FreshBooks does not generate LEDES format invoices. This makes it hard for lawyers and law firms to generate LEDES format invoices for client invoice management software such as Serengeti, CounselLink, TyMetrix, and others.
To fill this gap, ROL Group has created an open-source program to help law firms take their FreshBooks invoices and convert them to LEDES1998B format. This allows the invoice to be uploaded to invoice management systems.
The documentation describes the system requirements. The program will run on both Macs and PCs, but does require Ruby to be installed.
The FreshBooks to LEDES Conversion Program takes as input an editable configuration file and a CSV file containing the FreshBooks invoices. The program outputs those invoices in LEDES1998B format together with an error file and two CSV files (one CSV summarizes each invoice and the second CSV file is a detailed copy of the LEDES output in CSV format).
The documentation explains how to generate invoices, how matter numbers are extracted from FreshBooks line item invoice details, and the details of the LEDES1998B format output. Note, our law firm uses matter numbers of the general form CLNT-A1234 and the program is designed around that assumption. If you use different styles for your matter numbers you will need to customize the program to your needs.
In addition to the PDF documentation, the ZIP-file download includes the Ruby source code as well as sample inputs, a sample configuration file. The program is open source-licensed under an MIT license to allow you to further develop it for your law firm’s needs.
- Documentation (PDF format): FreshBook CSV to LEDES Project Summary
- Program (Ruby source code and samples; ZIP format): fb2ledes-14.zip
In addition to the LEDES-formatted document, the CSV to LEDES Conversion Program outputs a detailed CSV with the same information as the LEDES invoice file, making the program ideal for attributing invoice line items to specific timekeepers and client projects. ROL Group has used this feature for business intelligence and budgeting purposes. Other purposes include assessing time keeper productivity, bill through, and client work diversity.
Version 1.4 of the program adds rudimentary support for UTBMS task and activity codes. If the matter name in Freshbooks includes a client matter number, e.g. "ABCD-P0001 Drafting settlement agreement ##client_code". Then each time entry will be scanned for UTBMS codes, e.g. "description ##C300-A104" where the C300 is the task code and A104 is the activity code. No punctuation follows the UTBMS code.
Notes and Disclaimers
NOTE: We have tested our output in Serengeti. Overall this was a success; however, Serengeti may generate a “red flag” for unrecognized timekeepers on their first invoice. Ask your client to add the timekeeper.
DISCLAIMER: We at ROL Group have found this program to be useful and want to share it with others who may find the program to be helpful. We do not provide assurance that the way we have set up the program will conform to your specific way of billing, and we provide no guarantee of quality or accuracy.