How to Effectively Do Bookkeeping for a Law Firm Tips from an Accountant and Bookkeeper

law firm bookkeeping problems

If you lack professionalism, you will lose clients, referrals, and opportunities to grow your firm. Every business gets busy, and it is easy to get distracted by the work you are doing for your clients. However, your law practice is still a business, so you will need to treat it as a business. We have created this guide to give you an overview of the fundamentals of bookkeeping and accounting for attorneys and help anyone who is a small law firm owner.

  • Handling everything one at a time often can be too much to handle.
  • A bookkeeper or accountant can help you keep track of your finances and make sure that everything is in order.
  • Also, ask if you are eligible to receive a tax credit for paying timely state unemployment taxes.
  • Your bookkeeper, accountant, and the IRS will thank you for holding onto documents proving your income, credits, and deductions.
  • Without careful oversight, general accounting solutions may ultimately add complexity to record keeping and maintaining compliance.

When using double-entry accounting, all financial transactions will get sorted into specific categories (assets, liabilities, or equity), then once sorted; the two sides should match each other. Of course, no one will expect you to be a CPA, but any firm owner law firm bookkeeping should understand how accounting can impact the law firm. Becoming familiar with these terms will help you know your accountant and bring you up to date with accounting terminology in general. Each will work together but serve a different purpose at your firm.

Bookkeeping Challenges: Why Should Your Law Firm Address Them

This is especially important when it comes to paying mandatory disability or worker’s compensation insurance. You can research this on your state government’s website, and consult with your CPA. Before you commit, make sure you do the math to determine the impact a provider’s fees will have on your bottom line. The types of expenses you can deduct on your tax return will depend on the expenses you incur in the course of doing business.

  • You also get smart software to help you monitor your finances and stay in control of cash flow.
  • And an accountant who specializes in tax planning and compliance can ensure that the firm is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • To ensure accuracy and accuracy of financial records, it is important to follow standard accounting practices when managing the books for a law firm.
  • Tracking your time and mileage is essential for billing and managing a law firm’s expenses.
  • But it becomes way too difficult when a lawyer decides to manage a firm.

You must keep court briefs and filings billed separately even if you are filing more than one at a time. Improperly allocating client expenses can be a huge challenge for a small firm without the luxury of a billing department. Take out the inconvenience of properly billing clients by using cloud software. You’ll be able to give each employee their own account so they can update billable hours and bill directly.

Set and stick to a budget

Overall, an experienced and qualified accountant can be a valuable asset to any law firm. By taking the time to find the right person for the job, a law firm can ensure that its finances are well-organized and accurate. This can save the firm money in the long run and help to maintain accurate records. Finally, an easy expense reimbursement system can help employees and partners feel more comfortable using company credit cards for business expenses. First, it helps to ensure that all expenses are tracked and accounted for. Second, it can help to prevent personal funds from being used to pay for business expenses.

law firm bookkeeping problems

Whenever you manually enter data into the books, you leave room for errors like a duplicated entry or a wrong number. If you sent your client an invoice, that is immediately counted as revenue if you don’t receive the money for weeks. 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. Do your due diligence and make sure every dollar going into the trust account is supposed to be there.

How to Use LeanLaw with QuickBooks Online

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. Get in touch today to get started on building a financial strategy that helps you take your firm to the next level. Whether you are still using QuickBooks or stuck using paper systems and spreadsheets, it’s time for an upgrade in your back office. Uses firm software to generate pipeline efficiency, employee performance, and hiring needs. The ideal candidate understands that you cannot manage what you do not measure – and can help us figure out how to build systems to ensure we can measure and manage effectively.