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Vicky McNaught - Legal accountancy expert - Randall & Payne

Vicky McNaught-Davis
Client Director
Legal & professional Partnerships specialist

Legal & Professional Partnerships

Over the past few years professional practices have faced numerous challenges and have had to make difficult decisions on how to structure themselves in order to retain competitive advantage.

At Randall & Payne, we understand the issues facing professional practices such as solicitors, architects and surveyors and can pride ourselves on being able to work closely with our fellow professionals.

This is why we have an expert team who can provide specific advice on:

• Acquisitions and mergers.

• Business structures, including limited liability partnerships; incorporation

and partnership re-structuring

• Goodwill and asset disposal advice

• Strategic planning

• Property ownership

• Partnership agreements

• Succession and exit planning

Professional partnerships also face very specific ongoing issues – including partnership tax, incorporation; profit enhancement; raising finance and audits.

So whether you need support in dealing with the day-to-day matters involved in running your partnership, including accounts and cash flow and tax advice, or expertise on specific issues, such as acquisitions and mergers or exit strategies for retiring partners, we are here to help.

 

Solicitors’ Accounts Rules – Top Tips to Avoid Problem

Solicitors are required to operate in accordance with the very rigid and precise Solicitors’ Accounts Rules (SAR) when dealing with client money, with any errors seen as a breach of those rules. Here are Vicky’s top tips to avoid making those errors.

• Ensure any withdrawals are signed by an authorised person.

• Transfer money earmarked for costs out of the client account within fourteen days.

• Client bank accounts should be clearly named to include the word client.

• Once a matter is completed, ensure any sum in the client account is dealt with, not left in the account.

• Describing profit costs as disbursements, including charging for telegraphic transfers (when these are made electronically at no cost) could cost you – if in doubt, your accountant will be able to advise you.

• Ensure designated deposit accounts are included in both the ledger and reconciliations.

• If a client’s cheque is dishonoured, a debit balance will arise unless the bank has instructions to charge such unpaid items to the office account. Avoid overdrawn client ledger accounts by instructing your bank.

• Office ledgers should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they do not represent client money incorrectly held in office account, shown with a credit balance.

With SAR’s so rigidly defined it is not difficult for a firm to find that it has breached one or more of them over the course of a year. Professional advice, robust systems and an awareness of common problem areas will help to ensure that the rules are followed.`

 

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