how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Reliable bookkeeping for attorneys also provides accurate financial data for legal accountants to work with. “Money leakage” is a term used to refer to situations where the money that should have been collected as revenue is lost or not collected. This can occur when invoices are not sent out in a timely manner, resulting in missed opportunities to collect payments. Money leakage can be particularly damaging for law firms, which typically have an 85% collection rate, meaning that only 85% of what they bill gets paid. This gives you the best of both worlds while making your law firm’s comprehensive accounting situation easier to manage. All law firms require bookkeeping and accounting services as their accounts are regulated by the SRA Accounts Rules.

A law firm accountant and bookkeeper typically work towards the same goal–they both want to track your firm’s financial performance and ensure that information is up-to-date and accurate. But, they support your business in different stages of the financial cycle. In fact, some bookkeeping tools such as QuickBooks and Xero integrate with your practice management tool, allowing you to easily track your clients, invoices, and more. Make sure whatever tool you use integrates properly or choose an all-in-one software for both. You’ll also want to decide how your firm will track incoming and outgoing funds.

Key pointers for your practice


If you lack professionalism, you will lose clients, referrals, and opportunities to grow your firm. We have created this guide to give you an overview of the fundamentals of bookkeeping and accounting for attorneys and help anyone who is a small law firm owner. Your legal bookkeeper will keep accurate records and be able to review and update your books weekly or monthly. You can use this information to understand your company’s financial health better and plan for the coming months. While mismanaging an IOLTA account carries severe penalties, many law schools provide little to no training in trust account management.

It’s an interest-bearing account that offers a higher yield than traditional business savings accounts (interest rates for money market accounts sit at an average of 0.11% nationally). You’ll be required to maintain a higher minimum amount in the account, and have limited check-writing options. law firm bookkeeping Once you’ve chosen a bank to work with, you’ll want to open a business checking account, a savings account, and an IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Account). Be sure to keep track of all payments made, both to third parties and internally, in order to stay on top of your finances.

Books and records of law firms

Solutions without built-in, specialized law firm accounting features require a high degree of customization and can only be used by a highly trained law firm accountant. And frequently, the required customization can make the software cumbersome and more difficult to use. Most law firms accept electronic payments, like debit and credit. The more methods of payment you have, the higher the odds are of a client working with you.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

There are several reasons to keep books and records properly in your law practice. When you receive trust fund, the Law Society’s By-Law 9 requires you to deposit the fund in your trust account no later than the next banking day. You should also make sure to record the information required by By-Law 9 on your deposit slips. 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. Get timely and reliable financial information about your firm so you can monitor your performance and make data-driven business decisions. With ProFix on your side managing the numbers, you can have more time back in your day to focus on your caseload.

Thinking About Exploring Your Options For Bookkeeping?

Each aspect of law firm accounting is explained understandably and concisely. Effective accounting for law firms is critical to your firm’s success. To ensure your firm’s financial statements are accurate, complete, and up-to-date, you need to use sound bookkeeping for attorneys. Typical accounting tasks are (1) preparing monthly income and balance sheet statements; (2) preparing and completing tax returns; and (3) forecasting future cash flow. When it comes to law firm accounting, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.

  • Whether it means using legal accounting software to simplify and automate your accounting, hiring a professional legal accountant, or both—don’t be afraid to delegate when you need to.
  • Regardless of the size of your law firm, it’s essential to understand the best practices of accounting and bookkeeping to ensure that your business is on the right track.
  • Legal accounting and attorney bookkeeping are surely one of the largest you face.
  • We can get you back to servicing your clients and building your law firm in no time!
  • Everyone makes mistakes, including lawyers (and bookkeepers, and accountants).
  • Just as your clients rely on your legal practice, you will need to hire accounting professionals at some point.