Individual income tax return

Improving the Law Firm AR Cycle

Record of days sales outstanding (DSO) is one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for determining law firm liquidity. Reporting of DSO rates for a firm’s sales cycle assists in determining the time frame until outstanding client accounts are paid. By dividing the total of accounts receivables for a period by the total net credit sales, multiplied by the DSO, a firm can estimate its cash conversion cycle rate, signaling AR billing performance.

Accounts Receivables ➗ Total Net Credit Sales × Day Sales Outstanding (DSO) = Cash Conversion Cycle Rate

Why KPIs Boost Liquidity

With metric KPIs, a law firm has the insights it needs to improve collections efficiency, thus enhancing liquidity. Credit sales conversion rates and other transactions signaling a high DSO rate are a risk to finance that could otherwise be used for covering the operational expenses. Conversely, a firm can boost overall AR performance by decreasing DSO-related billing cycle risk. Capture your firm’s DSO to build a better financial model for the future.

Cash Flow Solution

Decrease billing cycle time to payment with direct API integration. Our application supports CLIO Lawpay and Xero GoCardless (ACH) transactions. Experience firmTRAK’s robust reporting KPIs and turn insights about firm billing cycle productivity into profit. Find out how to catalyze firm AR reporting performance with firmTRAK metric KPIs and reporting tools. Visit:

Law firm AR Concentration Ratio and Diversity Index

AR Concentration Ratio and Diversity Index Reporting A Boost For Firm Performance

Accounts Receivable Risk

Accounts receivable “risk” corresponding with outstanding accounts, can have a negative impact on a firm’s bottom line. When law firms seek solutions for mitigating accounts receivables risk, benchmark comparison of those assets with key performance indicators or “KPIs” are the answer. KPIs afford a deeper dive into AR records, giving insight into the quality of accounts, as well as the potential risk of accounts to profits over time.  

Concentration Ratio and Diversity Index KPIs

KPIs permit a firm to analyze individual accounts relative to the overall AR balance. A standard metric for evaluating AR risk, the concentration ratio is an aggregate comparison of outstanding account balances on invoices.  As the concentration ratio of accounts approaches 1, the risk on profits increases.  The fewer clients are billed, the greater the risk of losing profits if a client becomes unable to pay.  The inverse of concentration ratios is the diversity index. This number shows how many clients you would have after applying for risk. 

The Accounting Solution

firmTRAK accounting metric KPIs offer law firm clients the analytic expertise they require for estimating the value of their accounts receivable assets. Visit firmTRAK for more information about how your firm can benefit from metric KPIs: 


Billing Efficiency and the ‘Time-Value-Money ‘equation of law firm performance

Benchmark estimation of law firm caseload turnover profitability performance is impossible without expert metric reporting. If a firm’s overall operational performance can be measured by its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization or “EBITDA,” the cost of capital required to maintain its assets, the opportunity costs of work process activities correspondent to an attorney group’s billable hours measure the efficiency rate of estimated and actual accounts receivables on record.

The TVM of Law Firm Billing Cycle

A core principle of capital structure valuation, the accounting methodologies defined as time-value-money or “TVM” formulae, determine future earnings will be worth more than the present value of accounts. Based on financial planning and risk analysis of profitability factors, TVM equations are at the base of performance analysis, permitting a firm to understand the efficiency and value of its AR accounts. Work in process or “WIP” estimation of outstanding billing gives further insight into the daily performance of those accounts and their efficiency as operational assets.

How KPIs Enhance AR Efficiency and Firm Profitability

When efficiencies are gained, more time can be spent on billable client work (utilization rate). According to CLIO, an average firm’s utilization rate is ~31% or about 2.5/ 8 hours a day. firmTRAK application provides the efficiency measures a firm needs to determine their TVM.  This application is plug and play with a Practice Panther integration and a  CLIO integration and provides legal data trend forecasting reports out of the box. Gain per diem billable hours back continuously by actively utilizing firmTRAK by measuring where your law firm performs.

Law firms can maximize the highest and best use of each team member’s time with enhanced AR efficiency performance reporting. At firmTRAK, we advise clients on how to boost their firm’s profitability by increasing billable per diem hours based on KPIs. Our software application as a service subscription provides law firm clients improved tracking and control of trust accounting including customer billing, customer invoices, worked time, billed time, collected time, utilization rate, realization rate, and collection rate of those accounts.


The Top Helpful Hints for Boosting Law firm Profitability Performance

  • Prioritize TVM optimization of firm AR accounts and other revenue-enhancing activities.
  • Outsource law firm administrative functions to gain per diem billable hours back with continuous WIP analysis.
  • Calculate the opportunity costs of doing administration with Practice Panther and CLIO API integration.
  • Review types of work for efficiencies by team members (i.e., billable and non-billable time, filters by practice area).
  • Review productivity of team members corresponding with analytic reporting of benchmark KPIs.
  • Forecast firm financial performance for strategic planning of future firm profitability.

The Solution for Lam Firm Accounting

firmTRAK’s accounting solution provides law firm client’s the administrative support to maintain good data for the reporting KPIs they require to improve the bottom line. Our law firm reporting software was developed by a lawyer and a project manager working together to create a product that can meet the requirements of law firms for financial control and performance-based decisions.

Sourcing KPIs in Accounting Record for Better Firm Revenue Forecasting

Sourcing KPIs in Accounting Records For Better Firm Revenue

Accounting Data Lead Source for KPIs

Expert CPAs and financial controllers can turn financial analysis of accounting records into a viable data set for purposes of measuring firm performance alongside industry benchmark standards. Metric key performance indicators or “KPIs” are a priority for any law firm seeking to build capacity over time. For instance, analytic reporting of a firm’s cost of capital also estimates the length of time outstanding accounts are owed. Accounting is perhaps the single most important source used by law firms for capturing KPIs. With firmTRAK accounting software application as a service, consolidation of a law firm’s financial operations enhances the strategic planning process similar to big law firm competitors.

Avoiding “Garbage In, Garbage Out” Errors

Forecasting requires reliable historical data to determine the frequency and probability of performance by a firm by way of regression analysis, notably recognized as a “trend”. The same holds for the reporting of accounting data for use in strategic forecasting of a firm’s AR, revenues, and outstanding debts. The concept “garbage in, garbage out” then, is relevant for understanding the obstacles a firm may face when attempting to capture reliable KPIs.

Historic Accounting Record, Future Forecast

Moreover, accounting offers the best source for the forecasting scenario, as the fundamental calculus (i.e., algebra and statistics) required for financial analysis is at the base of profitability estimates and other key data parts of financial reporting. While profitability is obviously a key priority for any firm no matter the size, the budgeting, costing, and financial reporting analytics all part of the firm’s accounting record, provide robust insights about the process-related performance factors impacting a firm as well. firmTRAK permits a law firm to integrate accounting records, including invoices, trust ledgers, AR, bank reconciliations, and billing schedules.

Boost Law Firm Competitiveness

Law firm competitiveness can be put at risk by outstanding billing remittances. KPIs reflecting the activity of accounts receivables on the ledger, assists a firm in its evaluation of the solvency of its operations. Measured benchmark reporting provides an overview of a law firm’s financial control of outstanding billing collections. firmTRAK accounting metrics offer the option of accounting system integration and consolidation, with continuously up-to-date account reconciliation.


Key performance indicators are benchmark reporting solutions for the strategic financial control of competitive attorney practices and their billing and collection accounts on record. TRAK Law Firm Metrics by firmTRAK is a comprehensive analytics environment for billing and financial control of a firm. We offer law firm client subscribers PracticePanther integration with CLIO withaccounting software, Xero, and Quickbooks Online for optimal operations tracking. firmTRAK law firm metrics reflect consolidation of data relevant to the accounting for lawyers, accounting for law firms, and trust accounting analytics and reporting seen across the industry.

lawfirm kpi-legal-key-performance-indicator-min

WIP Turnover Signals Law Firm Profits


Law firm competitiveness is more than the efficacy of attorney representation. Optimization of accounts receivables on the ledger with measured benchmark reporting enhance law firm financial control that might otherwise be compromised by outstanding billing collections. When it comes to crunching numbers, firmTRAK Accounting offers attorney practices the law firm key performance indicators (KPIs) they require to enhance profitability.

WIP Turnover

Of the measured KPIs essential for the strategic financial management of law firms, WIP turnover is one of the most applied in the financial control process. WIP turnover is a benchmark estimate of a firm’s cost of capital correspondent to the number of days of outstanding accounts. A firm’s WIP turnover “inventory” is calculated by deducting any unbilled account contingencies or transactions to be paid on closing from the total account, divided by the number of days. The sum of those outstanding accounts is then divided by the average revenue generated per day to reach the WIP turnover.

firmTRAK Law Firm Metrics 

Law firm profitability begins with benchmark reporting. Our law firm metric solutions report WIP turnover and other financial analysis to accounting. With firmTRAK Accounting a practice can improve its financial outlook with metric reporting of outstanding billing and collections. firmTRAK Accounting law firm metrics provide firms the KPIs they require to compete more effectively in the marketplace.


PracticePanther Now Integrates with firmTRAK


Practice Panther Now Integrates with firmTRAK

firmTRAK set out on a mission to provide the best legal tech services for solo and growing law firms.  That mission hasn’t changed, but the platform and the approach has gone through many iterations.  firmTRAK started as a way for our founder Rich Marvel to stop wasting time running reports from multiple different data sources and combining them manually each month.  

The result is firmTRAK, an integrated legal key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard and law firm metric software combined with an accounting service focused in the legal industry.  This fusion of software to make business decisions and service to facilitate the day to day administrative functioning of the law firm, results in a big advantage for attorneys looking to grow their firm.  

Our software’s newest integration with PracticePanther has launched.  The same integrated dashboard with client and matter trends, new client and matter snapshots, and time and revenue data is live!

PracticePanther has the same access to all the other areas of focus in the application.  These areas include, clients, matters, financials, productivity, trust, AR, and matter tracker.

firmTRAK loves the PracticePanther system and we wanted to offer a robust law firm reporting package to its users.  Our selection of reports easily allows managing attorneys to set and track associate’s productivity. This approach of data driven decisions allows for a true understanding of the most profitable people and practice areas of your law firm to drive business performance over the long term.

Other law firm key performance indicator (KPI) solutions can cost six figures and completely disrupt the workflow of the law firm.  firmTRAK Software is plug and play with simplified pricing based on the number of users.

Visit our pricing page today to find out more or register for a free 30 day trial.


CLIO vs PracticePanter

CLIO vs PracticePanter – Comparing Legal Practice Management Software

First let’s take a look at their listed features on each website’s self-labeled most popular.  For PracticePanther this is the Business plan at $79 per user per month, billed annually (~$948).  For CLIO this is the Elite plan at $99 per user per month, billed annually (~$1,188).

Here are their listed features. Let’s pick out any differences.


PracticePanther CLIO
Case Management Case Management
Contact Management Contact Management
Clio Launcher
Firm Dashboard
Matter Budgets
Search, Option to Expand to Full Search Full Text Search
Claims 256-bit military grade encryption, and a two factor authentication option Industry-Leading Security, two factor authentication through Google Authenticator
Internal Chat
Real-Time Notifications Notification Bell
Custom Fields Custom Fields
eSignature e-Signature
SMS Alerts
Daily Agenda Email
Custom Security Roles User Permissions
Invoice Read Alerts
Document Templates Advanced Document Automation
Task & Event Workflows Advanced Document Automation
Automated Payment Reminders Automated Bill Reminders
Intake Forms Quick Document Automation
Recurring Payment Plans (must have Pantherpayments) Payment Plans (must have lawpay)
Batch Time Entries, Expenses & Billing Time & Expense Tracking
Calendar Rules Advanced Tasks; Court Calendaring Rules
Trust Account Ledger & Reconciliation
Multiple Bank Accounts Accounting
Check Printing QuickBooks Online
UTMBS Coding & LEDES Billing Advanced Billing
Flat Fee Reporting Hourly & Flat Fee Billing
Quickbooks Online & PantherPayments Clio Payments; QuickBooks Online
Dropbox,, & Mailchimp Sync Unlimited Document Storage
Email & Calendar Sync Legal Calendar; Google Suite Integration; Gmail Add-On; Microsoft 365 Business & Enterprise Integration; Outlook Add-In
Zapier & API Third-Party Integrations
Live Trainings On-demand Training; Tailored Live Training
Support 24/5 Support; Priority Technical Support
Data Migration Data Migrations
Website Integration Secure Client Portal
All-inOne App Mobile Apps for iPhone, iPad & Android Devices
Attorney Revenue Report; Custom Reporting Reporting; Advanced Reporting
Server Status Page shows similar uptime 99.9% Uptime Guarantee SLA

I have sorted and matched up the offerings by feature as best as possible.  Let’s first take a look at what PracticePanther has that CLIO doesn’t and try to determine if they are consequential or not.

PracticePanther Haves

  • Internal Chat
  • SMS Alerts
  • Daily Agenda Email
  • Invoice Read Alerts
  • Trust Account Ledger & Reconciliation

Internal chat is a nice feature, but most VOIP phone services and email services like GSuite and Microsoft have their own versions of chat that a firm is probably already paying for, if not using. By offering it within the program, PP provides organization to the chats that may not exist with a third party.

SMS and Daily Agenda Alerts I would put in the same category of notifications I receive, read, and then ignore.  More sources of push notifications generally can lead to having higher levels of noise and alerts to sort through without any clarity.

Invoice read alerts are a great feature and let you know when a client has viewed their outstanding balances. As far as I was able to find, CLIO does not have a version of this feature.

The last feature, Trust Account Ledger & Reconciliation, is a handy interface with a quickbooks account to perform some limited functions of the bank reconciliations within practice panther to create a 3-way trust reconciliation. This functionality requires an understanding of both the account software and Practice Panther. A knowledgeable book keeper can take advantage of these features.   CLIO does not interact with Quickbooks in this way at all but this feature I consider to be fairly sophisticated and your accountant must be comfortable in both systems to make full use of this feature.

Now let’s take a look at the CLIO Only Features.

  CLIO Haves

  • Clio Launcher
  • Firm Dashboard
  • Matter Budgets

CLIO launcher is a nice feature and allows you to edit documents within the system instead of having to download, edit, and replace. This functionality may be replicated with one of the 3rd party cloud storage and document SAAS that is compatible with PracticePanther.

The Firm Dashboard in CLIO does have some nice productivity features and graphs and allows you to see utilization, realization, and collection rates over time for the firm.  There is also a target billable hour metric for your own user login to keep track of daily, weekly, monthly, and annual billing targets.  There aren’t a large amount of features, but they can be very helpful. One thing to note here is, if matters are shared outside the firm with another clio user, their time will be registered under the wrong user.  This leads to some funky metrics where you have more billable hours than are actually possible and other distortions on the CLIO dashboards.  PracticePanther has some custom reporting options and the ability to run certain reports but their metrics aren’t packaged as nicely and require some setup.

Matter budgets are a useful feature.  This allows a matter to send out a notification when matter funds are expended past the threshold set in the system, including work in process. CLIO will notify whatever attorney or user is responsible for collecting more funds. This can be a powerful reminder to keep attorney fees covered by the advance fee deposits.

One big feature that isn’t mentioned in the feature list is CLIO has a standard field called “Practice Area” with a standard or recommended set of practice areas. PracticePanther handles this by using custom fields.  The result is, this type of data structure isn’t as widely adopted in PracticePanther.  Practice areas are a great way to view and prioritize what types of law are the most profitable for your practice.

Is there a free trial? PranticePanther has a free 30 day.  CLIO offers only a 7 day free trial.

Overall, the biggest differences between CLIO and PracticePanther comes down to price and user experience.  I wouldn’t label any feature from one or the other as a must have.  Both are great practice management tools.  However, some attorney’s love PracticePanther and hate CLIO and vice versa.  In my opinion, they have a lot of the same features.

One of the biggest areas I didn’t cover was customer service.  I have had very fine experiences with CLIO support and my experience with PracticePanther is too limited to form an opinion.

American Bar Association hosts firmTRAK

American Bar Association hosts firmTRAK

In Feb 2020, founder Rich Marvel was honored to present at the American Bar Association’s techshow.

The ABA Techshow is a rather large conference geared towards introducing those in the legal industry to various tech tools designed to help with all aspects of running a law firm. Past sponsors have included CLIO, PracticePanther, Price Waterhouse Cooper, PWC, Ruby Receptionists, Smokeball, and many others.

The ABA Techshow is held every year and lasts for five days.

More information about ABA techshow can be found here.

A link to the presentation can be found here.

Full transcript of the presentation is below.

I’m Rich Marvel. I’m the founder of firmTRAK. firmTRAK is an advanced analytics platform that provides real time data assessment of your existing law firm data.  

I created firmTRAK because I needed a quick assessment of my own law firm’s data. I needed a way that I could quickly assess my firm, and identify the areas that I could improve on, the areas I could build upon. It was important to me to have a platform that I didn’t have to buy new software. I didn’t have to train my staff because I know the gravity of change in law firms is very strong.  Especially with my team.

So how does it work? What we do is, we take your data sources, which would include QuickBooks, CLIO (which we love Jack *Newton*), and what we do is we combine it with user defined variables within our firmTRAK platform, basically transform our data into dynamic visualizations.

We call our homepage firmTRAK Visualize.  firmTRAK Visualize is a top level assessment of the movers within your law firm.  From here you can explore a variety of metrics.  We have over 150 and growing KPI’s that are presently operating. Those which include financial information, accounts receivable, basic information and we talk about employee utilization and some other aspects.  

Employee management is important for us because in law firms, I think that the most expensive resource we have is our staff.  So I think we want to quickly assess our top producers. 

Another personal issue that I have is the ability to personally identify those files that are sitting on the edge of my desk that need my attention. Those ones that I don’t like to work on. I want to be able to know when I go in for the day, which ones need my attention. There’s no task pending, there’s no appointments pending. These aren’t forgotten about. These are important and we need to follow up on these. 

You know, by enabling firmTRAK I was able to increase my own personal law firm productivity by about forty percent. And this it at the same time that the industry is telling us that we all need to make data driven decisions within our  law firms. And everyone of us, every lawyer, can implement data driven decisions by utilizing your existing systems combining it with firmTRAK so you can get better optics on your law firm. 

I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to seeing everyone at the techshow.

Thank you very much.


Understanding Your Metrics with firmTRAK’s Rich Marvel

Rich Marvel explains how data can pinpoint areas of success and weakness to help lawyers make better business choices.

This podcast from 3/26/20 is just as relevant then as it is today. Growing Law Firms have many challenges. Those challenges are related to managing due dates, legal activities, tasks and other process management at the data capture points in your system. Growing law firms also need a way to quickly review and make strategic decisions based on the metrics associated with that captured data.

firmTRAK is a total law firm KPI dashboard for small and growing law firms. There are over 50 KPIs including law firm productivity. It features a dual connection with CLIO integration and a Xero integration. More connections are in the works, including a PracticePanther integration.

See the full transcript and interview at the ABA techshow with firmTRAK founder Rich Marvel here.


Does Your Do-It-Yourself Accounting Have You On Course for An 18 Month Suspension?

Do-it-yourself bookkeeping is on the rise.  The promise of easy-to-use bookkeeping and time-saving sounds great, but often ends up not fully coming to fruition.  It becomes easy to miss some financial aspects since your expertise is law, not accounting or bookkeeping.  This issue has become so prevalent that, up to 60% of complaints against attorneys concern, either directly or indirectly, books and records violations.  The degree to which attorneys are punished varies, but in one case, “a solo practitioner was suspended for 18 months for a number of violations including the failure to safeguard client funds and maintain his law practice’s books and records as required by Rule 1.15.  He also violated Rule 8.4 by misrepresented the status of books and records.”1

The reality is that your bookkeeping must be fully comprehensive, absolutely consistent, and expertly competent.  There is too much at stake professionally and personally to fully trust your livelihood to a program or a bookkeeper who is part-time into bookkeeping and part-time into social media promotion.

Your law firm books are either current or not current, thorough or incomplete, reconciled, or in a wreck.  The great truism in accounting is that it is black or white.  Partial completion of your books is at best misguided and at its worst, misleading.  Incorporating all aspects of your firm from advance payments to trust account payments is necessary to have confidence that your books can withstand an audit.

Consistent bookkeeping is the habit that creates up-to-date, current, and accurate books.  The habitual practice of categorizing, inputting, reconciling, posting, and confirming is often the last “important” matter that receives our attention as business owners.  Implementing the time to learn and master the concepts and then aggregate all of the necessary records often takes more time than we expect.  Blocking more time from your schedule to then accurately update, maintain, and keep these records is often costly (in regard to your hourly cost) and just not practical.

The ability to do something well is generally regarded as a competency.  You went to law school, so it is reasonably assumed that you have a great deal of competency in regard to the practice of law.  The reality is that your competency doesn’t extend into the area of accounting and bookkeeping.   One in three small businesses, including law firms, hire a qualified bookkeeper and only 23% of all small businesses hire an accountant.  Competency is important because it takes no fewer than 40 credit hours of study to earn the opportunity to take the CPA exam.

The idea of competency goes both ways.  Some people hire a CPA and that’s a great first step to get your firm on track.

It’s only the first step.  If you have a CPA with no legal credentials, then you are only partially fulfilling the needs of your firm.  You need to get on the fast track to success and growth.

The reality is that you need a CPA firm who has competency in the field of law.  If not, you are only really getting a one-sided view of the bookkeeping and accounting that you need.  You truly need a firm that has an intricate familiarity and understanding of the practice of law and how that pertains to certain records and bookkeeping.  You need an accounting firm that is able to understand the many different practice management systems in use (Clio, PracticePanther, ActionStep, etc.).  You need an accounting firm that is able to understand and operate different bookkeeping programs (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.).

Three Simple Questions You Should Be Asking
If you currently are working with a bookkeeping and accounting firm, ask the following questions to see if their competencies match your needs:

Are you competent in the use of Clio, PracticePanther, or ActionStep?  To what degree have you used them?
Are you competent in the use of other bookkeeping software besides Quickbooks?  If so, which
Are you competent in compiling Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to show me how my firm can make changes to focus on growth?

Is There A Better Way?
If your current bookkeeper or accountant also seems to be a part-time social media influencer, then you may want to reconsider.  You need a firm whose sole focus is analyzing your firm through the lens of law, bookkeeping, and accounting 100% of the time.  In fact, firmTRAK is the only bookkeeping and accounting firm founded by lawyers and accountants.  We are uniquely able to help put your firm on the fast track to success and growth.

We realize that you went to law school to become a lawyer, not to reconcile accounts and billing information.  We work seamlessly with PracticePanther, Clio, Xero, Quickbooks, firmTRAK KPI Reporting, and ActionStep to automate your business services.

An Industry First
In addition to bookkeeping and accounting, firmTRAK provides an industry-first Key Performance Indicator cloud-based platform called firmTRAK Visualize.  This gives you the ability to harness your practice management data to unlock the true potential of your law firm with instant, ready-made key performance indicator (KPI) reporting.  This will allow your firm to base decisions on accurate, real-time business reporting and easily maximize your strengths and make corrections in areas that need improvement.  You’ll be able to easily see your financial and practice trends with firmTRAK Visualize.

Maximize Your Time and Your Money
Instead of just looking at your firm through the lens of accounting and bookkeeping, we have a unique ability to analyze your needs through the additional lens of practicing attorneys.  Using firmTRAK will allow you to completely transform your law firm’s finances and performance starting at $499 per month for small firms.  firmTRAK is an automated accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, and reporting solution built to streamline your business and unlock your growth.

We’d love to prove our value to you with a quick 15 minute phone call.  Please fill out our questionnaire here (hyperlink will be inserted here) and we will call you to set up a time.  In this case 15 minutes could truly save you more than just money.  We can help save your firm time, money, and get you back peace of mind and a focus on what you went to law school to do – help people.

Upcoming Series
Three way trust reconciliation – we know that you didn’t go to law school to become a banker or money manager, but the fact is that if you agree to hold money in trust, you take on a non-delegable, personal fiduciary responsibility to account for the funds as long as they remain in your possession.  The legal and ethical obligation to account for those funds is yours alone, regardless of your lack of financial knowledge or how busy your practice is.  Failure to live up to this duty can result in personal monetary liability, fee disputes, loss of clients, and public discipline.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a system to help take this off your hands with guaranteed compliance?  firmTRAK is your solution to this state-mandated responsibility.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming three-part series on trust reconciliation.


1“BOOKS AND RECORDS VIOLATIONS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE LAW FIRMS.” Books and Records Violations Continue to Plague Law Firms, 2016,