Sunday, April 15, 2012

Year-end Review and PCLaw

Last week, our concern was getting your books cleaned-up for your accountant.  Typically, you will want to meet with you accountant after your taxes have been prepared. After reviewing your financials, your accountant will be in a much better position to offer you advice. However, for you to get the best advice, you need to come to the meeting fully prepared.

Print off a copy of your financials. Make a list of any questions you have. Is there any specific area you need advice on? Do you have an issue that you are concerned about?
The goal is to seek ways to reduce your expenses and increase your sales, and thereby increase your net income. Year-end is also a time to review your fee structure. Rising costs can mean that you need to raise your hourly rate just to maintain the same income as last year.

Besides the obvious financial statements, PCLaw can also generate other useful reports to help you improve your business. By selecting different options on standard reports, you can learn a great deal. For example:

You can run you billing fees journal and select to sort matters by type of law. This type of information is useful for planning your marketing efforts. Do you need to increase your marketing in some areas where you want to grow? Did your marketing decisions from last year pay off in increased billings in the area of law you were targeting with your advertising dollars?

Run an Client Costs journal report, on the “Other” tab select the expense code for photocopies. Typically, your fax machine is now part of an all-in-one printer, so you need to add this result to the photocopies amount. Compare this with your photocopy expenses for the machine, toner, paper, etc. Do you need to adjust the amount you are charging?

Can you reduce your telephone expenses by bundling into one invoice?

Are your staffing levels appropriate to the volume of work you do? Virtual assistants can provide additional support without the overhead of an on-site employee. It can be as simple as differentiating work that has to be done in the office.  Filing, faxing, photocopying, etc. has to be done where the documents are physically present. Documents – letters, pleadings, etc. – can be typed anywhere.

These are just a few of suggestions. The point is, all the data has already been entered into your PCLaw program, There is a wealth of information contained within this data which is freely available to you. Your bookkeeper can assist you with mining this data and running comparative reports.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next Week – PCLaw and Excel.