If you're new to Clio and wondering where to start, this guide can help you set up your new Clio account so that transitioning to the cloud or from an older system is seamless and straightforward.
Review our Setting Up For Success webinar.
A PDF version of this article can be downloaded HERE.
For a video on Getting Started Quickly, see this link.
This guide is intended for account administrators who are responsible for managing the setup of the Clio account and user permissions. Firms with multiple users, in particular, may find this guide beneficial.
If you are more interested in getting up and running right away, or are a solo practitioner, then this guide may be more relevant.
Table of Contents
Account & Payment Information
User Default Rates
Creating Clients and Matters
Bringing Forward Balances
Creating bank accounts in Clio is the first step you should take once you log into your Clio account for the first time.
All bank accounts in Clio are intended to be mirrors of those you have with your financial institution. It's important to remember that these accounts do not link with your real bank accounts and instead are used to log records of payments and client advanced funds (retainers).
A great general rule of thumb is to create as many bank accounts in Clio as you have with your banking institutions so that account reconciliation and record keeping are as accurate as possible.
You must create at least one Operating account in Clio in order to be able to use Clio's built-in billing features. This is because an operating account is required in order to log payments on invoices in Clio.
Trust accounts are a great account type to take advantage of in Clio if your firm is working with client advanced funds (retainers). You can deposit these funds into a Trust account on behalf of the client, and once they are applied to an invoice in Clio as a payment from Trust, then they will be automatically deposited into your Operating account.
The next thing you should do once you've set up your bank accounts in Clio is to take a look at your Account & Payment Information which can be found in your Settings.
There are a number of fields you can manage in both sections of the Account & Payment Information area. Adding and updating your firm logo, address, contact information, and billing information is very important for maintaining the health of your account with Clio.
Keep in mind that the address and contact information you add to the Account Information page is pulled into any Bill Themes and Bills you create down the line.
To have access to features like Clio Payments, ensure under "Country" you have selected "United States".
Thinking about how you want additional users on your Clio account to be organized and what they should have access to is easier to do before inviting additional users to your Clio account. However, if you are following this guide after the fact, you can still implement these suggestions with a bit more consideration.
Groups are an useful feature to take into consideration when looking at the list of users you want to invite to Clio.
This article goes into detail about how you can create groups. These user groups can be centred around any themes or organizational structures that you need in your firm. For example, you may want to group your users based on the areas of law they practice, or perhaps their role in the firm.
You can add people to groups in Clio during the invitation process, or after the fact by editing the group in your Settings.
Once you've thought about how you want to group your users, inviting them is the next step if you haven't done so already.
When inviting new users, you can associate them with specific groups and also select any special permissions you would like them to have.
Once your new users have been added to your Clio account, it's a great idea to immediately modify their profile information and set their default billing rates so that they can log time without error as soon as they accept the invite. This ensures an accurate rate hierarchy in your Clio account.
Once your users have accepted their invites, you'll likely want to ensure they can see the calendars for everyone else in the account. Each user has to share their own calendar with everyone else in the account - a great first step once they log in.
Custom Fields are available to our customers who are on our Boutique, Elite, or Legacy plans.
Custom Fields are a very useful feature in Clio that allows you to customize the intake forms for Contacts and Matters to include additional information that is not available on the default form.
Setting up Custom Fields before you start using Clio heavily is a great way to minimize work later down the line should you realize those items are missing.
Activity Descriptions are a great way to standardize the way your users are logging time on Matters in Clio.
When you create or edit activity descriptions, you can also choose to set custom rates or flat rates for the description, allowing your firm to charge different amounts for certain kinds of work if need be.
Additionally, using the Activity Descriptions feature means more useful reporting and bill creation.
Task Lists enable you to create templates of common workflows in your firm. These workflow templates can be anything you like! Common examples are client intake, closing matter, the billing cycle, and workflows for specific practice areas and case types like divorces or motor vehicle incidents.
Creating task lists in your account early on allows you to transition to Clio more seamlessly from your previous system, along with assisting you in hitting the ground running and operating at max efficiency.
Payment Profiles are a section in your Billing Settings that you can use to create customized automated discount and interest calculations for invoices you generate for a given client. Setting these up sooner rather than later ensures you're encouraging timely bill payment from your clients earlier.
You can use bill themes to customize the appearance of your invoices in Clio. You can have as many as you'd like, and can create them based on the needs of individual clients, users, or entire practice areas.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your account is to think about your document management strategy.
Matters are where your users will likely spend the majority of their time, and by setting up the above customizations you can feel confident that anyone logging into your Clio account will be able to immediately get to work and be able to find the information they need.
Once you have a matter created, you may need to log a client's balance due from a previous system.