Law Firm Practice Area: Immigration Firms

There’s a lot I can say about immigration firms and accounting. Let’s start with the transaction volume. Like family law, there are many transactions for many exact and similar amounts. Handling accounts receivable is probably the largest body of work for an immigration attorney besides the attorneys doing great work.

QuickBooks Online Advanced: User Roles

Having a program like QuickBooks Online Advanced is paramount. As the accounting partner, we need to finesse the roles for each person that logs into QuickBooks. For example, sometimes the receptionist will handle receiving a payment, but we don’t want them to see the banking or the bank account. Typically, that’s dealt with by the role of the sales manager or accounts receivable manager.

Similar Names

The most significant pain point for the person that handles accounts receivable is the names. They are going to be many people with a lot of similar names. This means the person who manages accounts receivable at an immigration firm holds a very essential role at the law firm.

Another situation we run into with immigration firms is that sometimes one person, who speaks English very well, is the person that helps get immigrants into the country. They’ll handle the processing of paperwork and also pay for the services. For example, you might have a client named “Maria Lopez” paying for multiple immigration clients with different last names. Sometimes this causes some headaches when tracking the flow of payments on client files.

Cash payments

Another issue, along with the transaction volume, will be processing these invoices that were paid for by cash. Due to these cash payments,  an accounting partner should help to develop a procedure for managing money at the law firm, like family law. Sometimes there’s petty cash. We need to make sure that there’s a good policy for petty cash.

Foot traffic

One of the unique qualities that an immigration law firm has is foot traffic. People come into the firm directly. Many of these firms have a receptionist or possibly even multiple receptionists. We find a lot of the immigration firms have various locations too. This is a factor when you look at processing the income.  

State tax by location

Some states have a tax by location. Location tracking is essential, and most legal tech software does not handle that task. We have to handle it in QuickBooks. We need to track inside of QuickBooks because there are often adjustments to the invoices that the legal tech software disregards. Legal tech software only tracks the invoice side, not credit memos and other adjustments.

Class tracking

Typically, there are multiple attorneys in a law firm that does immigration, and we use class tracking for that. This way, we can track how much each attorney is generating revenue. Legal tech software will handle that too.

As you can see from the above, there are a lot of nuances and things you should consider as you run your immigration law firm. These firms often have a pretty large staff of legal assistants and timekeepers. 

In this type of law practice, the attorneys are exceptionally busy. As the bookkeeper of record, making it easy to gather details on any questionable transactions or transactions that you need more guidance on is critical. We use Liscio for this type of communication with our immigration attorneys. It’s an easy invite-in software that is highly secure.

I find that immigration attorneys have the biggest hearts. They make great clients, and we can set their firm up for success. We can help you implement a financial strategy to make your law firm profitable. We can create modern workflows to help automate a lot of accounts receivable processing. If you are an immigration attorney seeking help with your bookkeeping, give us a call or click our contact form.

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