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Book Review - SOLICITORS AND THE ACCOUNTS RULES - A COMPLIANCE HANDBOOK (4TH EDITION)

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SOLICITORS AND THE ACCOUNTS RULES – A COMPLIANCE HANDBOOK (4TH EDITION)   *ILFM Members Discount !

The latest version of the SRA Accounts Rules is two years old. This streamlined version of the regulatory duties which must be observed by all law firms holding client money was introduced in November 2019. At the time it was heralded for being more practical, with the removal of very prescriptive requirements, and a new emphasis on considering risk issues associated with the holding of client monies. Notwithstanding this change of direction, it is still helpful to have some guidance on how to interpret the Rules and how to demonstrate compliance in practice.  

For these reasons, I would recommend  the Law Society’s  “Solicitors and the Accounts Rules” to all law firm owners, the COFA and compliance colleagues, and accounts staff. This book has been extensively revised and  updated to provide a much-needed companion to the SRA Accounts Rules 2019 and has added a layer of interpretation and best practice advice which is hugely reassuring to anyone involved in client money decision-making in the law firm. 

It is written by two subject experts, Andrew Allen and Janet Taylor. Their approach to this topic is accessible and that they are effective communicators. This is the style that is applied to the content of this book. It is a good read and covers some difficult application points. Whilst of course, they describe  the Accounts Rules to us, the added value is that the authors have drawn on their experience of interpreting and applying the Rules and given us much needed practical examples based on different areas of practice.   

To take one example of a knotty compliance problem, the  authors have included a chapter on residual balance issues. Anyone involved in  client money accounting knows that this is a perennial problem which can have disciplinary consequences for the firm, its COFA and owners. The authors not only identify the relevant Rules, but also add a useful commentary on associated issues such as the meaning of ongoing matters, issues with abortive transactions, best practice about maintaining relationships with a client at the end of a retainer in circumstances where monies must be retained, waiver applications where clients go missing, and a commentary on the importance of residual balance management. This chapter provides solid support to those on the accounting frontline and can help to shape the wider firm’s response to the topic. 

Another chapter is devoted to frequently asked questions clearing up many common misunderstandings (such as whether a firm can have a policy to donate small balances to charity and the current position with suspense ledger accounts now that they are not mentioned in the 2019 Rules). There are also resources to help with the correct treatment of ancillary issues such as value added tax and the relationship with the reporting accountant. SRA and Law Society guidance and templates are also added. 

This book is an easy to use and one-stop reference manual which I would recommend to everyone interested in this topic. 


You can get a copy here...

https://bookshop.lawsociety.org.uk/p/solicitors-and-the-accounts-rules-4t-paperback/ 

*(ILFM Members get a discount - call us for a code - 020 8302 2867)


Tracey Calvert 

Oakalls Consultancy Limited 

tracey@oakalls.com 

www.oakallsconsultancy.co.uk 

13 October 2021 

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