MSBA IOLTA Guide - QuickBooks 2018

Keeping Clients’ Trust Accounts with QuickBooks Desktop 2018 Pro

Mike Trittipo

Ever since advising or arguing about the law became a way to make a living around the 12th century, and lawyers began to take money for their work, there have been requirements for lawyers to be able to account to their clients for money given to them. Since about the same time, to “account” has meant both generally to tell or justify, and specifically to say what one has done with money or other assets that one was supposed to use some way. Modern double-entry methods of accounting date to about the same time.

Today, lawyers’ obligations to account have moved from being governed and enforced by common law principles to being defined by court rules. Minnesota promulgated the predecessor to its current rules, specifying what records you must keep, in 1976. You need only read two documents: Rule 1.15 in the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (“MRPC”), and Appendix 1, a document issued every year by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (“LPRB”). You should re-read them every year to check for changes.

Appendix 1 is explicitly subject to annual revision, and Rule 1.15 was most recently amended in the fall of 2015. Those two documents tell you what records to keep, but mostly do not say how. It is the purpose of this guide to explain how you can keep the required records, using a modern computer accounting program from Intuit, QuickBooks® Desktop 2018 Pro (“QB”).

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