sole practitioners to large partnerships

At Cassons we have been advising solicitors for many years. Our experience with clients ranging from sole practitioners to those practising in large partnerships, advising both the individual partners and the practice, means that we have a detailed knowledge of the issues relating to solicitors. We will ensure that you receive the best advice. Our particular areas of expertise include:


accounts and tax

Do your accounts meet the requirements of HM Revenue & Customs? They must show a “true and fair view”. This means that debtors, creditors and work in progress must be included at the appropriate amount. This last item can be difficult to quantify, particularly with regard to conditional fees. We can assist you in valuing your work in progress so that it is not unnecessarily high, thus minimising your tax liabilities whilst still providing a valuation which is acceptable to HMRC.

We review your accounts and your circumstances to ensure all available tax reliefs are considered and claimed as appropriate.

We provide a comprehensive set of annual accounts detailing your firm’s performance. We meet with you to discuss these accounts to help you to reach conclusions about ways to improve performance.


solicitors' accounts rules

The Solicitors' Accounts Rules are complex and, with the volume of transactions passing through most solicitors’ client accounts in a year and the fact that there is no de minimis level set for breaches, the Solicitors Regulation Authority expects most Accountants' Reports to report breaches! There are frequent updates and changes to the Rules – have you kept up to date with them?

We can assist with the practical application of the Solicitors' Accounts Rules, including handling client money, controlled trusts and the need to maintain a central register, client reconciliations including providing you with a pro forma schedule to carry these out efficiently in accordance with the Rules, and complying with the interest Rules.


records

Are you accounting correctly for receipts from the Legal Services Commission, including the VAT requirements? This is a complex area and typically one of the most difficult to get right.


limited liability partnership or incorporation?

Have you thought about your business structure? Is a partnership the best option for you or should you become a limited liability partnership ("LLP") or a limited  company?  Some legal firms have already moved away from a partnership arrangement. We can advise you what’s involved, and the advantages and disadvantages of each business structure.


financial planning

Do you plan for future tax payments? We will calculate these and advise you well in advance of the payment dates, to help you plan the firm’s cashflow. In some cases, our clients prefer that we make provision for future tax liabilities in their accounts, reflected in partners’ drawings. This helps them monitor drawings and avoid partners drawing excessive amounts, not leaving enough to cover their tax payments.

Taking financial planning a step further, we can assist you in establishing a structure for partners’ capital and current accounts, determining appropriate amounts for partners to leave in the firm as capital and establishing what is available for them to draw out on a monthly basis. A clear policy on partners’ drawings greatly assists in managing cashflow.

You may be paying more than you need to in bank charges and interest. We can introduce you to alternative lenders. Through careful planning it may be possible for you to get tax relief on your borrowings, where you have not previously done so. We have done this many times in the past.


premises

Have you considered whether or not to own property in the firm? How is this reflected in the accounts? How are non-property owning partners to be dealt with, including the treatment of property expenses and the charging of rent? We can assist you with this.


partnership matters

We can assist you in drafting partnership agreements and with partnership negotiations and dispute resolution. You may have issues with the ongoing running of the firm, or perhaps succession planning for new partners or retiring partners, including the valuation of goodwill or the structuring of a deal. You may consider merging with or taking over another practice to strengthen your position in the market place. We can assist you in all these areas.

legal services act 2007

How are you planning to face the challenges and grasp the opportunities presented by the Legal Services Act 2007? We can advise you and assist you in the planning process.

Please contact us to find out how we can help you and your business. Contact us