Janet Taylor, Director and SRA expert at PKF Francis Clark

janet-taylor-for-web Expert in the house

 

Janet Taylor is a well-known name in the legal sector. One of the UK’s top legal trainers, Janet is renowned for taking the complexity out of the SRA Accounts Rules. Over the years, hundreds of law firms have turned to her business for expert advice to boost their growth and profitability.

 

Janet joined PKF Francis Clark as a Director in 2018 and is based out of the firm’s Poole office, providing training and legal accountancy services to law firms right across the UK. Her appointment to PKF Francis Clark’s own dedicated legal sector division, headed up by Andrew Allen, has strengthened the firm’s expertise in the legal sector with a wider range of training and consultancy now provided.

 

This has been further enhanced with a joint venture with Taylor Mowbray LLP to provide additional consultancy and services – helping PKF Francis Clark clients to increase their profitability, improve cashflow and pricing, and benefit from better time and people management. 

 

Why PKF Francis Clark?

 

Janet has known Andrew Allen for many years, and has worked alongside him on various legal advisory groups. Janet explains that she was actually running some training for the PKF Francis Clark team when her “off the cuff remark” about “looking to move to the South West and go back into practice” started discussions that eventually resulted in a move from London to Dorset, and an in-house role with PKF Francis Clark.

 

“PKF Francis Clark is a firm that I have known and respected for many years. They are unusual as accountancy practices go because they have a specialist legal division and a large number of clients in the legal sector – they really understand solicitors and have a long track record with law practice clients nationwide, as well as locally. My experience has all dovetailed quite neatly.”

 

Since joining the legal team, Janet has been focused on internal training and updating compliance policies and procedures, working client-side with law firms to improve their compliance and financials, and providing compliance and SRA training online and nationally.  

 

On your watch

 

“Many law firms don’t always understand the consequences of the SRA Accounts Rules. It is not something you can choose to engage with or not. In my 30 years’ working in the legal sector, I’ve heard some real horror stories of bad practice and firms need to understand that all the principals within their firm are jointly liable for compliance and making the right judgments.

 

“Partners need to understand that it’s all on your watch. You have to make sure your people are trained and you have robust client money management systems and controls in place. The SRA is looking for evidence that firms are taking the Rules seriously, and if you’re not, they will consider there to be an ongoing risk and they’re more likely to want to come and visit you.

 

“The need for and importance of having a compliance culture within your law firm should never be underestimated. The Accounts Rules are a challenge and firms can get irritated at times because on a practical level, they can be difficult for law firms to deal with. It’s our job to give the best advice. To say when something isn’t right and what you need to do about it. Let the regulator visit everyone else because they haven’t had the best advice, and focus on improving your compliance and business practices.”

 

Challenges for 2020

 

“Profit and profitability is always a key challenge but compliance or rather lack of compliance can make or break a firm. You have to look beyond the financials.”

 

According to Janet, succession planning comes up time and time again, along with recruitment and retention of staff, time recording, and profitability.  

 

“Millennials, for example, don’t see partnership in a professional firm as something they necessarily want to achieve.” How you reward your staff or encourage them to manage and record their time is another ongoing issue, says Janet, and it is where “having an outside perspective really helps to help firms to tackle not just the ongoing problems but those that are building up for the future too.”

 

“The legal sector is experiencing massive shifts in everything from pricing, to external competition and attracting a younger generation. The onus is on firms to think about how to achieve better practice and that’s where we come in and really add value.”       

 

Taste of the South West  

 

Since moving to Dorset, Janet is loving spending more time with her family and making the most of getting involved in village life. A regular at the local village hall quiz and curry night, trips to the theatre may no longer be as frequent as they once were in her London days, but living and working in the South West still “feels like being on holiday.”

 

After running her own business for such a long time, Janet was initially worried that a move back into an employed job role would be a challenge but has found a greater work-life balance. “I’m loving working with a really good team and being part of a company that really embraces flexible working.”

 

Contact

 

You can contact Janet Taylor on 01202 663600 or email: janet.taylor@pkf-francisclark.co.uk

https://www.pkf-francisclark.co.uk/sectors/legal/

 

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