5 tips on reviewing compliance after lockdown

As firms start to move back to their offices and staff return from furlough, there should be a focus on how effective the firms compliance has been during lockdown and if there were any issues that need to be documented and reported. Under SRA code of conduct firms should have ‘a culture where ethical values and behaviours are embedded’, so a review of compliance systems will help demonstrate this.

Here are five areas that can be assessed to prove compliance is working well in your firm:

  • Risk Register – Review you firm’s risk register to ensure all risks are still valid for the business, add any new risks and show solutions that need to be implemented to mitigate against these risks. You can review the latest updates on the SRA website regarding Coronavirus and the Risk Outlook 2019/20 to give you guidance on the areas to focus on. 
  • Breach Register – Review your breach register to see if there are any patterns to the current breaches and look for the root cause. Have you had any new breaches since lockdown, how are you mitigating against them? I would also recommend conducting a file review for accounts rules compliance as well as standard file reviews, to see if there are any areas where controls need improving.
  • Staff Training – How often are you meeting with staff to speak about compliance with the SRA rules? To embed compliance into the workplace it is important that the staff are aware of the processes in identifying issues and how to report them. Also, this gives you an opportunity to ask staff for recommendations on improving their tasks i.e. what has worked for them since working remotely and what has caused a challenge for them. 
  • Systems – Are there any issues with your current case management system and/or finance system (if separate) that could be fixed to improve your processes and save time. It could be an area such as automating payment posting or automatic invoice production.
  • Processes – Review any process changes you had to implement for lockdown i.e. how bank reconciliations are signed off by COFA, banking cheques promptly and overall post collection. Ensure you have documented them for audit purposes, it will be easier for you to remember how you changed the processes now rather than wait until the auditor asks next year.

JJ+H is an accounting firm specialising in legal accounting. I can help with assessing your firm’s current position and implementing policies and procedures to make your firm more robust. Also, with prior experience as a COFA, I appreciate the challenges SRA regulations present and would love to help take the pressure away from COFA’s so they can focus on their core tasks. If you would like to discuss how I can help, please contact me, Claire Ellis (claire@jjandh.co.uk), to book up a consultation call or visit www.jjandh.co.uk for more information.