Modified on Thu, 21 Dec 2023 at 05:33 PM


This document lists the fundamental concepts and terminology used throughout Actionstep. It is not intended as a detailed explanation of the topics but rather as a quick-reference guide.


ActionA generic term for what might be called a Matter, Case, Project, Job, etc. Actions are live instances of Action Types.
Action AliasAn alternative term for 'Action', which can be customized to Matter/Project/Case/etc. and is reflected system-wide.
Action Alias PluralThe plural form of an Action Alias, addressing cases where adding 's' to the end does not form a plural.
Action DataRefers to the page in action details that displays Custom Data for that action type.
Action Participant (Party)When a Contact is linked to an Action, they become an Action Participant, categorized by their Participant Type within the Action.
Action StatusAn Action can have one of these statuses: Active, Inactive, Closed, or Template.
Action TemplateA template Action used to pre-populate new Actions with default Action Participants and Custom Data.
Action TypeDifferentiates Actions by their process, allowing administrators to configure workflows to meet organizational needs.
Alert BarThe bottom panel of the main pages within ActionStep that alerts users to real-time events like new emails, overdue tasks, upcoming appointments, etc.
ApplicationA grouping of ActionStep features (e.g., Workflow, Accounting, Knowledge Base) to ease user navigation and control access. Also refers to any computer program generally.
Audit TrailIn the context of an Action, it refers to the recording of all changes to the action as "System" type File Notes.
Custom DataSee "Data Collection."
Data CollectionA set of Data Fields, where "Single-row" data collections are displayed as forms and "multi-row" data collections as lists.
Data FieldA custom data element specific to an Action Type, with attributes like data type (text, date, number, etc.) defined by the administrator.
File NoteA time-stamped, indelible text entry linked to an action, categorized as "User" (entered by users) or "System" (auto-entered by ActionStep).
JobAn example of an Action Alias.
Leaf NodeThe final node in a path through a Step Tree. Workflow ends upon reaching a Leaf Node.
MatterAnother example of an Action Alias.
Merge FieldA special phrase in a Word document that ActionStep replaces with live data during document generation, usually shown between double square brackets.
ModuleRefers to "Application."
NodeA Step placed in a Step Tree, referred to as a Node. The same Step can appear in different Nodes.
Organization KeyA unique identifier for each organization using ActionStep, used during login to maintain data separation between clients.
Participant Type (Role)The role a linked Contact (party) plays within the Action.
PartySee "Action Participant."
Primary Participant (Party)The main subject of the Action, typically the Client, shown with details and photo (if available) on the Action details page.
Pre-Sale / Sales PipelineA set of Data Fields tracking Action Types related to sales, such as "expected sale amount" and "probability", used for sales reporting and management. Sales Pipeline terminology can be customized in Accounting Admin.
ProjectAn example of an Action Alias.
RoleRefers to Participant Type.
Root NodeThe first Node in a Step Tree. Each Step Tree has only one Root Node.
StepA milestone (Node) in an Action Type's workflow, configured to perform specific tasks automatically, such as assigning Tasks or sending emails.
Step TreeA map of linked Steps creating a workflow, with Steps in the tree referred to as Nodes.
System ObjectA specific component within ActionStep with attached permissions.
System RoleAssociates each ActionStep login with a role (e.g., Partner, Staff Member, Client), defining permissions and access within ActionStep.
TagUser-defined attributes for grouping items like Tasks for reporting purposes.
TaskThe fundamental unit of work within ActionStep, expressed with a due date and reminders. Completed Tasks can be linked to invoices for billing.

Contacts and Participants

Base Participant TypeThe primary type from which a Participant derives its identity, typically Company or Individual, but can be custom defined by the administrator.
ContactThe most common Participant Alias, often set as the default in ActionStep systems. Used interchangeably with Participant.
ParticipantAn entity tracked in the system, commonly used for Contacts and can be of any type defined by the administrator.
Participant AliasAn override for the generic term Participant, usually set to Contact.
Participant TypeGroups Participants and associates them with additional attributes. Participants can belong to multiple Participant Types.
Participant Type DataCustom fields defined by the administrator for collecting information specific to a Participant Type.


EmailRefers to the integration and management of email addresses and mailboxes within Actionstep.
ActionStep AliasA setting in Actionstep that links email addresses to user mailboxes, allowing for the distribution of emails to multiple Actionstep mailboxes.
ActionStep MailboxA mailbox within Actionstep linked to all contacts with logins.
Catch-all MailboxA server mailbox set to receive all mail not addressed to other specific server mailboxes.
DNSShort for Domain Name System, which resolves human-readable internet addresses into numeric IP addresses and contains email routing and spam filtering settings.
DomainThe internet name a company uses for email and website, such as
External MailboxAlso known as a Server Mailbox, located outside of Actionstep.
GmailGoogle's cloud-based mail service, allowing domain hosting and management through a browser.
IMAPShort for Internet Message Access Protocol, a more feature-rich successor to POP for email handling.
Mail ClientThe program or browser-based interface used to manage email (e.g., Outlook, Gmail).
Mail ServerA computer running programs for handling email delivery and receipt, sometimes segregated into separate servers for each function.
Microsoft ExchangeA Microsoft product for managing mail, calendars, and contacts, often used in office settings. Does not support Catch-all Mailboxes.
MX RecordA domain setup instruction that indicates the mail server receiving email for that domain.
POPShort for Post-Office Protocol, a standard protocol for downloading email from mail servers.
Server MailboxA mailbox located on a mail server outside of Actionstep.
SMTPShort for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a standard for sending email.
SPFShort for Sender Policy Framework, an email validation system to prevent email spoofing and spam.
Wildcard MailboxAnother term for Catch-all Mailbox.

Time Recording & Billing

Activity TypeClassifies and groups Time Record entries, particularly useful for non-Action-related activities like general office work.
Actual HoursThe actual time spent by a user on a Time Record.
Billable HoursThe time on a Time Record that is billable, linked to a Rate Sheet.
Invoiced HoursThe hours from a completed Task allocated to an invoice, allowing partial billing on different invoices.
Rate SheetSpecifies hourly rates, including cost and tax inclusion. Default Rate Sheets are assigned to System Roles and users, with various overrides possible.
Time RecordAn interval of time a user spends on a single activity, which may be linked to a Task. A Task can have multiple Time Records.


Auto-NumberA sequence format for sequentially numbered records like invoices, allowing customization such as 'INV-X-2012' where 'X' increments numerically.
Bank Participant TypeA Participant Type linked to a Contact record that can be associated with a bank account.
Customer Participant TypeThe Action Participant automatically linked to any invoices/bills created within an Action.
DisbursementRecords expenditures without an associated supplier invoice, useful for recording miscellaneous Action-related expenses like photocopying.
Disbursement TemplateA pre-formatted Disbursement for consistent entry of standard items like photocopying rates.
Division AccountsA subset of the master chart of accounts used in multi-divisional ActionStep setups, ensuring consistency across the organization.
Doc TemplatesReplaces PDF Templates with DOCX and merge fields for styling invoices and other documents.
GST AliasCustomizes sales tax terminology for different countries, like setting VAT in the UK.
Invoice TemplatesRefers to Doc Templates.
Line Item ModuleA custom module for handling special requirements on the invoice screen, such as calculating commissions or fees.
Linked Account (Link)An account in the master chart that is linked to a System Account, necessary for multi-currency systems.
Master AccountsA super-set of all allowable accounts in the chart of accounts, with transactions never posted directly to them.
ModuleRefers to Line Item Module.
PDF Blocks (deprecated)Components of a PDF template for printable documents, now being phased out in favor of DOCX merge-field layouts.
PDF Templates (deprecated)Collections of PDF Blocks for creating printable quotes, invoices, etc., being replaced by DOCX merge-field invoice layouts.
Purchase TemplateSimilar to a Sales Template but used for Purchases.
PurchasesThe generic term for payables, supplier invoices, and other expenditures.
Sale/Purchase TypesCustomizable bases for sale and purchase instruments, requiring special training for modifications.
SalesThe generic term for receivables, customer invoices, and other income sources.
Sales TemplateA pre-formatted template for quotes, orders, or invoices, used as a starting point for new documents.
Supplier Participant TypeThe Action Participant linked by default to any expenses created within an Action.
System AccountAn account with special meaning in ActionStep, where certain operations are automated, such as posting GST from an invoice.

Trust Accounting

Client CombinationFunds held in trust for an Action's clients are for all listed clients, requiring trust administration privileges for transfers.
Inter-Matter TransferFunds transfer between actions, not affecting the bank balance and therefore not shown in bank reconciliation, posted through the Trust Transfers Account.
Paid by FirmAmounts paid from an Action when there are insufficient trust funds, incurring liability by the firm and taken from the available Trust Surplus.
Trust LiabilityThe total funds held by the firm on behalf of clients, to which the firm has no claim due to unpaid invoices.
Trust ReceiptAn official receipt issued for trust fund deposits, often audited by regulatory bodies.
Trust SurplusThe excess of total trust bank balances over the trust liability account balance.
Trust Transfers AccountRecords transfers of trust funds between Actions, keeping a zero balance as transactions are offset. See Inter-Matter Transfer.

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