Working With a Bookkeeper

You will probably want to hire a good bookkeeper.  We offer the following tips for the hiring interview:
  1. Ask if the candidate has worked with a lawyer before. If so, call the lawyer. Trust accounting for lawyers can be more complex than accounting for many businesses. Experience is not everything, but it is important.
  2. Before the interview, determine how much assistance you need from the bookkeeper. If you have a busy practice with many trust transactions, you will probably need someone who is available more than once a month. (Trust transactions must be recorded “forthwith”. See subsection 2(2) of the Rules).
  3. The following questions will test whether the candidate has had experience working with a lawyer:
  • Do lawyers charge HST? (The candidate should know that HST is chargeable.)
  • How often must a lawyer's accounting records be reconciled? They must be reconciled at least once a month.
  • What is the difference between a general and a specific trust account?
  • What is the correct procedure if a shortage is discovered in a trust account? (You must immediately replace the shortage. See subsection 4(11) and section 5 of the Rules).
  • Do you know where to find the latest trust accounting rules online? (Look at the Law Society of New Brunswick website.)
  • What familiarity do you have with lawyer accounting software packages and with which software packages are you familiar?