Trust Accounting Software for Lawyers: The Complete Guide

by Myrna Johns / March 28, 2024

Trust Accounting Software for Lawyers: The Complete Guide

In the legal profession, properly managing trust funds is not just a matter of financial management; it’s a matter of compliance and ethical responsibility. Yet many lawyers and firms still use outdated or inefficient accounting systems to manage trust accounts. If your firm falls into this category, we’re here to help. Modern trust accounting software for lawyers is designed to address the unique challenges and legal obligations associated with trust fund management, ensuring fewer billing errors and less time spent on accounting tasks.

Transitioning to a trust accounting software designed for lawyers is vital for efficient legal accounting. Traditional methods or general accounting software may not meet the specific needs of legal trust accounting, leading to potential compliance issues and inefficiencies. Legal trust accounting software enables lawyers to handle complex transactions with accuracy and speed, often eliminating the need for additional bookkeeping resources.

If you’re considering making the switch or are new to trust accounting software, this guide offers in-depth insights and valuable information to help you make an informed decision.

What Is Trust Accounting?

At its most basic, trust accounting is the bookkeeping of trust fund accounts. To protect legal clients’ best interests, the American Bar Association (ABA) and state bar associations maintain detailed guidelines and regulations about trust accounting. In addition, attorneys must follow state-mandated tax rules for managing trust accounts.

Among these rules is the ABA’s expectation that client funds and law firm operating funds should always be kept separate. It’s also important to remember that law firm earnings and trust accounts are subject to different tax rules.

This is one reason why it’s so vital to monitor the fiscal movements of a trust account closely and track transactions across various categories. Proactive organization also helps attorneys apply the proper tax application to every expense and receipt.

To provide accurate reports about the status of trust accounts to clients and the ABA, attorneys should also keep detailed records and notes about all transactions.

Read more: 6 Ways to Improve Your Firm’s Trust Accounting

The Basics: Trust Accounting Best Practices

Even with the best trust accounting software on our side, attorneys should remain in the habit of regularly reviewing their state’s trust accounting regulations to stay in compliance.

Maintain Accurate Records

When it comes to trust fund management, complete records and a reliable accounting process are crucial. The right trust accounting software will include built-in safeguards that prevent situations where necessary data isn’t readily accessible.

Keep trust accounting records separate from personal and business records, especially when you’re managing multiple trust funds at once. Listing trust funds on your law firm’s balance sheets is both confusing and unethical.

Enact Strong Security Measures

Trusts are often the target of fraud and other forms of theft because they usually hold large sums of money. It is your law firm’s responsibility to protect clients’ funds from hackers and identity thieves.

Adherence to Purpose

Every trust fund has a specific use in its rules. Trustees cannot withdraw money from it to cover other things. Typically, the purpose of legal clients’ trust funds is to cover the cost of legal services. Until those services are provided and the money is transferred to the law firm’s operating account, attorneys shouldn’t spend the money for any purpose.

Prioritize Transparency and Accessibility

Transparency is vital to successful trust accounting. Rigorous record keeping doesn’t mean that information should be buried away, hidden from view. Your trust accounting software should keep data readily accessible. Your firm should always be ready to provide each client access to their trust information.


Trust accounting can be an area of potential malpractice issues if you aren’t careful with your process. Many attorneys choose to structure payment plans to make as few transactions as possible to minimize the risk of mistakes and getting into hot water with the bar.

Finding time to meticulously track trust accounts can be a challenge for busy attorneys. Fortunately, trust accounting software designed specifically for law firms offers a powerful solution. As part of our comprehensive range of legal software solutions, Tabs3 provides trust accounting software to help with the management and maintenance of client funds.

Read more: Six Trust Accounting Best Practices for Lawyers

Tabs3: Your Versatile Trust Accounting Software Solution

Tabs3 Trust Accounting software helps you organize and streamline your work, increasing productivity, billable hours, and profits.

With accounting and management features consolidated on one screen, you won’t have to worry about juggling multiple software at once. Instead, your team will enjoy a versatile platform that streamlines processes throughout your whole firm.

With legal software products designed for the way you work, Tabs3 Trust Accounting will be one less distraction from doing what you do best: serving your clients! Tabs3 Software supports thousands of legal professionals in their efforts to improve their trust accounting process and shield their work against common compliance pitfalls.

Tabs3 Software Integration

Our trust accounting software works seamlessly with other Tabs3 applications to reduce the time attorneys spend on administrative tasks. When used alongside our billing, accounts payable, and general ledger software for maximum benefit, Tabs3 offers you the most informative overview possible of your law firm’s financials.

Tabs3 Trust Accounting is simple to use because it features an easy-to-navigate user interface. Integrated with Tabs3 Billing, you can view trust balances at a glance from various reports and the Matter Manager. For example, your trust balances can be included in the work-in-process reporting and on statements. You can review trust balances and transactions as needed from either application. With Tabs3Pay, you can also process client deposits via credit card.

Automation makes Tabs3 Software even more useful for trust accounting. Any payments made to or from a client trust account will automatically be recorded, improving the accuracy of your firm’s trust accounting records with minimal effort required.

Why Software Is Important for Trust Management

With the complex tax factors and transactions that happen within a trust, keeping track of everything can get complicated. Even an experienced attorney can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work involved.

While a legal professional may have the training and knowledge for the job, mistakes can happen easily when managing trust accounts for multiple clients. Even minor mistakes can have major ramifications when tax laws and industry regulations are violated, even unintentionally.

Dedicated software designed to assist with all trust-related tasks can increase your firm’s accuracy. Tabs3 Software can help you avoid inconsistencies that may impact your trust accounting. Compared to manually managing the trust accounting process, Tabs3 Trust Accounting software streamlines workflows and minimizes errors, saving your firm time and money.

Your firm can become fully liable for any issues with trust accounting, and accounting software reduces errors and protects you in the event that there’s a problem. Tabs3 records all transactions and keeps them organized, so you’ll always have easy access to them and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. The software warns you when an account goes below a minimum balance, and helps you easily reconcile your bank statements. In some states, multiple forms of proof that trust bank accounts are in balance may be required. Tabs3 Trust Accounting software provides this proof via the Three-Way Reconciliation Report.

Easily Manage Multiple Client Trust Accounts

With Tabs3 Trust Accounting, you’ll be able to process and track every transaction across multiple trusts with ease. With seamless integration between all Tabs3 Software applications, you can check ledgers while managing trust without the need to switch tabs. In addition, Tabs3 Trust Accounting complies with all major trust accounting regulations. Because our trust accounting is built specifically for law firms, you’ll have no trouble keeping complete and accessible records with Tabs3.

You can also customize your software to adhere to additional in-house security protocols. Tabs3 offers an extra layer of security, which protects funds from anyone intent on stealing from your clients. The software tracks all transactions within the trusts connected to it to keep you informed.

Additional features

Customizable Dashboard

Being able to find your way around your trust accounting software is critical. With Tabs3 Trust Accounting, you can access a comprehensive overview of your firm’s trust accounts and their standing at a glance. Navigating the home page to complete a transaction or start a reconciliation is intuitive and fast. With just a few clicks, review additional account summaries and other detailed transaction information.

You’ll also be able to view recent transactions within any individual client trust, as well as a combined list of transaction information. Pin your most used actions in the dashboard to customize your process, so you can print, check, and record data all in one place.

Positive Pay

Tabs3 Trust Accounting includes a Positive Pay Export program, which offers greater security in a more streamlined workflow. Directly export approved checks and upload them to your financial institution to support the Positive Pay fraud prevention program.

Streamline Your Trust Accounting with Tabs3

Experience the difference that Tabs3 Trust Accounting software can make for your firm! All Tabs3 Financials software, including Trust Accounting, General Ledger, and Accounts Payable, are available to access with Tabs3 Cloud and on-premises subscription plans. View our pricing plans for more information and find the solution that best fits your needs.

Schedule your free demo today.