UK Accounting Glossary
A retainer is a payment made in advance of receiving a service. A retainer acts as a down payment, ensuring delivery of service and payment for providing a service. Frequently, a lawyer, consultant or counsellor will request a retainer in order to secure their services. A lawyer is often referred to as being placed “on retainer.” As a lawyer works on a case, he/she will bill time against the retainer. Expenses such as travel time and phone calls are not considered part of a retainer and are usually billed separately. A retainer is often a part or percentage of a total contractual sum. A retainer period refers to a pre-determined period of time in which services will be provided. A retainer is also referred to as a deposit, advance payment or advance.
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This glossary post was last updated: 6th February 2020.