Home Blog Professional Fees (What It Is And Examples: All You Need To Know)

Professional Fees (What It Is And Examples: All You Need To Know)

What are Professional Fees?

What are some examples of professional fees?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s look at professional charges and some examples!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Are Professional Fees

Professional fees refer to the fees charged by a person considered to be a “professional” such as a lawyer, accountant, doctor, engineer, financial planner, appraiser, management consultant, or other.

For a person to charge professional fees, he or she must be recognized as a professional in a particular field of service.

For example, a lawyer is a professional as he or she is a member of the local Bar Association.

As such, if a lawyer charges a client fees, the fees in question will be referred to as “professional fees” or professional service fees.

The person receiving the professional services (the client) pays a certain amount of money to the professional in exchange for the professional’s advice, knowledge, or expertise in handling a certain matter or dealing with a question.

For instance, a client will agree to pay an attorney a professional service fee so the attorney can file a lawsuit against another person or provide legal advice (attorney fees).

Before the fees for professional services are charged, typically the professional and the client will agree on the terms of the service (the mandate) and how much the service will cost (the professional charges).

The agreement is often written down in a representation letter or professional service agreement.

Professional Fees Definition

My definition of professional fees is as follows:

Professional fees are fees charged by a person who is trained and experienced in a certain field of practice or a member of a professional order such as a doctor, lawyer, architect, engineer, or accountant.

Professional Fee In Accounting

What are professional fees in accounting?

In accounting, a professional fee refers to a revenue account and appears in the first section of an income statement.

If a business earns revenues by performing professional services, then the professional fee will appear as an income in the income statement.

On the other hand, if a business pays a professional for services, then the fees will appear as professional fees expense.

When professional fees are paid after the services are rendered, then the fees revenue is earned.

However, when the professional collects an advance payment for services to be rendered, then the company will have to account for the advance as a liability until it can invoice against it.

Rule 1.5 on Fees

In the United States, the American Bar Association has a model Rule 1.5 relating to fees.

The objective of this rule is to ensure that lawyers do not charge an unreasonable amount of money for their services or charge unreasonable expenses.

Rule 1.5 states:

A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. 

The rule further sets out various factors for the lawyer to consider in order to establish reasonable fees for his or her services, such as:

  • How much time and effort will be required 
  • The difficulty of the matter 
  • How much is customarily charged for similar legal services
  • How much is involved in the case (value of dispute for example)
  • The speed at which service must be executed
  • The experience of the attorney 
  • The nature of the fee agreement (fixed fee or contingent fee)

The rule also requires that the attorney clearly communicates the scope of the mandate and the basis on which the fees may be charged.

There are some exceptions to consider as well.

A lawyer cannot charge fees contingent on getting a divorce, alimony, support, or property settlement in a domestic relation matter nor can he or she charge a contingency fee in a criminal case.

Examples of Professional fees

Let’s look at a few examples of professional fees to better illustrate the concept.

Legal Professional Fees

First, let’s look at the legal and professional fees example.

What are the legal and professional fees?

Lawyers are legal professionals members of a Bar Association where they have the right to provide legal advice and representation services to their clients.

Clients pay lawyers so they can take advantage of the lawyer’s knowledge, expertise, and experience in dealing with specific types of legal matters.

In this context, lawyers can charge their professional fees in a variety of ways:

  • Contingency fee basis 
  • Hourly fees basis 
  • Flat fee basis 
  • A combination of the above

When the fees are charged on a contingency basis, it means that the lawyer will not charge the client any legal fees for the handling of the case but will take a percentage off the collected legal award or settlement.

When the fees are charged on an hourly basis, it means that the lawyer keeps track of how much time is being spent on the file and will charge the client a pre-determined rate.

When a lawyer charges on an hourly fee basis, it’s possible that the lawyer will ask the client to pay a “retainer” representing some of the hourly fees paid upfront.

A flat fee basis is a type of fee arrangement where the lawyer charges a fixed fee and will not charge anything else to execute the mandate.

Accounting Professional Fees

Accountants also charge professional fees for the accounting services they render.

Similar to lawyers, accountants may charge their clients on an hourly fee basis or based on a flat fee arrangement.

For instance, when you see an accountant for the filing of your income tax return, the accountant will likely charge you a flat fee as he or she knows how much effort will be required to perform such a service and can charge accordingly.

On the other hand, if you have a complex accountant mandate where it is difficult to predict how much time will be needed to complete the task (like a major audit), then the accountant will likely charge by the hour.

Professional Fee Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is a professional fee?

What are legal and professional fees?

Essentially, professional fees represent a certain amount of money that an individual (a professional) can charge for services he or she provides.

For example, if you hire a doctor to provide you with medical services, the doctor will charge you professional fees.

You can have professionals in a variety of industries and sectors, such as:

  • Actuary
  • Appraiser
  • Architect 
  • Evaluator 
  • Geoscientist 
  • IT consultant 
  • Investment manager
  • Supply chain management
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant 
  • Medical practitioner 

The reason why professionals are hired and clients choose to pay them is that they are academically and professionally trained in a particular area of service.

As such, professionals charge a fee to provide their clients advice, guidance, expertise, reports, evaluations, or recommendations on specific questions or needs.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Professional Charge (Overview)

  • A “professional” is an individual educated and trained in a particular field and potentially a member of a professional board 
  • When a professional charges clients fees for services, we refer to that those fees as “professional fees”
  • Depending on the nature of the services, the complexity of the mandate, timelines imposed, the areas of expertise, the professional may charge a different rate
  • Quite often, the professional will enter into a professional services agreement or engagement letter to define the scope of the services, fees, and any other relevant aspects relating to the service 
  • In accounting, professional services can be revenue to a business earning fees through professionals or it can be a professional service cost if a company is paying to receive professional services 
Agency agreement 
Attorney’s fees 
Attorney vs lawyer
Client-attorney privilege 
Consulting fees
Contingency fees 
Contractual services
Court fees 
Errors and omissions insurance 
Escrow account 
Expert fees 
Fee billing 
Flat fee services 
Hospital charges 
Hourly fees
Out of pocket expenses 
Personal injury lawyer
Private practice 
Pro bono services 
Professional claim 
Professional insurance 
Professional negligence 
Professional services 
Representation letter
Retainer agreement 
Settlement agreement 
White-shoe firm
Constitutional court 
Equity court 
Executive secretary 
General counsel 
Legal counsel 
Legal executive
Legal secretary 
Probation officer
Public servant
Supreme court 
Types of lawyers

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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