Trust account management in Clio is easy! We partnered with Peggy Gruenke, a Gold Level Clio Consultant, to bring to you the best way to manage your funds in Trust held on behalf of a Client.
You can download the complete PDF guide HERE, but below we have outlined a summary of what you will need to take into consideration and do within your Clio account to make sure you are properly managing your funds in Trust.
First, however, it is important that you check your state's rules with regards to how you maintain and keep records of your clients' Trust accounts with your firm. However, there are three areas that typically need to be addressed regardless:
- Identification: depositing those client funds into an account specifically for Trust funds
- Segregation: keeping client funds separate from your firm's funds
- Accounting: recording the funds belonging to your clients in an appropriate manner
Clio takes these three primary concerns to heart, and has systems to address them in addition to other concerns many attorneys face with regards to Trust accounting.
You will need at least two accounts created in Clio - one for Trust and another for Operating.
The Trust account is where you are going to deposit a client's funds from within a Matter's "Transactions" subtab.
The Operating account is a record of your revenue earned, and is where money is transferred to when paying an invoice from your Trust account.
More information on bank accounts in Clio can be found HERE.
A new Transaction, or Debit, can be added in your Trust account by clicking Add on the right hand side. From here you can specify which Client and Matter the Trust deposit pertains to.
Ensure that any deposits made within the Trust account are directly linked with a Matter or Contact. Without connecting these funds to a Contact or Matter, they are unassigned and will not Report properly. You can also make deposits into Trust from the Contact or Matter Transactions tab as outlined below.
The "Transactions" subtabs within both a Matter and a Contact card will give you a microledger of the transactions in and out of a given account for that Matter or Contact.
These microledgers are where you are going to be doing the bulk of the recording of incoming Client Trust funds and viewing the line items to ensure the funds are accurate.
Information on how to enter Client funds into Trust from within a Matter can be found HERE.
One of the biggest concerns with working with funds in Trust is the ability to report accurately on them.
The Trust Ledger report is going to give you a full listing and audit of all of the funds in and out of the Trust account for a given Contact in Clio, across all of their Matters.
If you find you need to view that information in a spreadsheet program, it is easy to generate the report as a .csv which can be opened and manipulated in Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet application.
Additionally, as an attorney you are often required to notify the client of their funds in Trust, and it is easy to display this information on invoices in Clio using our Bill Themes feature.
It's easy to design a bill theme that shows both transactions in and out of Trust for the Client along with the remaining balance.
To add this information to your bill theme, please follow these steps:
- Navigate to Settings > Billing > Bill Themes
- Select the bill theme you would like to modify
- In the first box, select "Statement of Account"
- In the second box, select "Client Account"
- Choose either "Account Details" or "Account Summary" in the third box
- Review the highlighted grey area in the sample preview to determine if that is the view you'd like
- Additionally, in the third box you can select "Detail of Accounts" and determine if you would like to include the Trust account in balance calculations
You can find additional information on how to modify your bill themes HERE.
If the deposited Trust Funds require a transfer between accounts, from the Transactions tab within the Contact or Matter, click Add on the right hand side. From the New Transaction window, select the Transfer Funds tab.
Here you can specify the Source account where the funds are coming from, the Destination account where the funds are moving to, the amount that should be moved, and any other pertinent details. Once finished, click Record Transfer.
Being able to reconcile your records in Clio with those from your banking institution is incredibly important to many firms for accounting and due diligence reasons.
The Trust Listing report and the Trust Ledger report are the most useful reports for this process, and are easy to compare to statements from your financial institution. See the attached PDF for an easy report example that you can build in a spreadsheet program to help automate this process.