In an April 18, 2011 post on the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Practice Blawg, it was announced that the MSBA trust accounting guides are now available to non-MSBA members. In the past these guides were behind a members-only wall.
These guides help lawyers work with trust accounts in the several commercially available mainstream accounting programs. There are 5 guides including:
- Keeping Client Trust Accounts with GnuCash 2.2.4
- Keeping Records for Client Trust Accounts Using Microsoft Office Accounting 2006 or 2007
- Using QuickBooks 6.0 for Lawyers’ Trust Accounting
- Trust Accounting with QuickBooks 2005 Professional
- Keeping Clients’ Trust Accounts with QuickBooks 2010 Professional
If you want one of these guides follow this link and complete a form, which requires an email and your name. The guide you request will be emailed to you.
I note that I make this post with some hesitations. I always strongly recommend lawyers use accounting software that is specifically designed for law firms for the simple reason that these products have build-in functionality for dealing with trust accounts. There are some great mainstream accounting software products, but you have to do some workarounds to deal with trust accounts. You can avoid this extra work – and the mistakes that are more likely to happen – by working with software that is specifically designed for a law office setting.
That being said, I know some lawyers end up using mainstream accounting products, (often to save money or to use the products that the firm accountant has requested – nice to help them out but not if it causes you to not meet your record keeping obligations with respect to trust accounts). If you are using one of the above mainstream products, these guides are a great resource to help you properly deal with trust accounts.