Accountants encouraged to blow the whistle
Forensic experts are urging accountants to 'blow the whistle' on law firms where they uncover serious financial irregularities.
The call comes from a senior member of the Office of the Supervision of Solicitors, which polices the legal profession.
Richard Lane, OSS senior investigation officer, said accountants can play an important role in ensuring law firms do not breach the Law Society’s solicitors accounts rules by dipping into clients’ funds.
Lane said: ‘I would encourage people to exercise their whistle-blowing powers much more. If there is a major deficit on the client account, whether it is error or fraud, we would like you to tell us about it.’
Lane, also an accountant, carried out over 400 inspections last year, resulting in 62 solicitors being struck off. A further 29 were suspended and 78 either fined or reprimanded, Lane told the annual conference of the ICAEW’s solicitors group in Coventry.