Ever had that questioning feeling when a stranger asks you for money? You are filled with doubt and start to feel uncomfortable. Your gut reaction is to say no. Yet when a Solicitor asks for the same thing, the cheque book usually comes straight out often without any questions asked.
Solicitors have an underlying trust surrounding them to act and behave in the best interest of their client, and as a gentleman’s promise should always stand respected, so does the Solicitor protect their client and their assets. With this in mind, Solicitors and indeed all that work within a law firm, are firmly regulated in order to ensure the same. The fundamental concept of such guidelines is to protect client money & is one reason why we operate a separate client & office account.
What happens when we receive Client’s money?
Each client is designated with a specific reference number at the start of every transaction. This client specific reference is used throughout the transaction and in particular with any monetary transactions as a way of electronically recording all transactions.
It means that we can recognise each payment as soon as it is received into our nominated account, and be able to notify the correct fee earner quickly so that the matter progresses smoothly. It also means that we keep every client’s matter separate from one another. Law Firms also operate a separate account for clients & their own funds.
As we are firmly within an electronic age, this allows a person to check the figures that have been received against the figures expected online, and in doing so, is able to quickly query any discrepancies. By querying a discrepancy as soon as it is noticed, it decreases the possibility of residual balances in a transaction, or going overdrawn on a specific matter.
We also employ external accountants on a monthly basis to assist our financial control & we also have an annual audit by an external accountant. This involves random checks against files to check our general accountancy but also ensure we are compliant with the Solicitors Accounts Rules. The results of our annual audit are reported back to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.