What is a Legal Cashier

Why do Law Firms Hire Cashiers, and Is It the Right Career Path for You?

Legal Cashier is a term commonly used in England and Wales. A Legal Cashier manages all finance-related matters of a law firm or lawyer’s practice. However, other terms like Financial Controller, Legal Accountant, or Legal Accounts Manager are also quite common.

In order to deal with complex accounting laws such as the SRA Accounts Rules, all law firms must have a legal cashiering function. While some businesses choose to hire their own cashier, others find it more convenient and cost-effective to outsource the finance-related work to a reputed bureau.

With around 152k practising Attorneys working in 11k law firms in England and Wales, there’s high demand for experienced Legal Cashiers. They get good pay, and they themselves do critical back-office tasks at every law firm.

Experts also believe that legal cashiering is a good career choice for individuals pursuing a career in accounting and bookkeeping. Continue reading to discover more about legal cashiering and the skills law firms seek in a Legal Cashier.

What is a Legal Cashier?

A Legal Cashier is a certified bookkeeper who manages the financial accounts of a law firm. Based on the practice’s specialisations and location, he oversees the accounts in compliance with the SRA Accounts Rules, Scottish Accounts Rules, or CLC Accounts Code.

Simultaneously, the Legal Cashier should follow all the standard accounting laws, such as the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive and HMRC’s MTD for VAT legislation. A Legal Cashier’s tasks include the following:

  • Handle accounting transactions, including both sent and received payments, via bank transfers, cheques, etc.
  • Carry out financial reconciliations to ensure that bank accounts and books are in order.
  • Check for mistakes and notify the authorities in case of any account breaches.
  • Create financial status reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Bill clients for completed work and follow up on late payments.
  • Maintain separate ledgers for clients and the office.
  • Make sure that all applicable rules and regulations are followed.
  • File quarterly and year-end VAT returns through the HMRC’s MTD platform.
  • Stay in touch with compliance officials, auditors, clients, suppliers, regulators, and banking institutions.

What’s Behind the High Demand for Legal Cashiers?

One of the most straightforward reasons is that it is a specialist position with very few qualified candidates. Moreover, legal cashiering is rooted in the practice of law and isn’t going away anytime soon. At present, the demand for Legal Cashiers is more than the supply.

Being good with numbers, Legal Cashiers play a critical role in the effective functioning of any legal practice. Good cashiers save partners time and money by reducing the risk of expensive mistakes during business hours.

What Essential Skills a Legal Cashier Must Possess?

In addition to cashiering experience, multi-tasking, having an interest in accounting, being a team player, being detail-oriented, and being able to perform under pressure are the skills that help an individual flourish in the profession of a Legal Cashier.

While new hires can learn a lot on the job, the Legal Cashier is responsible for ensuring compliance for the law firm and earning the partners’ trust that their finances are being handled appropriately.

These are some basics a Legal Cashier should be aware of:

  • Office and client accounts
  • Double-entry bookkeeping
  • Banking
  • VAT returns
  • Annual inspections and audits
  • Legal accounts software
  • SRA Accounts Rules

These significant responsibilities show that every legal cashier must be well-qualified and actively engage in continual professional development. For example, an active member of a relevant educational facility gets frequent access to continuing professional development, networking opportunities, and critical updates through forums and resources. All this ensures a Legal Cashier feels confident and knowledgeable about legal finance.

Which is Better: Working In-house or for a Bureau?

A Legal Cashier can either work in-house within a legal practice or for a legal cashiering bureau. Let’s discover the pros and cons of both:

In-house Pros

  • Some level of job security: It provides some level of job security because only a few people can get the opportunity to work in a dedicated firm.
  • Autonomy: It’ll be a job with clear duties, and the same tried and tested everyday chores.
  • Dedicated role: It includes dedicated full-time attention to legal accounting for a single company.
  • Total credit: Only you will work on tasks, and only you will get the full credit for it.
  • Own boss: You get the opportunity to work freely and develop your own system and processes that complement your working style.
  • Developing problem-solving expertise: You solve all challenges and finish all jobs, allowing you to take satisfaction in your work.
  • Sidestepping: It provides opportunities to advance your legal cashiering profession into business-oriented responsibilities.

In-house Cons

  • Lack of Stability: You might be at the risk of losing the job in case of business instability.
  • Lack of support: Most chances are that you’ll be the only one, no mentor, nobody to seek clarity from, and no one to discuss ideas with.
  • Limited benefits and coverage: Your benefits and coverage may be limited, especially during the holidays. Some law firms even assign their cashiers HR and office management responsibilities, which is an extra burden.
  • Lack of job satisfaction: Your responsibilities remain the same every day, so there won’t be many variations to reawaken your attention.
  • High-stress levels: When you work alone, you take on all tasks without outsourcing.
  • Lack of technological expertise: It might be challenging to develop a routine followed precisely by employees. Instead, you may act as an IT personnel, implement proper accounting software and teach colleagues to use them.
  • Limited career progression: Legal cashiers’ career progress is sometimes limited by the employer’s internal structure, organisational structure, or/and company size.

Outsourced Legal Cashiering Bureau Pros

  • Job security: You’ll be in touch with many clients and won’t rely on any of them to keep your job safe.
  • Job satisfaction: Working with various clients keeps you engaged with multiple tasks and challenges every day, contributing to job satisfaction.
  • Proven processes: You use advanced legal software, which provides a unified platform with a lot of management data analytics, and everything is done according to proven methods.
  • Team player: You’ll be a part of an efficient cashiering team where peers and seniors serve as mentors, escalation points, support networks and sounding boards.
  • Career growth: You may get multiple opportunities for career advancement. Some bureaus also pay for additional training and pro membership subscriptions.
  • Low-stress levels: As a team player, you’ll get advice and support from others. It’ll let you get things done faster and feel less stressed at work.
  • Back-up deputy: Every Legal Cashier is assigned a deputy, which means your deputy will take up your tasks if you go on leave. As a result, there’s no need to be concerned about covering.

Outsourced Legal Cashiering Bureau Cons

  • Managing several clients: Whether you like it or not, you’ll deal with several clients and establish good working relations.
  • Only as good as teammates: In order to finish the job, you’ll need the help of people and clients who will respond to your expectations.
  • Busyness: Work might fluctuate, making you busier or presenting you with new challenges.
  • Fixed methodology: While you may customise your methods to your clients’ tastes, there is a tried-and-true method that you must follow.
  • Works only as a legal cashier: You will handle clients’ accounts, not additional tasks of HR or those related to office management.
  • Enhanced supervision: You communicate with your boss regularly and get performance reviews from time to time. Such involvement makes certain people uncomfortable.
  • Multi-tasking is complex: It’s undeniable that balancing work for several clients is challenging.

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