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Immigration Law Firm Trust and Client Accounting in Soluno

Immigration Law Firm Trust and Client Accounting in Soluno
Immigration Law Firm Trust and Client Accounting in Soluno
Written by
Paul W Carlson, CPA
Published on
Dec 13, 2023

Paul W. Carlson, CPA (00:00):

Hi, this is Paul Carlson, CPA with Law Firm Velocity. You'll see that we're looking at how we use Soluno to help immigration firms handle client trust balances, client billing, and firm financial reporting. So Soluno is a case management system with the accounting system built in. So think something along the lines of Clio Lite plus QuickBooks within the same system. And what that does is, it allows us to enter financial transactions once, and you don't have all the reconciliations, or tie outs that you see when you're using QuickBooks plus the different case management system. So this is just the case setup system that we can keep track of, the practice area, responsible attorney, just different details. We can sync into Netdocuments if that's what your firm uses. So let's look at the per case financial reporting aspect. So I'm going to change this so we only see transactions through June 30th for this initial review.


So what we're looking at is probably the first portion of a more complicated immigration case. So this firm has two trust accounts. We have trust account one and trust account. We would use much more descriptive names if this was for your firm. But trust account one is used to hold funds for filing fees. So that trust account is used for dedicated hard costs. And then trust account two is used to collect client prepayments for legal fees that some states require client fees to go into trust until the matter is complete. Other firms just prefer to have all legal fees go into a trust account until the file is complete, and then they draw all the money from trust into operating when the filing is completed.


So here we have the file came in, they paid the application fee upfront, and then over a following three months, the client made $3,000 payments into for legal fees. Below this we can see a little summary that shows that we have, trust account one has the 1250 in filing fees, and trust account two has the $3,000 for legal services. So let's change this through today's date So we can see what a completed case looks like. So what this has done is, has added to disbursements. So this disbursement shows that we had 1250 left trust, and this went to USCIS, and we had a $3,000 disbursement that went to the law firm for legal fees. We change this to the client ledger.


Now we can see the trust account activity in these columns, and then in these columns we can see the operating activity. So here we can see that I entered a time entry for the $3,000 legal fee. We created an invoice for the legal fee, and we had the firm paid the legal fee from trust. The one rub we have with immigration firms and Soluno is you have to double create invoices if invoices are also created from INSZoom, or other tool used to manage clients, that this is just how Soluno thinks. And for the reporting to work out, that you need to create the invoice again within the Soluno, and apply this payment to that invoice. So behind the scenes, we're tracking all of this detail on a per client basis. These transactions feed directly into the bank account reconciliations. So when we do our monthly and weekly bank account reconciliations, we're confirming the accuracy of all of these values.


So if we see something on the bank that isn't into Soluno, we can follow up with your firm. Or if we see a transaction in Soluno that doesn't clear the bank, we can follow up with your firm. Because this is in Soluno, and it's one system, we can actually do those recs on a weekly basis. So you're not waiting for the monthly tie outs. This is also a big step up from tracking any of this on spreadsheets because we're doing these tie outs.


All of this ties out to the bank statements to confirm accuracy for the trust piece, and then also for the billing side. You can go into INSZoom, and you can make whatever invoices you want, and post whatever payments, but those transactions are never tied out to what happens at the bank. That's very easy to accidentally mark invoices paid within INSZoom, and the firm never received the payment that without this type of audit, you would just never know that that was a mistake, and the firm would never collect those funds. One other thing we wanted to look at is to run a report. So the other thing that immigration firms want to know is, they want a report where they can see client trust balances as of a cut date. So when we started talking, we saw that June 30th, that the client Z had deposited $3,000 into the legal fee trust account, and 1250 into the hard cost account.


Now we can run this report, and we can see trust balances by each client. So this is just a management tool that if you're trying to make sure that we've built out everyone, you can run this report. And if this helps you remember, "Hey wait a minute, we completed this case two months ago. We know we can go ahead and create the invoices and bill out that $3,000." And with that, just a quick overview of how Soluno can be a big step-up for immigration firm financial reporting. Thanks. Bye-Bye.