advice you can use — short and to the point — every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 technology  research  practice

A Practice Tip

  • Practice

♬ I’m a Gnu
I’m a Gnu
The g-nicest work of g-nature in the zoo
I’m a Gnu
How do you do
You really ought to k-now w-ho’s w-ho’s…♬

Lyrics and Music by Michael Flanders & Donald Swann, recorded by Flanders & Swann (on YouTube).

GnuCash

GnuCash

These days the legal world seems to be all aflutter about “The Cloud” and cloud computing offerings. While the legal accounting offerings in the cloud appear to be inexpensive, (the cheapest starts at about $50 per user per month), that’s still $600 a year. For those just starting out in practice, especially those who are trying to pay off student loans, that is real cash they simply may not have.

Fortunately there are G’new alternatives centered around Open Source Software. The GNU license allows users to download and use the software, and most of the time it’s free. Wikipedia reports that open source software has resulted in savings of $60 billion dollars a year to consumers.

In other words, while cheap is good, free is better!  Do not believe that open source software is somehow second-class. At the 2011 ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago, Rodney Dowell and Dennis Kennedy will demonstrate “The Open Source Powered Law Firm!

Since this Tip is about law firm finance, our tip is GnuCash – a free and open source accounting solution for lawyers (and other individuals and businesses). GnuCash is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.  The GnuCash Help Manual is online and a great resource on how to get started with GnuCash, and PracticeLaw.org lists multiple resources including: “Keeping Trust Accounts with GnuCash 2.4.4.” (They also have resources for keeping trust accounts with QuickBooks).

The GnuCash software, together with these resources, should present a great alternative for lawyers looking for a solid accounting system at low cost.

After all when you are just starting out (or looking for an alternative to your existing accounting system) a few good and g’new ideas are really what you are looking for…

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