Actionstep has been examined by the Law Society of New South Wales (NSW) and has been certified to ensure compliance with the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW) and the Legal Profession Unifrom General Rules 2015 (the Uniform Law).
A public record of this can be found here: The Law Society of NSW - Compliant Software Packages
There are some differences in how the Uniform Law plug-in works to ensure compliance with the Uniform Regulations these are as below.
Automatic holds placed on invoices
Uniform Law in New South Wales and Victoria requires that an invoice cannot be paid until 7 days after the invoice was presented to the client. This gives the client the ability to dispute any charges before their funds are applied to the invoice
Actionstep will automatically stop a user from making a payment to these invoices from trust to ensure that the firm is compliant with this requirement.
When you pay an invoice for a matter, you will see a notification beside any invoice with this restriction applied to it.
Cost agreements to override the hold
Uniform Law allows you to remove a hold on an invoice when you have a cost agreement with the client. Actionstep will allow you to mark a matter as having a cost agreement in place so that you can apply funds from the trust to the matter immediately.
To show that you have a cost agreement for a matter go to the matter properties screen and click on the switch to show that the matter Has a cost agreement.
You can get to the matter properties screen by clicking on the little (i) next to the matter name in the matter screen.
And then clicking the edit button
And then switching has cost agreement to on.
In order for a system to accurately reflect the transactions in a Trust Account, there may be times when the account goes into Overdraw.
This could be the result of an error or a reversal. Actionstep will allow a Trust Overdraw (permission dictate who is able to process a reversal and who is not).
EFT Requisition Process
This is a Jurisdiction specific feature in order to comply with the new rules for New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.
The requirement for a formal computerized EFT process
While the actual rules around this subject are complex - it can be translated as follows:
The law firm must use the same number raised in the requisition as the id number for both the bank transaction and the payment transaction id (for sequence purposes). In order to do this we've developed a unique series for the EFT payment reference numbers - just as you would use a cheque sequence when using cheques. While this is a seemly simple concept, it wasn't quite so simple to include, as it causes a "chicken and egg" scenario. It requires a "register" of the payments the requisitions are linked to. In some cases - such as paying your own account. you may not have the requisition when working out your payment.
The process is this:
- A person working on the matter raises a requisition
- The printed requisition would then typically be given to the person who physically makes the payment - the requisition number would be used as the bank reference number.
- On processing the bank transaction, the Trust Accountant would enter the transaction and "link" it to the requisition.
- This allows the requisition register to show any un-actioned requisitions and to display the payment of any linked requisitions relate to.
- The cashbook will keep the numbering in sequence - and use the EFT ref from the register as the reference.
There will be times when an EFT is completed and the Requisition was not available (at this point you will need to raise the Requisition).
Electronic Funds Transfer Requisition Process - Sample one
This takes the scenario where a member of the firm raises a Requisition and the Payment links to the existing Requisition.
Create the EFT Requisition
Go to the EFT requisition (in this sample we have come from within the matter - this is also available in the main trust menu)
Complete the fields (ensure the BSB and Account is in the account field)
and hit save.
This requisition can now be found under the main Trust Menu
All EFT requisitions are held in a list
Make the Bank Payment for the EFT Requisition
Now the PDF version of the requisition is available for printing and giving to the person who will process the payment with the bank - Using the Requisition number (in the sample #1) as a reference.
Process the Bank Payment and link to the initial EFT Requisition
Proceed as per usual to the payment screen you're wishing to use, complete the screen as per the Requisition (which is most likely to have been passed from the person who made the payment). On selecting Electronic funds transfer, you will be prompted to link to an existing one or create a new one.
Electronic Funds Transfer Requisition Process - Sample two
Where a payment is made and although it is an EFT, the requisition is not in existence prior. In this scenario the payment of the firms' invoices are being made from available funds - this is often the job of the Trust Accountant and the screen is a handy one to calculate what is due to go to the firm.
From the payment screen, on selecting Electronic Funds Transfer the ability to "Create new"
Once Save is clicked, the screen will close and the initial payment transaction will be linked.
Electronic Funds Transfer Requisition Process - Reporting
EFT Requisitions list
The list will show all the details of the Requisition AND the payment which was linked to it. This gives the ability to see where an EFT is still outstanding.
Cashbook and other reports will show the EFT number