The Bookkeeper's Role

The person that you employ as your bookkeeper will not only be responsible for the day-to-day posting of transactions for your trust and general accounts, but he/she is usually delegated the more important role of conducting month-end procedures that include:
  • the preparation of the monthly trust bank reconciliations;
  •  billing and accounts receivable work;
  •  payment of client disbursements and office accounts;
  •  preparation of periodic financial statements; and
  •  monitoring cash flow for your business.
Some lawyers have only a vague notion of the duties of the bookkeeper and may underestimate the importance of this person for their business.  It may be tempting to hire a friend or relative for this job without carefully reviewing whether they are qualified for the position.  Unfortunately, this may lead to problems which may include the involvement of the Law Society in cases where the bookkeeper has not performed his/her duties suitably and in accordance with the Uniform Trust Account Rules.  It is the lawyer's personal responsibility to ensure that the books and records for the practice are kept in accordance with the Law Society Rules whether or not any of these responsibilities and duties have been delegated to a bookkeeper. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every practising lawyer to be familiar and have a working knowledge of the Rules.  Finally, as many lawyers have experienced, changing bookkeepers can be expensive and very time-consuming.  It is very important to take the time and effort necessary to choose the right person.