Law Firm Bookkeeping 101: Choosing The Best Accountant for Your Firm

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

If you don’t have a strong accounting practice handling your affairs, you might be surprised at all the expenses you incur and pay each month. MyCase helps increase accuracy and peace of mind by providing you with all financial data (billing, payments, expenses, banking) under a single platform. This feature also eliminates duplicated data entry or the hassle of reconciling accounts. Accounting for law firms is advanced and specialized, requiring reporting expertise and robust software to streamline it.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Our experiences with law firms have not only been locally but we’ve worked with firms around the world including USA, UK, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Accounts Junction has a better staff to handle the bookkeeping and accounting activities of the law firm with much efficiency. Pearl Lemon Accountants provide law firm bookkeeping services that are comprehensive, cost-effective, and long-term.

Accounts Payable

Once you choose a type, you cannot change it in the coming years. You are choosing to impact how you carry out your bookkeeping, tax filings, and more. Choosing an accounting method is another piece of the financial puzzle for a new company. Before the firm files its first tax return, it must select its method of accounting. Essentially, double-entry accounting is an excellent safeguard against errors.

It allows firms to execute a variety of tax actions, as well as create and send important financial and tax documents. Millions rely on TaxSlayer to ensure they comply with all of the necessary tax regulations and adequately fulfill their tax duties. Legislative bodies, the American Bar Association, and state bar associations have created protective rules stipulating how lawyers carry out their duties to their clients. You will also want to inquire about their relevant education and training in bookkeeping and financial account management. Your firm needs to keep track of your invoices so you know what money is owed (and who you owe money to) to avoid this problem.

Keep comprehensive law firm records

Setting and sticking to a budget is essential to keeping track of your business finances. By knowing your expenses and revenues, you can make sure that you are not spending more than you are making. In addition, using software like Clio Manage to keep your financial records up-to-date can be a huge time saver. The purpose of bookkeeping is to provide an accurate record of financial transactions so that informed decisions can be made and business compliance with rules and regulations is maintained. Making the jump from an attorney to running a law firm can bring a ton of new intimidating challenges.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

An important decision every lawyer faces in setting up their practice is how to ensure their books and records are maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Law Society. There are several reasons to keep books and records properly in your law practice. A general monetary retainer is an amount paid to a lawyer by a client to secure the availability for a specific period time. Unlike a specific retainer, general monetary retainer cannot be allocated to any legal services that are rendered or will be rendered. Anna DiBella has held senior leadership roles at aggressively growing law firms in the Vancouver area, helping them to envision long-term goals, and implementing processes to achieve them. Ensure your finances, operations, and processes are in order with a leader in legal accounting.

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When it comes to organization, getting off on the right foot should help you stay more organized now and into the future. To keep your firm on the right track, it is helpful to have a list of best practices to follow. Violating compliance regulations purposefully or through neglect can lead to significant repercussions. An example of a compliance regulation violation could be mishandling client funds.

Each month, a team of professional bookkeepers with experience in legal accounting gathers your data for you and turns it into accurate financial statements. You also get smart software to help you monitor your finances and stay in control of cash flow. To offset this risk, it’s important to carefully monitor cash flow with accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP), which appear on your balance sheets. An accountant who has experience with financial forecasting and strategy can help a law firm plan for its future expenses and income. An accountant who prepares financial statements can provide valuable insights into the firm’s overall financial health. And an accountant who specializes in tax planning and compliance can ensure that the firm is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

What’s the difference between accounting and bookkeeping?

While you’ve spent years honing your skills to become a great lawyer, you didn’t learn about accounting or bookkeeping for attorneys at law school. A great CFO has the skills to inspect your financial records and accounting process to pinpoint weak areas needing improvement. They can identify needless expenses, help with time tracking, and run your business profitably.

  • They mustn’t deposit client funds in accounts that do not bear interests, or in their business accounts.
  • Many attorneys aren’t familiar with the rules governing these accounts and will unknowingly break these rules.
  • Track and code credit card transactions to the GL and ensure statements agree to GL.
  • Imagine if the team at a law firm recognized the importance of being prepared for tax time and the law firm accounting throughout the year to be prepper for the end of the year.
  • It’s also a great practice to record the details of each expense.

Suppose you understand exactly what your firm is collecting and your firm’s expenses; you lower your chances of accidentally missing out on revenue. If billed hours are not recorded properly, or you miss out on tax deduction opportunities, you miss out on many opportunities. Legal accounting will let you analyze and collect information to make decisions with data in mind. These numbers are based on money that is coming into your firm and leaving your firm.


They’ll be more familiar with the ins and outs of law firm accounting, including the rules and regulations that could get you into trouble. A legal accountant and bookkeeper will work towards the same goal — they both want to keep your law firm financially healthy and built for the future. But the way they go about it is different, law firm bookkeeping doing different tasks for the good of your law firm. That’s why we’ve put together everything you need to know about law firm accounting and bookkeeping. Have you ever tried to balance your checkbook, only to find you’re a quarter off somewhere? One number mistake on your law firm’s books can cause pandemonium.

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