We will give your COFA the support and tools to:
- ensure your accounts are compliant with the SRA Accounts Rules
- avoid breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules
- detect areas that would be of concern to the SRA.
Our team of COFA compliance experts includes Andrew Becconsall, a solicitor and former Investigations Manager in the Forensic Investigation Unity at the SRA.
We regularly assist COFAs by:
- performing a series of control checks on your accounting systems, including the authorisation of transactions, client and office reconciliation controls, aged balances and client matter balances
- carrying out file and ledger reviews targeting high-risk areas, providing you with the assurance such independent expert scrutiny brings to a task which is an essential part of the COFA’s compliance regime
- giving expert advice on any remedial action identified as necessary
- completing a detailed record of any non-compliance identified – vital for demonstrating compliance
- giving detailed feedback to your COFA and provide you with records of checks and reviews undertaken for production to the SRA as and when necessary
- providing email and telephone support to the COFA and other accounts staff
In these financially challenging times, the SRA is placing great emphasis on ensuring firms monitor financial stability and have adequate systems and controls in place.
Chapter 7 of the SRA Handbook includes ten mandatory outcomes and four indicative behaviours about ensuring proper checks are in place for effective scrutiny of a firm’s finances. Specifically, O(7.4) states that you “maintain systems and controls for monitoring the financial stability of your firm and risks to money and assets entrusted to you by clients and others, and you take steps to address issues identified”.
The SRA maintains a financial stability watchlist of firms it is particularly concerned about and requests financial data from a variety of firms that operate in areas experiencing particular economic pressures.
We know from experience that the SRA have intervened into firms even though their accounts were regularly audited by an independent accountant.
We work with you to ensure inadequate accounts systems and controls do not lead to financial difficulty and failure.
Andrew’s understanding of accounts systems and controls is second to none. He worked closely with our accounts department who have really appreciated his training, ongoing support and the systems he has put in place for them.
Suzanne Lee, Partner, mfg Solicitors LLP