refund the balance of the service fee on a pro rata basis for the time left on the plan.
We are happy to provide technical support on a pay-per-call basis if you do not have an annual plan in place. Pay-per-call service is charged at $99 per half hour or less. To obtain this type of service, please contact the sales department by phone at 800-472-2289 and have your credit card ready. These calls will be handled on a call-back basis only. Priority is given to our customers with service plans.
Gavel & Gown has a network of certified consultants who would be happy to help you with your Amicus family of products or with other technical solutions issues your firm may have. These consultants are independent contractors who normally charge for their services on an hourly fee basis. If you are seeking assistance from a systems integrator, we highly recommend that you choose one who has been certified by Gavel & Gown for working with Amicus software products. For a list of Amicus Certified Consultants, please visit the Find a Local Consultant webpage or contact our Sales Department at 800-472-2289.