Firm Withdrawals

Modified on Thu, 12 Jan 2023 at 10:18 PM


NOTE: Actionstep offers built-in Accounting to users on our Practice Pro + Accounting plan. This article covers functionality only available with that option. 


A firm withdrawal is a transaction that involves removing money from your bank account to pay an expense. In Actionstep, a firm withdrawal transaction is not for paying a supplier invoice. It is for paying an expense that you did not get invoiced for. 

In this article, we will show you how to get to the screen where you can enter a firm withdrawal, how to fill in that screen to process the firm withdrawal and how to access previously entered firm withdrawals. 


Creating a New Firm Withdrawal

Use the Global create button, and make sure it is the expanded version. Look under Accounting and choose Firm withdrawal.


You will want to:

  1. Check the 'Bank account' and 'Date' are correct
  2. Enter who the payment is to
  3. Set the 'Payment method' and enter a 'Journal memo'
  4. Select the 'Account' and the 'Amount' for the line item
  5. If the withdrawal is for an expense you want to bill onto your client, select a 'Matter' and tick the 'Bill' tickbox
  6. Save



TIP: There are two ways that you can speed up entering the data in the New firm withdrawal screen.  The first is to use a Withdrawal template. Click on the icon in the top right of the screen.



Here you will see existing saved templates, or you can create a new one using the current withdrawal data.




Once created, you can access and use the Firm Withdrawal templates to fill in default information.


You can also set defaults for a Firm Withdrawal so that some of the fields in the form are automatically populated to your preferred option.  You can do this on the Accounting Preferences screen.




TIP: As you enter a Firm Withdrawal, you can also upload a supporting document using the paperclip icon in the top right of the screen. 

Use this to upload a scan of your receipt to keep complete auditable records of all your transactions in Actionstep.

Once you have saved a document, a number will appear beside the paperclip icon to indicate how many documents are attached to the transaction. Click on the icon again to view and download the documents. 




Understanding the New Firm Withdrawal Screen

The screen is broken down into the top where you enter the details of the bank transaction and the bottom part of the screen where you enter line items to break down the withdrawal.

We explain each of the fields below.


Withdrawal fromThe bank account that the withdrawal will be made from. Trust bank accounts will not be displayed. 
DateThe date that the withdrawal will be made out of your bank account. 
Pay to

The contact that the payment was made to.

The dropdown will display commonly used contacts first (contacts that you use for withdrawals often), then you can choose either: 

  • Your own firm
  • Another contact record
  • Other

If you choose 'Another contact record', you will be prompted to choose or create the contact record from those in your system.

If you choose 'Other' you can free type in the Payee's name. 

Amounts include GST/VAT?

This tick-box will only appear if you have sales tax such as GST or VAT set in your system.

Untick this box if the value you enter into the 'Amount' box is exclusive of sales tax.

Payment method

Select how the payment was processed. The option that you chose will dictate what fields are displayed for the 'Reference'.

For example, if you were to choose the option 'Printed check' you would have a field asking you to choose the check series. 

If you were to choose "Electronic funds transfer' you would have a field asking you for a reference. 


Enter the reference for the transaction. This is displayed in your bank reconciliations to make it easier to identify transactions.

The field may have a different label depending on the payment method selected. For example, if the payment method is Printed Check, you will be prompted to choose the check series. 

Quick-codeThe Quick-code dropdown will allow you to populate the Journal Memo field faster. The options available will be set by your Admin. 
Journal MemoEnter a memo or note for this transaction. You can populate the Journal memo from a pre-set list of memos using the Quick-code dropdown. 
Matter (Optional)

Search and select a matter to associate with the withdrawal that you are creating.
This option is used if you need to:

  • Bill on the firm withdrawal payment to a client
  • Monitor your costs against each matter

Even if you are not going to bill a firm withdrawal onto your client, if it is for one matter you may want to still associate it to a matter. Reports like the Multi Matter Profitability Report give you insight into your profitable matters if you record costs against them.

GL Account

This must be populated for every line item in your firm withdrawal.

Select the general ledger account that you would like this item posted to. Think of this as a way to categorize what type of expense the line item is for. 

You are able to type the account name or number to help find it faster.

GSTChoose what sales tax rate will be applied to this line item. 

Enter the description of the line item.

If you leave this blank, the line item description will populate with the firm withdrawal's Journal memo. 


To bill this line item onto your client, tick the box.
Actionstep will automatically create a billable expense record for the appropriate matter.
The next time you bill that matter, the expense will be included in that bill.

Please note that to bill this cost onto a client you will need to ensure the following are included:

  • The Matter column
  • The Bill box is ticked
  • The Exp code (if your client requires UTBMS codes)
  • A value set against the line item
Exp Code

UTBMS (or Uniform Task-Based Management System) is a process where the items you bill are categorized based on a fixed set of codes. This is a system required by some clients of law firms to help them understand the break down of what they are being billed for. 

In the Firm withdrawal, we have this so that if you bill this line item onto your client, you can assign a UTMBS code to that billable item as you create it.

If you don't Bill using LEDES or UTBMS then please ignore this option.

AmountEnter the amount for the line item. 
Add Row

Use this button to create more than one line item.

Most users will enter in one line item for a supplier invoice, even if that supplier invoice has multiple lines displayed in the paper/PDF copy received. By summarising together lines into one line you cut down on the amount of data entry required.

There will be exceptions, however.

  • If you have a supplier invoice with different sales tax rates applied to different line items then you should at least create a separate line in the supplier invoice for each tax rate to ensure that your taxes are recorded correctly.
  • You might also get a supplier invoice for items that would be coded against different expense codes, it can be worthwhile to create different line items for each expense code. For example, you might get a supplier invoice from your local office supplies store for pens, paper, etc. If this is all that the order is for you could create one line item coded to your 'General Expenses' expense account. If however, you purchased a new computer from the office supplies store but also got some paperclips, then the supplier invoice would have one line for the computer's costs coded to your 'Computer Expenses' expense account and another line for the paperclips coded to your 'General Expense' expense account.
  • If you have different items in the supplier invoice that relate to different matters, you will have to create a line per matter. 


Accessing your Previous Firm Withdrawals

Firm withdrawals will be treated as banking transactions and so you will find them included in the list of transactions for your bank. 

Access these by going to the Accounting menu and clicking on Banking. Choose the bank account the transaction should have been made from and using the three-dot button /helpdesk/attachments/150002488066 select Transactions

The listed transactions will include all transactions for that bank account. If you want to see just the firm withdrawals, use the Filter to filter the 'Entry type' by "Firm withdrawal'.





Q. Can I do a "bulk" firm withdrawal, for example I want to make one payment for Search fees but the payment relates to a number of different Search fees for different matters? 

A. If you have a firm withdrawal that will have billable items for more than one matter, then you follow the same process as creating a new firm withdrawal, but you create a separate additional line entry for each by using the + Add row button.  



Related Articles:

- Firm Withdrawal - Default Settings

- Entering Disbursements from a Firm Withdrawal

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