Who to Hire? (continued)
It is extremely important that the bookkeeper possesses a good working knowledge of law firm processes and procedures. Candidates from another business sector such as the retail industry will not be familiar with the unique processes of trust bookkeeping in a law firm, and will not be able to anticipate the types and amounts of disbursements typical of a law practice.
Secondly, if your practice utilizes legal accounting software instead of a more generic accounting package, it is important that the successful candidate is familiar with your type of software. If not, you may need to provide the necessary training.
Good bookkeepers should have the following characteristics and skills:
Possess above-average analytical skills. Bookkeepers are often required to identify and rectify discrepancies in the course of their duties.
Possess good communication and people skills as they need to work with members of your staff, other members of the profession, clients, and banking staff.
Be able to convey information about any trust or general account transaction undertaken by your practice.
Have a high attention to detail.
A competent bookkeeper will even anticipate the year-end requirements of your business for preparation of year-end financial reports. This in turn may save you outside accounting fees.
Lastly, it is highly recommended that the successful candidate has received some training in Law Society Rules, including the Uniform Trust Account Rules.
Where to Look
Once you have made a realistic assessment of your needs and defined your expectations, you will need to hire the best candidate available that you can afford.
Online employment websites will likely be your best search tool. Employment agencies can be expensive. If you intend to use an employment agency, ensure that they only refer qualified candidates to you.