Firm Finances: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and KPIs 2023

law firm bookkeeping services

Working from our review, we’ll provide clear and actionable recommendations for improvement related to your particular processes, software, and systems. Let’s schedule a discovery meeting so we can discuss your needs and confirm there’s a fit. Your bookkeeeping shouldn’t be handled by the same accountant who services your plumber.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll pay those fees back in time, but don’t do it. Law schools offer little to no training on how to manage these accounts. So, many lawyers go into the field without knowing the best practice surrounding trust accounts and how to manage them. 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 fundamental concept in accounting and bookkeeping, double-entry accounting states that all financial transactions have equal and opposite effects in two different accounts.


Then, set aside a time each week to make sure they are coded properly in your books. We know that lazy bookkeeping practices will cost you real money and time, result in sweaty nightmares, and put your license and firm at risk. Thankfully, good bookkeeping can also result in accurate reports on demand, make billing easier and improve the way you view your finances.

  • Bring in a legal accountant to help you strategize how to help run your business through financial reports.
  • This is important for law firms because it helps them stay compliant with regulations and track their finances.
  • Lawyers spend years honing their legal skills, but they often have little knowledge of accounting practices.
  • As a lawyer, when you receive cash that belongs to a client, you are obligated to hold those funds in a client trust account separate from your own money.
  • A transparent accounting system will bring your firm a clear financial picture, clients, and more.

Your financial strategy will help you plan, strategize, and shift as you need to, helping you grow a financially healthy law firm. Each month, take some time to reconcile your budget compared to your reality, making changes that benefit your bottom line. Help you process and send invoices, process your accounts payable, and run your payroll.

A Guide to Legal Trust Accounting in QuickBooks and Clio for Lawyers

In addition, tracking billable time, expenses, and revenue with software like Clio Manage can ensure that your financial records are kept up-to-date while QuickBooks Online makes syncing data easy. Accountants rely on bookkeepers to keep accurate and timely financial statements. Whether you do the bookkeeping yourself or outsource it to a professional, it’s a crucial task. While you didn’t get into law to practice accounting, putting in the work at the beginning will make it easier to file your taxes each year. Plus, you’ll save yourself the headache of dealing with accounting issues, and you’ll always have accurate financial statements available. To do this, legal accountants capture expenses, provide financial forecasting, and prepare financial statements.

law firm bookkeeping services

A, IOLTA, or trust account and a trust liability account, should also be included in the chart of accounts for the owner of a law practice. If proper attorney bookkeeping occurs, then the law firm can track what money is coming in and going out of your firm. It will be challenging to scale your growth without understanding the money coming in and out.

Final thoughts on accounting and bookkeeping best practices

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. We had made huge investments on an accounting software tailored for law firms but failed to utilize it to its optimal level. Team Cogneesol came in with both accounting and technical expertise and have since been maintaining our accounts as per statutory timelines and generating insightful reports at the end of every month. As an attorney, you’re aware that when you receive money that belongs to a client, you must place those funds in a trust account separate from your own money. These funds are stored in IOLTA or “interest on lawyers trust accounts” accounts. As owners of our own law firms, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes.

  • Unfortunately, bookkeeping mistakes have consequences for your business, income taxes, and license.
  • An accountant who prepares financial statements can provide valuable insights into the firm’s overall financial health.
  • We don’t recommend building your business off the back of your credit card.
  • QuickBooks is a powerful asset for any criminal defense attorney running its own practice from a small office.
  • Breaching these rules can result in severe penalties, including disbarment.
  • Not only can you ensure a seamless installation process by hiring us, but we’ll set it up to serve your business optimally and ensure you have a good understanding of how it works.

When you have a trust account, you’re required (by the State Bar) to perform a three-way trust reconciliation every 30 to 90 days. Instead, employ good accounting and budgeting practices, so you don’t need to dip law firm bookkeeping into these fees in the first place. Law firms are expected to have a separate but essential trust account, typically called an IOLTA. These are funds you must keep separate from your firm’s operating funds.

What are the key steps of bookkeeping for a law firm?

Check out Bench’s guide to recordkeeping to see record retention periods. There may be more (or fewer) documents to track depending on your firm. We’ve said it again and again, but never, ever mix your personal and your business finances.

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