Type Speaker CPD Hours Level
5 UpdateInformation
Accreditation Information
SRA Competency A D


Two years on from their introduction, the latest SRA Accounts Rules continue to pose problems for some firms.

Chaired by Trevor Hellawell, this live broadcast conference will examine the key challenges and problem areas which, the shorter and less prescriptive rules pose to finance and accounts staff.

Each session will provide opportunity for questions and answers.

Conference Agenda

This live and interactive 5-hour conference will cover the following:

10am-11am: SRA Accounts Rules - What They Don’t Say

Trevor Hellawell

The ‘new’ Accounts Rules have been with us for 18 months now - during which time we have all been wrestling with COVID-19 restrictions. As we are released from their grip, we can turn our attention to the options granted us by the revision of the rules, much reduced though they are.

But the fact that the rules no longer say much does not alter the basic law, the basic jurisprudence of the Courts and the Legal Ombudsman and there is no real expectation that much need change in the light of the new rules. Steady as she goes, would seem to be the main theme, as the SRA resources would suggest.

However, the rules do allow some flexibility and this session will discuss what has changed, what has not and what the expectations will be of the regulators and the external accountants.

This session will cover:

  • The rules as they currently stand - 13 rules only
  • What has not changed
  • The position in relation to interest - what of negative interest rates?
  • The role of the CoFA
  • New rules on reconciliations - clients’ own accounts
  • The current position on accountants’ reports and qualifications
  • Checklists to aim for
  • Do I need to change anything?

AM break

11:15am-12:15pm: Why Are We Bothered by Banking?

Tracey Calvert

The SRA’s current Risk Outlook reminds us that the protection of client money, and the appropriate use of a firm’s client account, are issues which are a regulatory priority. A consequence of this concern is that we must be confident that we are managing the risks associated with a breach of the SRA Accounts Rules.

This means that we must be certain that colleagues will understand and abide with a very strictly described banking prohibition at Rule 3.3.

This session will cover:

  • A brief reminder about why the SRA includes a banking restriction in the SRA Accounts Rules
  • Regulatory requirements that must be understood by firm leaders, case handlers, and the accounts team
  • Compliance tips - just say no!
  • Recent disciplinary decisions which shed light on SRA thinking about banking behaviour

12:15 - 1:15pm: ‘I work in the finance team - I just need to know the SRA Accounts Rules’!

Joanna Morris

Just because you work in the finance team and feel that you are not ‘legal’ doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have knowledge, an understanding of and training on other rules, regulations and legislation applicable to the business.

The SRA Risk Outlook talks about seven priority risks that they see us having to deal with this year and most of these risks have some effect on the finance department.

This session will cover:

  • Anti-Money Laundering
    • The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (as amended)
    • The client bank accounts
    • Source of wealth and source of funds for the transactions you are involved in
    • What you can do to help prevent money laundering
    • Information Security and Cybercrime
    • Update on the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018
    • Cybercrime in the legal sector - client’s data and money that we hold
    • What we should lookout for - being aware of the issues
  • SRA Standards and Regulations
    • The Principles
    • The new Codes of Conduct - one for solicitors and one for the firm
    • The SRA Accounts Rules
  • Transparency Rules
    • Why it is important for the finance team to know about these rules
    • What information do you need to give to clients?
    • Where this information can be found
  • A round up of other things including:
    • Bribery Act 2010
    • Bogus investment schemes

Break for lunch

2-3pm: SRA Accounts Rules Update - The Reporting Accountant’s View 2 Years On

Ian Johnson

This session will explore how firms have adapted to the guidance that has been emerging since the latest SRA Accounts Rules were introduced, and what questions reporting accountants have been asked by clients struggling to get to grips since the new rules took effect in November 2019.

This session will cover:

  • What have we learned in the 2 years since the Accounts Rules were updated?
  • Common areas of compliance failings and what firms can do to avoid them
  • Common themes of questions from law firms around systems and control

PM Break

3.15-4.15pm: VAT on Expenses & Disbursements - An Idiot’s Guide

Trevor Hellawell

One matter not addressed by the Accounts Rules themselves is the issue of VAT on disbursements, which world was up ended by the decision of the VAT Tribunal in the Brabners case, a few years ago.

That case remains good law, and there have been several incidents latterly of firms still falling foul of the tax office in their treatment of ‘disbursements’. But what is a ‘disbursement’ exactly?

The 2019 Law Society Practice Note on the topic sided largely with the tribunal, but still leaves questions unanswered.

This session will cover:

  • The upshot of the Brabners decision
  • What is a disbursement?
  • What is an expense or recharge?
  • When is a disbursement not a disbursement for VAT purposes?
  • On what must we put VAT when we bill clients?
  • ‘If it moves, put VAT on it.’
  • Are we not charging a tax on a tax?
  • What about the Legal Aid Agency - who will not repay any VAT on medical reports and records?

Quick Quiz - Test Your Knowledge: Solicitors Accounts Rules

Recording of live sessions: Soon after the Learn Live session has taken place you will be able to go back and access the recording - should you wish to revisit the material discussed.

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Learn Live | 23.11.2021

N/A | 10:00am - 4:15pm

SRA Accounts Rules - Where Are We Now? - 2021 Virtual Conference

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10:00am - 4:15pm

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Discounts are available for multiple places. If you have 5 or more people interested in participating in this virtual learning session please email us at information@mblseminars.com for more information.

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