Earlier this year, I included the cloud-based billing and trust accounting platform CosmoLex on my list of the Top 10 Product Announcements at ABA Techshow. “This is a comprehensive time and billing system with everything you expect in such a system,” I wrote then. Well, CosmoLex is about to get even more comprehensive, adding in practice-management features such as contact management, matter management and calendaring.
Those additions will be coming within the next three to four months, CosmoLex CEO Rick Kabra told me during a recent interview. “Our goal is to become the leading cloud provider for solo and small firms,” he said, adding that even more product enhancements are in development.
As it is now, CosmoLex is a full-featured, cloud-based time and billing program for solo and small law firms. It claims to be the only cloud-based legal time and billing software with fully integrated trust accounting. As far as I can determine, that claim is true. Other cloud practice management programs say they offer some form of trust accounting, but that is often nothing more than tracking trust balances. None that I am aware of offer full accounting without also requiring use of a third-party accounting program such as QuickBooks.
As far as I have been able to determine, CosmoLex is the only one that offers both check printing and full three-way bank reconciliation. Most states, if not all of them, require lawyers to fully reconcile their trust accounts on a regular basis.
CosmoLex is based on two desktop products from the same company, Easy TimeBill and Easy Trust. “We looked at the market to see where it is going and it became clear to us that the small and solo firms will be better off in the cloud,” Kabra told me. “We made a strategic choice to migrate completely to the cloud and slowly end our desktop business.”
Kabra recently gave me a demonstration of the product’s features, after which I signed up for the free 30-day trial the website offers and tried the product myself.
Simple User Interface
A strong feature of CosmoLex is the simplicity of its user interface. After logging in, you come to a page that lists all your matters. You can complete most routine tasks directly from this page. Highlight a matter then click a button to add time (either manually or using the timer), add an expense, add an operating or trust retainer, or record a trust transaction. All of this is done through pop-up screens, so you never leave the main matter page.
This is also where you add a new matter. Just click “Add” and a pop-up screen appears for you to add the matter name, billing method, client, and other details. If other matters exist for the client, then the name will appear as you start to type it. Matters can be billed hourly, on a fixed fee or on a contingency. (To my disappointment, I found that CosmoLex will not let me bill on a recurring monthly fixed-fee basis, but Kabra tells me this is on the company’s to-do list.)
For more specific billing and administrative tasks, other tabs take you to sections where you can manage your bank accounts, view your recent activities, and generate reports. CosmoLex includes extensive reporting functions, allowing you to create accounting reports for accounts receivable, income and expenses, transactions by matter or client, balances by client, and more. You can also create a variety of billing reports by matter and time keeper as well as trust-account reports.
To generate an invoice, click on the Matter Details page and simply click “Generate.” CosmoLex provides several invoice templates to which you can add your logo and customize the layout and text. You can also generate invoices in bulk for all matters that have unbilled time. You can automatically add a cover page to any invoice, if you choose.
Once you have generated invoices, you can send them automatically by email by selecting the ones to send (or by selecting all). Of course, you can also print single or multiple invoices. CosmoLex will also send out periodic reminders for overdue accounts.
Reconciling a bank account is fairly simple. Start by going to the Bank tab, choose the bank account to reconcile, and then click “details.” That takes you to a new screen where you see a tab for Reconciliation. Click that and then add your bank statement end date and ending balance.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a listing of all the deposits and payments for the month. Select the ones that appear on your bank statement as cleared. As you do, you will see a summary showing totals for cleared and uncleared transactions. Once the difference between the bank balance and the cleared transactions is zero, you can click Reconcile to finish the process.
Mobile Version and Price
CosmoLex provides an HTML5 version that can be accessed from a mobile device. Most routine functions can be done on the mobile version, except add a new matter. You can opt to access the desktop version through your mobile device to get access to full functionality, but the desktop version was somewhat clunky on my iPhone.
The current subscription price is $43 per login per month, if paid annually, or $50 if paid monthly. (Logins can be shared but only one can access the system at a time.) The price includes phone or email tech support and access to free daily webinars on using the product.
The price will not change when the additional practice management features are added later this year, Kabra said. Anyone who signs up now will have a perpetual 15 percent discount off any future increases in the price.
CosmoLex offers a free 30-day trial, with no credit card required, so if you are in the market for a new time and billing system, you can try it out and see if it fits your needs.
CosmoLex is an easy-to-use, cloud-based time, billing and trust accounting program for solo attorneys and small firms. It has full trust accounting with check printing and account reconciliation. It has handy features such as bulk invoicing and automatic overdue notices. Within the next few months, it will also allow for full practice management, with matter, client and calendar functions.
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