what exactly is bookkeeping for a law firm

To do this, legal accountants capture expenses, provide financial forecasting, and prepare financial statements. A legal accountant and bookkeeper will work towards the same goal — they both want to keep your law firm financially healthy and built for the future. But the way they go about it is different, doing different tasks for the good of your law firm. That’s why we’ve put together everything you need to know about law firm accounting and bookkeeping.

In general, an accountant’s role requires higher expertise and education. This individual usually holds an accounting degree and is registered as a certified public accountant (CPA). To use that title, CPAs must pass the CPA exam—which is a highly valued credential in the accounting industry. Industry newcomers tend to use the terms “bookkeeper” and “accountant” interchangeably, but there are a few important distinctions between the two. Each of your business’s sales and purchases must be backed by some type of record containing the amount, the date, and other relevant information about that sale. The thing that takes the most time with this client is the invoicing.

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Accounting also involves reporting these findings to tax collectors and regulators. It’s a process that tells the financial story of your business, including if your business is profitable or if you’re suffering a loss. Generally speaking, the more sales you do, the more often you should post to your ledger. A retail store, for instance, that does hundreds of sales amounting to thousands of dollars every day should post daily.

what exactly is bookkeeping for a law firm

Below are a few ways to improve your finances and simplify your law firm tax accounting efforts. 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. He or she creates your accounting data file so that it’s tailored to the specific needs of you and your business. He or she will ensure that you have access to the software and reports you need. Bookkeepers work directly to keep financial records in order at the law firm.


When financial data is well-prepared in an organized manner, it can show good insights into your business operations. They assess their cash flow in real time based on their work progress and receivables. They also ensure that required financial statements are prepared at regular intervals of time. In most cases, law firm bookkeeping and accountants will help to form the best accounting practices in place from which lawyers can rely on and shift their full energy to their law practice. These errors can lead to wasted time and complications for a law firm’s bookkeeping process. Lawyers often make common mistakes when bookkeeping for their law firms.

what exactly is bookkeeping for a law firm

These funds held in a trust are not the law firm’s property but are individuals or institutions known as trustees. In this law firm accounting guide, we take you through law firm accounting and financial management basics to cement your knowledge and present valuable new information. We cover all the key aspects involved in both practices and explain strategies to help you apply this knowledge to your firm’s benefit. By learning the principles and best practices of legal accounting and bookkeeping and mastering their languages, you can effectively separate personal and business expenses. You can also strengthen and protect your firm’s finances from preventable problems.

Best practices for Law Firm Accounting

During the bookkeeping process generally, a monthly income statement is prepared to record financial transactions. Keeping accurate records of your law firm’s accounts is a challenging yet vital part of running a legal practice. This gives you the best of both worlds while making your law firm’s comprehensive accounting situation easier to manage. It also integrates with Clio, making it easy to log client invoices and expenses. Additionally, there is a free trial available so users can test it before they buy.

As you know, the only way to avoid running afoul of laws and regulations is to have strong legal accounting and bookkeeping practices. Some of the key tasks for accountants include tax return preparation, conducting routine reviews https://goodmenproject.com/business-ethics-2/navigating-law-firm-bookkeeping-exploring-industry-specific-insights/ of various financial statements, and performing account analysis. Another key responsibility for accountants includes conducting routine audits to ensure that statements and the books are following ethical and industry standards.

Law firm accounting vs. bookkeeping: What’s the difference?

Having worked with law firms for years, FCF has a wealth of experience in this field. Similarly, if you entertain clients frequently, you will want to keep track of those expenses as well. By tracking these costs throughout the year, you can ensure that you maximize your tax deductions come tax time. There are a few key reasons why it’s important to have an law firm bookkeeping easy expense reimbursement system in place for a law firm. For example, you can use the “Legal Billing” app to track your time, and then enter all of your billable hours into your accounting software. For example, if a law firm has a goal of saving money, they may choose to cut back on non-essential expenses like office parties or new office furniture.

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