The Legal Cashiering Role for SMB Legal Practices

Ascentant's MD, Kevin Drew, defines the scope, role & responsibilities of an Outsourced Legal Cashier.

Legal Cashier Overview

As a general overview, our Legal cashiering service covers or provides access to:

  • General client & office account Legal Cashiering.
  • Daily bank reconciliations.
  • Advising of bank receipts.
  • Dealing with queries and reports.
  • Dealing with supplier payments.
  • Dealing with month end system closure.
  • Dealing with year end system closure.
  • Dealing with Accountants re year end accounts.
  • Dealing with Accountants re Client Account audit.
  • Assisting with PII renewal & Practicing Certificate renewal re financial reporting.
  • Compliance reports and checks.
  • Advising on Solicitors Accounts Rules compliance.
  • Advising on HMRC compliance.
  • Use of our client portal system for document exchange, E-chits and compliance monitoring.

Role Description

Solicitors which are regulated by the SRA are required to operate in compliance with the Solicitor’s Accounts Rules and require an Outsourced Legal Cashier. The purpose of this role is to ensure day-to-day compliance with those rules.

Key Activities: Banking / Treasury

  • Identifying client account monies received and notifying Partners/Directors of receipts.
  • Transferring fees from Client Account to Office Account, within 14 days in accordance with Accounts Rules and posting Office Account receipts.
  • Paying any Unpaid Disbursements by the second working day after receiving them into Office Account, in accordance with Accounts Rules.
  • Payments from the Client Account.
  • Operating deposit accounts.
  • Creating electronic Payment Runs, to make vendor payments.
  • Creating Payment Runs for payroll, drawings/dividends and any benefits providers.

Key Activities: Client Ledgers

  • Maintaining up to date client ledgers, posting client ledger journals to ensure consistency with the Client Accounts.
  • Client Interest calculations and application.
  • Client Account reconciliations.
  • Monitoring Residual Client Account balances.

Key Activities: Office Ledgers

  • Disbursement and WIP adjustments, transfers and write-offs.
  • Monitoring of Office Credit Balances in accordance with Accounts Rules.
  • Maintenance of system fee earner rates and special client charge out rates.
  • Office Account reconciliations.

Key Activities: Accounts Payable

  • Posting Invoices and Staff Expenses to the ledgers and ensuring all disbursements are correctly coded to client matters.
  • Aged Creditor and Aged Disbursement monitoring and control.

Key Activities: Month-End Procedures

  • Monthly reconciliations of balance sheet accounts (VAT control, PAYE control).
  • Closing the ledgers on a monthly basis and running standard month-end reports.
  • Maintaining a Breach Register in accordance with Accounts Rules.

Key Activities: Billing

  • Support for billing and processing bills in line with SRA and HMRC guidelines.

Activities Outside Scope Of Role

  • Non-standard reporting requests (i.e. reports not readily available as part of the standard PMS package).
  • Financial Reporting / Preparation of Management Accounts.
  • Budgeting.
  • Generation of e-billing files.
  • Authorising Payments – we would expect this role holder to create payments, but have a different person approve them, in order to maintain segregation of duties.
  • Foreign Exchange trading.

Oversight And Governance

  • We would not expect this role to operate in isolation and would expect both a Senior Legal Cashier to assist your nominated Legal Cashier in tangent with your Accountant/Auditor and a nominated Director/Partner and/or COFA of your firm.