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Law Firm Bookkeeping 101 Bench Accounting

bookkeeping for small law firm

We have experience with several other practice or matter management systems. But those tools may not always be conducive to supporting virtual accounting practices. However, taking on tasks above and beyond your duties is never a good idea, especially accounting and financial management tasks. As with the law, too much can go wrong if you don’t have the right professional in charge. Let a competent, experienced professional or company handle things is always better.

Your legal fees are coming from many different places, and not always the client’s wallet. Sometimes attorneys collect their fees from a case settlement or favorable judgment. Some lawyers charge flat fees for services like estate planning or divorce mediation. Criminal defense attorneys have a retainer and charge hourly rates. Personal injury lawyers typically work on contingency and are paid after a case is won. With so many varied forms of income and collection, it’s no wonder that collecting on invoices can be a full time endeavor.

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As a result, you’re left with multiple platforms and an accounting system that is not tailored specifically for law firms. The advantages of legal accounting software multiply with today’s cloud-based solutions. While on-premise accounting software ties you to a physical location and requires high maintenance costs and time-consuming updates, cloud-based accounting software is accessible anywhere.

  • When it comes to our record-keeping, the handling of our Trust account was and continues to be most important.
  • A minor accounting error could result in significant reputational damage, hindering future growth opportunities and client referrals.
  • For example, an accountant who is also a bookkeeper can help with the organization and categorization of expenses.
  • Bookkeeping is critical for any business, but especially so for law firms.
  • With that said, there are some basic regulations that you’ll want to abide by regardless of where you’re practicing.
  • These listed services are in addition to most accounting software’s standard features, including expense tracking, calendar management, and report generation.

Accountants must ensure that bookkeeping for law firms is done properly in order to provide reliable financial data. Of course, the line between bookkeeping and accounting can get blurred. Some accountants record financial transactions, and some bookkeepers assist with business decisions and prepare financial statements.


Legal accounting software is designed to help law firms with bookkeeping, allowing them to keep track of their finances in an efficient and compliant manner. This type of software provides a range of features and benefits, such as auto-generated reports, secure data storage, and access from any device. Automation can also reduce the time spent on manual data entry tasks, making it easier for accountants and bookkeepers to remain up-to-date with ethical rules and client information. Additionally, cloud-based legal accounting software offers real-time insights into financials while eliminating the need for costly on-premise installations. Bookkeeping is a vital task for law firms, as it helps them to record and monitor financial transactions and keep accounts in balance.

bookkeeping for small law firm

IOLTA accounts are tricky, because they have very specific rules around what you can and can’t do with them, and the penalties for breaking these rules can be severe, including disbarment. Every business is different, and the “right bank” for you will depend on the nature of your practice and the way you prefer to get your banking done. As your budget year crawls on, you can adjust numbers to more The Importance of Accurate Bookkeeping for Law Firms: A Comprehensive Guide accurately reflect reality and plan the rest of the year accordingly. See what strategic opportunities you have for reinvestment and plug those into your budget. If you’re trending behind, it is better to know sooner rather than later so you can react accordingly. Many small firms find that outsourcing their bookkeeping functions is a great first step in delegating work off the owner’s plate.

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