Compliance officers face significant challenges. Often, as well as existing fee earning and other day-to-day duties, they have to spend a considerable amount of time planning and implementing compliance, managing risks and devising ways of being able to demonstrate this to the regulator. The roles of COLP and COFA carry significant personal liability. Firms and individuals failing to comply can face significant fines and potentially be struck off.
You can outsource your practical compliance duties to our team of experts who provide an ongoing service, ensuring you keep pace with the demands of the continuously changing regulatory environment.
We provide comfort and peace of mind through a range of services, including:
- e-mail and telephone support for your compliance queries
- regular on-site attendance and support
- file and ledger reviews
- updating your risk register and risk management action plan
- training for COLP, COFA, fee earners and staff
- advice on and assistance with SRA requests for information or inspections
- regulatory updates
File Review Service
File reviews will reveal the extent to which fee earners comply with key requirements such as anti-money laundering checks, client and matter risk assessments, conflict checks, scoping the retainer and the provision of costs and client care information to clients. File reviews should thus form an essential part of any practical compliance regime.
Finding the time and making sure the expertise is on hand to undertake thorough and regular file reviews is difficult. More and more firms are now outsourcing this essential work.
All of our compliance experts have not only worked as solicitors in private practice, but have a combined experience of working for the SRA for over 60 years and have provided hands-on compliance assistance to over 3,000 firms, having undertaken file reviews as an essential part of assessing those firms’ compliance arrangements.
We currently undertake file reviews for a wide range of firms, from sole practitioners and high street firms through to city firms and large multinationals. We have also helped a number of firms make their own internal file review systems more effective.
There are many benefits to outsourcing your file reviews:
- saving time and money
- improving efficiency
- possible reduction in PII premium
- consistency and objectivity
- demonstrating compliance with Lexcel, CQS, WIQS or SQM
- demonstrating compliance with service level agreements and protocols
We will give your COFA the support and tools to:
- ensure your accounts are compliant with the SRA Accounts Rules
- avoid breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules
- detect areas that would be of concern to the SRA.
We regularly assist COFAs by:
- performing a series of control checks on your accounting systems, including the authorisation of transactions, client and office reconciliation controls, aged balances and client matter balances
- carrying out file and ledger reviews targeting high-risk areas, providing you with the assurance such independent expert scrutiny brings to a task which is an essential part of the COFA’s compliance regime
- giving expert advice on any remedial action identified as necessary
- completing a detailed record of any non-compliance identified – vital for demonstrating compliance
- giving detailed feedback to your COFA and provide you with records of checks and reviews undertaken for production to the SRA as and when necessary
- providing email and telephone support to the COFA and other accounts staff
The SRA requires firms to have adequate systems and controls and to monitor financial stability and maintains a watchlist of firms it is particularly concerned about and requests financial data from a variety of firms that operate in areas experiencing particular economic pressures.
We know from experience that the SRA have intervened into firms even though their accounts were regularly audited by an independent accountant.
We work with you to ensure inadequate accounts systems and controls do not lead to financial difficulty and failure.