Legal Professionals

Stephenson Smart offers a complete accountancy and advisory service for the legal profession.

The legal services sector is an important component of both the national and regional economies. For more than 30 years, we have been assisting legal practices throughout East Anglia in the management of the financial and regulatory aspects of their business.

We have a dedicated team of legal accountants with many years' experience in the legal sector. Our range of clients runs from single practitioners, to multi partner firms and corporate practices. As well as drawing up your financial accounts and dealing with your routine tax affairs, we are able to provide specialist accounting, tax and business advisery services thanks to our team, which consists of:

  • Solicitor accountants,
  • Barrister accountants,
  • And general legal accountants.

SRA Accounts Rules 2011

As you are aware, money you hold on behalf of clients must be dealt with in accordance with rules laid down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Such client money must be kept separate from the practice's own money and used for appropriate purposes only.

We are able to conduct an audit of your handling of client monies and, if necessary, submit a report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority on your behalf. As part of this compliance remit, we can also evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of your systems for recording transactions and propose improvements where necessary to reduce the risk of errors.

COFA Support Services

As well as compliance with the SRA Accounts Rules, the Compliance Officer for Finance & Administration (COFA) is also responsible for the other aspects of Outcome/Focused Regulations (OFR). This is a principles - based approach to managing the risks inherent within a legal practice. Most legal firms do not have dedicated resources to devote to this area. Accordingly, we are able to provide systems and controls reviews, evaluating the risk of your systems and putting forward procedures to ensure that you are compliant. We can additionally follow this up with periodic compliance reviews.

Business Structures

At the present time, many legal practices are considering changing their business structure from the traditional partnership model to Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) or limited companies. Such a change in business structure provides greater flexibility in relation to the ownership and management of the firm. Depending upon individual circumstances, such a change may also bring positive taxation outcomes.

Taking into consideration your current business objectives, and future strategy, we are able to evaluate which business structure is most beneficial for your circumstances. If you decide to proceed with a change, we are able to assist with the formalities of changing business structure, including, for example assisting with the valuation of goodwill, setting up shareholder arrangements and bonus structures etc. We are also able to advice on all taxation aspects surrounding such a change.

Associated with this, we are able to assist with all aspects of Corporate Finance, including the process of obtaining finance, developing business plans, and business projections for investors.

Other Services for legal professionals

In addition to the above, Stephenson Smart is able to offer the following services to legal practices:

  • Partnership tax planning,
  • Personal tax arrangements for partners and owners/managers,
  • Succession planning, forecasting and modelling, including taxation aspects,
  • Expert witness and forensic reviews to support litigation,
  • Payroll maintenance, including assistance with Auto Enrolment,
  • IT advice.

We have offices in King's Lynn, Downham Market, Fakenham, March and Wisbech so if you need a solicitor accountant in Norfolk or Cambridgeshire, contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Contact Stephenson Smart