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Clio Matter Budgets - Options and Example Management Report

Review the options available to run budget reports.
Clio Matter Budgets - Options and Example Management Report
Written by
Paul W Carlson, CPA
Published on
Dec 8, 2023

In this video, we start to discuss the options that are available for running budget reports within Clio. Look out for part 2 that will discuss how to make a Budget Overview.

Paul W. Carlson, CPA:

Some firms will provide clients with estimated budgets to complete a matter, or they will set an internal goal to complete a matter just as a benchmarking to make sure that not too much time is charged against a matter. And those firms that do this process usually want to find some sort of report where they can run one report of all matters and just get a glimpse to see how they're doing across the firm. So they want things like sorted by responsible attorney, and then list the budget, how much has been billed, how much is in WIP, the remaining amount. And then let's put a percent remaining budget and maybe use conditional formatting to highlight the items or the matters that are getting close to exhausting our budget. And with this, you'd run this report once a week and just make sure everyone's on track and maybe even split this up and send it to each responsible attorney so they can see how they're doing on their own matters.


So our Clio users will go looking at Clio and they will say, "Hey, there's a budget field in Clio." And they'll say, "How do we do this?" So let's go look to see how the Clio budget field works. So I have this matter, have an example budget. So in here, Clio has down in the billing preferences section, you can say the matter has a budget, we can list a budget amount, we can tell it to exclude expenses and we can say, send a notice when we receive a threshold of budget. And it's going to be an email to specific people. So this is a problem because we're only going to get one trigger, that it's not going to be an ongoing update. And the other issue is it's only going to go to specified recipients. So if you're a firm with a couple hundred open matters, you're going to start getting dozens of emails and it's not going to be a consistent place to run that report.


So these settings don't work. What they're really looking for is some sort of management report that we can run an overall view of the entire firm. So within Clio support themselves, this is fascinating, that Clio is this honest, that they'll say, "Hey, you know what? We just don't have a budget or a matter budget report." So that's not going to work from within their native reporting. The next question is then, well, can we export this budget dollar amount to Excel and find some way to bring that into a report manually? And this matter budget field does not appear on any sort of Excel export out of Clio. And then the other thing with this matter budget is you have to upgrade to a top tier of Clio to have this turned on. This is not even available for the base level of Clio.


So with those obstacles, what we will start doing is we will create a custom budget field within Clio. So if we close this, then we look at custom fields, we will create a custom dollar field and we'll put that budget number there, because this field we can export to Excel and see the overall results against the matter. So what that does is this budget summary, this only appears within the internal budget system that we can't run reports on. The custom budget field only appears here. So I think for most of our firms, they only turn on the custom field because we need the reporting and we do not use this process.


Let's go back to our report. So stitching this report together is a combination of a couple different reports out of Clio that I'm going to address that in a separate video. So we can keep these separate. But to make this, you have to do two Excel exports, stitch data together using VLOOKUPS and do some formatting in Excel to get this format. So look for the other video with the how-to in making this budget overview in either a link below or over in the course, we're going to be putting this in. Thanks