Actionstep PRO+Accounting version supports working with Actionstep Accounting or integrating to Xero 


This document will give you some pros and cons with using either Actionstep accounting or Xero Accounting


Within WorkClouds 300+ client based about 40% use Xero with Actionstep and the rest use Actionstep Accounting, the primary driver of using Xero can be summarised by two points 1/Law firm already has Xero or 2/ Accountant/Bookkeeper prefers Xero and does not want use/learn another system. 


WorkCloud recommendation is if you have Xero already you should stay with Xero. If you don't have Xero then you should consider the pro's and con's and make an informed choice if you want to stay with Actionstep accounting to use Xero Integration.




Using Xero with Actionstep



Bank Feeds

A widely loved feature of Xero can cause issues with Actionstep. This is because the integration with Xero is ONE WAY. This means that any transaction that is marked as paid by using Bank feeds will not flow back to Actionstep.


Our recommendation is that you only use Bank feeds on non Matter related transactions and manually transact an invoice payment in Acionstep which will the post the payment transaction to Xero. The Payment transaction can be matched to the Bank Feeds.


If this approach is not taken it causes the bill in Actionstep to be orphaned which also generates an error in Actionstep if the user attempts to apply for the payment in Actionstep to the invoice to one that is already marked as paid In Xero.


General Ledger Mapping is required between Actionstep and Xero

This is generally set once on initial setup and generally does not need to be changed. 

However, if General Ledger account code changes happen then the mapping will need to refreshed and re-mapped. Not a major issue, but one to be aware of.


One way Sync form Actionstep to Xero

The golden rule is if its matter related you transact manually in Actionstep which will then flow through to Xero. If its not matter related then you need to transact that transaction in Xero only.


With Xero integration, Actionstep is now just a billing system and not an Accounting system

When Xero integration is turned on no accounting feature is used by the user and all accounting functions are done in Xero. 


The golden rule, if matter related you use Actionstep, if Not matter related you use Xero.


Bank Withdrawal Disbursements

If you are using Xero and incure bank transactions that are needing to be on charged as a disbursement to your client then you will need to manually enter those into Actionstep., These transactions will not be linked to the transaction in Xero and are two separate transactions, the one in Xero is the withdrawal  expense and the one manually entered into Actionstep is the recovery of that expense (income side)


Integrations between software companies.

Whilst integrations with Xero are generally reliable they can fail and have done in the past due to issues with Xero or Actionstep. 

We recommend you make your own assessment of the reliability of by reviewing the software companies status pages for historical references to integration failures. 


Whist its technically possible for failure, its very rare and often resolved quite quickly by the respective software companies but its worthwhile understanding that adding integration does expose the possibility that the integration may break at some point. 


Xero Marketplace

You have full access to the Xero marketplace that may provide more business value to your Accounting processes which are beyond 'Practice management'. Actionstep does have a market place but does not have any of the Accounting add one like the Xero market place.


Invoices are created as invoices in Xero

Actionstep, unlike other systems, creates an actual invoice in Xero. However, this is not an itemised invoice its the total amount per ledger. Noting that the invoice in Xero is purely for accounting sales recording not for storing the intemisation which is stored on the bill on the matter in Actionstep.


The benefit here is that you can run an account payable report either in Actionstep or Xero and they technically should balance and be the same.


Send invoice from Xero to your client

Some Law firms want to send invoices from Xero, whilst we encourage sending the bill from the matter in Actionstep and not from Xero, you can manually download the bill from Actionstep and the upload (drag and drop) to Xero and then send the invoice from Xero. We find this is an extra handling step that you may not want to do.


No client email address sent to Xero

When the invoice is sent to Xero Actoinstep sadly does not send the Clients invoice to Xero. 


This means that if you choose to use debt collection features of Xero you will need to add in the client invoice into Xero manually before commencing those processes.


Supplier invoices In Actionstep

You can choose to send Supplier invoices recorded in Actionstep to Xero or not. this way you can use the supplier invoice feature of Actionstep to have a more granular recording of supplier invoices that you are on charging as disbursement thus leaving other non-matter related supplier invoices to be recorded directly into Xero.


Cash and Accrual methods

Actionstep in Xero integration mode must be set as Accrual, this tells Actionstep to immediately push transactions to Xero. If you are CASH method in Xero Xero will the mange it accordingly. Actionstep being Accrual is only to do with the technical operation behind the scenes to force Acgtionstep to send the transactions immediately as they hit the ledger and nothin to do with reporting in cash or accrual in Xero.


Trust Transaction to Xero

With Actionstep Pro+Accounting, You choose to send or not send Trust Transactions across to Xero. Often clients don't want to see the trust bank account and its transactions as an Asset and livability on the balance sheet. You can choose with Actionstep Pro+


Xero has a BAS link to ATO

Actionstep does not support direct connection to submit your BAS online to the ATO. 


Using Actionstep Accounting only



All in one system

Using Actionstep accounting means that all your data is in one system.


Cloud-Based

Actionstep is cloud-based just like Xero so is accessible from any device you have internet


Free login for my Accountant

You are entitled one Actionstep licence for your external accountant. 


Payment Gateways (Pay now on your invoice)

Actionstep does not support a 'pay now' button in your invoice in the Australian Market. 


However, you can look at adding on Quick Fee which is a payment gateway that our team can assist in adding into your invoices so you do achieve a 'Pay now' feature. - Please contact your WorkCloud consultant to find out more information on Quick Fee.


Xero has a BAS link to ATO

Actionstep does not support direct connection to submit your BAS online to the ATO. You have to compute your BAS in Actionstep or externally if you prefer using Actionstep Accounting reports then manually report via the ATO portal. 

Actionstep does have a BAS calculator as part of the accounting system. But does not have a direct online connection.


Multi Division

Actionstep supports multiple divisional accounting systems. This means you can run two or more sets of books in ACtionstep but this does not work with Xero Integration. You can only have a single division. So if you want to use more than one set of books with Actionstep you will need to choose Actionstep Accounting only.


Multi-Currency

Actionstep supports the ability to raise bills in more than one currency.  This feature is now supported with the Xero Integration which allows you to transact any Accounts payable or Accounts receivable transaction in a 2nd currency which will push through to Xero.


No Payroll in Actionstep

Actionstep does not support payroll, so if you choose to use Actionstep Accounting then you will continue to do this in Xero or another payroll System for your payroll needs.


Then you will journal your payroll transactions (PAYG, Super, Workcover etc) to the appropriate ledgers. This can be done very quickly by using withdrawal templates


Write-offs in Actionstep

The write off feature in Actionstep does not work with Xero integration as Xero does not understand Write-offs. You will need to use the 'Credit note' feature in ACtionstep that creates a negative invoice that Xero can understand. Whilst this achieves the same reduction in value on the invoice, it does limit your reporting capabilities on write-offs that the Actionstep write of the report provides.


Actionstep has BAS features

Actionstep does have a BAS calculator as part of the accounting system. But does not have a direct online connection.


Some clients also compute BAS manually from running reports in Actionstep then manually report via the ATO portal. 


Accounting Reporting in Actionstep 

Actionstep has a full range of standard accounting reports such as a Profit and Loss, Balance sheet, Trial Balance, aged payables, and aged receivables etc.


Actionstep Accounting linked to the Matters

You can link any bank transaction to a matter. This is very handy to breakdown ledger transactions to a lower reporting level 


Also, this functionality is helpful for capturing bank transactions as a disbursement by simply linking the bank transaction to the matter.


For Example  - you have incurred a credit card or bank transaction to pay for Flights to meet your client. You will need to record this as a bank transaction in Actionstep Accounting for reconciliation but also record as a disbursement to charge your client on their next bill.  With Actionstep Accounting you simply link the 'withdrawal' transaction to the matter at the time of entering the transaction and Actionstep will create the disbursement on the matter automatically for you..


You can, of course, choose to link a bank transaction to a matter but not bill you client for this, this means that you can do a Profit and loss on that matter if you want to. This is often used to track expenses on a matter such as Client events where the accounting transactions for the monies spent for that event are linked to the event (as a non-billable matter) whilst being coded to a marketing/event ledger code on the Profit and Loss Statement.


Actionstep custom General Ledger

Actionstep supports the customisation of General Ledger per division and full suite of accounting reports per division.