If you want to work as a legal accountant, you have chosen a specialist arm of accountancy. This career choice is usually seen as an uneventful career by those outside of the industry but it can actually be one of the most fulfilling regardless of if you choose to work in the private or public sector.
You might also be called a Legal Bookkeeper, Legal Cashier or Legal Accountant. But whatever your title, your duties will be the same. Generally speaking, it is your job to keep track of your firm’s finances.
Qualifications Needed To Be A Legal Accountant
You will start from the junior level and will need five GCSEs, including English and maths. It will also help if you have some office administration or accounts experience.
If you want to be work at a managerial level, you should be a full or part qualified Accountant.
You will get a lot of on-the-job coaching if you go into the junior level. Colleagues that are more experienced will teach you computer skills, general office procedures and legal speak. You will also most likely be sponsored through some professional exams, usually the Association of Accounting Technicians(AAT) – either on day release, part-time or via distance learning – and some legal courses too.
If you want to reach a managerial level, you will have to study for your professional accountancy exams. You should also check to see if your firm will sponsor you through courses including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
You should also take up regular IT training to keep up to date with the latest developments in financial accounting software such as Sage or Microsoft Dynamics.
Salary Of A Legal Accountant
The average base salary for a junior Legal accountant starts at around £26,174. With qualification and experience, you can go on to earn around £27,904 to £37,866.
Jobs based in London also offer more generous salaries and benefits.
Duties Of A Legal Accountant And Skills Needed
At a glance, legal accountant may seem like a fairly straightforward profession. While it’s true that working with financial data is a big part of the job, legal accounting is a profession that involves much more problem solving than you may think.
- Billing clients
- Paying invoices
- Inter account transfers
- Bank reconciliations
- Data entry
- Filing and producing financial reports for management
You will also assemble the profit and loss sheets for the annual accounts.
While you will need to understand all the general accounting principles and practices, you will also be specifically trained in financial areas unique to the legal profession such as the Solicitors Financial Rules. It’s crucial that you are knowledgeable about these areas because some projects you handle may specifically be about working in legal accounts.
If you work for a large firm, you will have a team to share the workload. However, if you work for a small company, you may be responsible for all of these tasks alongside some payroll duties too.
Given the specialist nature of the job, not only will you have to be good with numbers, you will have to conjure interest in the legal side of things. Other skills include:
- Good attention to detail
- Work well under pressure
- Good presentation skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Confident in using computers
- An understanding of legal terminology
The job of a legal accountant will revolve around a lot of numbers and they will have the odd late night but mostly, this job is not stressful and or has overly long hours.
It’s clear that legal accounting involves more than just crunching numbers—it is an in-demand field with countless opportunities to offer.