10 thoughts on “Using Quicken 2011 for Trust Accounting

  1. Thank you very much for this article and instructions Beverly. It has saved me quite a few hours and many a furrowed brow.

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  3. Beverly, I am a lawyer in Birmingham, AL and I appreciate the information that you have shared about using Quicken for trust accounting. I wanted to follow up with you to inquire as to whether your firm used this trust accounting solution in conjunction with using Quicken to manage its own books and, if so, see if you have any advice. For the longest time, I was using excel and then I wanted to use quicken since I already had it for my personal finances but I am having some trouble setting things up. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Thank you for this information. As a new solo, I am also trying to use Quicken to manage my books as well as trust accounting, but am having difficulties setting up transfers and still getting proper reports. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  5. I am setting up QuickBooks for an attorney who has been using Quicken. I have set up the operating account, but the client (atty) wants to keep the IOLTA Client Trust on his Quicken and I want to get the BS from his 2012 1120S entered into QB. i do not want to recreate all the YTD transactions, but I thought I could have the balances for the 12/31/12 and the balance of IOLTA Clients accounts TYD at July 31 and enter August transactions. How can the CPA prepare the 1120S tax return when all is not in one file? IOLTA in Quicken and Operating in QB. I never had this happen before. ANY suggestions. I am about to suggest he contract another bookkeeper/accountant.

    • Hi Cathy,
      I can understand your frustration. Not sure why he wants to use QuickBooks for his operating account and Quicken for his Trust Account – seems like this would lead to extra work. For example, client has funds in a retainer account tracked in Quicken with disbursements and deposits recorded there on the client’s behalf. Separately, those transactions must be folded into QuickBooks so they appear on the actual client bill and get credited or debited from the client’s account receivable account. Whew!
      Regarding the year-to-date IOLTA client balances – do you mean you wish to take those balances from QuickBooks and start tracking them in Quicken? If so, I would enter them into Quicken as a deposit for each particular client and go forward from there. For example, Clients A, B, and C have July 31 trust balances of $200, $300, and $500 respectively. Enter an August 1 deposit for Client A in the amount of $200, a $300 deposit on August 1 for Client B, and a $500 deposit on August 1 for Client C. In Quicken, client trust funds are tracked and identified by using the “Class” feature – each client is a class and you enter the Class whenever you post a transaction – OR funds are “tagged.” The “Class” feature appears in older versions of Quicken; the tag list approach is used in newer versions of Quicken. If every transaction is tagged (or the proper class used) then Reports can be generated showing all client trust activity or a particular client’s trust activity. I would have to know which version of Quicken the lawyer is using. I can then send you the instructions for setting up a lawyer trust account in Quicken. Make sense?

  6. Beverly, thank you for such a complete and detailed set of instructions!
    I am a bookkeeper for an attorney that wants to migrate from Excel to QuickBooks and I’m trying to talk him into a simple Quicken conversion instead.
    Any up-to-date information on using Quicken for IOLTA and Law-Firm-Business accounting would be appreciated.

    • Hi Vince,
      I continue to believe Quicken is a straightforward, simple solution for trust accounting.

      It doesn’t require a sophisticated understanding of a complex program (QuickBooks); It is almost impossible to screw up (anyone can grasp setting up client matters in a tag list and tagging transactions); Best of all it is cheap.

      There are two bonafide reasons to get QuickBooks: you need it to do payroll and you’re willing to compromise to get an “okay” billing program. If the lawyer for whom you work does not need either of these functions, QuickBooks would be a waste of money.

      I am aware that many CPAs encourage clients to get QuickBooks because they know it. However, not many lawyers are also CPAs. 😉. What good does it do to buy software you don’t understand?

      I also hear the argument that Quicken cannot replicate true debit/credit double-entry bookkeeping. This is true, but how many lawyers (especially solos) pay attention to anything other than cash-based accounting?

      In many instances, Quicken is the better choice. I would far rather have a lawyer buy a simple, easy-to-use program I know they will stick with.

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