Paper-Based Systems

Traditional Bound Accounting Books

These are the books that can be purchased at any stationery or office supply store (Staples, Office Depot). They are inexpensive and generally easy to keep—provided that the initial journals and accounts have been set up properly in the first place (it is VERY useful to engage an accountant or bookkeeper to set the accounts up, and you would be well advised to spend a little time with the accountant or bookkeeper to understand how this system works and how to make proper postings if you are not going to engage a bookkeeper). Users must be diligent in making the entries.

Initial cost: Inexpensive

Benefits: Inexpensive and can be easy to use if familiar with its operation, suitable for low-volume practices

Drawbacks:

  • Requires knowledge of accounting
  • Rarely used these days
  • Difficult to reconcile (compared to a computerized system)
  • No benefit of ancillary systems (such as conflict checking, limitation systems, accounts receivable reminders, etc.) that a computerized product provides
  • No automatic production of management reports (cash flow statements, billings by lawyer per period, disbursements on a file, etc.)
  • No linkage to other office systems

"One-Write" Systems

These are accounting systems that have been designed by companies such as Safeguard™. They simplify the accounting process by providing a means whereby all entries are prepared simultaneously (by carbon or NCR paper). These systems ease the need to make double-entries by causing the entries to be made at the same time—hence the "one-write" system.

Initial cost: $500

Benefits: Reduces mistakes,easy to use

Drawbacks:

  • Requires some knowledge of accounting
  • Difficult to reconcile (compared to computerized system)
  • No benefit of ancillary systems (such as conflict checking, limitation systems, accounts receivable reminders, etc.) that a computerized product provides
  • No automatic production of management reports (cash flow statements, billings by lawyer per period, disbursements on a file, etc.)
  • No linkage to other office systems
  • Rarely used these days