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Getting Started: Firm Settings

Introduction

Before you begin using CosmoLex on a daily basis, the administrator(s) of your CosmoLex account should first ensure your account is properly set up for use.

We recommend first reviewing our Firm Setup Guide which will walk you through initial steps in setting up your account including adding timekeepers, matter owners and enabling integrations. 

This article will specifically outline the Firm Settings area within CosmoLex which applies to all of the firms’ users.

If you do not have access to this area, or wish to review the ‘My Settings’ area (user-defined settings) click here.

Accessing Setup

To access the setup area,  click on ‘Setup’ in the main navigation menu. 

Based on user permissions, you may have limited access within the setup area

Firm Settings

Here is a list of the common firm-wide settings that you’ll want to review before getting started with CosmoLex.

Wherever you see you can hover for on-screen descriptions.

Financial

Billing Settings

Keep in mind that settings suggested here are meant to act as defaults but can be changed as you are recording actions throughout the system. Think of these settings as “most common” scenarios.

  • Apply Rate – Here you have the option to change what your rate is based on, the task or the Time Keeper. Most leave this on TimeKeeper.
  • Rate Level – Which rate level would you like to default when creating your matter. Most leave this on Default Level.
  • Billing Method – Here you select your most common method of billing.
  • Billing Cycle – Most offices Bill monthly, but you can change this setting accordingly.

Misc. Settings

  • Min Timer Unit – As a default, your entered time will round to the nearest 6th minute (10ths of an hour). Change this number for a different increment, or enter “1” to bill actual time.
  • Invoice is due NET – This defaults to 30 days. If your policy is different, select the number of days preferred. If you want your invoices to state “Due Upon Receipt” enter “0” here.
  • Check Print Offset – (For Check Printing Only) To accommodate various printers, we provide an offset setting. If when printing your checks, the text is too high, increase this number. If the text is printing too low, decrease this number. Value must stay between 0 and .5.
  • Overhead Charges – You can apply overhead charges to both Time, or Expense Cards.
  • Currency – We do have clients in other countries, so we offer the Pound, Yen, Euro, and Ruble.

Tax Settings

  • Default Matter Tax Status – Default tax methods for new matters. Taxable matters time & expense cards defaults to taxable status. You have the option of making this taxable, Out of State, or nontaxable.
  • Enable an Additional Tax Rate – Enable this only if your jurisdiction requires two separate taxes.(ex. one for federal and one for state/province).
  • Sales Tax – For taxable matters, this tax rate would be applied to matter cost(expense cards, overhead). If you are a Canadian law firm, with your province already selected under regional settings, your HST/PST/GST should already be populated.
  • Service Tax – For taxable matters, this tax rate would be applied to your service fee(time cards).  If you are a Canadian law firm, with your province already selected under regional settings, your HST/PST/GST should already be populated.
  • Tax ID – You can enter a tax ID if necessary.

Collected Fee Income Allocation

  • Originating Attorney’s Default Fee Allocation – Default value of collected fee allocation for matter producer (s).
  • Responsible Attorney’s Default Fee Allocation – Default value of collected fee allocation for the responsible attorney.
  • Timekeeper’s Default Fee Allocation – Default value of collected fee allocation for Timekeeper(s).
  • Include Non-billable Timecards value of Fixed/Contingency Fee matters in Collection by Timekeeper & Income Allocation Reports – Click this box if you track time (non-billable though) on Fixed Fee and Contingency matters and wish to allocate collected fees to billers.

Finance Charge Settings

  • Calculate Finance Charges – Enables computation of finance charges based on an overdue balance when an invoice is generated.
  • Annual Interest Rate – Where you set the finance charge percentage.
  • Finance Charge Type – Choices are Simple Interest (if you don’t want to calculate past finance charges into new ones) or Compound Interest (if you do wish to calculate past finance charges into new ones).
  • Grace Period – Set time after Invoice Date creation until finance charges begin to calculate.
  • Threshold Finance Charge – The lowest amount of a calculated charge would be applied to an invoice to avoid small finance charges.

Click Save when completed

Regional

This is only required for Canadian law firms

Canada Specific Accounting Settings

  • Enable Canada specific account rules – Select his option if you would like to apply Canada Specific Accounting Settings. You will be asked to select a province.

Firm Preferences

Before you get started with Firm Preferences, make sure to Set Up Your Bank Accounts under the Accounting Tab

  • Default Operating Bank – If you have just one Operating bank or one that you use most often you can set this here. It will automatically fill in the BANK field in transactions.
  • Default Trust Bank – If you have just one Trust bank or one that you use most often you can set this here. It will automatically fill in the BANK field in trust transactions.
  • Default Timekeeper – If there is only one timekeeper in your office or one which is used most often, select that name here. This will populate the TIMEKEEPER field on time cards.
  • Default Matter Owner – If there is only one designated matter owner, you can select them here. This name will populate when setting up your matter.
  • Use Client Name – This option is referring to how your client’s names get displayed in your client list. By default “Original Name” is First, Last and “Display Name” is Last, First. You can view these under Edit Client in the Client tab.
  • Print Client Name – This option is referring to how your client’s names are printed on invoices and checks. By default “Original Name” is First, Last and “Display Name” is Last, First. You can view these under Edit Client in the Client tab.
  • Invoice Card Inclusion Date – When generating an invoice, there are “from” and “to” dates. If you tend to include all time up until today, change this setting accordingly. Enable class based tracking for non-matter transactions.
  • Enable class-based tracking for non-matter transactions – Class tracking allows generation of income statement and balance sheet to be produced by various profit centers as established by classes defined by the firm.
  • Enable class-based tracking for matter related transactions – Matter transactions classes can be derived from its matter owner or timekeeper. Turn this option on if you wish to use a more granular class assignments.
  • Time Display Format – Controls time format on printed invoices (e.g. 01:30 or 1.5hrs).

Check Settings

  • Default Check Print – Our program defaults to “Computer Checks” which means you print your checks from our program. If you prefer to write checks by hand, change this to “Manual Checks”.
  • Default Check Style – We have two options in our program: Check & two stubs, or three checks.
  • Checks: Print Additional Info (Operating) – We have choices as to what additional information you want to be printed on your checks.
  • Checks: Print Additional Info (Trust) – We have choices as to what additional information you want to be printed on your trust checks.
  • Checks: Print Sub-Account: Location – Controls sub-account number location printing on the check. Only applicable if you select “Separate Sub Accounts” when entering your bank.
  • Checks: Print Memo 2 on Stub 2 –  Exactly as it says, you have the option for your internal memo (Memo2) to print on the second stub (the one for your records).

Trust Settings

  • Trust Retainer Debit Payable To – Default Payee when trust funds are used to pay invoices.
  • Future Dated Transaction Warning – If turned on, the program will alert when creating a future dated transactions.
  • Show Warning when Expenses Don’t Include Tax – Set to Yes if you wish to track sales & goods taxes paid on office expenses. This setting will then warn if there is no allocation to tax when entering expenses.
  • Allow Opening Retainer Transactions – If you practice in an area that does not allow for Operating Retainers, you can shut off that function in the software here.
  • Make Transaction Memo as required field – Memo note is used to explain the purpose of transaction.
  • Show Paid Tax Inputs for Business Transactions – This will show Paid Tax inputs in the transaction screen.

Default Document App

  • Select the Document Storage Provider you would like to link with Cosmolex as a default. Note that you must first have an account set up with one of these providers before linking it to CosmoLex.

Auto Numbering

  • Auto generate Client Id (Custom) – Select the format for auto-generating your client IDs.
  • Auto generate Matter File Number (Custom) – Select the format for auto-generating your matter file numbers.

Firm Branding

  • Add your firm’s logo – This will be used for the client portal.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • Turn on or off for your firm. Learn more here.

Email Forwarding

  • Turn on email forwarding option for your firm. This will give you the forwarding email address you’ll need to set up email integration.
  • You can forward copies of your email from your existing email address into CosmoLex. To learn more about this tool, click here

Client Portal

  • Turn on/off and select the items you’d like to allow your firm to share.
  • Send daily digest emails to all CosmoLex users – Digest emails designed to provide a summary of important information such as upcoming meetings, overdue tasks, daily activities etc. Individual user can turn off digest email preference under “My Settings”.
  • Show Legal Research – Select whether you want to see the Legal Research tab as part of your navigation menu.
  • Learn more about the Client Portal
  • Add a Client Portal Login button to your Firm’s Website

Click Save when completed

Accounting

This area is for your bookkeeper to review. Further instructions for your legal accounting setup can be found here.

Chart Of Account Defaults

  • Default Accounts for Client Costs Posted to Matters – Select the default account for your matter costs. You can overwrite this choice for individual matters in the Add/ Edit Matter screens. Check “Fixed Account” Box if you wish to prevent users from choosing other accounts while posting operating expenses to matters.
  • Default Legal Fee Income Chart Of Account – Select the default account for your legal fee income.
  • Default Trust Transaction Account – Select the default account for trust account transactions.

Account Books Settings

  • Reporting Method – Select the tax reporting basis you would like to have setup for your firm. You have the option of choosing cash basis or accrual.
  • 1st Month of Fiscal Year – Notate the starting month of your fiscal year.
  • 1st Month of Income Tax Year – Notate the starting month of your income tax year.
  • Dates through which books are closed – Specify book closing date to prevent accidental edits in closed duration.

Vendor Tax Account

  • In this option, you can enable vendor charged tax Sales Tax account. This will be turned on automatically once you enable Canada specific account rules under Setup > Regional Settings > Canada Specific Account Settings.

Default Accounts for Sales and Tax Services

  • In this option, there are two options to set up the default chart of accounts associated with sales and services taxes: Firm Collected Sales Tax, Firm Collected Sales Tax 2 and Firm Paid Sales Tax, Firm Paid Sales Tax 2. If you are a Canadian law firm, with your province already selected under regional settings, your HST/PST/GST should already be populated.

eBilling 

Only turn on eBilling if your firm requires the use of LEDES Codes Billing. eBilling does not refer to the ability to email invoices.

What is eBilling?

Invoice Settings

Choose Invoice Formats to be used

Invoice Print Settings

  • Print Client Transactions – Here you choose if you would like your client’s transactions to be displayed at the bottom of the invoice. You can display, Operating, Trust or Both.
  • Include Cover Page – Here you can choose to include a cover page with every invoice.
  • Header Height – If you are customizing your invoice header you can adjust this spacing accordingly. Increase this value will heighten the header, decreasing this value will shorten the header
  • Print Country – When applied, it will show the country on the billing address for your invoices.
  • Print Credit Card Payment Link In Invoices – Enables a link to Law Pay on your invoices for clients that receive invoices via email.
  • Task/Description – Although the task is required on your time cards, you may not want to print both task and description on your invoice. Here you can select to print one, the other or both.
  • Footer Height – If you are customizing your invoice footer you can adjust this spacing accordingly. Increase this value will heighten the footer, decreasing this value will shorten the footer.
  • Print Full State/Province Name – When applied, it will show the full state or province name on the billing addresses for your invoices.
  • Print Invoice Page Number – Enables page numbers on your invoices.

Invoice Email Settings

  • Here you can change the settings for email invoices.

Click Save when completed

Email Templates

Edit the content of email templates used for emailing invoices, invoice reminders to pay, retainer replenishment requests, and online retainer payment requests.

  • Click on edit next to each template you’d like to change. Make sure not to make changes to items inside of [brackets]. Click save before you close the email template.

Click Save when completed

Firm Information

This information will be printed on invoice headers and various system reports.

  • Ensure this information appears as you would want it to appear on an invoice or reports.
  • The “Bookkeeper” is used as the signature line at the bottom of our cover page template.

Click Save when completed

Updated on December 12, 2019

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