This article explains how to use Trust Retainers with Actionstep Payments.
Entering a retainers details
Firstly, enable trust retainers settings in the matter by going to your matter > Billing (calculator) and scrolling down to Retainers (making sure to choose Trust from the dropdown).
If you would like to request an initial retainer amount (i.e. request funds to be paid to the trust retainer before starting work) enter an amount in the initial retainer amount box above and hit save.
Once this has been saved the amount will be added to the payment screen that your client views.
To be able to process a payment for the retainer in the office, click on Create online payment on any billing screen.
To be able to send a prompt to your client to be able to pay the retainer online, we recommend that you have an email template created for requesting it from them.
If this has been set in your system, compose a new email and from the template drop-down, select your retainer request template.
Processing a trust receipt once a trust retainer payment is made
When your customer makes an online payment you will receive an email notification.
The email notification will be made in real-time when the payment from your customer is made. However there will be NO automatic trust deposit created. The trust deposit must be created manually once the funds have been received into the trust account.
Once any trust deposit has been made towards the initial trust retainer amount - the amount will lock and cannot be edited.
In the example, above my customers paid $900 of my retainer request for $1,000 I click on the create online button again Actionstep will automatically request the $100 remaining of the initial amount requested.
Minimum trust retainer amounts and Top-ups
You can set up a minimum balance on your trust retainer which means that your customer must always have a minimum amount in their trust retainer account for you to proceed with their matter.
A Top-up trigger amount is also used to outline when you would like to request a top-up.
If your minimum balance is set to $1,000 and your top-up trigger amount is $,1000 - if the balance in the general retainer falls to $999 your customer will be sent a request for $1. It is best practice to set the top-up amount to be an amount less than the minimum balance that means you will not stop work but it will be annoying for your customer to receive minimal top-up requests. We would suggest a top-up amount of $900 in the above example.
For more information on how accounting transactions for trust payments work, please go to the following link: Understanding the accounting transaction created by payments to your trust account
My customer has paid their trust retainer amount however they refreshed the screen and it is showing as owing?
Unfortunately because of the timing difference between when your customer has paid ANY FUNDS into their trust account or retainer using Actionstep payments the trust payment will not appear in Actionstep until the funds have been received in the bank and the deposit manually processed by your Company. Therefore the Actionstep payments link will still show the amount as owing.
My customer has received a top-up request in relation to a retainer however they had already made a trust payment using Actionstep payments.
Make sure to check the timing of your customer payments versus when you have processed any invoices. Remember if your customer has made a trust deposit using Actionstep payments it may take 3-4 days for that transaction to appear in your bank account statement and be entered into Actionstep during that time the system will not acknowledge that payment and may request further trust funds if you invoice in that timeframe and have a top-up enabled.
I have received my initial retainer requested from my customer and started work. Further work is required how do I request another retainer?
Currently, you only have the ability to request one initial retainer amount. To request a subsequent amount - enter a minimum balance and set the top-up trigger to $0. Select Create online and send request to your customer. Once you have sent the payment request make sure to remember to come back to the matter billing settings and turn the replenishment retainer off. This will ensure your customer will not receive any further requests in the future.