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COFA

An informative and valuable resource helping to keep you up to date with key issues, especially around the COFA Role.

Residual balances on law firm client accounts

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Regulated law firms in England & Wales hold dual ledgers and residual client account balances need prompt attention. The accounts law firms hold are: business accounts client accounts Client accounts are heavily regulated under the SRA...

SRA Transparency Rules and Clients

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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SRA Transparency Rules and Law Firm Clients When legal regulators use the word “consumers”, the general meaning is actually “clients of law firms”. We are all consumers of law in one way or another, buying a property, divorcing,...

SRA news for consumer protection and finance risk management

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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ILFM feedback to the SRA's news on consumer protection and client account risk management Updated 20 February 2024 The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a review of consumer protection in response to evolving risks in the legal...

What are the Risks Associated with AI in Legal Finance

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Updated 6 February 2024 Artificial intelligence (AI) is literally everywhere in the news and conversations. There is so much noise surrounding this topic and no more so than in law firms, from tech to marketing to support to transparency to legislation...

COFA News: First law firm fined by SRA because...

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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COFA News: First law firm fined by SRA for failing to notify regulator of a material changes Recognised* law firms in England & Wales must, at all times, have in place a have a compliance officer for finance and administration ( COFA ) and...

Legal Finance and Practice Management PII questions answered

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Questions coming from practice managers and reporting accountants at the our November Conference in regard to professional indemnity insurance (pii). Joel Harding, from Howden Broking, was one of our guest speakers at the ILFM’s November Virtual...

Why AML training is beneficial for law firm support staff

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Let’s begin with the fact that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has upped its powers for their anti-money laundering supervision and investigation measures. The SRA now has dedicated resources to ensure law firms comply with anti-money...

Qualified Accountant's Report (QAR) and Legal Finance Requirements

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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The ILFM work with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to receive updates and priorities that we can impart to our members. Going forward, the SRA’s focus is to: Deliver high professional standards. Strengthen its risk based and proactive...

Are Conveyancing Solicitors at Risk of Money Laundering

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Conveyancing solicitors and CILEx lawyers play a critical role in preventing money laundering. They are the gatekeepers of property transactions and must remain vigilant whilst upholding professional standards. What are the best practices, firmwide, to...

Is the legal market slowing down?

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The latest Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index Report from LexisNexis is an interesting read, with the data showing that the post-pandemic legal bubble is under pressure and the research predicts the legal market's slowing down for...

ILFM and Crowe Law Firm Benchmarking Report Results 2023

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CROWE's Press Release as follows:             Law firm revenues increase but surging costs drag profits 25 September 2023, LONDON: Audit, tax, advisory and risk firm, Crowe, provides a timely...

Legal Updates with Legislation and Companies House News 2023

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Whether your law firm offers B2B services, or your practice itself requires this information to function seamlessly, this update is for you to read and share. In 2023, Companies House introduced new legislation to improve the transparency of UK companies...

Social Mobility in the Legal and Finance Profession

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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The Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM), by default, boosts socio-economic diversity through our qualifications and training into UK Law Firms. The majority of our students who come through the ILFM to study legal finance have not had...

Legal Software - Stick or Twist

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Legal Software and how to avoid a software change being too much of a gamble Guest writer and ILFM member, Alex Simons, from the Law Factory LLP giv es us his take on legal cashiering and legal software. I’ve been working in legal...

How does your law firm stay compliant in a heavily regulated profession

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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The Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM) membership is the first port of call for UK law firm COFAs (Compliance Officer for Finance & Administration).  In England & Wales, law firms are required to appoint a Compliance...

Online Safety Bill and what it means to law firms

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Online Safety Bill – are you ready and what does it mean for your law firm? At the time of writing, the online safety bill is at the Report Stage of the bill at the House of Lords, i.e. it’s very nearly coming to fruition. MPs and law...

Crowe Law Firm Benchmarking Survey 2023

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Crowe’s annual Law Firm Benchmarking survey is live! We are delighted to announce that Crowe have launched their 2023 Law Firm Benchmarking survey , working in conjunction with the Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM) for the...

Training for the Role of a COFA in a law firm

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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If your law firm is authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) then there is a requirement that a COFA and a COLP is appointed. A COFA is a compliance officer for finance and administration, and a COLP is a compliance officer for legal...

Interest Rate Increase and Law Firm Cashflow

Karen Edwards FCILEx ILFM(Dip)
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Interest rates are currently 4.5% and set to increase again- are you getting the most from your client account deposits?   Some law firm owners and partners may wonder if this is a legitimate source of income and whether looking around for...

Life of a Legal Finance Compliance Officer

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Guest writer, ILFM Member and Finance Compliance Officer, Christine Hirons from Pinsent Masons LLP I recently reached the milestone of working for 35 years at Pinsent Masons LLP which, when I think about it, seems a very long time ago… ...

Spring Budget - ILFM Snapshot

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered a ‘ Budget for Growth ’ after the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast a stronger than expected performance from the UK economy this year with inflation continuing to fall. Let’s look into the...

How to get the best candidate for your law firm

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Guest writer, Richard Hooper from Balance Recruitment, tells us his take on how best to attract and retain the right person for your law firm. I’ll soon be approaching 20 years of recruiting within the legal finance community and I’m looking...

Skills To Future-Proof Your Career in Law and Finance

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Guest writer, Joanna Gaudoin, is a best selling author and Managing Director of Insight Out Image . She helps professionals with their technical skills whilst improving their non-technical ones to aid career progression and boost their...

Case Study of a Legal Finance Director

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In the life of Legal Finance - 25 years and Counting Guest writer, Marc Pegg, ILFM Member and Finance Director at Actons Solicitors. My first position at a law firm would begin in the summer of 1997 at the tender age of 17. Careers Advice! ...

Conveyancing Fraud - Practical Steps for Prevention

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Conveyancing Fraud – Practical Steps for Prevention On 12 November 2022, the House of Lords Fraud Act 2006 and Digital Fraud Committee published its report “Fighting Fraud: Breaking the Chain”.  This included a number of key...

Legal Finance Support from LawCare Charity

Elaine Pasini MCIM
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Without fail World Mental Health Day #WMHD falls on the same day of the same month each year. If you’re not already aware, it’s 10 th October! The ILFM and LawCare – Legal Finance Professionals’ Mental Health Matters Legal...

Does a COFA have to be a solicitor?

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If you are starting the process into who you should assign as the COFA in your legal firm , you might not know exactly what it means to be a COFA, and who you can consider for the role. As you will, I’ve no doubt already know, your practice is...

What a COFA of a Law Firm has to do

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The Professional Institute for COFAs Membership of the Institute will give COFAs independent advice, support and resources to help in their day-to-day role. COFAs play a vital role in the move to regulation focused on outcomes and they are key to fulfilling...

Savvy consumers and Legal Firms - Why your legal cashiers need training and support

Tim Kidd
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We are consumers, all of us, so you’ll understand when we explain why we are a savvy lot when choosing a law firm to work with our business, or indeed, our personal affairs. How many people in your Accounts Department do you know? The Director? The...

COFAs - Client money protection during COVID-19

Richard Hill AILFM
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The SRA have stated that “We expect solicitors and firms to continue to meet the high standards the public expect”….. and…”We expect firms to have appropriate contingency plans in place for disruption, but we recognise that...

COFAs - it's all in the manual

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All law firms should ideally have some form of office manual detailing the policies, controls and processes which have been agreed internally and which cover all operating aspects of the practice. The office manual is the law firm’s internal handbook...

New Accounts Rules focused on keeping client money safe

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Ahead of the new SRA Accounts Rules coming into force in November, Juliet Oliver, SRA General Counsel, outlines the key principles of the new regulations and the approaches available to manage and safeguard client money. Click here for:  Full...

The COFA's hitlist 10 things to do for 25 November 2019

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The new SRA Accounts Rules come into force on 25 November 2019 and COFAs need to prepare and take the opportunity to review their role. Richard Hill, ILFM Executive Council member and Practice Director at Stepien Lake LLP provides a few tips of what to...

An overview for COFAs of the anti money laundering requirements for a firm's clients

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COFAs are not necessarily responsible for the money-laundering requirements relating to a law firm’s clients. However, a recent disciplinary tribunal fined a principal, who was also the firm’s COFA, for failing to adhere to the relevant...

Legal Finance - What to expect and how the ILFM helps

Tim Kidd
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  Your journey in an Accounts Department of a Law Firm can be daunting.  It’s an exciting time, knowing you are in a specialist area of finance.  From bank reconciliations, to data entry, to understanding how lawyers and clients...

The aftermath of cybercrime - cofa actions

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Law firms are commonly targeted by cybercriminals and cybercrime presents a perpetual daily risk for them. Robust controls help prevent cybercrime in the first place, but, in this edition of COFA Corner, we look at the actions a law firm and its COFA must...

COFAS - SRA Accounts Rules changes on the horizon: time to prepare?

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In June 2017, the SRA published responses to the third and final phase of its review of the SRA Accounts Rules. The consultation looked to simplify the Account Rules, redefine the definition of client money and provide an alternative to holding client money...

COFAs - PI insurance claims and losses: are your client payment controls robust?

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One of the COFA’s core duties is to safeguard client money by ensuring the law firm has sound accounting controls and procedures. In this edition of COFA Corner, we look more specifically at a law firm’s payment controls. We also look at...

COFAs - disbursement or recharge? VAT is the question

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Readers will no doubt have read about the recent VAT case, Brabners v HMRC. Brabners is a north- west firm of lawyers, which was supported by the Law Society in an unsuccessful appeal against an HMRC VAT assessment. The case primarily rested on whether...

Financial reporting and management accounting for COFAs

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Monitoring financial stability is an important aspect of the COFA’s role and one essential tool is having timely financial management information. This information not only helps with monitoring financial stability and performance, but also has many...

The Accountants Report and the COFA role.

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Jason Mitchell looks at how the latest changes to the accountant’s reporting regime impact on the COFA role.   On 30 October 2015 the SRA published the latest round of changes made to the accountant’s report regime (updated on 17 December...

The COFA & Cybercrime Prevention

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The legal sector continues to be at the forefront of cyber-attacks from fraudsters attempting to access and extract both office and client money from a legal practice. Legal Abacus has recently focused on this issue from a variety of angles. Here Jason...

Fifty Shades of COFA

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COFA – A Practical View (Half Day Course) Workshop by Richard Hill, Practice Director at StepienLake and Chairman of the ILFM 14th April 2015  1.30 to 4.30pm – London Link to book: ...