2024 tax filing season set for January 29; IRS continues to make improvements to help taxpayers Internal Revenue Service

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Efficient bookkeeping is a cornerstone of success for any business, and law firms are no exception. In the legal profession, where precision, ethics, and compliance are paramount, maintaining accurate financial records is of the utmost importance. Here, we delve into the critical reasons why bookkeeping plays a pivotal role in the functioning of a law firm. Bookkeeping and accounting are important for all businesses, but they are especially important for law firms. A good bookkeeper can help you keep your finances accurate and up-to-date, which can help you attract clients and improve your image.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

But, if you want to spend your time focused on practicing law rather than deep in the weeds of your firm’s finances, you’ll likely want to consider hiring help. One law firm bookkeeping (or more) of these professionals can greatly assist with your law firm accounting. You’ll also want to decide how your firm will track incoming and outgoing funds.


Analyzing this information helps determine what areas of the law firm are working efficiently and what areas need some work. Accounting for law firms lets you collect and analyze information, and make data-driven decisions based on what money comes in and leaves your firm, so it’s worth it to pay attention. When an invoice is paid, you must first allocate the payment to the incurred cost. Nevertheless, many attorneys fail to separate revenue that covers incurred costs from their actual income. People tend to use the terms bookkeeping and accounting interchangeably, but bookkeeping is actually just the first step in the accounting process.

These are some of the most crucial factors that contribute to the growth and expansion of your law firm. IOLTA accounts work in a way that’s different from the ways in which the operating or business accounts work, where interest accumulates. Also, lawyers are not allowed to deposit their own money into IOLTA accounts, unless it is to pay fees. However, you are advised to establish a separate account to cover fees. This way, you can eliminate the chances of involving the client’s money even by mistake.

Accounting and Bookkeeping Best Practices for Law Firms

You can’t, for example, pay for your firm’s operating expenses directly out of an IOLTA account. Some firms will also intentionally use their IOLTA accounts to hide assets, or will leave funds in their IOLTA even after they’ve been earned, using it as a savings account. Every state has an IOLTA program, and it’s likely that the bank where you opened your regular business checking account also offers IOLTA accounts.

how to do bookkeeping for law firm

Running a successful law firm demands unwavering commitment to the intricacies of legal practice. In this pursuit of justice and client advocacy, the last thing you need is the burden of managing complex bookkeeping tasks. At Remote Books Online, we specialize in bookkeeping services tailored specifically to the unique needs of law firms. With our expertise, you can focus entirely on your core legal responsibilities while we ensure that your financial records remain accurate, compliant, and transparent.

Law Firm Bookkeeping and Accounting: A Completed Guide 2022

As an attorney, you may be aware of state bar requirements for trust accounts, but that doesn’t prevent you make mistakes. The most common mistakes are putting funds in the wrong account, accidentally or intentionally withdrawing funds, fail to report monthly, and so on. Poor management of trust accounts can lead to penalties, suspension, or even losing the right to practice law. A trust account is a special bank account where client funds are kept safe and in a separate account from law firm operating funds. One of the most important steps in assuring your legal firm’s financial stability and regulatory compliance is setting up an effective and well-organized bookkeeping system.

In addition to thinking about expenses, it’s also important to project future revenue when setting a budget for a law firm. This will help you make sure that you’re bringing in enough money to cover your costs and hopefully make a profit. A mileage tracker app can help you keep track of all your business miles, as well as plan for future expenses. A free time tracking software can be used until you get your legal accounting system set up. For example, if a law firm provides services to a client in December but doesn’t receive payment until January, the accrual method would require the firm to record the revenue in December. So, for example, if a law firm provides services to a client in December but doesn’t receive payment until January, the accrual method would require the firm to record the revenue in December.

Join the thousands worldwide in our Tea Lovers Club who receive our best discounts, new videos, Tea tips, and recipe ideas every week