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.
Quickly Access Your Matters on Your Home Page
Gain access to your recently viewed, starred and assigned matters, straight from your home page with Actionstep's updated matter view.
Sticky Document Sorting
Actionstep will now remember how you like to order documents inside a matter. Prefer to have the most recently modified document on top? Actionstep will make this your default across all matters and logins – no more changing the sort order every time you open the documents view.
All Matter Appointments are conveniently available to view. Matter Appointments makes it easy to see all appointments related to the matter by providing a dedicated view of the appointment list, accessed via a new calendar icon within the matter menu bar.
Selecting Matters Across Actionstep - More Intuitive Matters Lists
It's now easier to choose which matters you are tracking time and activity against in Actionstep. Matters that have been closed will no longer clutter up the matter Lookup by default. Additionally, we also now give immediate access to the matters you've most recently accessed – no need to go searching for the matters you are actively working on. This is especially useful when creating time entries.
Bulk Task Assignment - Easily Manage Multiple Tasks at Once
You can now select multiple tasks, and reassign them to another team member from any Task List view. For example, when you go on leave, you can bulk assign tasks to your colleague.
Early Access to New Features
Want to get Early Access to new Actionstep features before they become generally available? Watch the video below to learn how to turn on Early Access. Please note: Only users with Admin access have the ability to turn this on.
BundleDocs Integration Improvements - Matter Emails
Users of our BundleDocs integration will now have the option to be able to select emails within the generated bundles. This is a great way to be able to pull all the relevant documents and emails from a matter to share with a third party.
Improvements to General Journals
Disbursements can now be set to bank and credit cards to allow you to deal with transactions like bank fees and any adjustments that touch your bank account. To ensure that the appropriate details are captured against these transactions, you can also add a linked contact to the debit or credit that is set to your bank account or credit card.
Users will now find it easier to track expenses that you are waiting for your client to reimburse you for before you pay your vendor. This improvement adds four new functions:
- A new default disbursement/expense list view that will give details or all Vendor invoices that are unpaid where the expense has been billed onto the client and the client has paid
- New custom disbursement/expense list view options so that admins can incorporate more details about vendor invoice and bills their own list views
- A new message that appears anytime you process a client receipt to advise that a relevant vendor invoice can now be paid
- A new Vendor reference field on the disbursement/expense record for Express and Practice Pro users to make it easier for them to record vendor information on the record.
New filter options for the Aged Receivables report
Allowing users to filter out matters that appear in the report based on their status and adding in new summary options so that you can see your Aged Receivables summarized by your client or you matter.
Faster Firm Withdrawal processing
Ensuring line items in Withdrawals display expense accounts first when selecting what GL account to code the expense to will make the Withdrawal screen easier to use and faster for users to enter data into.
Allowing users with NetDocuments to be abled to access their NetDocuments using their Single Sign On rather than than their NetDocuments login details.
New filter options on the Aged Receivables report so that you can filter by matter status and have your AR summarised by your clients and/or matters
New skins for the Actionstep Mobile App
A new fresh look to the layout and functions of the Actionstep Mobile app.
Available for our US customers, Resight allows firms to request client feedback n the closure of cases in Actionstep and publish that feedback directly on review sights like Google, Facebook, Avvo and lawyer.com.
New Launchpad and Sign in screens
You might notice something different as you login to Actionstep. We have done a redesign of our login and Lauchpad screens.
Sign into Actionstep with Microsoft or Google
With the new look sin-up screen you will now be able to use your Microsoft Office or Google Account to be able to login to Actionstep.
January to April 2021
New email functionality
This email functionality was rolled out progressively to our entire user base over a four month period. The new features introduced were:
Send emails out of Actionstep using your own person email address
Users can now configure their own personal mailbox in Actionstep so that as they send emails they can be from their own personal address.
Configure multiple shared outbound mailboxes
While still supporting the same methods for getting emails into Actionstep, this allows a firm to be able to setup any number of shared mailboxes that staff can use to send emails out of Actionstep. These addresses can be used by any staff member to ensure that your communication is coming from the right people.
Admin's can disable MFA for individual users
Admins now have the ability to ensure users can still get into Actionstep if they lose their phone or access to their authentication option.
New permissions for can create time/fee entry and disbursements
Available on our Practice Pro+Accounting plan, admins can now setup users with no permission to create billable items if required.
New merge fields to help with quoting clients
We introduced new options you can use in your document and email templates to show the quoted amount, what the quote includes and any pre-agreed discounts that you enter onto your matter.
Updated the standard invoice template "Legal Invoice 2" to allow for personalised messages to be displayed in the clients bill.
Allowed webforms to be able to capture the county of a contact.
Allow the default disbursement/expense account to be set to an asset account.
New Document Assembly Tool to help creating document templates
Users can now install a Add-in from the Microsoft store to allow them to use a band new tool to make creating templates easier. The add-in creates a a panel where a user can see the most common information on their matter that they can insert into the template the are building. The tool allows a user to:
Merge data from your matter directly into a document template.
Preview templates based on matters in your system.
Publish & share your templates for your team to use.
Access & edit existing templates created by you & your team.
Further NetDocuments integration enhancements including:
Generating a document in Actionstep that saved to NetDocuments on a step change, from a contact or from a matters data collection.
Assigning a Document type to a generated document.
Assigning a default Document type to templates in Actionstep.
Update to the NetDocuments setup page in Actionstep.
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.