Let’s face it- most lawyers aren’t really that interested in the way Actionstep and LEAP integrate with Xero. As long as their trust account is all taken care of, they are not really worried about how the information is transferred to their Practice Accounts- that’s for the bookkeeper to worry about!
That’s fine if the firm has a strong Legal Bookkeeper but if not then the Practice Manager or Principal should understand the integration to ensure they are producing accurate management and BAS reports.
The way both LEAP and Actionstep “talks” to Xero is quite different and both have their advantages and disadvantages as outlined below:
Nature of Integration
LEAP- You need to select your method of integration based on your GST registration of either cash or accrual. You can also integrate on a “Hybrid” basis which allows you to run management reports on an accrual basis while still lodging your BAS on a cash basis. Changing between the accounting basis is problematic and requires the engagement of LEAP Consultant.
The integration works using General Journals which creates a messy ledger which can make reconciliations difficult if it gets out of balance. The hybrid integration actually creates a separate GST code that does not get picked up on the BAS reports until the invoice is paid where it reverses the original transaction and re-posts the journal with the correct GST codes.
Actionstep- The invoices and payments for both sales and purchases are replicated in Xero so there is no need for journals. This creates a much cleaner integration and allows you to run cash or accrual management or BAS reports at any time.
Xero has a brilliant bank feed function, however it can sometimes be too clever for its own good. As the invoices have been exported from Actionstep to Xero, when Xero picks up a receipt for the same amount as an outstanding invoice it tries to match it automatically to the outstanding invoice in Xero. If this is matched in the Xero bank rec before it is entered in Actionstep it will not allow you to enter the receipt in Actionstep as it will think that invoice has already been paid. This can be difficult to identify for inexperienced Xero users.
LEAP- Credit notes export to Xero as a journal. This works quite seamlessly although their is an ongoing issue with the GST coding on credit notes so the journal needs to be manually adjusted either prior to export or in Xero.
Actionstep- Credit notes in Actionstep are applied to invoices via a payment of $0 so that the credit note can be matched up to the correct invoice. Xero can’t handle a $0 payment so it creates credit note and a payment for the value of the credit note. The payment needs to be deleted via “remove & redo” and the credit note need to be applied against the invoice in Xero.
Winner- both problematic but the LEAP solution is probably easier to handle in Xero
Debtors and Creditors Reports
LEAP- all debtors and creditors reports need to be rune from LEAP as they are only sent ot Xero in journals
Actionstep- all debtors and creditors reports can be run from either Actionstep or Xero
Both LEAP and Actionstep work on a one-way integration, meaning that any changes to Debtors or Income in Xero will not flow back to the Practice Management system. This means that your Legal bookkeeper should have a high level of accounting knowledge to ensure the integrity of the 2 systems.
Overall Winner– you would have to say that Actionstep has the more comprehensive and versatile integration but you need to have a better understanding of Xero if things go pear-shaped.