Law Firm Accounting Guide: Securing Your Law Firms Future

firm’s financial

For example, say you deposited a check for $10,000 to the trust account on December 30 but the deposit didn’t clear the bank until January 2. The December 31 bank statement shows a balance that is $10,000 less than your books or the client’s trust ledger due to a timing difference. You would note this in your reconciliation report and ensure your January 31 bank statement includes the deposit. Our firm has used Cashroom for bookkeeping services for several years . The service provided is excellent and the team there are helpful and efficient. We find the service provided is ideal, we do not require an inhouse bookkeeper and we can be guaranteed that there is full time access to a bookkeeper and sufficient holiday cover.

Two core tasks of a legal bookkeeper include data entry and bank reconciliation. Even if you master the basic principles of legal accounting, you’re still not an accountant or bookkeeper at the end of the day. To do this, legal accountants capture expenses, provide financial forecasting, and prepare financial statements. If you’re curious about how outsourcing your law firm bookkeeping can benefit your business, start your free trial of Bench today. Set up individual trust accounts for each client, so client funds aren’t commingled. In cash basis accounting, you record income and expenses when money changes hands.

You can add as many accounts to your chart of accounts as you need to prepare accurate and informative financial statements, but don’t let your chart of accounts get too unwieldy. Holiday, sickness and parental cover are our problem, not yours. We strongly recommend that you contact Free Cash Flow if you need assistance with Bookkeeping for the law firm. Having worked with law firms for years, FCF has a wealth of experience in this field. For example, if a lawyer has $10,000 in their business account and $5,000 in their trust account, they would need to deposit the $5,000 into a separate trust account. The lawyer would then need to surrender any interest earned on the $5,000 to the client.

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With delivery centers across the world, we can meet all your bookkeeping demands. Ensure your back office runs as smoothly as your front office. SLC Bookkeeping helps new and established law firms create, maintain and scale accounting functions. We can review your finances, relationships, policies and procedures, and suggest effective alternatives that keep your practice CPA-ready. Understanding what goes into accounting is essential; you still are not an accountant or a bookkeeper. Bringing in an expert will give you peace of mind knowing that your business will get tax seasons done right.


Posting is the process by which account balances in the appropriate ledger are changed. While account balances may be recorded and computed periodically, the only time account balances are changed in the ledger is when a journal entry indicates such a change is necessary. Information that appears chronologically in the journal becomes reclassified and summarized in the ledger on an account-by-account basis.

Mismanaging trust accounts

As I always say, moving my firm to work exclusively with attorneys was the BEST career decision. I want all bookkeepers to think good and hard about where this industry is headed. You will be so happy you chose one industry or one vertical to become the person known for this work. Most importantly, you must find a plan that works well for you and stick with it. Consistently keeping up with your books will be the most important thing to keep your firm’s finances in check.


Speaking of online payroll submission, one of the most common mistakes attorneys make is losing track of business expenses. It’s best to capture and record your business expenses on the daily, so you don’t lose those receipts or invoices. Then, set aside a time each week to make sure they are coded properly in your books.

Successful individual practitioners or small and medium-sized legal entities/law firms need efficient, compliant and accurate billing, accounting and bookkeeping in their organizations. As your business grows, you may have difficulty managing your company’s day-to-day legal bookkeeping works without external support. If such is the case, do you want to outsource legal bookkeeping services?


In this blog post, we’ll explore why you should consider converting your bookkeeping business from working with all types of clients to working with only attorneys and law firms. Busy attorneys know that billing clients accurately and maintaining CPA-ready books are essential in a well-run practice. As the practice grows, though, record-keeping becomes more complex. Staying abreast of payables and receivables grows more time-consuming. Making strategic changes seems overwhelming — yet necessary.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll pay those fees back in time, but don’t do it. And with proper legal accounting and bookkeeping, it couldn’t be easier to get a big-picture overview at a glance. As a business owner, you’re required to keep your law firm compliant. You must follow the ethics regulations governing law firms in your area. A chart of accounts is a list of all the financial accounts in the general ledger of your law firm. And while you learned the ins and outs of the legal system in law school, they didn’t teach you about accounting and bookkeeping.

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Posted: Wed, 15 Mar 2023 12:07:57 GMT [source] and bookkeepers can provide advice on best practices to prevent costly mistakes while keeping accurate financial records. InvoiceSherpa is an automated accounts receivable system designed to help law firms collect payments from their clients quickly and efficiently. It allows firms to create recurring invoices, track expenses, and receive payments online. Additionally, the system includes automated bill reminders that can be customized for sending outstanding balances to bill recipients on a schedule. This makes it easier for law firms to manage their finances and ensure timely payment of bills without having to manually send out reminders or chase after unpaid invoices.

Don’t let poor reporting or non-compliance affect your firm any longer. Non-profits are small and usually cannot have a full time bookkeeper on staff, that’s where R&D Legal Bookkeeping comes in. First, you’ll deposit all retainer checks and similar money that belongs to a client in an IOLTA account.


Spend less time on your books and more time with your clients when you partner with SLC Bookkeeping. SLC’s legal bookkeeping practice helps busy attorneys manage their back office functions effortlessly. Learn more about SLC Bookkeeping’s law firm accounting service and contact us to schedule a free consultation. Testing different tools can help decide which one fits best to a law firm’s specific needs. While bookkeeping is more transactional and administrative, accounting is more subjective, giving you insights into your law firm’s financial health based on legal bookkeeping information. One key part of the accounting process is analyzing financial reports that provide you with a better understanding of actual profitability and awareness of cash flow in your business.

As one may expect, this style of bookkeeping is more expensive. Nevertheless many private businesses, large and small, make regular use of general accounting software for their needs. One large advantage of spreadsheet software is that it can automatically perform arithmetic tasks.

It’s the ideal choice for lawyers who recognize the advantages of applying their valuable time to practicing law instead of creating invoices. Maintain a single trust account and hold all client funds in one account. For example, if you purchase office supplies for your business, you should have an “Office Supplies Expense” account.


Legal Edge Services staff are trustworthy and highly experienced. They manage payables, receivables, billing, taxes, payroll, licensing, and trust accounting for law firms of all sizes. As a result, they accurately handle all those details so you can fully focus on the priorities that demand your legal talent.

compliant with ethics

Hunting for rich lawyers and asking them to share their secrets. The Three Years and Out PlanShort term lawyer and then on to something else. Law firms must know that there is essentially no wiggle room for errors. Trust account liability almost operates like strict liability, where simply committing an act is proof enough for guilt. Xero offers a 30-day trial period for firms that want to test the water without making a long-term commitment.

Of course, the line between bookkeeping and accounting can get blurred. Some accountants record financial transactions, and some bookkeepers assist with business decisions and prepare financial statements. Legal accounting software is designed to help law firms with bookkeeping, allowing them to keep track of their finances in an efficient and compliant manner.


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