By Legal Futures Associate Institute of Legal and Financial Management (ILFM)
You and I know that legal cashiers play a pivotal role in a law firm. Younger recruits often take up these positions because no formal qualifications are needed for the role. With recruitment being a time-consuming and expensive process you, as an HR manager, a Senior Partner, or the COFA want to keep your recruit for as long as you can; and offering qualifications can be a strategic way to do just that.
Why should you have a qualified legal cashier?
Qualifications demonstrate to anyone working in a legal firm, whether it’s as a practice manager, the finance director, or the senior partner that they have belief, trust and appreciation for the person in that role of a legal cashier. Not only that, but a qualified legal cashier will improve the running of your firm, potentially minimising costly mistakes and saving partners frustration and time.
With legal cashiers having access to the full financial workings of a law firm that member of staff must be as knowledgeable and up-to-date as possible. Your legal cashier might be doing their job well but qualifications will build on their skills and give them an understanding of new areas. The results for your law firm will be a more confident, technical legal cashier who works at a higher level, minimising mistakes, requiring less supervision and working with greater autonomy.
With the responsibility for compliance for the law firm resting often with the legal cashier, it’s essential that they’re empowered and confident in their role. Without that knowledge and assurance, the role of a legal cashier can be stressful and overwhelming – we know, as we’ve been supporting legal cashiers for decades now!
Qualifications provide an opportunity to check their knowledge, upskill and refresh their understanding, creating effective and informed employees.
How do you become a qualified legal cashier?
The ILFM’s Diploma Level – ILFM(Dip) is a great gateway to becoming qualified. With over 25 years’ experience in training legal cashiers, you can be assured that this course is robust, supportive and comes with glowing feedback. The diploma provides a thorough understanding of daily processes up to trial balance level.
Bookkeeping for Legal Finance Professionals
There are two parts to achieving the ILFM’s Diploma – a certificate in Bookkeeping for Legal Finance Professionals and one in Legal Finance Compliance & Accounts Rules. Together they provide a tailored education in the maintenance of a solicitor’s internal records along with an understanding of compliance with regulatory accounts rules. Both certificates need to be completed within 18 months of signing up for the course.
During the 18-months of study, learning can happen at your employee’s own pace as they will
have full access to all course material. That allows for flexibility around their existing workload. They will be able to put their newfound knowledge and understanding to practice with their daily work assisting their understanding and learning.
The ILFM really are there to support and train to help you (if you’re thinking of applying) or your colleague qualify.
The exam preparation day will include:
- Exam Format & Techniques
- Double Entry
- Trial Balance
- Transaction questions
- PAYE transactions
- Multiple choice questions
- Bank Reconciliation
Legal Finance Compliance & Accounts Rules
This is the second part of the ILFM’s legal cashier qualification, and to some the most important factor of legal finance, the compliance!
Some of the contents of this part of the course are:
- Purpose and aims of the legal professionals accounts rules
- Client money and client account
- Firms own money – Office Account
- Withdrawals from client account
- Client money not held in client account
- Retaining funds not linked to a transaction
- Disbursement v. Recharges
- Record Keeping
- Reporting Accountants report
- Rules not already covered
What do you need to complete to pass?
Candidates will be required to complete assignments for each tutorial along with sitting a final exam. The examinations are held twice a year in London, Manchester and Cardiff.
For those that have already completed the ILFM Diploma and would like to continue their development, there is the option to complete the ILFM Associate Level (AILFM). With four certificates to complete within this qualification, this is ideal for those who want to progress further in their career. The highest level of qualification is the ILFM Fellowship (FILFM). The Fellowship is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge in a chosen subject within the legal sector via a 10,000-15,000 word thesis and a presentation.