Time is money. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the business of practicing law. Our next developer in the Intuit Developer Spotlight series is LeanLaw, with an app that streamlines timekeeping, billing and reporting through automation and data syncing. Gary Allen, Founder & CEO of LeanLaw, shares how his company got started and how it has blossomed by integrating seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and with support from the team at Intuit Developer.
Out with the Old, In with the New
In the 30 years Gary spent practicing law, he found the timekeeping/billing/reporting tools available to lawyers to be poorly made, and became frustrated with the inefficient, high-overhead business model used in most law firms. He wanted to help attorneys get better at their operations so they could focus on the work they love – lawyering – rather than accounting. So he formed a management team with Jonathon Fishman (Founder & CSO) and Fred Willerup (Founder & CTO), and together they began to tackle modernizing the time-tracking-to-invoicing workflow for small law firms, and LeanLaw was born.
LeanLaw is a legal timekeeping/billing/reporting app exclusively integrated with QuickBooks Online. They’ve reimagined the legal billing workflow and built it the right way: a lawyer enters their time once and from there, the data automatically gets pushed to invoicing and then to QuickBooks Online.
But LeanLaw isn’t only for lawyers; it’s also for their accountants. Data is always in sync, which means no more need for two sets of books. It also means the manual work for accounting pros has become obsolete and they now have more access to data regarding law firm profitability. Gary explains, “We wanted to create a timekeeping and billing solution for law firms that was not just great for lawyers but also would be great for accounting professionals. ”
LeanLaw provides the perfect professional marriage between lawyers and accountants: The lawyer gets to work with LeanLaw’s clean user-interface, using only the necessary features, while the accounting professional works in QuickBooks Online with robust features that ensure money is well managed. QuickBooks and LeanLaw are always in sync; thus, so are the attorney and their accounting team.
QuickBooks Online: Essential to LeanLaw’s Success
So how did QuickBooks Online help in LeanLaw’s development? According to Gary, “We took a true ‘cloud ecosystem’ approach to our integration as opposed to a syncing approach. That means that the user isn’t explicitly syncing, but we are continuously sending and receiving information from the API. We use Webhooks and CDC requests to get real time updates to the user. So for example, when a transaction is updated in a trust account in QuickBooks, the new balance is immediately available to the LeanLaw users because the balance isn’t stored in LeanLaw: it’s requested from QuickBooks dynamically. This approach gives us one source of truth for the data – QuickBooks Online.”
Professional Advice: Worth Its Weight in Gold
Gary says that though the technical platform of QuickBooks Online has been paramount to LeanLaw’s success, they have found access to the QuickBooks accountant community to be just as important. QuickBooks ProAdvisors work with LeanLaw to get the concept of QuickBooks + LeanLaw out to the legal community.
“Our best strategy has been to create trusted and meaningful relationships with the ProAdvisors,” says Gary. “Treat them as your customers, include them in your development process. Make them your advocates. They bring credibility, decrease on-boarding costs, and make your product better.”
A great way to kick start-these relationships is to go to QuickBooks Connect, a multi-day conference connecting thousands of QuickBooks users from different businesses around the world. “QuickBooks Connect has introduced us to ProAdvisors and other app developers with whom we now collaborate,” says Gary. “Our connection to Intuit has always propelled our business forward.”
The Intuit Developer Advantage
So what do users have to say, on the QuickBooks Apps Store page for LeanLaw? Check out just a few of the all-5-star reviews (39 total!):
“I’m both a QuickBooks Online Pro and LeanLaw Accounting Pro that specializes in providing Attorneys business consulting. LeanLaw provides a matter centric design that is critical for Attorneys to manage their Trust management, invoicing and reporting. The two-way integration is super and eliminates the need to switch back and forth between programs looking for information.”
Team Work Makes the Dream Work
But as Gary explains, LeanLaw advocates a “law stack” approach to law firm software, where clients use all the best apps in the QBO platform for their firm. The following apps are examples of this “law stack”:
- LeanLaw for timekeeping/billing/reporting
- Collbox for debt collections
- Invoice Sherpa or Chaser for accounts receivable management
- Hubdoc, Expensify or Bill.com for receipt tracking and expense management
- QuickBooks GoPayment to expedite invoice delivery and payments
With apps added on, QuickBooks Online becomes a finely-tuned machine for law firms — or any particular niche.
Intuit Developer is privileged to have LeanLaw in its app development community, and we look forward to helping lawyers and accountants alike for many years to enjoy the QuickBooks Online + LeanLaw partnership.
Are you a developer interested in joining the Intuit Developer community? Check out our Intuit Developer Blog and read through some of our previous blogs in the Intuit Developer Spotlight series, such as Intuit Developer Spotlight: Greenback and Inuit Developer Spotlight: AutoEntry. As LeanLaw has shown, collaboration is a huge part of making an app successful. Read Why Developers Should Be Active on Forums to learn more. If you’re a developer using QuickBooks Online, you might be interested to read how QuickBooks Online plans are changing this month. And as always, Contact Us if we can help!