If you are a Compliance Officer or the COLP or the COFA in your practice then compliance, cash management and the financial operations of the practice will be at the forefront of your mind.
The Compliance Officers are likely to be the champions of risk management within the firm, and whilst not solely responsible for compliance, have a key role in ensuring that suitable systems and controls are in place. The SRA Accounts Rules 2011 (under rule 6) requires that all the principals in a firm (and that includes the COFA) must ensure compliance with the rules by every employee.
Both with case work and also the financial aspects of ensuring compliance, you cannot be expected to stand over every member of staff and watch everything that they do, so it is essential that you have the appropriate accounting systems and internal reporting structures in place to monitor, review and manage the risks and to aid compliance.
As the COFA or financial compliance officer of the practice, you may already be part of the finance team. You may, therefore, already be familiar with the day to day workings of your Legal Accounts and Practice Management system and the reporting available to you. You may be a partner or manager within the firm who is used to being presented with financial summary reports at the end of each month. Whatever your involvement, you should not simply rely on your accounts staff to tell you every time a breach occurs. You are going to have to do your own checks as well.
All firms should consider where your accounting systems and procedures can help you in the role – because all systems definitely should and Insight Legal certainly can.
Insight Legal provides many tools and reports to assist the Compliance Officers in their roles, from reports to identify residual balances, to ones which prove that there are no breaches of the accounts rules. From in-built conflict checks when you add clients or matters to bank reconciliation reports which highlight all unpresented items.