Actionstep trust accounting = fewer headaches & peace of mind
Actionstep's Trust Features are available on every version of our product, ensuring all our users have the tools to stay compliant. The process of setting up Trust Accounting in Actionstep is fairly simple.
The purpose of the trust features is to record trust transactions (receipts, payments) and then run Trust Reconciliations to ensure your records match what is actually occurring in your trust bank accounts. This information will pull into various trust reporting.
Select an Accounting Option
If you navigate to Admin > Trust Accounting, you will see that you will need to select an accounting option to proceed:
See the Welcome Article for details on which accounting option to choose.
Configure Trust Accounting
Once you've done this step, Actionstep will guide you through the process of setting up Trust. Firstly, select your jurisdiction, which will configure trust accounting for your state/region's default. Then, select which existing account codes in your accounting system to attach Trust Liabilities and Transfers to. If you do not have any existing accounts for your trust accounting, you can leave this toggle on to automatically create accounts for you in your accounting system.
A common question we get asked is: Why does Actionstep need to link to an accounting system?
All transactions within billing and trust accounting are designed to be posted to a General Ledger. When integrated with Xero or QuickBooks Online, these will create transactions within those integrations. All transactions use double-entry accounting - these transactions will not affect your balance sheet or income statement. There will be no requirement for you to do any reconciliations or other transactions for trust accounting in Xero or QuickBooks Online
You will be brought to a page that looks something like this (you can find this page by navigating back to Admin > Trust Accounting):
The sections to configure are:
- Matter types: to enable trust features for a matter type, you will need to ensure it is added here
- Bank accounts: you will need to add your trust bank account number(s).
- Linked system accounts: choose which account codes are linked to Trust Liabilities, Trust Transfers and Statutory Deposits.
- Bulk import specifications: configure settings for when you carry out receipt or payment imports. Imports are not recommended - see below in this article for more detail.
- Additional settings: change trust settings, i.e. you can configure default payment reasons
"I've been recording trust transactions in another system - how do I carry these over into Actionstep?"
We do not recommend that you tackle the trust import - it is available in certain jurisdictions on the Practice Pro and Practice Pro + Accounting products and would allow you to import all your transactions, BUT even if you are eligible to use this feature, it's complexity often causes people to have issues.
We recommend carrying across trust opening balances.
This process works like this:
- Pick a date that you want to start recording trust within Actionstep
- At this selected date, you will stop recording trust transactions in your previous system
- Pull the figures for your trust account balances as at that date
- Create these balances as trust receipts in Actionstep
For regulation purposes, you will need to keep a record of trust records for years. This process will allow you to have a full picture of trust history across the two systems. Auditors do not mind that you have records across two platforms, as long as there is a very clear history in both systems, and the closing/opening balances between the two systems are congruent.
Once you have the trust configuration sorted, you are ready to use Trust Accounting day-to-day. Click here to find out how.
- How do I float money within trust accounting?
- i.e. add a buffer of your own cash to a trust account
- Please note that this feature is only available in certain regions & jurisdictions. Check with your local law society to check regulations.