The Best Law Firm Accounting Software

how to do law firm bookkeeping what are its rules

In this manner, your company will be able to remain in compliance with the standards governing ethics, and you will be able to ensure that you are not leaving any money on the table. All-in-one legal practice management solutions can’t be good at everything. The most complex and critical part of your law firm workflows is accounting, so it should be your first priority in choosing your software.

how to do law firm bookkeeping what are its rules

Instead, employ good accounting and budgeting practices, so you don’t need to dip into these fees in the first place. Law firms are expected to have a separate but essential trust account, typically called an IOLTA. 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. Plus, if you want to outsource to accountants or legal bookkeepers, having a solid foundation will make it 10x easier. Whether you’re a solopreneur or run a firm with a hundred lawyers, knowing where every dollar is going will help you make better decisions for the firm’s health.

Not Distinguishing Between Revenue and Income

We’ll let you know which cases or clients have outstanding balances, which cases are racking up expenses, and more. You can always access reports from your phone when you’re on-the-go. A retainer agreement helps establish terms for your services and payment. Learn how to set up your own retainer agreements and improve stability for your practice. QuickBooks is the ideal software for lawyers to spend less time on busywork, and more on real work.

You’ll also need separate ledgers for tracking all funds in trust accounts and interest accumulated on those accounts, as per legal requirements. This is known as Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and listed as a segregated liability. Although you may not have studied accounting/bookkeeping in college, it’s important to understand your firm’s financial big law firm bookkeeping picture to maximize your business profit and ensure compliance. This overview covers the elements that comprise a standard accounting chart, along with practical tips for implementing the chart into your firm. If you own a small law office, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals of bookkeeping and accounting for legal businesses.


Being a professional and maintaining a good reputation is everything in the world of law. Making mistakes on compliance, making accounting mistakes, or losing your firm money, will make you look unprofessional. If you lack professionalism, you will lose clients, referrals, and opportunities to grow your firm.

Client funds that can earn revenue for the client in excess of the costs to hold those accounts must be deposited for the benefit of the client. Recording financial transactions and balancing financial accounts for a law firm is done by bookkeeping. Before any accounting, there needs to be legal bookkeeping performed as an administrative task for all law firms. Yes, you can utilise accounting platforms like Quickbooks and Xero, and follow some of our tips above.

American Bar Association

Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax provides payments of unemployment compensation to workers who have lost their jobs. The IRS doesn’t require you to keep records of certain expenses under $75, but we still recommend that to be safe, you keep digital copies of all records. The IRS accepts digital copies of receipts, and apps and online services make it relatively easy to scan and save them. Everyone from your bookkeeper to your CPA and the IRS needs you to keep documents proving the income, credits, and deductions you put on your tax return. Ask a CPA to help you determine which accounting method is best for your business, and stick with it.

Three-way reconciliation is generally conducted every 30 to 60 days, depending on the state. You can do it manually or by using powerful accounting software to assist law firms in meeting this requirement. Law firms are responsible for balances that do not match up, regardless of fault. You have tremendous duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and are scrutinized on many levels. As you know, the only way to avoid running afoul of laws and regulations is to have strong legal accounting and bookkeeping practices.

Pearl Lemon Accountants provide law firm bookkeeping services that are comprehensive, cost-effective, and long-term. With our dedicated and experienced bookkeepers, you have the potential to transform your law firm’s financial management. 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. As an attorney, you’re aware that when you receive money that belongs to a client, you must place those funds in a trust account separate from your own money.