Who needs to understand your Client Ledgers?

We live in an age of fast-moving money, instant transactions and the concept that we should be able to know what is going on at the “dropofahat”.

What does this mean for the client ledgers on your accounts package?

In this piece, we will discuss what it means to work in legal practice in 2020 with instantaneous transacting becoming ever more prominent and who needs to be able to interpret your client ledgers.

Understanding how to read and ascertain the position of a client ledger is crucial, not just from a compliance perspective but from a customer service perspective also. This therefore means that Fee Earners and Secretaries need training on what to look for. It is important that not only the accounts department but also those running the file can pick up any ledger issues.

Fee Earners and Secretaries need to be able to discuss the status of the ledgers on their files confidently, and not spend time discussing how the ledger is presented. This is especially important when discussing the current position with the client directly. The firm can be holding thousands, sometimes millions of pounds of client monies and therefore confidence in the ledgers is critical, so that the client can be advised and assured accordingly.

It is also important that all persons who have dealing with the files can liaise with the accounts department confidently when discussing the ledgers. This will ensure that all transactions are undertaken within the correct timeframes and any anomalies are discovered and rectified quickly.

It is vital to understand the software that the firm is using. Case management software which includes accounts is often sold based on the case management element, but it is crucial not to overlook the accounts aspect. It is recommended that the accounts section is assessed, staff have solid training on how the ledgers look and how the accounts element functions before embarking into a contract. The ledgers need to be easy to understand and easily accessible. Fee Earners particularly need to understand how the accounts system handles things like disbursements and billing to avoid unexpected representations on the office side of the ledgers too. Not all systems show things in the same way, so the danger of not understanding a ledger may result in incorrect information being passed onto the client.

Fee Earners, Secretaries, Partners/Directors and Cashiers all need an understanding of how to read the client ledgers. If you do not currently have this knowledge, it’s recommended that you speak to your cashier and get some training. If the firm is changing software, make sure that you consult your accounts department in advance and then ensure as many members of staff as possible are trained in the interpretation of the ledgers too.

This will ensure that your accounts department and finances will run smoothly, and your clients have added confidence in your service.

Alex Simons

The Law Factory LLP

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