Immigration Practice News

January 2013 (Vol. 4, No. 2)

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FINANCES CONTINUED FROM 2 >> 3. What do you project will be your firm's income over time? This is generally referred to as forecasting and budgeting. You should estimate both when and how much revenue you expect to receive for the entire year, month by month. You may use the previous year's financials as a guide, as well as your knowledge about when you often experience highs and lows in business. For instance, March and April is a busy time for business immigration attorneys filing for H-1B visas, while December can be a slow month due to the holidays. 4. What do you project will be your firm's expenses over time? You should budget your firm's expenses for the entire year by month. Pay attention to times when your firm's expenses will be high but revenues will be low, and plan in advance for this situation. You may also want to budget for additional help during your busiest time to prevent burnout or missed opportunities. Year after year, I have watched law firms take these straightforward steps to improve their firm's results by 35% to 75%. When done consistently, business financial performance can continue to improve annually. So this year, take a day to review your firm's financials, ask some new questions, and plan for a profitable and abundant business year! Simone Bachaud of Knowledge Integration Solutions provides tax planning and management advisory services to businesses. Resolve To Revamp Your Employee Performance Reviews by Kirby Gamblin Joseph E mployee reviews can be stressful. Not only can they be nerve racking for an employee, employers are frequently equally anxious. Apprehension can develop surrounding how to best conduct a review. An effective employee review should accurately reflect what has happened over the past year, provide insight into the strengths of an employee's performance and contributions, and provide meaningful suggestions on areas for improvement. There are some recommended techniques to incorporate into a law firm practice that will help reduce the anxiety associated with employee reviews. In essence, these recommendations involve conducting a complete 360º review, which includes regular reliable reviews, obtaining the employee's perspective on his/her performance and contributions throughout the year, obtaining feedback from the employee on his/her impressions of the firm and areas for firm improvement, obtaining and communicating feedback from other staff members regarding the employee in a confidential manner, and providing honest and constructive recommendations for the upcoming year. Regular and reliable reviews are imperative to employee morale. Employees like feedback, both positive and constructive, and they like to know when they will receive that feedback. Firms must determine when and how often to conduct employee performance reviews and should clearly communicate this information to employees at the beginning of an employment relationship. While some firms review all employees at the same time every year, other firms opt to review their employees throughout the year based on each employee's start date. Money and time are factors to consider when deciding when to conduct employee reviews. The financial impact of giving raises to all staff members at the same time every year versus allotting pay increases over the year can play an important role in determining the best time for preparing reviews. In addition, a firm should also consider whether it has the resources to prepare numerous reviews at the same time as opposed to spreading the work out throughout the year. There may also be benefits to having reviews more frequently than once per year—consider holding less CONTINUED on pg.6 >> 5

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