Keeping the accounts for a firm of solicitors or legal professionals is a specialist area and requires an understanding of the legal profession. The key feature that distinguishes legal practices from other businesses is the retention of client funds. How the money is treated, and indeed the interest accrued on it, are enshrined in a complex set of rules and guidelines; the Solicitors' Accounts Rules (SAR), and fall within the scope of the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR).
The Legal Bookkeeping correspondence course
The ICB course is delivered through distance-learning with tutor support. The objective of the course materials, ongoing assignments, and tutor support is to prepare the student to work competently as a bookkeeper and financial manager for a solicitors practice in England and Wales.
The course will extend existing knowledge of bookkeeping into the legal framework and equip students to produce accounts for a legal practice or 'firm'. The course includes tuition on the regulatory framework that is applied to legal accounts and it assumes bookkeeping competence to at least the ICB Level III qualification.
If you are already employed as a legal bookkeeper or financial manager the Certified Legal Bookkeeper course will act as CPD and proof of competence. If you are new to legal bookkeeping, it will hopefully open up new opportunities for employment or perhaps provide the scope for you to take on new clients.
The course is split into thirty one sections. There are five tutor-marked assignments and one final assessment, the Diploma in Legal Bookkeeping. Students will be given Tutor support for up to 12 months from enrolment on the course.
The title of Certified Legal Bookkeeper will be awarded to ICB members who will be subject to the ICB's Professional Conduct Regulations and Continuous Professional Development requirements.
The need for specialist legal bookkeeping training
An overview of the Legal Profession, Legal Accounts and the Legal Office
Professional and Consumer Regulation
Understanding the Legal Accounts Department
The Legal Accounts Process
Looking after client funds
Looking After Client Funds
What is client money?
Handling client money
Holding funds outside of client account
Recording the receipts
Transfer to and from deposit
Transfers between client ledgers
Accounting for interest
Accounting for commission and other ancillary income
Payments from client account
Reconciling the client bank account
Mistakes and other issues
The Office Account
Identifying office money
Dealing with Mixed Money
Invoicing your Clients
Recording the Transactions
Credit Notes, Write-offs Bad Debts
The Accounts Report
Receipts from the Legal Services Commission
Monitoring and Investigation by the SRA
Profit & Loss Account and Balance Sheet
Disbursement vs Expense
Help with the Trial Balance
Additional VAT Guidance
VAT EC Sales List - Form VAT 101 (i)
The course and the final assessment are available on-demand throughout the year. Please call ICB for more information on 0845 060 2345.