Actionstep aims to eliminate law firm administrivia and simplify how you work, so you always have the headspace and time to serve your clients well. We hope you'll find the updates below useful in achieving those goals.
The updates below include new features, enhancements to existing features, and any significant issue resolutions.
Search on the Admin screen
There is a lot that can be configured on the Actionstep Admin page. Now, to help users find the setting they are after, they can use the search to find the appropriate setting.
Option to choose to not send trust transactions through to Xero
When on an Actionstep Express or Practice Pro system, the integration with Xero would push through all transactions, including trust transactions. Now, you can choose to have your bills and payment transactions pushed through to Xero but not your trust transactions.
- Enabled contact fields that allow the contacts recorded in the system to be compliant with CLASS formats.
- Minor improvements to the Outlook add-in like seeing the step a matter is on and being able to see search results as you type.
- Filters on list views will now show a count number of how many filters are being applied. This should help people understand when a filter is applied.
Gender Options Creator
Recognising that there are more genders in today's world than male and female, you can now have other options for your contacts. We have found that different jurisdictions and reporting bodies have different accepted values so we are allowing an admin user to create the different genders that your users can select from.
Improvements to Actionstep's NetDocuments Integration
We have made some improvements to our integration with NetDocuments to make it a more seamless experience between the two systems. This includes:
- Sending the mater type through to NetDocuments when creating a workspace so that you can customize your workspaces based on the type of matter.
- Update the name of the workspace in NetDocuments when you change the name of the matter or the client in Actionstep.
- Introduced an option to hide Actionstep's document management screen when NetDocuments is enabled for a system.
- Send the close date through to NetDocuments when a matter is closed in Actionstep.
Anti-Money Laundering fields on contact records
You can now set an Actionstep Practice Pro or Practice Pro+Accounting system to have a new set of fields on a contact record. These fields allow you to monitor how you are evaluating your contacts to comply with Anit-Money Laundering regulations.
We have also added a badge that appears beside each contact so that you can track if you have or are in the process of checking a contact for anti-money-laundering risk.
Mandatory Multi-Factor Authentication for some users
Actionstep introduced mandatory Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for users who are connected to an Actionstep system that is integrated with Xero, or Australian and New Zealand users who have access to accounting in Actionstep. While making these users access more secure, this change also complies with tax office regulations.
Prevent/allow a matter from being closed with unbilled disbursements
We have added new criteria to control when a user can close a matter. Matter types can be set so that you can choose to stop matters of that type from being able to be closed with
unbilled time still on the matter
- unbilled disbursements still on the matter
- open or draft invoices on the matter
or any combination of the three.
Seeing who assigned you a task
We made some change to Tasks and how they appear on the alert bar. You can now see the details of who assigned you a task or if the task was created automatically as part of a step-change. As well as being able to see it on the task, we also made some changes to the tasks that appear on the alert bar so that you can see who assigned them to you, which matter they are for and explained these details with tooltips.
- Opening appointments from the alert bar open as a dialogue. Now, when you navigate to the bottom of the Actionstep screen to your appointments and open an appointment, you are no longer navigated to your calendar. You can see your appointment and update it without losing your current place in Actionstep.
- New merge field option to show the invoice number that a scheduled fee is linked to. When you choose to charge a fixed fee on a matter, Actionstep lets you break down those fees into a schedule. You can now reference all the details of scheduled payments in your documents and emails.
- Open your matter from within Outlook. There is now a handy, one-click option to open your matter straight from your Outlook add-in for 365.
- A new merge field option so that you can reference any detail of a contact that is loaded as matter data within your email and document templates.
- New column on users list view to show if they have enabled 2 Factor Authentication
- Slight upgrades to the edit contact screen (like placing the save button onscreen at all times)
- An update to the importer tool that is used to migrate data and documents from other systems so that imports can be done faster.
Outlook Add-in: Allowing users to assign tasks to others
Allowing for better collaboration within the office, a user can now create a task for any matter or any user from the Outlook add-in for Mircosoft 365. Now, when an email results in follow up work a user can create and assign it to any other user.
Outlook Add-in: Create file notes, time records, contacts and tasks before you assign an email
Creating a new item in Actionstep can now be triggered without having to assign an email first. With this change, regardless of what email you are looking at you can create a new item related to any matter.
Outlook Add-in: Rename an attachment as you save it to a matter
Accurately storing your documents is easier as you can save any incoming document in your inbox to the folders you want on the matter and can rename it as you do so.
Outlook Add-in: Suggestions on Compose screen
Now when you go to compose an email in Outlook, Actionstep's Outlook add-in for Microsoft 365 will suggest matters that the email can be associated to based on the contacts in the To, CC and BCC on your email.
Outlook Add-in: Bulk assign from sent items
You can now use the bulk assign option in Actionstep's Outlook add-in for Microsoft 365 to be able to search your sent items in Outlook and assign as many emails as you want at once.
- New release process for rolling out updates and fixes to ensure minimal disruption to users.
- Allow users to restrict certain steps on a matter so that a user cannot bill the matter at that step.
- A new option on merge fields that will display any detail from a contact that you load to matter data allowing you to reference contacts in new ways.
- Displaying sort orders numbers on Participant type custom data so that a user who is able to set the order of participant fields easily. Also added the same function for custom data that is displayed when configuring a step change.
Actionstep Outlook Add-in for Office 365
Manage Your Practice From Outlook & Get Control of Your Inbox
Actionstep has released the most comprehensive Outlook add-in for Office 365 available for law firms. This new Add-in gives firms using Office 365 a broad suite of practice management functions right in their inbox.
This add-in reduces the productivity loss of constantly moving between programs and improves the quality of the data in Actionstep - because real time updates are more complete, timely and accurate. The add-in can be accessed from anywhere, on any device.
Stay in Outlook while you:
- Get control of our inbox - assign emails, attachments and email threads to matters – clearly see what's been filed
- Manage contacts - Create new contacts & edit existing contacts
- Manage matters - Keep matter files updated in real time with relevant documents, file activity & notes
- Stay on top of matter tasks - review, update & create tasks
- Keep track of time – Create & assign billable time to matters
- Client communications - Automatically keep clients informed of matter developments
So you'll get control of your inbox, streamline administrative processes and eliminate data entry duplication.
Displaying matter details on an appointment hover tool
We have updated the information that is displayed when you hover your cursor over an appointment in the Actionstep calendar view. Now you will see the matter number and name if the appointment is linked to a matter, making it easier for you to identify appointments when your day or week is crowded.
New menu for Emails
We have replaced the Email menu's in Actionstep with a new "Comms" menu instead. We are making this small change in preparation for adding new ways that you can record communications with your customers. The change will affect the email at the top of the screen and the icon on your matter.
Better Deposit slips for all
We have pushed our improved deposit slips out to all users. The new function makes creating deposit slips more intuitive and faster for the user. Have a read on the details here: Deposit Slips.
Regionally hosted email services
We have expanded the number of servers we have worldwide that emails are sent from. If you are using our servers for your emails, they will be sent from a server in the same location as where your Actionstep data is hosted.
- VAT e-filing returns now standard for all. All UK users will now have the ability to be able to file their VAT returns electronically without having to opt-into this option.
- Accessibility compliant search and select contact widget. An update to the function that lets you search for and select a contact to add to a matter means that those with accessibility issues will be able to use this function.
Instant support chat
We have introduced a new way for you to reach out to us. Use the green button in the bottom right of Actionstep to chat with a member of our support team from anywhere in Actionstep. Take a second to say hello and get the answer to your burning questions.
Banking screen update
A feature we have had under preview for a while now is standard for all users. The Banking screen gives a graphical representation of your bank accounts and allows you new ways to navigate to items related to banking. See Banking for more details.
New reports view available for all
We have revamped how you search for and open reports. Now available to all, this has been a popular option previously accessible through our feature flag option and some of you might have been using this already.
The new screen is displayed whenever you go to access a report from the Reports menu. It will break the reports down into categories and allow you to easily favourite certain reports, filter by report type or easily search reports for the one you are after.
We have allowed users to be able to create and access old versions of the documents saved to matters. See Document Versioning for all the details.
Added sort order numbers to listed items in the Matter Types screen
You can now hover over any item such as the steps on a workflow or the matter data fields to see the sort order of those items. Available on the Matter Type screens, under Admin, the feature makes it faster for you to identify how items are sorted so you can re-order them easily.
- New options for consolidated bills and divisions from the daily data extract custom reporting tool to give further reporting options.
- Added a delete button to customized bill templates to remove any you no longer require.
- Updated Credit Notes to allow for any rounding issues with sales tax on partially paid invoices.
New Admin screen
We introduced a new Admin screen for all users to simplify how an admin user can configure and customize their Actionstep. This was a major overhaul to make the admin section a much easier to use and understand place.
Improved ways to build Matter Types
Along with the new Admin screen, we have rebuilt how you configure your Matter Types within Actionstep. With a new layout, clearer interactions and useful information as you make your changes.
Available for all users with Actionstep Accounting, you can create a refund for any overpayment or outstanding credit note that your client has given you. Client Refunds.
QuickBooks Online Integration for All
Users are now able to link any system that was using Actionstep Accounting with their QuickBooks Online subscription. The QuickBooks Integration was available to new users, now it is available to all existing users on Actionstep Accounting.
Every user can now sign up to Actionstep on a monthly or annual basis. Annual Subscription FAQ
Default Additional Notes
- Access to a list view of the tasks that are created in a step change to allow admin users to be able to see more details about all their tasks at once.
- You can now collaborate and edit any Office document online through your Office 365 account. We have moved this off an option opt-in feature flag and made it available to all. Opening a Document In Microsoft Office Online.
Customizable Monthly Insight Emails Using Heads Up Rules
Heads Up Rules have been one of the best-kept secrets in Actionstep for years now. With this release, they are now able to be set on a monthly basis unlocking the ability to be used for monthly reporting on your business. By creating a custom list view, filtering it to the information required, then setting up a Heads Up rule on just about any detail you want from your system. Read up on how to create Heads Up rules here.
The Matter Balances report
Our newest billing report, the Matter Balances report is designed to let you know how your business was looking at any given point in time, broken don by each matter. The report will show you the amounts owing and the WIP for each matter at the nominated date and will break down how those amounts are made up. And to give full context, we will display trust and retainer balances for each matter at that date as well. You will find the Matter Balances report under Reports > Billing Reports.
We have introduced a new integration which will allow us to give users tours of the product. You will see these popping up in various places in the system, especially with new features to help you understand how to use the Actionstep function.
Update to the Time and Fee Entry Report
The TIme and Fee Entry report helps you understand what users are spending their time on. This report was designed to help track the billable time or fees you record and gain insight into them. The change we have introduced it to include non-billable time in the report so you can get a fuller picture of what users are recording time doing.
Displaying deceased contacts clearer
You can now see on a contact record clearly if the contact has been marked as deceased.
- A new option to add to your invoice templates to show the name of the rate for time records that you record.
- Displaying a draft bills invoice number on the PDF of that bill.
- Added more billing options to our Express and Practice Pro products.
A 'Billing and Trust Accounting Only' option for Express and Practice Pro
For any new Express or Practice Pro system. You can still integrate with market-leading accounting software QuickBooks Online or Xero but you can now choose to not use an accounting integration. This frees up the user to use billing and trust accounting without being locked into an accounting package.
Using Actionstep's built-in General Ledger accounting is still available on our Practice Pro + Accounting plan.
New options for drop-down menus
We have changed the way that the single select dropdowns can be configured so you can now enforce users to select a value when required with the bonus of letting you customise the call-to-action prompt on the dropdown.
Criminal & Family Law for Express users (NZ and AUS only)
New Actionstep Express customers in Australia will have Family Law workflows standard when they sign up. Customized to suit the needs of any Family Lawyer including document templates.
New Actionstep Express customers in New Zealand will have purpose-built workflows for Criminal Defence work built into the system with customized processes, tasks, views documents, fields and matter types.
Lots of performance improvements
Dozens of little changes have been made to make Actionstep more stable and faster for all users. Especially in labor-intensive tasks.
New information available through The Custom External Reporting Tool
The custom external reporting tool gives users the option to be able to run BI tools on your Actionstep data to build your own business-specific custom reports. The data available through the tool now includes: related matters, the bill behaviour of time records, draft invoices and system users.
New time reporting functionality
We have added a new option to our custom ‘Time Entry List View’ so that you can now list the time and date that a time entry was created. When this data is compared to the user-entered time and date, it provides insight into instances where staff are backdating time.
- We fixed an issue where deleted payments were displaying on the payments portion of bills
- Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man have been added to the countries in drop-down lists
- For our Express and Practice Pro users, we fixed an issue where connecting to Xero would cause the company contact name to change.
Office 365 document editing
Actionstep's new online Office integration allows users to access Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files stored in Actionstep within the browser. This is for users of Office 365.
For more information on this integration Read more here.
Making Tax Digital - File your VAT returns from within Actionstep
For our UK customers, Actionstep is now integrated with the HMRC so you can now file your VAT returns digitally via the Actionstep accounting module. Read more here.
This feature is available on feature preview.
QuickBooks Online integration
Users can control their trust accounting and billing within Actionstep and push through all accounting information associated with those transactions in real-time to QuickBooks.
The QuickBooks Online integration is available through our Actionstep Express and Practice Pro plans for new users and we are currently working on making this integration available for our Practice Pro + Accounting customers.
Actionstep Express & Pro Simplified Admin menu
Actionstep Express & Pro brings a new simplified Admin menu to the user experience. Gone is the cumbersome admin menu, replaced with an easy to use and navigate screen. We have re-organised the admin options to logical groups and improved the in-system help to ensure that you know what you are doing when looking at the settings in front of you. We are currently working on making this integration available for our Practice Pro + Accounting customers so watch this space!
Time Entry List Views
Actionstep’s time entries list views allow our users to build clear and helpful reporting around time entered in their system. Whether you’re building reports to export or managing your time our new time entry list views have what you need.
Our EA platform upgrade was an all-around overhaul of Actionstep. This included changes to our interface, handy new tools, and increased navigation speed, just to name a few. Updates like this keep Actionstep looking good and running well.
Foreign Exchange Billing
Improved foreign exchange allows you to process payments and track accounts in multiple currencies. Actionstep will use preset conversion rates to calculate the financial reporting using your "base currency." We also have a number of reports designed to update you on how much gain or loss is realized once your currencies have been converted.
Our improved LEDES (Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard) allows firms to bill use LEDES formatting and coding to facilitate the electronic data invoicing of their clients.
Consolidated billing allows users to combine fee and expense entries from multiple Actionstep matters into a single bill. This allows firms to track multiple cases or matters for a single customer without having to issue multiple invoices.
Phone Call Tracker
Actionstep users can now track phone calls in the communications menu of their matters.
New Gmail Plugin
Gmail users can associate emails directly from their Gmail webmail portal. They can also launch Actionstep directly from Gmail to do things like add file notes, associate participants, and edit tasks.
Law Toolbox Integration
Actionstep’s integration with LawToolBox allows users to access LawToolbox’s database of court deadlines and import those deadlines into their matters and calendars. Never miss a deadline with this powerful integration.
Time Matters Converter
Actionstep’s optimized Time Matters convertor allows users to bring in years of time matters cases and contacts in a few easy steps. Where once it was incredibly difficult to move your data out of Time Matters, Actionstep makes it easy.
The new Actionstep matter converter allows users to convert an existing matter from one matter type to another. This allows users to take matters through multiple matter types and optimize their workflow and reporting capabilities.
Our new banking upgrade allows users to see a full transaction list for each bank account as well as a graphical representation of their bank account balances.
External Custom Reporting
Actionstep's improved custom reporting feature allows firms to export certain key data points into an SQL format. This file refreshes every 24 hours, allowing for up-to-date external reporting on the data that's most important to you.
New and Improved Mobile App
The new Actionstep mobile app allows users to track time, search matters, and enter file notes, and access appointments. Access the functionality you need on the go to populate your Actionstep database.