Top 5 Law Firm Bookkeeping Challenges and How to Overcome Them

bookkeeping for small law firm

Legal bookkeepers and legal accountants work with your firm’s financials, with the shared goal of helping your firm financially grow and succeed. We’ll also show you how legal accounting software can make the whole process easier (and more effective). Our fees depend on the size of the firm and the work, involved but we can provide a fixed fee each month so that you can budget.

We will support your firm with a team of talented and experienced accountants. You won’t have any trouble finding us, and you’ll always have access to your critical financial information. Our team will join your team, and we’ll work tirelessly for your success in the same way you do.

Organize Your Books With Bookkeeping Services

As a solo attorney, managing your books via accounting software may get you started. Yet, if you own a small firm with multiple attorneys, employees, or contractors, hiring a bookkeeper is more than worth it. At Lawyerist, we firmly believe in the benefits of automation for accounting and bookkeeping.

  • For a fraction of the cost of a full-time controller, we will take the pain out of your accounting and free you up to focus on practicing law.
  • It’s important to keep all supporting documents that back up the financial data that you have submitted on your tax returns such as income, deductions, and credits.
  • Three-way reconciliations are an important part of practicing law and must be performed on a regular basis to ensure accuracy in your financial records.
  • Either way, law firms succeed or fail on client trust, and accurate, thorough bookkeeping is essential to building a reputable, compliant, and trustworthy firm.
  • Sometimes attorneys collect their fees from a case settlement or favorable judgment.
  • If you didn’t have a system in place to track what money is coming in and going out of your firm, then you would never know where your law firm stood financially.

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. Staying compliant with the regulation of ethics is the responsibility of every lay firm. Your firm’s jurisdiction can create variances on what the ethics are, but there are standard accounting basics that lawyers must follow. If proper attorney bookkeeping occurs, then the law firm can track what money is coming in and going out of your firm.

Step 7: Accurately Maintain IOLTA (Trust) Bookkeeping

Lastly, transactions are not recorded until you receive the money, so it’s not taxed until it’s actually in the bank. It’s similar to two-way reconciliation, where you compare your bank account balance to your company’s books to make sure it matches. 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.

  • Bookkeeping is an administrative task that involves recording all of the law firm’s business transactions and reconciling and balancing the firm’s financial accounts.
  • Double entry accounting is a helpful practice for lawyers to know about, as it provides an extra guard against errors.
  • This means that your records won’t only be correct, but they’ll be simple and easy to understand.
  • Without the essentials, your firm might struggle to stay compliant with ethical rules, and you may inadvertently leave money on the table.
  • Keeping accurate records of your law firm’s accounts is a challenging yet vital part of running a legal practice.

Bookkeeping requires dedication and attention just like everything else in your firm. We understand what it’s like to have everything fall on your shoulders. That’s also why we recommend eventually hiring a professional bookkeeper to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. It’s also a great practice to record the details of each expense. For example, if you’re expensing a meal, you might record who you were with and what you discussed.

Manage money correctly and stay in compliance

For example, if you were using LawPay to collect payments and invoice clients, you could easily sync all your transactions into QuickBooks for easy reporting and reconciliation. The basis of good legal accounting A Deep Dive into Law Firm Bookkeeping always starts with a well-thought-out budget. A budget helps you set expectations regarding cash flow and expenses for the year, reducing the likelihood of missing a payment or bouncing a check.

  • With cash accounting, accounts payable and accounts receivable are not recognized.
  • Revenue refers to the money, payments, and proceeds your firm receives.
  • Having too many accounts creates headaches later on, as it takes more time to review the books and increases your chances of making mistakes.
  • By keeping your money separate at all times from your clients’ and strictly following trust administration rules and guidelines, you’ll sidestep a whole host of problems down the line.
  • Having a clear budget will help you track expenses, revenue, and goals so that you can make sure that you have the necessary resources available for major expenses.
  • You’ll have accurate financial statements on hand, which can show you how your practice is performing at any given moment.


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