News Post

Excel Workbooks for Simple, Low-Volume Trust Accounting

At this year’s Annual Meeting, one of our members asked if ASB would provide some spreadsheets for trust accounting available on the ASB website similar to those found on the Florida State Bar’s website. After contacting the FL bar and getting their permission, we are happy to provide these Trust Account Client Ledger and Trust Account Journal workbooks for Excel. The instructions and workbooks may be accessed HERE.

It is highly recommended that you use automated software that performs reconciliations of your trust accounting. There are many legal applications available that provide the reports necessary to reconcile your trust accounts, and some applications that are programmed to perform a three-way trust account reconciliation. If you use Generally, that level of automation may be preferable to these workbooks, regardless of the size of the practice. I would only recommend these workbooks for smaller firms that cannot use such software for some reason, have a lower volume of trust account activity, and have some experience using Excel spreadsheets.

The two workbooks are templates. First, save the templates as a Read-Only file and do not make any changes to that template file. When you are ready to create your Trust Account Client Ledger and Trust Account Journal workbooks for each new year, you can simply open the appropriate template file, save another copy for the new year, and make changes to the copy only. By not modifying your templates, you can start new blank copies from the template each year. These instructions, as well as specific instructions about the functions of the workbooks, are also included on the first tab of each workbook titled “Instructions.”  (You can also setup Excel to save as Excel Templates. Please contact the Law Practice Management Program if you need help with this.)

ASB recommends that you review the pertinent Rules of Professional Conduct as well as the Handbook for Trust Accounting found here. Note that Rule 1.15(e)(9) requires quarterly reconciliation, but the comments recommend monthly reconciliation. When reconciling your trust account, it is best to do a Three-Way Reconciliation, which balances three things: your internal books, your trust account bank statement, and the client ledger balances. First, reconcile your trust account bank statement. Second, compare the balance between your journal entries and your reconciled trust account bank statement. Third, compare your trust account bank statement to your client ledger. The balances from these three should match.



Chris Colee
Practice Management Advisor