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Expenses tutorial

Video tutorial for your expenses.

PracticePanther Help Center avatar
Written by PracticePanther Help Center
Updated over a week ago

Please watch this video or follow the guides below:

Below you will find a start to finish tutorial covering everything you will need to know regarding expenses in PracticePanther. Jump to the topic of interest by clicking on a title in the index below.


Adding a new billable expense

To add a new billable expense, select 'Expense' under the '+New' tab.

Difference between hard costs and soft costs

Soft cost Expenses:

These include any expense that does not require a check, but you still may wish to be reimbursed for by your client.
Common examples of soft costs include (but are not limited to) court parking, mileage, postage, etc.

Hard cost Expenses: 

These include any expense that requires your firm to write a check on behalf of your client.
Common examples of hard costs include (but are not limited to) filing fees, paying a private investigator or paying an insurance adjuster.

To record a soft cost expense in PracticePanther, follow these simple steps:

1) Inside the matter you wish to add the expense, click into the "Expense" tab and click "New Expense".

2) Leave the type as "Soft Cost". Enter in the amount and description for this expense. Note: The description will appear in on the invoice for your client to see.

What happens now?

Soft Cost expenses will be logged within the "Expenses" tab, and appear in the "Billable" bubble if it was a billable expense and await to be invoiced.

To record a hard cost in PracticePanther, follow these simple steps:

1) Inside the matter you wish to add the expense, click into the "Expense" tab and click "New Expense".

2) Change the "Type" field from "Soft Cost" to "Hard Cost". Doing this will prompt "Payment Details" to appear below.

3) Fill out the "Date", "Amount" and "Description" fields as needed.
Note: The description field will appear on the invoice for your client to see.

4) Select your "Payment Method". Selecting "Check" will prompt the "Check Details" to appear below it. Fill out the "Payee" and "Check Number" as needed.
Note: If you plan to write a check for this expense, be sure to select "Yes" for the "To Print?" field.

What happens now?

Any time you save a hard cost expense, two things happen:

1) An expense is created and logged within the "Expenses" tab and the expense amount is added to the "Billable" bubble.

2) A payment is created and logged within the "Payments" tab, titled as an expense. The amount is also deducted from the "Paid" bubble.

Note: If you want to pay a hard cost expense by using the client's available trust directly, follow this guide.

Pay out expenses from the trust on behalf of the client and have them show on an invoice

To learn how to pay third parties directly out of your client's trust or operating accounts, follow these simple steps:

1) Open any contact or matter with an existing retainer, click the green "New" button and then, click "Payment".

2) Click "Take Money Out".

3) Fill in the details for the payment. Be sure to pick the correct bank account you wish this money to be withdrawn from. 

Note: Be sure to include the check number and what this payment was for in the "Notes" field so these will appear on your client's invoice as needed.

4) If you'd like to print a check for this payment from PracticePanther, make sure "To Print?" is marked "Yes".

5) Click Save.

6) To print a check for this payment, follow the steps in this article: How to write and print checks in PracticePanther.

Attaching a picture of a receipt from your phone

You can attach a receipt to your expense report, even from your phone! You can attach a receipt you've taken a picture of by selecting the 'Select File' button on the expense report.
Pro tip: You can even click 'Select File' and then take the picture with your phone.

Generating an invoice for billable expenses

On the top of the page, select 'Expenses' under the 'More' tab to bring you to your expenses list.

Select the 'Invoice' option under the expense name to bring you to the 'Generate Invoice' page.

On the 'Generate Invoice' page, choose the Matter(s) you want to create an invoice for and click 'Generate Invoice'.

Tracking mileage as an expense

Keeping track of mileage is as simple as creating a new expense for it. You can also create a custom expense category for it:

  1. Create a new Expense.

2. In the "Category" dropdown, select "New Category".

3. Type in "Mileage" and save it as a new category.

That's it!

Creating your own custom expense categories

You can create your own expense category by going to the 'New Expense' page and selecting the arrow next to the 'Category' box.

On the drop-down menu, select 'Manage Categories' and click the '+Add New Category' button. Fill out the long-form and alpha-numeric names for the category and click 'Save Changes'.
Pro Tip: You can also use this screen to delete categories you don't want.

Running reports on expenses by category or matter

You can view reports based on your expenses through the Reports page. One on the Reports page, you can select the 'Expenses' tab and then select whether you want to view expenses by Category, Client, Matter, or Over Time.

Sorting your expenses

You can easily sort your expenses by: description, date, account, matter, or status.

1) Simply click on the column header that you wish to sort your expense list by (e.g. click on the column header “Contact” to sort expenses by client).

2) Choose to view only "Not Billable", “Billable”, “Billed”, or “Paid” expenses by selecting the appropriate one from the drop down menu that reads, “Status”, or select "Any" to see all expenses.

3) Search expenses easily from the “Search Expenses” bar.

Exporting your expenses

Please see the steps below to export your entire expenses list, to Excel or PDF.

1) Click on "More", then "Expenses".

2) On the expenses page, customize the columns that get exported by clicking on "Choose Columns".

3) Click on the Excel or PDF icon. 


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