House Cleaning After the Holidays!

The holiday season is coming to a close, and your work team is transitioning from the family-filled hustle and bustle back into work mode.  This is the perfect time for an annual house cleaning of sorts.  The process isn’t so different from the cleanup you’ve been doing…or thinking about doing… of your own personal life and home.  You have lingering physical and mental blocks to be cleared—all the while you are keeping an eye towards the future with your new years’ resolutions.  The same can be said of your work at the firm.

Out with the old! Take some time at the beginning of each year to evaluate what’s become unnecessary clutter in your accounting software.

  • Review any outstanding transactions—it’s easy to start a batch of vouchers, checks or expense entries only to get sidetracked.  You get pulled in so many directions during your average work day!  Right now is a great time to review all unposted transactions and delete or post them.
  • Purge old information—if your database is becoming overloaded with years and years of data, consider putting a purging schedule in place.  Check out pages 12 and 13 of the Juris Year-End Checklist for additional details.
  • Inactivate unused vendors and timekeepers—ask yourself, “Have we stopped ordering from any vendors?” and “Has anyone left the firm but their timekeeper record remains?”  If the answer is yes, you aren’t alone.  With the hectic life at a firm, it’s not easy to prioritize archiving.  Just think- if you do a little bit of cleanup, you won’t have to scroll through so many options when entering time or creating vouchers.

In with the new! It’s great to be forward thinking at the beginning of each year.  Updating setup items and reviewing you current processes now will lead to more efficiency the whole year through.

  • Update your business plan and create financial budgets using realistic goals—the firm may not be in its infancy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your business plan.  Check out A Business Plan and Budget: The foundation of a successful and profitable practice for some more insight.
  • Update standard timekeeper rates, time entry compliance rules, recurring journal entries/vouchers and report distributions—your time is valuable!  Take a few minutes to update these items, and it will ensure your daily processing continues efficiently.
  • Review current procedures to see where you could improve—would creating a month-end checklist make next year’s closing easier?  Start with a template like this one, and alter it to fit your firm’s needs.   Remember your long-term goal of creating a paperless billing process?  Maybe 2014 is the year!  Or try evaluating which transactions commonly contain mistakes which ones have been consistently mistake-free.  Could you better balance your time by following the Pareto principle and making an effort to focus 80% of your time on the 20% of your business that needs careful attention?

Using the Juris Solution can make your year-end closing and clean-up as painless as possible.  For an overview of the year-end closing and 1099 procedure, visit LexisNexis University to register for instructor-led online training or review free recorded year-end training .  Also, don’t forget to check out the Juris Year End Checklist .  It has lots of tips on how to clean up Juris for the year ahead.

-Kelly McNamee

About Kelly McNamee

Kelly McNamee is an End-User Trainer for LexisNexis’ Business of Law Software Solutions team. In her role, she trains her students on how to efficiently use their LexisNexis software products. She is certified to train all end users on InterAction and Juris functionality. She also has sharp skills in designing and developing instructor-led and self-paced training. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Benedictine University. Her background includes skills in accounting and real estate sales management and education.