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Accounting for Law Firms: A Guide Including Best Practices

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Every entry to an account requires a corresponding and opposite entry to a different account. Additionally, the total debits recorded must equal the total credits recorded. Total assets are also required to equal total liabilities plus equity (net worth or capital) of a law firm). Whenever a client pays an invoice, you must allocate the payment to the incurred costs of a matter first. However, if a firm fails to separate revenue that covers incurred costs from actual revenue, their records will be off.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Poor management of trust accounts can lead to penalties, suspension, or even losing the right to practice law. An attorney is required to reconcile their trust bank statement to their client’s individual balance on a quarterly, or even monthly basis. Accounting for law firms is often intimidating—even for seasoned lawyers.

Why it’s important to organize your law firm’s accounting and bookkeeping

There are also financial reports that go beyond following best practices for accounting and identifying growth opportunities. Essentially, double-entry accounting is an excellent safeguard against errors. As the name implies, TaxSlayer is a powerful software for all things tax-related.

We’ll also show you how legal accounting software can make the whole process easier (and more effective). The one-way sync can be a bit perplexing, but fear not, Clio syncs effortlessly with QuickBooks. When a client inputs an invoice, it automatically synchronizes and pushes it into QuickBooks. However, there are cases where our law firm bookkeeping clients make errors and adjust their entries, resulting in duplicate transactions. By staying on top of this, you can address any discrepancies and ensure accurate financial records. Navigating through different law firm software can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to mastering the intricacies of legal bookkeeping.

How often should bookkeeping be done for a law firm?

Each of these records should be kept for a specific time—some for 10 years, some for as few as three. The IRS doesn’t require you to keep records of certain expenses under $75, but we still recommend that to be safe, you keep copies of all records. As every business is different, your choice of the “right bank” depends on the nature of your practice, as well as how you prefer to handle your banking transactions. If you have employees, you’ll have to pay Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Federal insurance contributions consist of the social security and Medicare taxes you withhold from your employee’s pay and match with your own contributions.

  • The law firm bookkeeping services provided by us are as per the accounting regulations in the USA.
  • My team and I take care of your books for you, so you can get back to doing what you really love, practicing law.
  • For example, if a business owner is not keeping accurate records of expenses, they may be overpaying taxes or missing out on deductions that could save the business money.
  • Similarly, if you entertain clients frequently, you will want to keep track of those expenses as well.
  • In addition, it is important to select an accountant or bookkeeper who is familiar with the software and systems used by the firm.

Thankfully, there are a lot of tools available to help you manage your trust accounts, so you don’t have to go at it alone. Remember that your trust account is your client’s money, not yours. Here are five common law firm accounting obstacles and mistakes you should be aware of so you can avoid them.

Best law firm accounting software

Whether intentional or through neglect, violations of compliance regulations—like mishandling client funds—can lead to serious repercussions. Onboard, pay, and create tax documents for contractors in 80+ countries, all for a low monthly fee. Plus, Gusto’s easy-to-use software means payroll takes only minutes to complete. While syncing in Clio is convenient, it’s important to note that the operating bank account in Clio may not match QuickBooks unless you manually input every transaction. Save yourself the duplicate work and unnecessary hassle by only entering transactions that occur in your bank feed directly into QuickBooks. In this post, we’ll dive into the world of Clio and explore its unique features and quirks, ensuring seamless integration into your bookkeeping processes.

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