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Financial Health

The Coveted Retainer

The Coveted Retainer - BQE Software

If revenue is king, then retainers are definitely part of the royal family.

Retainers, otherwise known as fees paid in advance to procure future work and services, are a standard and important part of doing business for architectural firms and service professionals in general. They are often the beginning of a beautiful fiduciary relationship between the architect and client.

Whether it is a new or an existing client, retainers allow you to begin a project with confidence. Even though most or all project costs and fees are pre-established within the project budget, retainers nonetheless give you the assurance that immediate costs are covered and some compensation for work is in hand. Smart architects keep a client retainer on hand to at least substantially cover the costs incurred during the most intensive billing period. Without this, architects put themselves in a financial risk.

BQE understands the importance of retainers for financial success, so that is why we have included a handy retainer feature in ArchiOffice. This feature allows you to transfer retainers between projects for a specific client. As projects wind down, it is customary for the architect to start applying the retainer balance to the final invoice(s). But if your client has new work for your firm, you can also move the retainer (or portions of it) to the new project without inconveniencing the client to put another check in the mail. Now, you don’t have to go through that awkward discussion with your client about the importance of the retainer. Or, have the clients say that it’s not needed since they’ve proven themselves to have paid their invoices on time. Never yield on demanding retainers; attorneys will understand this.

Here’s an example of how the retainer feature is used to transfer a retainer from one project to another in ArchiOffice. Mind it­--they have to share the same client record. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Projects and select the desired project.

  2. Click on the Billing tab and select Transactions.

  3. Click the Action menu and select New.

  4. On the Transaction Detail screen, click the Retainer radio button.

  5. The Transaction Retainer screen appears prompting whether you would like to make a payment from or to the retainer account. Click From.

  6. In the Amount field, enter the dollar amount of the retainer to transfer. There must be adequate funds in the existing retainer account to complete the transfer.

  7. Click the Projects button. All projects for this client appear.

  8. Select the project to which you want to move this retainer amount. The retainer now appears within this project.

This is just one of many features and capabilities of ArchiOffice. If you would like to learn more about ArchiOffice or schedule a walk-through demonstration today, please call us at (855) 687-1028 or email us at

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