Many companies use an accrual basis of accounting, i.e., revenue and expenses are realized or accrued as a liability in the period in which the service was rendered. This method of accounting requires the Legal Department to periodically report unbilled legal services and invoices received, but not yet submitted to Accounts Payable (WIP), to their respective Finance Departments.
Reporting periods may be monthly, quarterly, or annually. The process of obtaining the unbilled services amount and the WIP amount for each period is called accruals or matter accruals.
Some clients want to report accruals at the matter-level for every matter with costs, while others want to designate which matters require accruals, and still others want to report accruals by vendor.
eCounsel includes the following matter accrual tracking functionality:
- Accrual amounts for unbilled services can be tracked at the matter-level with the ability to designate which matters are subject to accruals.
- An Accruals tab can be activated in the Matters module for specific matters where the following unbilled services information can be recorded when received by the law firm/vendor:
– Period Start
– Period End
– Currency Type
– Conversion Rate
– Unbilled Amount Billed Currency
– Unbilled Amount Base Currency
The task of notifying law firms and other vendors to begin preparing their submissions for unbilled services is particularly burdensome for the Legal Department staff. The accruals feature in eCounsel provides the following:
- The ability to designate which individual(s) at the law firm/vendor should receive the accrual notification, i.e., the law firm managing attorney for a matter. The System Administrator configures this functionality by designating the player type and role for the primary vendor contact, and then users create player(s) that have this type and role for applicable matters in eCounsel.
- An accrual notification and schedule setup feature for which certain users or groups must be granted access to the feature by the System Administrator. This feature allows users to customize the subject and message contents of an accrual notification e-mail. The e-mail template is used for all notifications, and contains a list of all applicable matters when sent. In addition, users can create accrual notification schedules based on their accounting periods whether monthly, quarterly, or annually.
- A scheduled task that uses information from the accrual notification and schedule setup to automate the sending of accrual e-mail notifications. The task must be scheduled by the System Administrator.
- The ability to designate which matters are subject to accrual. Once enabled, accrual information can be entered on a tab at periodic intervals and accessed at any time.
- An exception report that identifies any matter enabled for accrual where there is no designated matter player to receive the accrual notification or the designated matter player has no primary e-mail address on file.