Law Firm Bookkeeping and Accounting: A Completed Guide 2022

bookkeeping for attorneys

With our dedicated and experienced bookkeepers, you potentially transform the financial management of your law firm. Making the jump from an attorney to running a law firm can bring a ton of new intimidating challenges. Legal accounting and attorney bookkeeping are surely one of the largest you face. That’s why we recommend you should hire a professional legal account.

bookkeeping for attorneys

We don’t recommend building your business off the back of your credit card. The interest rates are high, limits are often lower than other forms of credit, and they’re easily mismanaged. With organized financial data, you can better identify opportunities to reduce your overhead, earn more money, and plan for the future.

What is Law Firm Accounting Software?

As a result, attorneys frequently find themselves repeating several common errors. Every state has an IOLTA program, and the bank where you opened your regular business bank account is likely to have IOLTA accounts as well. However, because rules vary by state, consult your State Bar Association and a professional accountant before finalising your accounting setup. Most firms are required to keep client funds in a separate account from a law firm, commonly referred to as an “IOLTA.

If you don’t keep your books up-to-date, you’ll need to play catch up at the end of the year. It’s either to manage as the money is either in the bank or not in the bank. If they have to dig through your personal account to find the odd business transaction, you’re giving them extra unnecessary work and will be charged for it. When you incorporate your business, you essentially separate yourself from the business entity. It’s called the “corporate veil,” and it protects business owners and their personal assets from legal action taken against the company. You should only ever charge your clients fees directly related to their account.

Why bookkeeping and accounting matter for law firms

It is impossible to keep tabs on the amount of money coming into an attorney’s practice without good recordkeeping. This might lead to significant problems and slow your company’s growth. Accurate financial data is provided by dependable bookkeeping for attorneys, which also offers this data to legal accountants. You will not only have an easier time filing your taxes each year if you organise your finances properly. You’ll have up-to-date financial statements showing you how your legal practice is doing at any given time. If you decide to sell the business, working with bookkeepers, accountants, new partners, and buyers will be much easier.

  • You must follow the ethics regulations governing law firms in your area.
  • With money flowing in so many different directions, it’s easy to lose track.
  • It provides for recording cash as revenue when your firm receives it.
  • IOLTA accounts are difficult to manage because they have very specific rules governing what you can and cannot do with them.
  • MyCase three-way trust reconciliation tools enable you to stay in compliance with bar regulations.
  • Law firm accounting can be a lengthy process, widely despised by attorneys and other legal professionals who’d instead be practicing law than crunching numbers.
  • In our opinion, this is an oversight, as mismanaging these accounts can lead to serious consequences, even disbarment.

Be sure to keep track of all payments made, both to third parties and internally, in order to stay on top of your finances. For example, an accountant might examine your firm’s profitability and make recommendations to improve your bottom line. You should also ask yourself if the benefits of an expense outweigh law firm bookkeeping the cost. For example, investing in new legal software may save time and money in the long run but it may be expensive to implement initially. When it comes to tracking expenses, it’s important to keep all of your receipts organized. You can use a physical folder or an online system like Expensify.

Have you considered outsourced bookkeeping for your law firm?

Finding the right staff member requires asking the right interview questions. You need to know specific things about your potential hire to honestly know if they are up to handling your bookkeeping needs. Whether you need just a little bit of hand holding or more, we are here to help your law practice!

  • Accounting for law firms may be new or challenging to you, but it doesn’t have to be scary.
  • With the accrual method, you record revenue when it’s earned and expenses when they’re incurred—whether they’re paid right away or not.
  • This is because a professional legal bookkeeper and accountant can help you manage your firm’s revenue and ensure your firm’s financial transactions are handled ethically and accurately.
  • Depending on where you live, this figure will be higher or lower than the national average of $37 per hour.
  • As a business owner you are more efficient in making business decisions when you have access to your P&L and financial statements (AR’s and AP’s) in real-time.

As a result, you must develop a habit of performing regular reconciliations to ensure that your financial records are in order. It’s typically best to perform bank reconciliations for your business checking accounts each month. Meanwhile, a legal business can use the cash basis no matter their revenues, and it often represents their activities more accurately.

Step 2. Complete IOLTA

By studying these reports, you will gain valuable insight into your firm’s operations and be able to make effective decisions for your firm. It’s easier to spot opportunities and potential problems and take effective, appropriate action if you regularly read your law firm accounting reports. One of the principal benefits of using the cash accounting method is its simplicity. This type of accountancy gives you a clear look at your current financial situation. With cash accounting, you don’t have to pay taxes on earned money until it has been deposited into your account.

bookkeeping for attorneys

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