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Clio, Wave, Xero and Freshbooks

kalamayakalamaya Carbondale, CO

We started a 3-attorney firm in mid-January. We use Clio mostly for billing purposes. I like the task feature and integration with Google Apps, but my partners don't use Clio much beyond billing.

We're concerned with the amount of time we're spending on manually entering in bank transactions into Clio. That time is above and beyond the time spent doing the actual bank transaction, e.g. transferring money from our trust account into our operating account. Two of us use Wave for tracking expenses and accounting for our individual practices (we each have separate LLCs that are members of our firm; we take business deductions for our individual LLCs.)

We've considered hiring a bookkeeper to help us keep track of invoices, trust account status, and the like. We figure that we could save the money spent on Clio and use Xero or Freshbooks with a bookkeeper. It wouldn't cost us much more than what we're currently spending and free up time spent on accounting and admin stuff for actual legal work. However, we aren't comfortable giving a bookkeeper authority to access our bank accounts.

Thoughts on our problem? Are we alone with this frustration? It would seem that if Clio allowed direct integration with our bank accounts so that we could tag transactions like Wave or other online accounting programs, it'd cut down significantly on our admin time.


  • edited March 2014

    I currently use Clio for managing files, and Quickbooks Online for managing accounts. It takes me virtually no time to match up my transactions to my bank statement, or create expenses right from it. Trust reconciliation is a breeze. The same is true in Xero, if not more so.

    I'm loving Quickbooks Online for sending invoices to clients from inside the software.

    I'm working on integrating Clio more into my practice. My matter folders are now automatically created for me by Clio (via box sync). I'm looking forward to the new gmail integration coming in the next few weeks.

    Post edited by Jonathan Kleiman on
  • edited March 2014

    The only disappointment so far is that I can't use Clio's document creation feature to create a document into the box matter folder. Would have been a nice way to produce intake forms at the time of matter creation.

    Also, it seems to take about 10 minutes for a matter folder to actual appear on my desktop, which is annoying. I usually have to click "force downloads" in the setting to make it appear fast enough.

  • edited March 2014

    If you go with Quickbooks, here are some issues I overcame through great frustration, trial, and error:

    Payment won't match because it was set to the wrong account (solved by fixing bank account for payment)

    Expense won't match because it was set to the wrong account (solved by fixing bank account for expense)

    Bill won't match because "bill payment" was done together with others (irrelevant now that I expense everything)

    Expense won't match because 1 expense entry had 2 expenses together (solved by removing and re-doing the expenses)

    I didn't know what to do with withdrawals to myself (now entering as Transfer into "Kleiman Personal Account")

    It feels great to finally have everything reconciled. It also happens to be a requirement of many Law Societies.

  • kalamayakalamaya Carbondale, CO

    Interesting. You use Clio exactly the opposite from us.

    I guess the question for us is whether we want to abandon Clio in favor of a pure accounting program like QB or Xero. I understand Xero can be integrated with Clio. Is that the fix to our issue?

  • edited March 2014

    I believe that fully utilizing Xero and Clio together would more than solve your problem and make your practice glaringly compliant, efficient, and scalable, which can't hurt.

    Using Clio alone to run your books alone is not something I recommend. Clio focuses on too much to be better at accounting than Xero and QB (which is recognized given Clio's integration with Xero)

  • kalamayakalamaya Carbondale, CO
    edited April 2014

    In response to this post, a rep from Kahuna Accounting reached out to us. We hired them and are working with them to do all our bookkeeping on Xero. We're keeping Clio for now and using the integration on bills and contacts with Xero.

    One issue is that Xero's invoicing system is pretty slick, but as Sam noted in his review on Xero, it's difficult to show a balance of your trust account on a Xero invoice. Anyone worked on this issue much?

    I'll leave an update after our first month's billing. Thus far we've been very impressed with Kahuna. They have gone above and beyond our expectations on customer service.

    Post edited by kalamaya on
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    I am rather dismayed (but not remotely surprised) to learn that a company is using the Lab as a way to find lawyers to solicit.

  • edited April 2014

    Sam can you elaborate?

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    edited April 2014

    @Jonathan Kleiman said:
    Sam can you elaborate?


    @kalamaya said:
    In response to this post, a rep from Kahuna Accounting reached out to us.


  • Ooooh I missed that. I thought you meant he was really working for them. Hah.

    I don't think it's slimy to reach out to people who specifically mention the product that you get paid to help people to understand, as long as it's done tactfully.

  • kalamayakalamaya Carbondale, CO

    I didn't take offense. They had a service that met our needs. I'll note that no one else except Jonathan Kleiman offered a solution for us.

  • What solution did I offer?

  • kalamayakalamaya Carbondale, CO

    Not necessarily a solution, but at least some thoughts on the situation.

  • GregClaessensGregClaessens Salem, OR

    Pretty late to the conversation, but something to add...

    The Clio Xero integration is great except if you have more than one person in your firm you may find that your invoices in Xero are not exactly what you hoped for. Currently Clio (who I understand built the integration) can only link time entries to one revenue account in Xero.

    My wife and I have our own firm and both use Clio. When the time entries from our invoices go to Xero I only have the option of picking the one revenue account. Ideally, my time entries would link to revenue account 'Legal fee income (Greg)' and Sara's time entries would link to revenue account 'Legal fee income (Sara)'. Right now the time entries go to revenue account
    Uncat Legal Fee income' and then I change it Xero.

    I asked Clio if there was any plan to update to allow for separation of time entries by user to appropriate revenue accounts in Xero. The support person that I was working with didn’t know but apparently I am not the only one to request this feature.

  • TheoRandTheoRand Burbank, CA

    That's a frustrating omission; if you can support your hunch that the feature is requested by other users, you should press your Clio support person to indicate whether the feature request for linking to more than one revenue account is road-mapped, if so when they plan on delivering, if not, why not. When a SaaS vendor doesn't deliver or can't respond to an unmet need, it can be a sign that they're not in touch with their user base. What's your hunch?

  • Greg and Theo,

    I just read about your issue and am putting it before our product managers.

    To clarify, you are able to assign revenue in Clio to multiple operating accounts, but when Xero syncs between the two accounts it does not assign the revenue to the appropriate account in Xero?

  • GregClaessensGregClaessens Salem, OR

    I just noticed that there was a question on this...

    The problem on the clio side is that the sync does not allow for distinction between which attorney's time entries are included in the 'Match Clio time entries to Xero account' box for the sync settings. All time entries in clio (more importantly the income generated therefrom) sync to only one revenue account in Xero.

    If I do not go back and update uncategorized income to who brought it in then I am hobbling Xero's ability to run reports that distinguish between who brought in the revenue. Clio has report features that allow for some of this, but the point is that the only reason there is a problem here is that the Clio sync process oversimplifies the source of revenue when communicating that information to Xero.

    What I would like to see are options for 'Match [USER] Clio time entries to Xero account' for each user. We know that the data is in clio to do this, I just imagine whoever built the integration did not appreciate the need for this feature.

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