Law Firm Bookkeeping, Accounting and RPC-Compliant IOLTA Trust Services

law firm bookkeeping

After selecting your bank, you want to open the necessary accounts. It’s crucial to collect and organize your financial data regularly, not just at the end of the year. In our opinion, this is an oversight, as mismanaging these accounts can lead to serious consequences, even disbarment. There are very specific rules regarding what you can and can’t do with them, and these rules vary depending on your jurisdiction. Keeping your firm professional in all matters goes a long way toward attracting new clients and high-quality employees. Here are some reasons why accounting is key to your firm’s success.

Why should a firm need a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping is vital to any business because it makes it so much easier to budget. With your income and expenses properly organised, it's simple to review your financial resources and costs. A budget creates a financial roadmap for your business.

Tim is a Certified QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) Pro, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and CPA with 25 years of experience. He brings his expertise to Fit Small Business’s accounting content. Uptime Practice can help you streamline your merchant processing, automated invoicing, and even your payroll, all from the cloud. There are other types of deductions you need to keep track of that incur while doing business. There may be more (or fewer) documents to track depending on your firm. If they don’t, you need to go over every single transaction to see where the error lies.

Making Data Entry Mistakes

As your business grows, you can bring on an outsourced bookkeeper who will provide traditional bookkeeping services such as categorizing and reconciling transactions. While other CTAs earn interest for clients, IOLTAs send the interest to state-sponsored programs that fund law school scholarships and law services for the poor. MyCase helps increase accuracy and peace of mind by providing you with all financial data (billing, payments, expenses, banking) under a single platform.

No additional software is necessary to access the powerful accounting and bookkeeping tools that you would expect to find in high-quality programs. Whatever it is you need to do, you are likely able to do it with CosmoLex. TimeSolv excels at project tracking, but project tracking isn’t all this software option does. TimeSolv can also take care of your firm’s tax calculation and filing needs. PCLaw has made its name a one-stop shop that works well in any situation, especially with large law firms. Everything a big operation could want and need from an accounting software solution is available through PCLaw.

It overcomplicates your accounting

She has owned a bookkeeping and payroll service that specializes in small business, for over twenty years. Whenever you manually enter data into the books, you leave room for errors like a duplicated entry or a wrong number. When an invoice is paid, you should first deduct a portion to pay for those incurred costs.

law firm bookkeeping

The cash method better matches taxable income with cash received and makes it easier to pay the tax liability. You can elect the cash method of accounting by using it on the first return. If you have already filed a tax return using the accrual method, you’ll need to file a request with the IRS to change to the cash method. If you’re just getting started, then consider using one of the best free time tracking software until you get your legal accounting system set up. Most law firms accept electronic payments, like debit and credit.


Most law firms opt to use cash basis accounting because it’s simple to maintain. Cash accounting makes it easy to determine when a transaction has occurred (the money is either in the bank or out of the bank) and there’s no need to track receivables or payables. Once you understand the basics, consider hiring an accountant, either as a contractor or as an employee. They can help level up your firm and make the legal accounting process even smoother by adding legal accounting and legal practice management software to your firm’s toolkit.

One of the most significant decisions small business owners have to make in the early days of their company is which accounting basis to follow for tax purposes. Generally, the two allowable options are the cash basis and the accrual basis. As a result, lawyers can automate a significant portion of their bookkeeping using accounting software. Subsequently, they can often handle the aspects that require a human touch personally without much training. For example, lawyers may collect settlement funds on behalf of their clients. Not only do you have to keep these funds separate from yours and your firm’s, but even mingling them with other clients’ funds can be problematic.

Accounting best practices for law firms

It’s best to work with a CPA who has experience working with law firms. Ask other attorneys you know or ask your State Bar for referrals. Any CPA should be willing to sit down with you for a free consultation. Whether you’re a small law firm or large, follow the steps in this guide, and get on the path to financial clarity and success. Without proper attorney bookkeeping, it’s impossible to track what money is coming (and leaving your firm).

law firm bookkeeping

Juris Bookkeeping is a premier bookkeeping service partnering with small and solo law firms to solve their accounting challenges. For a fraction of the cost of a full-time controller, we will take the pain out of your accounting and free you up to focus on practicing law. Insights on running a successful law firm with case management, client intake, billing and payments, tech innovation, and more.