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What is happening in the legal finance world?

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Christmas is rapidly approaching us, but before the sleigh bells start jingling and the mulled wine gets served, we’ve got to get through October and November and there is a LOT going on! Upcoming Legal and Finance events in October and November ...

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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Unsure of your duties after being designated as a COFA? These responsibilities indicate that you are a trustworthy person who can adhere to the SRA's standards. But what does it really mean to be a COFA? What are you expected to do in this new role? ...

The issues paralegals can expect to become more involved in as we come out of lockdown

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By Amanda Hamilton, Chief Executive of the National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP)    The easing of lockdown restrictions has left many people with decisions to make: mask or no mask; isolate when pinged or delete if pinged; embrace...

Insight Legal wins the ILFM Solicitors' Software Users Award 2021

Tim Kidd
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Hampshire based Insight Legal has today bagged the ILFM’s top award for the best solicitors’ software, a title they have won in previous years.   For more than 15 years the ILFM’s members have been asked for their feedback on...

What does it mean to be a legal practice manager?

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A Legal Practice Manager must be an all rounder - hot on finance, compliance, HR, general management, IT, facilities and change management. Recruiters aren't asking for a lot! A strong practice manager is paramount, especially in smaller firms; there...

Working in the Heat and Managing Hay Fever - sanity and safety tips from the ILFM!

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  Summer has arrived at last and the ILFM have top tips on how to stay cool whether you're working from home or the office. Working from home challenges concentration on the best of days, never mind the surge of hot weather we’ve had...

Compliance and Risk Assessment Support for Legal Finance Professionals

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Compliance in any legal organisation is about managing and avoiding risks whilst complying with applicable laws and regulations. It really is vital that all employees conform to a business culture that understands and respects the compliance culture and...

Legal Software Suppliers Guide 2021

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Please feel free to Download, Print & Share (If you would like a printed hard, copy please request from our office ) Welcome to the Institute’s 2021 guide to listed legal software suppliers. A year on from our last...

Is your legal cashier secure in their knowledge of compliance?

Tim Kidd
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The pressures on the accounts department in a law firm is immense. Anyone working in finance and law gets it! The SRA have made the Accounts Rules less stressful, however the knowledge anyone, from legal cashier > bookkeeper > finance manager > COFA...

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...

Salary Survey 2021 Results

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Firstly, a huge thank you to all of you who contributed to our latest Salary Survey. We’re very conscious that this year’s survey has been carried out during an extended period of uncertainty, where many people’s focus and priority has been...

Five tips to support your legal cashier, and why you should be doing this.

Tim Kidd
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A legal cashier navigating a law firm’s complex technical and regulatory landscape can be stressful.

Law firms need to keep a clear focus on supporting their account’s department to ensure they comply with relevant legislative requirements to ensure the whole firm is operating responsibly, sustainably and ethically.

ILFM Spring 2021 Virtual Conference

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KNOWLEDGE    SUPPORT    INFORMATION Spring 2021 Virtual Conference - Thursday 27th May 10am We are very grateful to our generous sponsors, as a result this event will be FREE for ILFM Members. Click here...

Mitigate the Risk of Personal Guarantees

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With the April PII renewal window now open, the leaders of small and medium sized legal practices once again face the challenge of obtaining acceptable insurance terms.    Using the recent October renewal as a reference point, a small number of...

To Qualify or Not to Qualify?

Darren Whelan AILFM
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Law firms or legal providers that offer legal services are regulated by regulators such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to maintain the public trust and the ethical delivery of legal services. Solicitors often receive and hold their...

NEW ! Anti-money laundering guidance for the legal sector.

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ILFM   KNOWLEDGE   -   SUPPORT   -   INFORMATION Today the Law Society has published the new guidance. This is jointly compiled by the Legal Sector Affinity Group (LSAG), which is made up of all the...

Three Wise Kings of Law Firm Finance

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As we look to welcome in a new year, the UK economy waits with anticipation over the prospect of an effective COVID-19 vaccination and the delivery of a BREXIT deal that will support UK businesses.   The challenge for many law...

Net Zero - Making your first step easy

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The prospect of an imminent CoVid-19 vaccine means that 2020 may finish in a much better way than it started!  Hopefully 2021 will signal a return to normal ways of working, and with a new US President who has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate...

Impact of negative interest rates on law firms

Ian Johnson
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At the time of writing, bank interest rates are sitting at an all-time low of 0.1%. Only a couple of years ago, a rate as low as this, let alone a sustained hold at this level, seemed inconceivable and yet we now face a possibility, if not likelihood, of...

LAWCARE LAUNCHES GROUND-BREAKING RESEARCH STUDY 'LIFE IN THE LAW'

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Legal mental health charity LawCare has announced a new ground-breaking research study ‘Life in the Law’ ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10 th October . The charity has teamed up with leading academics in the field Dr Emma Jones...

Professional practices and the future of the office

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Introduction Earlier this year we published two surveys in conjunction with Saffery Champness, which considered how UK law firms were adapting their strategies around staffing, their views on future profitability and the initial impact on...

Legal Software Suppliers Guide 2020

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Welcome to the Institute’s 2020 guide to listed legal software suppliers .  Lockdown has forced many firms to put all major decisions on hold for the past few months. Covid-19 has thrown us into adopting new working practices, principally...

IN YOUR FACE

Darren Whelan AILFM
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You’ll be pleased to know, for once, the debate isn’t my favourite subject of all - ‘Disbursement -v- Recharge’ but the debate of ‘Face-to-Face -v- Online’ learning. Online training has been around for many, many years...

Video Interviews & Salary Survey 2020 Results

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The impact of the Coronavirus will clearly have long lasting results on all of us, with new ways of working having to be quickly established in real time to cope with the challenges of going about our business under a lockdown with strict social distancing...

Coronavirus and the impact on UK law firms - one month on...

Tim Kidd
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The ILFM has now run a second follow up survey in conjunction with Saffery Champness to understand the impact on UK law firms and their strategies around furloughing their staff members. Furloughing – where are we now? At the beginning of April,...

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...

Furloughed but not forgotten

Tim Kidd
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Furloughed but not forgotten Have you arranged training yet for your staff on furlough?   The government is actively encouraging employers to do so * and the Institute is ready and keen to help you provide it. The furlough scheme will...

Coronavirus and the impact on UK law firms

Tim Kidd
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The ILFM has run a survey in conjunction with Saffery Champness to understand the impact on UK law firms and their strategies around furloughing their staff members Introduction We are living through deeply challenging and, for many, distressing times....

What does the survival of your practice have to do with being a member of a professional body

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         Rita Leat, Chief Executive of the IoP   and  Tim Kidd, Chief Executive of ILFM ‘got together’ (by distance!) recently to discuss how their professional bodies could help their members to ensure...

Managing cash flow successfully during this period of uncertainty will be the deciding factor between success and failure for most legal practices.

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Donald Forsyth, partner at Saffery Champness, provides practical guidance on the topic. Forecast your cash requirements – If you are going to manage your firm’s cash flow, you must measure it. If you don't already forecast your cash...

Updated guidance for law firms from the SRA

Ian Johnson
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02 Apr 2020 It has only been a couple of days since we made firms aware of new guidance relating to the SRA’s Accounts Rules and, in particular, the considerations for firms where there may be a delay in obtaining an Accountant’s Report, but...

COVID-19 and the regulatory landscape for law firms

Ian Johnson
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30 Mar 2020 The last month has been enormously challenging for businesses across the globe and with the professional landscape changing on a daily basis, law firms may be struggling to keep abreast of the issues affecting them. Last week, in the midst...

The impact on law firms in the UK of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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The ILFM and Saffery Champness are inviting you to participate in a short survey (just 10 multiple choice questions), to understand the impact on law firms in the UK of the Coronavirus pandemic. All at the ILFM are here to support our members...

SRA - Coronavirus - Help with common queries

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  SRA News Help with common queries The SRA have summarised some of the most common queries they have received about the rules and the potential impact of coronavirus. They will keep these questions updated. They are also...

Message from our Chief Executive

Tim Kidd
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Message from our Chief Executive The rapidly changing situation due to the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us and together we’re facing challenging times. At the ILFM, the health and wellbeing of...

Government announce a package of measures

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Last week the Government announced a package of measures never seen before to help protect jobs and business throughout the coronavirus crisis. The key announcement was Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which will enable ALL businesses, regardless of...

​Read how the ILFM scholarship is helping professionals reach their potential in the legal finance industry

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Pascal Brass, a Controller in a global law firm, has been selected for a scholarship funded by Iceberg, which will allow him to study for an ILFM Diploma qualification. Pascal currently manages working capital and financial operations for three of the...

Tax Changes to Look Ahead to in 2020

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Changes to Inheritance Tax, Landlord Taxes and National Insurance Thresholds Expected in April 2020 As 2019 draws to a close and a new year and new decade awaits us, a number of changes to taxation legislation are due to be implemented in 2020....

The Legal Accounts Salary Survey

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It's that time again - The Legal Accounts Salary Survey carried out in partnership with Balance Recruitment. Please take part - the more data we can gather from across the country, the more accurate the results are. We need you! Our 2020 Legal...

Regulation and risk - the good, the bad and the ugly

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Saffery Champness and the ILFM recently collaborated for our inaugural law firm survey. We gathered thoughts and opinions from a wide range individuals working within law firms, including partners and non-partners. We were especially pleased to be able...

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...

New SRA Accounts Rules SPECIAL EDITION Legal Abacus

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  Welcome to our special edition issue of Legal Abacus. The big change of the year will soon be upon us - the New SRA Accounts Rules. The Rules have been whittled down to just 13, with the focus on safety of client money. The SRA have provided...

ILFM - Solicitors' Software Awards 2019 WINNERS

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We are thrilled to announce the winners of the ILFM’s Solicitors’ Software Awards 2019, voted by our members. Each year the ILFM asks its members to respond to a survey regarding best software which they use every day.  The ILFM continues...

LEGAL FINANCE - ONE SIMPLE TRICK FOR PEACE OF MIND

Tim Kidd
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Working in legal finance brings its pressures and headaches. SRA Accounts Rules, compliance, regulations, fee earner demands and client placation.   ILFM Membership is a must for legal finance and management professionals in the UK.  We...

ILFM and CILEx Regulation - vital business skills for specialist lawyers

Tim Kidd
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            The ILFM and CILEx Regulation are working in partnership to provide high quality accounting and practice management knowledge and skills for lawyers.  In this post we talk about risk, compliance,...

2019 Legal Accounts Salary Survey

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As always, we start with a big thank you to all of you who took the time out to contribute to our latest Salary Survey. We’ve had a huge response from the combined network of the ILFM and Balance Recruitment, and have subsequently been very busy...

Happy Easter to each and every Legal Finance Professional

Tim Kidd
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Where has this first quarter gone? The ILFM team have been busy bunnies since January, mainly ensuring our experienced trainers are ready and raring to go with the new SRA Accounts Rules’ training events.  Probably not surprising that our...

Video Update from LegalEx 2019 'The SRA's Account Rules'

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Nice little update direct from the SRA on the New Accounts Rules 2109 - LegalEx 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brXDgeK8ghE&feature=youtu.be Nice mention for the ILFM at 24mins This session offers an update on planned changes...

SRA - New Accounts Rules and how the ILFM help, train and support all legal finance & management professionals

Tim Kidd
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The SRA has confirmed that they will launch their new regulatory model on 25 November 2019, and the ILFM would like to ensure that all legal finance professionals are given practical training, updates and support before the rules come into play.  ...

The need for transparency in pricing - and in general - in the legal sector

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By Amanda Hamilton, NALP ‘Transparency’ is the latest buzz-word in the legal services sector – and rightly so! This author has long since expounded the necessity for it and, at last, the Solicitors Regulation Authority will be...

It's the UK's very first National Paralegal Day - TODAY !!

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   14th March 2019 The National Association of Licenced Paralegals is pleased to announce the launch of National Paralegal Day. Today is to celebrate the work that Paralegals do and the contribution they make to the legal profession. Whether...

Is Your Legal Software Ready to Remain Compliant in 2019?

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The legal software market is amidst a period of change and consolidation. Previously, most Law Technology suppliers tended to be owner-managed businesses. However, today’s landscape is very different, with a good number being bought up by larger...

Legal HR and Practice Managers - How Do You Support Your Legal Finance Teams or Candidates?

Tim Kidd
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From legal cashiers, bookkeepers, head of accounts to COFAs – there has never been so much education and support through the ILFM .  Knowledge is power. The ILFM team up each year with Balance Recruit , a specialist Legal Finance Recruitment...

Why Every Legal Cashier Needs ILFM Membership

Tim Kidd
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From cashiers to COFAs – the role of a person within legal finance has changed so much over the past 20 years.  Here’s why the profession requires support, training, education and friendly guidance more than ever before. The ILFM started...

Practice Excellence Awards 2019 - in association with the ILFM

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This year we’re doing something different for everyone running SME law firms – recognising excellence in driving efficiency, creating innovation and focusing on people. That’s why we’re proud to launch the LPM Practice...

Legal Finance - Insider Insight

Tim Kidd
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The ILFM’s history is one of support, advice and training. Over the years we have grown in tandem with new compliances and regulations to become the leading non-profit organisation for legal finance professionals. The ILFM was founded in 1978,...

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...

Getting ready for the year ahead

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Darren Whelan highlights the key changes ILFM members need to be on top of as the New Year gets under way... Happy New Year!  It sounds and feels a little strange wishing you all a happy new year considering I’m sat at Birmingham New Street...

Our 2019 Legal Accounts Salary Survey is now live...

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...and we again need to ask for your help in compiling the invaluable data, which allows us to produce the most comprehensive survey of its kind for this niche community.              The legal accounts community...

With major reforms to Law Firms coming in April why are so many law firms in the dark or in denial?

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In their recent Bellwether discussion paper, ‘ A dangerous allegiance to the status quo? ’, LexisNexis published the results of a major market research project looking at how Small and Independent Law firms are responding to the Solicitors...

Quill's employees credited with ILFM membership

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                           November 2018 Quill has strengthened its ties with The Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM) by establishing a close partnership that will...

Can your Legal Accounts Software Make Tax Digital?

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Next Spring, something massive is coming that is going to lead to huge changes for millions of businesses in the UK. No, not Brexit, we’re talking about Making Tax Digital. Paul Wynn at DPS Software explains what this means for your existing accounting...

Chairs Message Nov/Dec 2018

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As I write this, temperatures have already plummeted to near zero. Looking out of the window, Summer and Autumn appear to be greeting one another as old friends as we begin the transition from one season to another. Summer, and 2018 overall, almost seem like...

APPROVED: LSB approves new SRA Accounts Rules

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The Legal Services Board has published a press release stating they have approved the ‘Looking to the Future’ rule change application as submitted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.  Read the full release...

Chairs Message Sept/Oct 2018

Sue Williams FILFM
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Well, here we are approaching the Autumn and we have our annual Conference and AGM coming up in November. We have a great line up of speakers for the Conference, including Chris Handford, Director of Policy for the SRA, so we will be hearing all about the up...

Don't miss the Institute's 2018 Annual Conference

Tim Kidd
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With just a few weeks to go until the start of our conference celebrating the Institute’s 40 th anniversary, you still have an opportunity to book your place at our early-bird discounted rate. For me, these are the highlights I’m most...

The ILFM listed legal software suppliers guide 2018-2019.

Tim Kidd
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Deciding which new or replacement software is appropriate for our firms has never been easy, we have to take so many factors into account. Cost is always a critical consideration, but we also have to include compliance, effectiveness and response times. Not...

Chairs Message July/August 2018

Sue Williams FILFM
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The SRA published a report in May evaluating their reforms to the Accountants’ report requirements. They found that in the period June to November 2017 they received 923 qualified reports, which is only a third of the number received in the same period...

A second pair of eyes: how can accounts staff help the fight against money laundering

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Money Laundering is a massive global issue. Recent estimates are that over $1trillion of illicit funds are laundered annually, with £90bn of that in the UK. The problem is seemingly getting worse, and the professionals are coming under increased...

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...

Chairs Message May/June 2018

Sue Williams FILFM
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Hello!  I’m sure you will all be surprised to see another Chair’s Message from me, as I completed my two years as chair at the AGM at the end of November and handed over to my Vice Chair, Jacky Ellis. I am very sorry to tell you that Jacky...

2018 Legal Accounts Salary Survey

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Last year saw a fantastic response to our annual salary survey, carried out in association with Balance Recruitment. We would love to see even more data, particularly from members in Wales and Northern England. Make sure you take part and enter the prize...

The VAT treatment of statutory charges such as land charges and land registry fees etc

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The ILFM recognise that there has been an increase in Member queries with regards to the VAT treatment of statutory charges such as land charges and land registry fees etc as a result of the Brabners First Tier Tribunal decision. For clarity, there is no...

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...

FREE Online Excel Course for Members - DEMYSTIFY MICROSOFT EXCEL IN FOUR HOURS.

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£39.00   £0.00 to ILFM Members This online course contains four hours of basic Excel training split across-22 modules. If you’re new to Excel or have limited knowledge of Excel, this course is for you. In this course you...

VAT and online property searches - Updated 12th Oct

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  Following a recent Tribunal decision, the leading North-West law firm Brabners faces a £68,000 VAT bill for electronic local authority property searches it obtained by using a search agency, after the tribunal ruled that they should not have...

Required: ILFM Tax Tutor and Examiner

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The ILFM needs you! The Institute is looking to appoint an examiner and tutor for its new associate-level tax course.  Do you have what it takes?  Would you like to take a key role in shaping the legal and finance professionals of the future? ...

Seven reasons why you can't miss the ILFM Annual Conference 2017

Tim Kidd
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With just ten weeks to go until the Annual ILFM conference,  the team asked me what I’m most looking forward to. When I stopped to give this some thought, I realised there was quite a lot – it’s an exciting year for the ILFM...

YOU have voted Insight Legal as your winner!

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For the second year running, you have voted Insight Legal as your winner! This is the nineth time that ILFM members have been surveyed to choose an award winner and we again asked the users of legal accounts software to vote for their legal accounts...

Looking to the Future: SRA Accounts Rules Review

Sue Williams FILFM
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  The SRA have today published their decisions following consultations on “Looking to the Future: Flexibility and Public Protection” and “Looking to the Future: Accounts Rules Review”.  Following extensive consultation and...

North Wales Branch

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Following the success of the Cymru branch, the ILFM would like to introduce a new branch for members in North Wales. Would you be interested in joining a branch in your area? We are looking for volunteers who can assist in getting this new branch...

2017 Legal Accounts Salary Survey

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It’s that time of year again, and the results are now in! The ILFM and specialist legal accountancy recruitment consultancy Balance Recruitment have teamed up to produce a 2017 Legal Accounts Salary Survey. A huge thank you to all of those who took...

Seven important employment law changes taking place this April

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From businessadvice.co.uk   (Expert Advice for the engine room of the British economy) April 2017 will see wide-reaching changes in UK employment law Next month marks the busiest time of year, where major employment law changes will take...

Are COFA's Ready for Change?

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During 2016 we saw the third phase of the SRA consultations to undertake a full review of the SRA Accounts Rules. This phase of the consultation put forward some significant changes to the SRA Accounts Rules and in particular a change in the definition of...

ILFM Listed Legal Software Suppliers Guide 2017

Tim Kidd
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Welcome to the Institute’s 2017 guide to listed legal software suppliers Deciding on what new or replacement software is appropriate for our firms has never been easy: we have to take so many factors into account. Cost is always a critical...

ILFM 2018 Scholarships for Members

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Barry Hilton was one of the founders of the Institute and one of his passions was the education and advancement of legal accounting staff. Barry was responsible for writing many of the Institute’s original courses and seminars along with being a...

2017 Salary Survey

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A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our now award-winning 2016 Legal Accounts Salary Survey. For 2017 we’re kicking the process off slightly earlier than usual to allow more time and to help generate an ever greater volume of...

Seven reasons why you can't miss the ILFM Annual Conference

Tim Kidd
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With less than six weeks to go until the Annual ILFM conference entitled ‘Brave New World’, the team asked me what I’m most looking forward to. When I stopped to give this some thought, I realised there was quite a lot – it’s an...

Automating international payments

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Automating international payments - the many advantages for law firms expanding globally Globalisation of the legal market is still growing, as law firms tap into the potential for expansion that cross-border markets offer. Firms venturing into...

2016 Salary Survey Results

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The ILFM have once again teamed up with specialist legal business services recruitment consultancy Balance Recruitment to produce the 2016 Legal Accounts Salary Survey and we have had a whopping response with an increase in participation across the length...

Entrepreneurs' Relief - a Budget 2016 U-Turn?

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Entrepreneurs’ Relief – a Budget 2016 U-turn?   We have written previously for Legal Abacus on the various changes that have been made to the availability of Entrepreneurs’ Relief on the value of goodwill when incorporating...

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...

Win a FREE Place at ILFM Conference 2016

Tim Kidd
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  Dear Members,  To complete our recent rebranding exercise we wanted to ask you about your ideas for an ILFM strapline.   You will of heard many many straplines in everyday life... Just do it, Vorsprung durch technik, I'm lovin'...

Warning - Scam email alert

Tim Kidd
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Warning - Email Scam Alert.   Please be vigilant. We have been told about a new email scam whereby you may receive an email telling you that you owe money to a (usually) British business, and that the sender of the email has been instructed to...

The Access to Justice Foundation Award

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Nominations are still open for the  The Access to Justice Foundation Award , organised in conjunction with the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Awards 2016 and are looking for your nominations of educational institutions or...