Firm Finances: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and KPIs 2023

law firm bookkeeping

For bookkeeping purposes, ensure you’re only tracking transactions that occur within your law firm’s accounts. If for any reason you make a mistake (such as depositing a personal check in your business account), make sure to track it in your books. Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts, also known as IOLTA accounts, are bank accounts used to hold client retainers, settlement funds, and other money that belongs to clients. Bookkeepers maintain and record all financial transactions in the original books of entry and balance the financial accounts for your firms. They summarize and organize all the company’s financial transactions chronologically in a systematic manner.

  • Here’s what yours might look like as you draft a plan for your bookkeeping business.
  • Double-entry accounting is a system of bookkeeping where every entry to an account (i.e., every financial transaction) requires a corresponding and opposite entry to a different account.
  • If that’s your billable rate, then that’s what you’re effectively doing.
  • When you take funds out of your business for personal use, it can either be classified as a capital withdrawal or as a payment for salary.
  • Hire a tax professional like a CPA to help you with your business taxes.

In most cases, law practice management software doesn’t include an accounting element specialized for law firms. This leaves you with the purchase of additional non-legal accounting software. As a result, you’re left with multiple platforms and an accounting system that is not tailored specifically for law firms. To ensure you don’t intermingle, keep separate accounts for your business and your personal finances.

How to handle IOLTAs in your bookkeeping

In fact, some basic rules dictate how you must handle this money to ensure compliance. Bookkeeping requires dedication and attention just like everything else in your firm. We understand what it’s like to have everything fall on your shoulders. That’s also why we recommend eventually hiring a professional bookkeeper to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

law firm bookkeeping

Clients who are happy with your services are more likely to stay loyal and continue to hire you. They also may be willing to refer you to people they know who might need a good bookkeeper. If you’re specifically interested in working as a bookkeeper remotely, establishing Best Law Firm Accounting Software in 2023 a website and social media profiles may be a starting point for your marketing plan. Both can make it easier for potential clients to find you in online searches. You can also leverage social media to build your brand and increase your visibility.

Marketing Strategies for Your Bookkeeping Business

When you’re just starting out, you can keep costs low by recording all income and expenses in a spreadsheet, like our Excel Income Statement Template. As a lawyer, when you receive cash that belongs to a client, you are obligated to hold those funds in a client trust account separate from your own money. These are commonly known as IOLTA accounts (interest on lawyers trust accounts) and vary by state (and also check with your local bar association).

law firm bookkeeping

In fact, trust accounts are a unique component of legal accounting. Law firms must follow certain legal industry regulations based on their jurisdiction. With cash accounting for law firms, revenue is recognized when cash is received and expenses are recognized when the expenses are paid.

What legal accountants do

Daily bookkeeping gives you better information about the financial state of your law firm, while monthly bookkeeping will keep you guessing. Accounting for law firms becomes so much easier when you work with an accounting professional from the beginning. Double-entry accounting is a system of bookkeeping where every entry to an account (i.e., every financial transaction) requires a corresponding and opposite entry to a different account. A double entry system, therefore, has two equal and corresponding sides—or debits and credits—and creates a balance sheet consisting of assets, liabilities, and equity.