The Importance of Accounting Compliance for the Legal Community

It’s not unusual for legal professionals and law graduates to feel uncertain about engaging an accountant in the early stages of their career.

Whilst being frugal and doing your own tax might make sense when you’re new to the professional world and just finding your feet, your income and tax structure will inevitably change as you become more senior – and if you become a partner, it is likely to change significantly! Looking forward to a dynamic and successful career in the law? It pays to be one step ahead tax compliance-wise. Lawyers who develop a proactive, strategic financial plan with their accountant that looks beyond taxation and towards wealth management set themselves and their families up for life.

Accountants for Lawyers

Wilson Pateras recommend that legal professionals seek expert guidance from accountants who understand their professional category and take time to appreciate their personal circumstances. Having this dual-faceted knowledge is key to creating premium outcomes for lawyers – that’s why Wilson Pateras’ accountants and advisors familiarize ourselves with our legal client’s career goals and financial aspirations. The legal career path is a unique one: any tax or wealth management strategy you might put in place should match with your professional objectives.

In this month’s Wilson Pateras blog Maree Pateras (General Legal Counsel) shares her insights on the importance of accounting compliance for the legal community.

Wilson Pateras: Why is it so important for legal professionals to engage a trusted accountant early in their career?

Maree Pateras: When you’re a lawyer in the formative stages of your career, accounting and tax compliance is often relatively simple – but as income levels change (sometimes quite significantly!), you need an advisor who will be able to help you achieve your short and long term financial goals. A good advisor will be able to support and guide you as you navigate your career – from your days as a newbie lawyer employee to the lofty heights of partnership. You might even want to open your own firm!

Wilson Pateras: As you grow into your legal career – potentially becoming a partner in a firm – how do your accounting and financial strategy needs change?

Maree Pateras: As lawyers reach the milestone of partnership and migrate from the role of employee to partner – which can include becoming a business owner depending on the legal firm structure – additional financial issues become relevant including:

  • Setting up new structures such as family trusts to enable the most effective income streaming.
  • Considering income/life insurance to protect interests and assets.
  • Ensuring that cash flow is managed properly.
  • Ensuring that compliance with ATO guidelines are maintained.

Engaging an expert lawyer-focused accountant advisor to review and discuss these matters ensures you’ll be making the correct distributions annually and remaining compliant with ATO guidelines. Doing so sooner than later allows your financial strategy to mirror that of your career progression.

Having worked with legal professionals at various stages of their career trajectory, Wilson Pateras know that consulting with expert accountants will only ever be to a lawyer’s benefit. Knowledge means the power of better decision-making, leaving you to progress your career with confidence – the aim of every lawyer!

From tax compliance essentials to tax planning, financial portfolio structure, cash flow, mentoring and investment, Wilson Pateras are here to support your legal career. Contact us today for a complimentary meeting

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