November 2011

Clearing Out the Haunted Past

A few months ago, Easy Soft introduced a service known as Lien Release Tracking. Already, it’s one of our more popular services. It’s available to real estate attorneys and other Easy HUD subscribers. For just $35 a pop, you can pass the responsibility for tracking releases after the payoffs to someone else (i.e. us). You can close the customer file, and go on your merry way.

However, what you might not have known is there is another related service which is equally valuable, especially when you need it.

Say you’re representing the buyer, seller, or bank on a HUD-1 closing. The title insurance company comes back with bad news. There’s a lien on this property, but it predates the current ownership. Or there are defects in the chain of title, and it’s unclear who owns the property, or what property they own.

We’re sure you already know this, but it happens all the time. It’s a tricky situation, since the seller – much as he/she would like to clear it – often doesn’t have access to the lien holder. Perhaps a bank holds an old mortgage. Or a public entity has an old easement. Or the lot lines are ambiguous, or inconsistent. Sometimes, the lien goes back many decades – and several generations. You can’t even tell if the holder of the lien is still alive.

If your client wants the deal to go through, you need that lien cleared and released.

We have a solution for you with our Curative Title service. For $250, our real estate title professionals will attempt to clear a title with an old lien, and provide the proof. The service isn’t guaranteed. But if we can’t do it, we don’t charge you.

As with our Lien Release Tracking Service, you can pass the cost to your client.

To learn more about our Curative Title service, call Easy Soft at 800.905.7638 today.

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Steps for Setting Up Your E-Billing Service (2 of 2)

Effective on November 15, 2011, Easy Soft rolled out its newest legal billing and accounting feature: the optional E-Billing module. As discussed in our last blog post, this module has the ability to produce any bill into an electronic format that’s readable for companies that use auditing software.

How do you give yourself the option to send your client an e-bill?

First, become an Easy TimeBill subscriber, and obtain the optional e-billing module. Not only will you join a class of law firms that has this relatively new capability, you’ll find that all of your law firm billing and accounting needs – including tracking time and expenses, sending invoices and invoice reminders, calculating interest on certain invoices, replenishing your retainers, collecting money through a range of electronic payment options, and transferring money between your operating and trust accounts – becomes easier.

Next, open Easy TimeBill, our popular legal accounting software.

Now go to Tools. Scroll down the pull-down menu, and open “Billing Settings.”

If you’re already an Easy TimeBill subscriber, you’ll notice a new tab entitled “electronic billing.” Enable the option and set your Law Firm’s ID. Now, you can open matters of those clients who desire electronic billing and set e-bill flag.

For these e-billing matter’s invoice tab, select the invoice and click “export invoice.”

The act of exporting your invoice into the Ledes format creates a Notepad file (the extension is “txt”). If needed, the software will prompt you for all relevant missing information, including client and matter codes.

Save the new e-bill file, and voila! You’re done! You can send it to your client, along with a regular Word or PDF invoice (if he/she needs one). The conversion is completely seamless.

To try the new e-billing feature (or view a live demonstration), call Easy Soft at 800.905.7638 today.

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Easy Soft Launches New E-Billing Service (1 of 2)

If you’ve been following the advice in our blog posts, life should be hunky dory. You’re using our law firm billing and accounting software to both capture your billing and expenses, and collect on them in a systematic way – providing a cash flow that’s as steady as your workflow (or better). You’ve even been accepting credit card payments and calculating interest on overdue invoices. Your law firm is set up to thrive – and we’re glad.

Now, one of your clients tells you they need e-bills from now on. Uh-oh.

Never fear: Easy TimeBill is here! Effective today, Easy TimeBill’s optional E-Billing module can produce invoice into an electronic format – while retaining the original paper format for printing / filing purposes.

E-billing itself isn’t new, of course. For years, large corporations such as insurance companies and banks have been converting to e-billing in order to maintain uniformity and institute audit controls. (Scanning isn’t enough: e-billing requires standard formats (as you’ll see below), and often contains different information than on a paper invoice).

For now, the industry standard format is known as Ledes1998B. (As more formats become necessary, we will add them to our billing software.) Once you have licensed the add-on E-Billing module, our legal accounting software takes it from there.

To add e-billing to your Easy TimeBill license (or view a live demonstration), call Easy Soft at 800.905.7638 today.

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Better Cash Flow; Happier Clients (Part 4 of 4)

In the last few blog posts, we’ve been emphasizing the importance of solid cash flow management practices. If you’re looking for a tool to ease the way, look no further. Consider our Payment Acceptance Plan, a merchant accounts option for law firms.

An Internet merchant account gives your clients a full range of electronic payment options. They can pay their bill by credit card, debit card, or remote check. You can also set up recurring billing. The funds can pour into your law firm operating account – or your escrow or trust account. You can even get real-time reporting – which allows you to use your desktop, laptop, Smartphone, or tablet PC to accept a credit / debit card payment, and see where your accounts stand. Best of all, the fees are low – and to prove it, we’ll compare them against your current credit card merchant payment plan free of charge. (Just fax us a cover sheet with your latest credit card processing statement: 877.439.7638).

What’s better for you and your cash flow is also easier for your client: rather than write out a check and wait for the proper authorized signature, he or she can simply provide you with a card or checking account number over the phone (or keep one on file). It’s a win-win scenario that simultaneously eliminates your collection frustrations (it practically prints money), and keeps clients more invested in you and your law firm.

By now, we’ve reviewed many angles of your cash flow plan, including retainer collection, billing and time tracking, expenses and expense tracking, invoice reminders, retainer replenishments, and electronic payments.

Together, these tasks would appear to require a full-time bookkeeper or accounting help. That is where law firm accounting software definitely helps. Easy TimeBill is designed to solve these issues right out of the box. It funnels your cash to the right accounts, segregates and tracks client matters, and tells you what you’ve got to work with – so you can rest easily.

Learn more about your law firm cash flow management system by calling us at 800-905-7638.

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Do you have a system for Replenishing your Retainer? (Part 3 of 4)

In the past two posts, we talked about the common issues that affect law firm cash flow management. These include not collecting sufficient retainers, not recording time and expenses promptly (i.e. as incurred), and not sending prompt collection reminders.

In this post, we’re going to add one pesky, persistent issue – and that’s replenishing your existing retainer balance. Law firms – especially solo practitioners and smaller firms – commonly struggle with this. You receive your retainer, and then bill from month-to-month, and before you know it, the original retainer has dwindled to zero. The culprit? Not having a system in place to ask your clients to bring their retainers back up to level – outside of hourly billing.

As creators of efficient, easy-to-use law firm billing and accounting software, Easy Soft has a solution: Easy TimeBill. With the selection of a few choices, you can easily set up retainer replenishment invoices – and email them to your clients seamlessly with your monthly invoice.

One way to accelerate your cash flow is to sign up for our Payment Acceptance Plan, or merchant accounts for law firms. As far as cash flow management software goes, it’s crucial to be able to offer a processing service that allows your clients to authorize their corporate credit or debit card or even pay by remote check (once they’ve reviewed your invoice). Get the system, and you’ll never have to wonder if the proverbial check is in the mail.

As a one-time promotion, we’re offering a $249 rebate on Easy TimeBill when you activate on Easy Soft’s Payment Acceptance Plan. We’ll tell you more about this in the next and final post on easing your law firm’s cash flow management: for good.

Find out more by calling us at 800-905-7638.

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Is Your Back Office Set Up for The Ideal Cash Flow Management? (Part 2 of 4)

In our last post, we set the stage for a series of blog posts on the critical tracking, billing, and collection issues which affect law firm success rates, and impact your cash flow. This post is about putting the proper cash flow infrastructure in place form the get-go.

The first prerequisite to adequate cash flow is the creation of efficient back office systems. This includes creating a fixed schedule for activities such as time and expense tracking, and invoicing.

These procedures aren’t simply in place for your staff to know and follow, but they’re also necessary measures for setting client expectations. Let’s face it, you’ve got to train your clients to meet your standards – and both anticipate and pay their bills in a regulated fashion.

For law offices, time and expense entries should get tracked as they are incurred. Wait too long, and you’re likely to lose track of one or the other or both…and fail to recover all that you’re due. You could install a rule for time and expense entries to be entered (say) no less than 24 hours after incurred.

Likewise, law firm billing should happen on a systematic basis – according to a fixed schedule. You might compile your invoices on the 1st of every month, and mail them by the 3rd.

The same goes for invoice reminders. Your clients are busy, and might not get to their bills as promptly as you’d like. That’s why our legal time and billing software includes an automated system for reminders. You can generate these on a fixed schedule as well (say, the 15th of every month). That way, your clients know that you’ve noticed that they haven’t paid their bills – and get to it, lest it interfere with their matter.

Call Easy Soft at 800-905-7638, and talk to a representative about your law firm cash flow management today.

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