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January

MGI World

Compliance and risk assurance services for solicitors

9th January 2013

MGI World MGI Worldwide UK & Ireland Area news item, folded newspapers image

From 1 January 2013, the outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) regime is likely to involve new resource commitments for solicitors’ firms. These include appointing new compliance officers for finance and administration (COFA) and legal practice (COLP), writes David Kendall of HB&O.

The COFA has the key responsibilities of ensuring all reasonable steps are taken to ensure the firm and its employees comply with the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Accounts Rules and recording and reporting any non-compliance to the SRA.

It makes sense for COFAs to be sufficiently senior to gain cross-practice co-operation in implementing change and comprehensive access to financial information to ensure compliance. However, diverting a fee earner to compliance issues could have a potentially significant impact on a practice, particular in smaller firms where the COFA is more likely to be a partner, member or director.

COFA and COLPs cannot be external appointment, but outsourcing COFA-related tasks is a common-sense solution to ensuring key responsibilities are taken care of, while the COFA concentrates on oversight of the overall compliance function.

At HB&O, our experience in legal practice financial management issues and detailed knowledge of the SRA Accounts Rules is complemented by in-house risk assurance expertise, so that we can support COFAs in identifying, monitoring and managing risk within their firms.

For more information on our compliance and risk assurance services for solicitors’ firms, please contact David Kendall at HB&O on 01926 422292 or email david.kendall@hboltd.co.uk.