CPD Hours Level
Conference expert panelInformation 6 UpdateInformation
SRA Competency A D


With the new SRA Accounts Rules, this timely conference chaired by Janet Taylor covers a wide range of important issues from what will appropriate accounting procedures look like in the future to what constitutes a 'proper' client account reconciliation.

All the speakers are experts in financial compliance and will help you to demystify the complex legal and practical issues involved.

Conference Agenda

This conference will cover the following topics:

9.30am - 10.40am: SRA Accounts Rules: Key Compliance Issues

Chair: Janet Taylor, Taylor Mowbray

All principals and COFAs should ensure they are confident of their and their team's knowledge of the key issues relating to the Accounts Rules.

The consequences of non-compliance can be significant from fines and penalties to even worse.

This refresher session will cover:

  • A brief reminder of key principles
  • Definitions of client and office monies
  • The main receipt, payment and transfer rules
  • Common problems and higher risk breaches; providing banking facilities through client account; dealing with residual balances
  • What constitutes a 'proper' client account reconciliation

10.40am - 11.15am: The New SRA Accounts Rules - Will You be Ready?

Tracey Calvert, Oakalls Consultancy Limited

The SRA Accounts Rules are to be re-launched in a new format. Law firm managers and compliance officers will be expected to be in a position to implement the new requirements.

This session will cover the following:

  • The fundamental changes between the old and the new
  • The definition of client money
  • What will appropriate accounting procedures look like in the future?
  • Suggestions for a change project plan

11.30am - 12.05pm: Residual Balances: How to Avoid Them and Tackle Those You Already Have

Richard Lane, Legal Finance Professionals

Many firms suffer from a buildup of residual client ledger balances over a period of time. Recent disciplinary cases have highlighted the importance of taking control of the problem and dealing with any residual client ledger balances in an appropriate and compliant manner.

This session will cover:

  • Your obligations under the SRA Accounts Rules
  • The impact of residual balances from the COFA's perspective
  • What can be done to avoid residual client ledger balances occurring
  • Dealing with existing residual client ledger balances
  • Making a waiver application to the SRA

12.05pm - 12.45pm: What Does the Banking Prohibition Really Mean?

Tracey Calvert, Oakalls Consultancy Limited

The SRA Accounts Rules contains a prohibition on providing banking services through a client account. A number of SDT decisions have focused on this issue and it is clear that there are misunderstandings about what can and cannot be done.

In this season we will discuss:

  • Why is this prohibited?
  • What is permitted?
  • What actions have been considered by the SDT?
  • What compliance measures can be introduced to ensure awareness of, and adherence to, this restriction

12.45pm - 1.00pm: Questions on Morning Session

2.00pm - 2.50pm: SRA Investigations and Solicitors Accounts - Preparing for a Visit

Richard Lane, Legal Finance Professionals

For the busy manager of a law firm, few things cause more upset than the unwelcome news that the SRA Forensic Investigation department is coming to visit.

So what should you expect if this should happen to you?

  • Background - what causes an investigation to be authorised?
  • Pre-investigation - what can be done to prepare?
  • The inspection - what to expect when the inspection commences?
  • Pitfalls and perils - how to avoid digging yourself a hole
  • Post-investigation - what happens next?

2.50pm - 3.40pm: VAT & Bills: Disbursements & Tripartite Arrangements

Etienne Wong, Old Square Tax Chambers

This session will discuss two recent decisions: one shining a spotlight on how law firms should treat disbursements for VAT purposes; the other on how law firms should determine who to invoice for VAT purposes on transactions where third parties foot the bill.

This session will cover:

  • The first tier tribunal decision on what is a disbursement
  • The supreme court judgment on how to determine who is the recipient of a supply for VAT purposes
  • How disbursements should be treated in a bill of costs
  • How to determine who to bill
  • Reconciliation with old - and updated - Law Society guidance

3.55pm - 4.50pm: Planning & Monitoring Training for Financial Compliance

Jane Jarman, Nottingham Law School

Training is a live compliance issue for COLPs as they plan and evaluate plans as an element of regulatory compliance.

This is especially acute in relation to 'must have' training and development on financial compliance issues. How can you ensure that training in compliance remains relevant and effective and how do you provide evidence of 'educational compliance'?

This session will cover:

  • Setting learning outcomes and demonstrating regulatory compliance
  • Defining the scope and quality of training
  • Drafting a training needs assessment on an institutional as well as individual basis
  • Demonstrating achievement - output rather than just input
  • Evaluating the effectiveness for compliance and governance
  • Enhancing techniques in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of training and education programmes as part of the compliance plan

4.50pm - Close: Questions & Answers

Quick Quiz - Test Your Knowledge: Solicitors Accounts Rules

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