Add a Hard Cost

Hard cost expenses refer to out of pocket transactions and their subsequent reimbursement. In CosmoLex, you can assign multiple matters and firm expenses in a single transaction. 

These expenses include items such as:

  • Filing fees
  • Postage
  • Expert witness fees
  • Court costs

Tracking these reimbursable costs separately provides your firm with accurate revenue accounting to offset your Profit and Loss expenses. 


If your firm does not use CosmoLex for business accounting, then we recommend you enter your expenses as soft costs. If, in the future, you want to enter the associated transactions, you can link your recorded soft costs to those transactions to create hard costs.

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Add a Hard Cost

You can add a hard cost from:

Global Add Shortcut

  1. From the top right side of the screen, click the Global Add Shortcut (plus sign).
  2. From the drop-down that displays, click Expense (Hard Cost).
    The Expense – Hard Cost screen opens.


Matters Landing Page

  1. From the left navigation panel, click Matters.
  2. From the Matters screen right navigation, click the dollar sign.
    The Expense – Hard Cost screen opens.


Matters Details


This is the only place where the system automatically creates a matter expense card in the Split when you enter a memo. When accessing the Expense – Hard Cost from any other place in the system, you will have to manually add expenses to the Split.  

  1. From the left navigation panel, click Matters.
  2. In the Matters screen, double-click the matter, or single-click the matter to highlight it, then in the toolbar atop the screen, click Details.
  3. From Matters Details left navigation, click Billing.
  4. From the tabs atop the Billing screen, click Time/Expense.
  5. From the toolbar atop the Time/Expense screen, click Add Expense > Hard Cost.
    The Expense – Hard Cost screen opens.


  1. From the left navigation panel, click Activities.
  2. Atop the Activities gray left navigation, click Time/Expense.
  3. From the toolbar atop the Time/Expense screen, click Add Expense > Hard Cost.
    The Expense – Hard Cost screen opens.

From Bank Transaction

You can post a transaction to your operating account, then link it to a matter to retroactively create a hard cost expense.

The result is the same, the location of entry depends on your firm’s workflow.

If your bookkeeper manages hard costs and prefers to work in the Accounting section, they can enter transactions through the operating/general account and assign them to their respective matters. Adding hard cost expenses this way can be advantageous if your firm incurs a cost, then later decides it must be posted to a specific matter.

To add a hard cost from a bank account:

  1. Create a withdrawal transaction in your operating bank. 

If your firm is based in Canada or a US state that applies tax to expenses, you can use the automated tax calculation feature.

  1. When completing the transaction, check the Post as matter expense box.

From Accounts Payable

If this is an anticipated cost, you can create an Accounts Payable (AP) bill and post it to the matter for payment at a later date.

Hard Cost Fields

The Expense – Hard Cost screen is divided into two main sections: Transaction Section and Split Section

Transaction Section



  • Use the drop-down to click the appropriate operating bank. (You cannot use Trust Bank to pay Hard Cost disbursement)
  • If you are paying via credit card, click the appropriate credit card bank.


  • Populates with today’s date.
  • Click the drop-down to specify a different date, if needed.
  • Enter the amount.
Calc box*

(*Only for states/provinces where tax is to be calculated.)
Take the appropriate action:

    • Calc Box Checked
      • In the Total field, enter the total amount.
        The system calculates the GSTHSTQST and PST, as applicable, and auto-populates their fields.
    • Calc Box Unchecked
      • In the GSTHSTQST and PST fields, as applicable, enter the taxes paid.
        The Total field auto-populates with the bill’s total.
  • Will default to Withdrawal.
  • Use the drop-down to click the payment method.

(*Will only display if you select Check as the payment method)
Take the appropriate action:

  • Check to be Printed
    1. Leave the To be Printed box checked.
  • Check Was Printed
    1. Uncheck the To be Printed box.
      The Check# field becomes editable.7. If you enter a Memo, when you leave the memo field, the system automatically creates a matter expense card in the Split for the entire transaction amount, using the memo as the description 
    2. Enter the check number.
Pay To
  • Enter the payee’s name.
  • In the Address section, enter the payee’s mailing address.
    If you don’t see the address block, click on More Info to expand the section.


  • Enter a memo or click the drop-down to select one.
  • If you enter a Memo, when you leave the memo field, the system automatically creates a matter expense card in the Split for the entire transaction amount, using the memo as the description


  • Include further details for internal purposes. This will not print on client documents.

Split Section

In this section you can add the details of this hard cost as well as have the option to split this cost. For example, you could be paying a vendor for an amount that includes expenses across matters and/or the firm. 


If you add the hard cost from within the Matter, once you complete the transaction fields, the line item for that matter is automatically created. You can edit the entry, if needed.

To add an item:

  1. From the tabs atop the split section, select Add.
  2. From the drop-down, take the appropriate action:

New Matter Expense

Selecting New Matter Expense will automatically open an Expense Card.

Client – Matter
  • Enter the first few characters of the client or matter name.
    The field populates with a drop-down of potential matches.
  • Click the appropriate matter.
Disbursement Incurred as an Agent*
Qty The number of expenses you wish to add
Rate/Price The cost of each expense
Value Calculated by the system based on the Qty and Rate/Price you entered
Advanced Settings Section  
Billing Info Tab  
Billing Status
  • Use the drop-down to click a billing status.
  • Default option
  • The system includes it in the unbilled balance and displays it on your next invoice.
No Charge
  • Items you are completing free of charge but want to display on the invoice. For example, Value: $200 Charge: $0.00.

When entering ‘No Charge’ Expenses, make sure the Account field is set to 6620: Nonreimbursable Client Costs.

  • Items you want to track for internal rather than billing reasons
  • Not listed on the invoice 
  • Check or uncheck the box.
  • Select from Critical, Low Priority, or Normal.
Notes Tab
  • Add any notes that you wish to. These are for internal use only. However, they will be included in CSV and Excel export.

Tax Tab

Taxable Unchecked
  • If this setting is unchecked, no tax will apply to this entry.

Documents Section

Add and manage documents associated with the expense.

Documents You can add, delete, download, and view documents or check document properties.

Existing Matter Expense

  • Clicking on Existing Matter Expense will take you to the Associate Existing Expense screen. The screen lists all your matter expenses.
  • If you wish to find specific matter expenses, you can use the filter on the right.
  • Check the box beside the matter expense(s) which you would like to associate with this transaction.
  • Click Associate Expense in the lower right corner.

Firm Expense

You can choose to add this transaction to you firm’s expenses. Complete the fields on the Add Firm Expense screen.

  • You can enter a part of the transaction or all of it.
  • Use the drop-down to choose the account to which you wish to add this firm expense.

Save Options

Save and New
  • Click Save and New to save the expense and enter another hard cost right away. Helpful for bulk entry.
  • Click Save to save the expense and return to the Matters screen.
  • In the lower left corner, check the Remember Payee box to add them to your Payees list, if desired.

Updated on October 5, 2022

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