Nota Combines Free Trust Accounting Software and Law Firm Banking
April 29, 2021
Today's TechnoLawyer Buyer's Guide report covers free cloud-based software that combines IOLTA account management and banking services specifically for the needs of solo practices and small law firms.
Nota by M&T Combines Free Cloud-Based Trust Accounting Software and Law Firm Banking Services
Solo and small firm attorneys typically manage IOLTA accounts using manual processes or legal billing software. Manual data entry leaves room for human error while legal billing products either do not connect with bank accounts or connect via unseen third-party middleware. Now, there's a new option that offers the convenience of automation without the risk or human error or third-party connections.
Nota in One Sentence
Created by M&T Bank, one the 20 largest banks in the United States, Nota provides free cloud-based IOLTA account management and banking services specifically for the needs of solo practices and small law firms.
The Killer Feature
Nota directly connects to your firm's trust account and offers one-click reconciliation reporting. The report pulls transaction data from virtual client sub-accounts to show the adjusted trust balance, client ledger balance, and any outstanding checks. Everything balances down to the penny.
"Nota is transforming the way lawyers manage their trust accounts," says Paul Garibian, President of Nota. "At Nota, we've reimagined this process to make it more intuitive, so attorneys spend less time managing their trust accounts and more time practicing law."
Blaisdell Law founding partner Matthew Blaisdell agrees. "I've really been enjoying how easy Nota is. I don't have to move from one software product to another. Everything's there so I can move funds without creating any stress around accounting."
Nota connects directly to your firm's trust account and generates a reconciliation report with one click.
Other Notable Features
M&T Bank invested in the design and user experience of Nota by working directly with solo and small firm lawyers. Nota integrates with QuickBooks Online and LawPay, and a Clio integration is in the works.
The Nota dashboard displays the IOLTA account balance, client ledger balance, and untagged transactions. You can think of these transactions as your trust accounting to-do list. Nota suggests the client and matter to which each transaction belongs. You finalize this tagging process by accepting the suggestion or assigning a different matter. Because Nota connects directly to M&T Bank, transactions appear instantly and may precede the addition of a new client. You can easily add new clients and matters on the fly when tagging these transactions.
From the dashboard, you can also access each client matter and view all the transactions related to that particular matter. You can describe each transaction by adding a brief note — court fees, retainer payment, settlement payment, etc. The Client Matter Activity Report lists these annotated transactions as well as the starting and ending balance for any time period, enabling you to generate statements for clients. Nota lets you archive cases when they close to hide them from view. Nota retains archived client accounts, including the corresponding bank transactions, for seven years.
Nota has built-in controls to prevent the commingling of client funds. You can pay bills using online eCheck (ACH) transfers from the trust account to your firm's operating account or by printing checks. With either payment method, Nota forces you to select a corresponding client and will only allow the transaction if funds exist for that particular matter.
Nota organizes all transactions by matter and can generate a Client Matter Activity Report for any time period.
What Else Should You Know?
Nota offers virtual account openings so you need not visit a branch. If you open both an operating checking account and trust account, you get the software and all banking services such as ACH transfers and checks at no charge. With just a trust account, Nota charges standard rates for the banking services but still provides the software for free.
Take a Closer Look at Nota
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. Many consider TechnoLawyer newsletters the only ones they need. A Fastcase 50 award winner, Neil has a long track record of inventing successful advertising and publishing technologies and related best practices. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. At UCLA, Neil served as a Managing Editor of UCLA Law Review.
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