Accountant’s report 2019—law firms
Accountant’s report 2019—law firms

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accountant’s report 2019—law firms
  • Terminology
  • Responsibility for compliance
  • General obligation to obtain an accountant’s report
  • Accountant’s report exemption
  • Instructing the accountant
  • Identity and qualification of the reporting accountant
  • Form and content of the accountant’s report
  • Obligation to deliver the accountant’s report to the SRA—qualified report
  • Obligation to deliver the accountant’s report to the SRA—other circumstances
  • more

This Practice Note sets out the requirements of the SRA Accounts Rules 2019, in force from 25 November 2019, regarding the obligation to obtain and deliver an accountant’s report. It also reflects supporting guidance issued by the SRA:

  1. Accountant’s report and the exemption to obtain one

  2. Planning for and completing an accountant’s report

The Accounts Rules 2019 (2019 Rules) are much more concise than the Accounts Rules 2011 (2011 Rules), comprising just over six pages of rules plus a three-page glossary. This does mean a lot of detail is lost, but some of this has been incorporated into the supporting guidance. Generally, however, the 2019 Rules are written in clear language that is easy to understand.

Most firms are required to obtain an accountant’s report but few firms are required to deliver that report to the SRA.

Terminology

The 2019 Rules are littered with subjective terms such as ‘promptly’, ‘fair’ and ‘appropriate’. The SRA acknowledges that this requires an exercise of judgment, which will be an adjustment for many firms compared to the detailed and prescriptive 2011 Accounts Rules. However, the SRA does not think this is sufficient justification for retaining highly-prescriptive rules.

The SRA acknowledges that what is appropriate may change over time. According to the SRA, this is precisely why it is important to allow this sort of flexibility