Activity Categories

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Activities are billable and non-billable events that form a bill. They are split into time entries and expense entries. Expenses are further broken down into hard costs and soft costs. Additionally, firms using LEDES billing can enable UTBMS codes for time and expense entries. LEDES is the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard. It’s more commonly used in practice areas that involve third party corporations or clearinghouses, like insurance companies to essentially ensure consistency across invoices. 

Activity categories are the labeled groups or drop-down options to label time and expenses using a consistent description and rate across the firm. All firm users can create activity categories in Clio at any time. You can also set permissions for activity categories if you want to restrict which firm users can use certain categories.

Note: There is no limit to the number of activity categories that you can create; however, too many activity categories can impact performance. Additionally, you cannot set a currency for activity categories.

Create time entry categories

Time entry categories are templates for events that a firm user spends time on and charges for. Some examples include court appearance, call with a client, case review, and document preparation.

  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click New category.
  3. Under Category type, select Time entry category.
  4. Name your activity category. You can use the name to easily identify the category in a list. The name will also show in a bill.
  5. Choose the Billing method. The time entry will default to this method when this category is selected.
    Tip: Flat rate categories will override all other rates, and custom rates will override user default, matter, and contact rates. Learn more about billing methods and rate hierarchy in this article.
  6. Under Permission groups, search for permission groups and users specific to your firm. Only these groups and people will have access to this activity category. If you do not enter any group or name, all firm members will be able to use the activity category.
  7. Click Save category.
Note: You can create a “no charge” time entry category by setting the Billing method to Flat rate and setting the Rate to $0.00.

 

Create an expense category

Expense categories are templates for reimbursable expenses a firm has for a particular case. Some examples include court filing fees, medical records, photocopies, and postage costs.

  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click New category.
  3. Under Category type, select Expense category.
    Tip: If you select the UTBMS expense category, you can add an expense category for specific UTBMS codes. UTBMS stands for a uniform task-based management system, which is used to standardize categories across a firm to make for more efficient analysis and billing. Learn more about enabling and using UTBMS codes in activities in this article.
  4. If enabled, under Expense type, select Hard cost or Soft cost.
    Tip: Hard costs are expenses that you would pay for on behalf of your client, such as court filing fees. Soft costs are expenses that are not directly attributable to third party vendors, such as photocopy expenses. Learn more about enabling hard and soft cost expenses in this article.
  5. Name your activity category. You can use the name to easily identify the category in a list. The name will also show in a bill.
  6. Enter the rate for the expense category.
  7. Under Permission groups, search for permission groups and users specific to your firm. Only these groups and users will have access to this activity category. If you do not enter any group or name, all firm users will be able to use the activity category.
  8. Click Save category.

 

Set default time entry category

Note: If you select a flat rate category as your default time entry category, the category will override other billing rates. Learn more about the billing rate hierarchy in this article.

You can choose which activity category is the default for yourself. This ensures that the most often used category is the first one that appears when you are adding a new time entry. The default activity category only applies to each user and does not affect the whole firm.

  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Under Time entry categories, find your time expense category.
  3. Click the down arrow next to Edit and select Set as my default. A green My default tag will show which category is your default.
  4. You can remove your default category by clicking the down arrow next to Edit and selecting Remove as my default.

 

Edit an activity category

When you edit an activity category, you can change the name, billing method and rate, and the permission groups and users that the category is visible to. Bills already generated will not be affected by any of these changes.

Important: Unbilled activities will be affected if the category’s name is changed. The billing method, rate, and permission groups will remain unchanged for unbilled activities.
  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Find your category and select Edit.
  3. After making changes, click Save category.

 

Delete an activity category

When you delete an activity category, existing unbilled and billed activities will not be affected.

Note: You can only delete time entry categories and unused expense categories. Expense categories that have previously been used cannot be deleted.
  1. Go to Activities > Manage categories.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Edit and select Delete.
  3. When the warning prompt appears, select Delete activity category.

 

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