Law Firm Accounting (CPE Course)

CPE Credit: 3 hours

Course Type: Downloaded PDF materials with online test

Price (with PDF Textbook): $30

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Course Description
A law firm has a number of unique accounting requirements. It is strongly focused on the proper identification of chargeable hours, correctly structured billings, distributable income calculations, partner accounts, practice group reporting, realization rates, and much more. Law Firm Accounting provides the accountant with the information needed to set up a charge code system, account for ongoing business transactions, prepare financial statements, and issue a broad array of reports that are specifically targeted at the needs of a law firm. In short, it addresses every aspect of the accounting for a law firm.

Author: Steven Bragg

Course Number: AC1121

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Essentials of Law Firm Accounting
Chapter 2. Law Firm Financial Statements
Chapter 3. Law Firm Management Reporting
Chapter 4. Law Firm Controls

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize how the modified cash basis varies from accrual basis accounting, and how this impacts the recognition of various transactions.

  • Specify the circumstances that can lead to the under-realization or over-realization of hourly rates.

  • Cite the types of billing arrangements in which a law firm typically engages.

  • Identify the accounting techniques that can be used to reduce the amount of reported income.

  • State the types of expenses that are categorized as compensation or operating expenses.

  • Describe the derivation of distributable income.

  • Specify how the financial statements change when shifting from the modified cash basis to the accrual basis of accounting.

  • Cite the contents of the line items commonly found in the statement of cash flows.

  • Recognize the uses to which the various management reports and metrics can be put.

  • Cite the controls that can minimize instances of fraud within a law firm.

  • Specify the controls applicable to the handling of cash within a law firm.

Level: Overview

Instructional Method: QAS Self-Study

NASBA Category: Accounting

Prerequisites: None

Advance Preparation: None

Program Registration Requirements: Click on "Purchase Course" near the top of this page to pay for and access the course. You will then be able to download the course as a PDF file, then take an on-line examination, and then download a certificate of completion if you pass the examination.

Program Refund Policy: For more information regarding administrative policies concerning complaints, refunds, and other matters, see our policies page.


AccountingTools, Inc. is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

The NASBA sponsor identification number for Accountingtools, Inc. is 115881.

AccountingTools is an IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider. We are compliant with the requirements for continuing education providers (as described in sections 10.6 and 10.9 of the Department of Treasury’s Circular No. 230 and in other IRS guidance, forms, and instructions). Our IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider number is 72821.