PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

What we can do for you...

Combining our extensive financial and risk management experience to help your legal practice achieve financial stability, comply with its regulatory obligations and maximise opportunities for growth.

 

Keeping up to date with risk management policies and the wider regulatory landscape is time consuming and that is why we believe our breadth and depth of experience helps to take the hassle out of dealing with financial and operational risk which enables our clients to focus on their business.

Financial Management

 

Implementing effective financial management processes 

Sound financial management is rarely about the money. It’s about developing and consistently adopting effective internal financial management processes, whilst ensuring that the firm’s culture promotes team-wide accountability for safeguarding the firm’s viability and financial stability.

 

Everyone within the practice should understand the importance of effective cash management, and know what they need to do to keep cash flow on track. In other words, law firms should develop a sustainable cultural approach to finance. This is where we come in.

 

We can develop fully-tailored financial management processes that are specifically designed to promote healthy cash flow and mitigate the firm’s financial risks, then work with your team to ensure the firm-wide adoption of these processes. In this context, our work typically includes:

Review of existing financial management policies

  • We can independently review, consult on and implement financial management procedures that comply with legal industry standards and are fit for the purpose of ensuring that your firm runs efficiently and effectively.

  • This includes consulting on your approach to approving transactions, dealing with office and client money, billing and fee collection, reimbursing expenses, drawing from retained profits, and any other aspects of the firm’s financial operations.

  • Our approach can ensure that financial matters are dealt with consistently across the firm, and that the firm remains in compliance with its regulatory obligations so that it can secure and maintain Lexcel accreditation.

Financial benchmarking performance review analysis
  • We can help you to understand what ‘financially stable’ truly looks like. We do so by helping the management team to understand internal metrics and what these mean for the business (including profit per equity partner, income per fee earner and staff ratios), then benchmarking these against the firm’s wider peer group so that you can better gauge the firm’s future potential.

  • With this information to hand, you’ll be able to understand how prospective lenders, investors and M&A partners will view your business, which can enable you to anticipate and eradicate potential stumbling blocks at an earlier stage. This will also help you to identify strategies to increase revenue, control costs, and utilise staff and resources more effectively.

  • Moreover, you can access our Financial Benchmarking Scorecard, which is designed to measure and track your firm’s performance across a range of metrics: an essential exercise for every law firm leader.

Financial stability and viability analysis
  • By analysing your firm’s financial stability and viability, we can help you to understand the financial risks and unknowns. We’ll identify gaps and deficiencies in your internal processes and procedures, then set you along the path to sound financial management by providing a practical and pragmatic financial action plan. Throughout the process, we’ll consider everything from the firm’s attitude to funding and approach to recovering fees, to its disaster recovery processes and financial reporting policies.

  • Our analysis will firstly help to ensure your compliance with the SRA Code of Conduct, which obliges law firms to evidence their approach to financial stability and viability. Moreover, it will give you the opportunity to achieve greater financial control, improve the firm’s cultural approach to finance, and demonstrate to lenders, insurers, investors and prospective M&A partners that the firm is serious about financial stability.

  • Moreover, you can access our Financial Stability Scorecard, which we built specifically to help law firms meet their financial, operational and regulatory obligations.

Regulatory support

In this day and age, running a law firm often feels like navigating a regulatory minefield. When operating in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape, it is essential that you can demonstrate ongoing compliance with your risk management-related regulatory obligations, in part by arranging independent audits to identify and resolve gaps in your risk management strategies and procedures. In this context, our work typically includes:

COLP/COFA ongoing risk management support

  • We can work closely with your Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA), helping each to fully understand the active steps they must take to fulfil their regulatory responsibilities. This can be essential, given that breaches can lead to fines, regulatory penalties and even those individuals being struck off the solicitors’ roll.

  • More particularly,  we can support COLP and COFA compliance with obligations relating to data protection, cyber security, money laundering, human resources, marketing, financial management, and other aspects of the firm’s operations, including by producing an office manual that complies with the SRA’s risk and compliance requirements. We can also keep them abreast of changes to the regulatory landscape and explain how these could impact their roles and the firm more broadly.

Independent AML reviews including client file reviews

  • We can provide an independent anti-money laundering (AML) audit designed to identify potential risks in your AML controls, in part through assessing your AML processes against the regulations that apply to your firm. We can then help you to align your internal AML controls and procedures with industry best practice.

  • This can help to reduce the risk of others exploiting any weaknesses or oversights in order to launder funds through your firm, and therefore reduce the risk of the firm facing fines, regulatory penalties, disciplinary measures and long-lasting reputational damage (not to mention criminal liability in the most severe cases). This can also ensure you are prepared if the SRA decides to carry out an audit. It happens.

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"Our practical experience working with law firms means we understand how a legal practice operates which enables us to suggest tried and tested sustainable solutions."

Paul McCluskey, Managing Director