Frequently Asked Questions - Amicus Accounting - Using Amicus Attorney

Online Help is available from the Help menu in Amicus Small Firm Accounting. If necessary, contact Gavel & Gown Technical Support at 800-472-2289.

Amicus Small Firm Accounting enables you to record Client name and contact information including address, phone numbers, email addresses and matter descriptions. You can also enter notes on the File, billing contacts and diary report items. This information is entered in the Client Matter Details screen. With the exception of the Client Matter ID (which uniquely identifies the File and cannot be changed) you can edit all the Client File information at any time.

Transactions that can be posted to a Client File include fees for services rendered (time entry); Client expenses such as photocopies, courier charges, and medical bills, Accounts Receivable invoices and payments, and trust receipts and checks. To post time, choose Time, New Time Entry. To post Client expenses (disbursements), choose Expenses, New Expense Entry. To post invoices, choose Billing, Create Bills. To post receipts of payment, choose Receipts, Receipts. To post receipts of trust funds choose Trust, Receipts, and to post trust checks, choose Trust, Trust Checks.

You can also post time, expense and Accounts Receivable write-offs, trust transfers, time and expense transfers, trust transfers to pay A/R, interest, and firm checks.

For information on a specific posting function, look up its name in the online Help's index.

WIP stands for Work In Progress. In Amicus Small Firm Accounting, WIP means unbilled fees or Client expenses.

The WIP balance on a Client File is increased when you post fee or expense transactions and is decreased when you post billings. Depending on your accounting method, you might also have General Ledger control accounts for WIP Fees and WIP Expense.

Most posting programs allow you to edit saved entries before you post them. In the posting program, click View Unposted Transactions to see transactions you have saved but have not yet posted. Click the transaction that you want to modify and click Edit. Make your changes and click Save.

Some posting programs only allow you to delete a saved entry and then re-enter it. These posting programs are Firm Receipts, Bills, Trust Receipts, Journal Entries and Accounts Receivable Write-offs. If you need to make a correction, click View Unposted Transactions to see transactions you have saved but have not yet posted. Click the transaction that you want to correct and click Delete. Then re-enter the transaction.
Yes. You can use the Unprinted Audits program or the Reprint Audits program in the Reports module to print audits for the current year and for the prior year.

Expenses affect your client recoverable expense accounts (if you use the Cash accounting method) or WIP (if you use the Modified Cash or Accrual accounting method).

If the firm uses Cash or Modified Cash accounting method, then when you post an expense entry to a client file with an expense General Ledger account and then post a firm check to the expense account to pay for the expense, the net affect is a debit to your WIP Expenses and a credit to your general bank. The net affect on your client expenses is zero unless you pay out more or less than what was charged to the client. For example, if you post a $100 expense to the client but pay $150 with a firm check, there is a net expense to the firm of $50. The client recoverable expense accounts in your General Ledger reflect the recovered client expenses.

In summary, law firms provide a service so (in theory) make money on fees. Expenses (in theory) are charged back to the client. If you pay out more for the expense than what was posted to the client's WIP, it affects the client (recovered) disbursement expense accounts and increases the expenses to the firm. If you bill more than what was posted to WIP, this affects your Billed Expense Revenue and increases your firm revenue.
Post the check in the normal manner, entering the check date as the future date. The check will not appear on your Outstanding Check List until that date. If you enter a date that is in a month other than your default posting month, Amicus Small Firm Accounting will warn you but you will be able to continue. You cannot post to more than one month in the same posting batch, and you cannot post into a future year.

Use the Trust Transfer to A/R program to transfer client trust funds to credit the client's account receivable.

In Amicus Accounting 2008 or higher, the following methods are available for transferring trust to pay A/R:

  • Use the Trust Transfer to pay A/R in the Trust module. It is now a one step process. The trust check and firm receipt will be posted. Select the Bank Account you want to deposit the trust check to and the journal entry will complete the transaction. Printing a Client Receipt is optional.
  • In the Finals Bills view of the Create Bills function, the trust check and firm receipt will be posted if you select the Post Trust to Pay A/R option. Select the Bank Account you want to deposit the trust check to and the journal entry will complete the transaction. Printing a Client Receipt is optional.

There are a few ways of handling this:

  • Post the entire receipt to the client file to offset future bills. This pays the bills for the matter and leaves the client with a general retainer balance.

In Amicus Accounting 2008 or higher, the Enter Receipts function allows you to enter the total payment once. Select the bills to pay and any overpayment will be displayed as an Unused Payment. You have following ways to handle the overpayment:

Apply as a general retainer which can be applied at a later date.
Issue a refund check.

  • Apply to a selected trust account.

Reverse the receipt. This will credit the General Ledger account for your bank and will reinstate the A/R on the client file. You cannot reverse a receipt that has been cleared in the Bank Reconciliation Program or posted to a client file that has been closed.

  1. Click Receipts, Receipts.
  2. Select Reverse Receipts.
  3. Select the general bank account number the original receipt was posted to.
  4. Enter the date on which you want the reversal to appear.
  5. Select the client file or General Ledger account number the receipt was posted to.
  6. Select the invoice/reference number of the receipt to be reversed. It is important that you use the original reference number because Accounts Receivable transactions are grouped and aged by reference number.
  7. The original amount will display automatically. You cannot edit this amount.
  8. Click Save, and then click Post.

The New Expense entry, Firm Check and Invoice Entry programs calculate tax based on the tax settings on the individual expense codes and on the tax settings on the client files. The expense code tax settings are configured in the Lists, Expense Codes screen. Print your list of codes and review them before making changes. Don't make changes to expense codes after you have posted using them.

There are two types of taxable codes: those in which tax is included in the amount you enter, and those in which it is not. For example, if you enter $10 in the posting program, do you want tax to be calculated on top of the $10 (i.e. for a total of $10.70, if the tax rate is 7%) or is tax to be broken out so that the total remains at $10 including tax? Review your list of codes and ensure that the setting for Tax Included is set correctly, either to a Y or an N.

If you don't want tax to be calculated on an expense code at all, set the Tax 1, Tax 2, and Tax Included settings to N.

The tax setting on client files also determines whether tax will be calculated when posting to that file. Click Clients, Client Matter Details and locate a file that should not have tax calculated. Click the Matter Details tab and check the Tax 1 and Tax 2 settings in the lower left corner. If the file is nontaxable ensure these are set to N. The tax setting on the client file overrides the settings on the expense codes - you can post to a client file marked as nontaxable using a taxable expense code and tax will not be calculated.

Expense codes are also used by the Firm Checks posting program. Client expenses posted using the New Expense Entry posting program will be summarized by expense code (except for codes 0 and 999, see below) on client invoices. Client expenses posted using the Firm Checks posting program will be itemized on client invoices.

Here are the settings to use for the various types of expense codes.

If the expense is… It should have these tax settings:
Taxable and the amount you will enter will include tax for which you will get an input tax 1 credit. Tax1 = Y, Tax2 = N, Tax Included = Y
Non-taxable, therefore there is no input tax 1 credit. Tax1 = N, Tax2 = N, Tax Included = N
Taxable, but the amount you will enter does not include tax and therefore the program should calculate tax on top of the amount you will enter. Tax1 = Y, Tax2 = N, Tax Included = N
Expense codes 0 and 999 are default codes and should not be modified or deleted. They don't have a predefined description; you will type your own description when you post using them. Use code 0 if you want to record an expense that is Tax 1 taxable, where Tax 1 is included in the amount of the expense, and on which you want to type your own description. Use code 999 if you want to record an expense that is not Tax 1 taxable, on which you want to type your own description. Code 0 should be set up with Tax1 = Y, Tax2 = N, and Tax Included = Y. Code 999 should be set up with Tax1 = N, Tax2 = N, and Tax Included = N. Expenses posted using codes 0 or 999 are itemized on client invoices; they are not grouped by expense code.

Most likely, the transaction is marked for billing. To check, go to the Account Inquiry screen and view the client file. Click either the Time or the Expenses details tab, depending on the type of transaction you are trying to write off. Find the transaction, and scroll to the right until you see the Stat column. If there is a small "p" in this field, or a "p" followed by a number, this means the transaction is marked (also called pre-billed) for billing. You need to unmark it before you can write it off. To unmark time or expense transactions:

  1. Click Billing, Create Bills.
  2. Click the Draft Bills tab. You will need to change the status of the bill to draft if it is in Apply Payments/Transfers or Final Bills tab.
  3. Click the Time button to unmark time entries or click the Exp. button to unmark expense entries.
  4. Marked entries will be highlighted in green. Double-click the transaction or click on it and press Enter to unmark it. Click Deselect All to unmark all the entries.
  5. Then close the Create Bills screen WITHOUT posting.
You cannot delete a General Ledger account after you have posted to it. Instead, set it to "inactive".
Print your transaction audits. A transaction audit is a report of what you have posted, and will show the client files you have posted to and the General Ledger accounts that were updated. If you know the audit numbers you want to print, use the Reprint Audits program. If you don't know the audit numbers and you want to print all the unprinted audits by posting program type, use the Unprinted Audit Reports program.

You can write off invoices using the Accounts Receivable Write-off program.

  1. Click Receipts, A/R Write-offs.
  2. Enter the date of the write-off, click to select the date from the calendar, or press Enter to use the current system date. To post to a date in your prior year enter the date and then enter the previous year adjustments password when prompted.
  3. Enter the client number.
  4. Click the Invoice No. list or select from the list of the client's outstanding invoices.
  5. Type a description for the write-off or press Enter to use the default.
  6. Enter the amount of fees/expenses/taxes to be written off in the Changes column. Use a negative sign if you are writing off a bill, or enter a positive number if you are "writing up" a bill.
  7. Click Save.
  8. Type A to prorate the fees to the responsible lawyer, type P to prorate them based on the invoice or type M to manually allocate them to more than one lawyer. If you enter M, enter the lawyer number and the amount to distribute to him/her. Continue until the balance remaining is zero.
  9. Continue entering write-offs or click Post.
Use the Time and Expenses Write-offs programs to write off transactions you don't intend to bill for.

You cannot write a check off term trust funds. Instead, use the Trust Receipts posting program to transfer the funds to regular trust. Follow these steps:

  1. Post the amount to the interest bearing trust account through Trust Receipts so that the balance in Amicus Small Firm Accounting matches the closing balance of the interest bearing account at the bank.
  2. Post a negative receipt (type a negative sign and then the number; Amicus Small Firm Accounting will automatically change this to a positive number) to the interest bearing trust account through Trust Receipts to reverse the trust from the interest bearing trust account.
  3. Post a regular receipt to the pooled trust account through Trust Receipts to transfer the trust from the interest bearing account to the pooled trust account.

Amicus Small Firm Accounting's flexible billing program enables you to generate statements of account either for individual client files, for all client files by name, matter number or file number, and by any combination of Responsible or Assigned Lawyer, file type, and billing cycle. You can automatically post payments from trust without using the Transfer to A/R program and you can automatically post and print trust checks and print client receipts. Other options include the ability to save draft bills and print a summary report of the drafts, and to print a summary report of the final bills. You can also exclude files based on a minimum amount owing, include non-billable time on the bill and print envelopes.

  1. Click Billing, Create Bills, Bill single Client tab and enter the date and client number.
  2. Click on Save to Draft Bills.
  3. Go to Save to Draft Bills tab. Click the Exp button on the middle of the screen, below the upper table. The client's unbilled expenses will display. You will need to ensure that only the transaction you want to bill for is marked. Click Deselect All to unmark all the transactions, and then check the entry you want to bill for.
  4. The Exp column on the upper table will automatically be updated with just the amount of the expense you marked.
  5. Click the Create Final Bills button. On the Final Bills tab, select Post Bills checkbox and other desired options. The client's WIP will be reduced by the amount of the expense you billed, and the transaction will no longer be outstanding.

Bill numbers are automatically created by Amicus Small Firm Accounting and are unique on each client file. The bill number starts at 1 for each file and is incremented each time you post a bill to the file. You cannot change the bill number. You will need to know the bill number assigned to a bill if you want to reverse it or if you want to see which time or expense entries were billed on the bill. The Account Inquiry screen displays the bill number on billed time and expense transactions and on the bill entry in the client file's Accounts Receivable details.

Unlike bill numbers, you can specify the starting invoice number in the Firm Settings yourself. Invoice numbers don't have to be unique on each file. Invoice numbers are used to group related Accounts Receivable transactions such as a firm receipt and the invoice being paid, or an Accounts Receivable write-off and the invoice being written off. The A/R Aging report and the A/R Reminders group Accounts Receivable transactions by invoice number so that the Accounts Receivable is aged correctly. Invoice numbers are also called "reference numbers". On the firm receipt screen, the Reference field refers to the invoice number.

Although invoice numbers don't have to be unique on each client file, Amicus Small Firm Accounting will warn you if you enter an invoice number that has already been used for that file. This is because the invoice number is used to group related transactions. If the bill you are posting is related to a bill already posted, you can override the warning message and use the same invoice number. However, the bills will be grouped together and aged using the date of the oldest bill with that invoice number. If you don't want the bills to be aged together, use a different invoice number.

Amicus Small Firm Accounting's flexible billing program enables you to generate statements of account either for individual client files, for all client files by name, matter number or file number, and by any combination of Responsible or Assigned Lawyer, file type, and billing cycle. You can automatically post payments from trust without using the Transfer to A/R program and you can automatically post and print trust checks and print client receipts.

Other options include the ability to save draft bills and print a summary report of the drafts, and to print a summary report of the final bills. You can also exclude files based on a minimum amount owing, include non-billable time on the bill and print envelopes.

Time and expense transactions are automatically marked (also called pre-billed) when you select them in the Draft Bills tab or currently exists in the Apply Payments/Transfers tab or in Final Bills tab in Billing menu.

In Amicus Small Firm Accounting, a time or expense transaction might have a status of posted, pre-billed (also called marked), billed or written off. This only applies to time and expense entries, not to trust or Accounts Receivable transactions.

To check the status of a transaction, go to the Account Inquiry screen and click on either the time or expense details tab. Find the transaction, and scroll to the right until you get to the Stat column. It is important to know how to check this because there are some operations you cannot do depending on the status of a transaction. For example, you cannot write off or transfer a transaction that is pre-billed or billed.

Status field in the Inquiry screen shows Status What this status means
A blank Posted The transaction has been posted. It has not been pre-billed, billed or written off.
A "p" Pre-billed The transaction has been pre-billed (also called marked) for billing.
An asterisk followed by a number, e.g. *4 Billed The transaction has been billed in the billing program. The number beside the asterisk is the bill number of the bill. Billed transactions cannot be written off or transferred to another client file. If you want to write off the transaction or transfer it, you must first reverse the bill, and then unmark the transaction.
A "p" followed by a number, e.g. p7 Bill has been reversed The transaction was billed, and then the bill was reversed. The "p" means the transaction is currently pre-billed (you will not be able to write it off without unmarking it) and the number indicates the bill number of the bill that was reversed. Handle these transactions the same as regular pre-billed transactions.
A "W" Written off The transaction has been written off using the Time or Expense Write-off program. If you decide to transfer the transaction to another file or to bill the transaction instead of writing it off, you must reverse the write-off first.

A transaction audit is a report of what you have posted. Each audit consists of two sections. The first section shows the transactions as they were posted to the client files or General Ledger accounts. The second section shows the automatic journal entry that was posted to the General Ledger.

Every time you post in Amicus Small Firm Accounting, a transaction audit is created and an audit number is assigned to the posting batch. A posting "batch" refers to the single transaction or group of transactions that you enter and save, and that are posted when you click the Post button. For instance, if you enter ten expense entry transactions and then click Post, they comprise one posting batch and each transaction is assigned the same audit number.

When you first start using Amicus Small Firm Accounting your audit number begins at 1. Each time you post, the audit number is increased by one so that each audit has a unique number by which it can be identified.

Use the Unprinted Audit Reports program if you don't print your audits immediately after you post. (The Spool to Disk option in Firm Settings allows you to choose whether to be prompted to print your audit immediately after you post.) The Unprinted Audit Reports program allows you to print unprinted audits by posting program type. For example, you can print all unprinted billing audits, or all unprinted journal entry audits. If you are user 1 you can also print audits for other users. If you are not user 1, you can only use this program to print your own audits.

Use the Reprint Audit Reports program to print a specific audit number or a range of audit numbers. You must know the numbers of the audits you wish to print.

Yes, audits that are not printed are saved to the Unprinted Audits file. Choose the Firm Settings function in the Start Up module and enable the Spool To Disk option-then users won't be prompted to print audits each time they post. Also disable the Display Audit Trails option-then the audit number and report will not appear. Users may later choose the Unprinted Audits function in the General Ledger or Month/Year End module to view and/or print any unprinted audits as desired.

TIP: Enable the Combine Audits option in Firm Settings if you want both pages of your transaction audit reports to print on a single page to save paper. (The first page shows the posting to the Client Matter files and the second page shows the General Ledger update.)
The "date out of range" warning message appears if you have entered a date that is more than 30 days before or after the current date. Amicus Small Firm Accounting does not prevent you from posting - if you want to use the date you have entered just click OK and continue. (Remember that you cannot post into the next year until you have run the year-end program.) Reports are date sensitive so you can post into prior periods to make corrections if necessary. The purpose of this message is simply to make it harder to post using the wrong date accidentally.

Select Firm Settings from the Start Up menu. Check the Month Last Cleared field. It should be set to the number of the last month you were posting in. For example, if you are currently doing the majority of your posting in August, the Month Last Cleared field should be 7.

This message is intended as a warning to prevent accidental postings into the wrong month. If you want to post with the date you have entered even though it is not within the current month, click OK to this message and proceed.

By default, Amicus Small Firm Accounting uses the date from the current system date on your computer, and formats it based on the Date Format field in the Firm Settings screen.

If the date displayed is incorrect, check the date on your computer. Also check your computer's date format. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel, Regional and Language Options. Ensure the Short Date and Long Date are set correctly based on the standards of the country in which you operate.

Also keep in mind that when you are posting more than one transaction at a time, pressing enter on the Date field will cause Amicus Small Firm Accounting to use the date entered on the last transaction.

Lawyer reports are based on fee distributions. Expenses and taxes are always automatically distributed to the responsible lawyer, but you must specify the lawyer to whom the fees should be posted, both for billings and for receipts. It is important that you distribute fees correctly. For example, if you distribute the fees on a bill to one lawyer but the receipt to another, your A/R Aging report will be incorrect. The report for the first lawyer will show the amount as still outstanding and the report for the second lawyer will appear as if the client has overpaid.

Manual distribution means that you can enter the lawyer number and then manually enter the amount of fees. You can enter as many lawyers as necessary until all the fees have been distributed.

The All to Responsible option means all the fees will automatically be distributed to the responsible lawyer, regardless of which lawyer has done work on the file. Prorating the fees means, in the case of bills, that the fee distribution will be based on the time posted to the file. For example, if four lawyers have worked on the file and each has posted 25% of the time that is being billed, the prorate option will automatically post 25% of the billed fees amount to each of the four lawyers.

Prorating firm receipts is similar, but the prorating is based on the manner in which the fees amount was distributed on the bill the receipt is being applied to. For example, if the bill was manually distributed with 25% to one lawyer and 75% to another, a prorated firm receipt will distribute using the same percentage.

Interest on outstanding invoice amounts is optionally calculated and printed on the A/R Reminder Statements, based on the Aging Date and the invoice age you specify in the Charge On field (e.g. 30 days).

Note that interest is not posted to the A/R by the A/R Reminder Statements function. If you wish to create an interest invoice, you must enter an amount in the A/R Reminder Interest function and post it to the A/R.

The next time you generate an A/R Reminder Statement and select the Charge Interest option, interest is calculated on the principal amount, including the amount in prior interest invoices. Therefore, interest will be compounded at that time.

In Amicus Accounting 2008 or higher, you can select to post simple interest which will be added to the client's account, but no interest will be calculated on interest that has been posted. Simple interest will be calculated on the original invoice amount, not on the posted interest. Therefore, it is not compounded.