Filing your firm’s report is like visiting your doctor for your annual physical. A little nerve wracking and invasive but necessary for your peace of mind. According to the Law Society of Ontario, all licensees must file an Annual Report by March 31st of each year. Your annual report consists of information surrounding your practice, your EDI, your financial records and details about your firm's activities that occurred during the reporting year.
Here are 3 important tips to keep in mind when filing your Annual report to the LSO;
1. Having a Bookkeeper
The Annual report in itself can be difficult to get through especially on your own. “Section 4 – Financial Reporting” is the lengthiest section and requires the most attention to detail. In the event of a spot audit, an auditor will have records of your previous annual reports to verify LSO compliance. Common mistakes on annual members reports could trigger a spot audit. Having a bookkeeper to oversee all trust and general transactions will ensure accuracy when it is time to file your Annual report. While filing your annual report Section 4 may look like a different language to you but for bookkeepers they know exactly where and how to locate the balances that need to be provided.
2. Updated Financial Records
Having up to date records is important when filing your annual report due to the fact that Section 4 has questions regarding your mixed and non-mixed trust accounts. It requests information about your financial institution, ending balances and overdrawn accounts. In this section, it outlines the comparison of trust bank reconciliations and trust listings at December 31 of that reporting year. Ensuring that your records are kept up to date will result in providing accurate data when filling in your annual members report. Having the correct documentation such as your completed December Trust bank reconciliation and Trust listing is valuable. These supportive documents certify the accuracy in your filing.
3. File your annual report on time
No one enjoys paying late penalties or fines that could’ve been easily avoided. Your annual report is due March 31st, failing to file on time can lead to an unnecessary fine of $200 and a potential administrative suspension. The report needs to be completed in full and incomplete responses will result in further investigation by the LSO. Any Amendments to the Annual Report filing must be submitted in writing along with a signed disclaimer giving permission to amend the filing.