Technology seems to move at the speed of light these days with new tools and gadgets coming out every year. But how do you know which of those tools are more than just a fun shiny object and will actually help you improve efficiency and productivity at your office?
Accounting firms are already making the move to better technologies, with 75% of those surveyed stating they’ve increased their IT budgets. Areas they’re focusing on to improve efficiencies include:
- Expense Management
- Practice Management
- Business Intelligence
- Project Management
- Bill Pay
- Merchant Services/E-commerce
Cloud-based technologies, especially, help to level the playing field for smaller accounting and tax professionals by being more affordable than stand-alone software and enabling mobility and flexibility.
The key is to streamline and choose the best tools that can help enhance productivity, without getting caught up using so many different tools that your workflow becomes less efficient.
Our Connect2Geek Managed IT Services Team often helps our accounting and tax firm clients in the Nampa area with productivity improvements. They’ve put together their top 6 productivity-boosting suggestions below to help you streamline your operations.
What are the Best Technology Tools for Accounting Professionals?
Does it feel like you’re having to do more than you did a few years ago? You’re not just imagining it. Clients are expecting more of their accountants these days, which makes smart technologies all the more needed.
83% of clients demand more of their accountants today than they did 5 years ago.
Here are some technologies to help you get more done and increase your efficiency.
Cloud-Based Accounting Software
If you haven’t yet switched to a cloud-based accounting platform, like QuickBooks Online Accountant, you may not realize how much your stand-alone software may be holding you back.
Productivity tools like sharing real-time access with your clients, not having to worry about working on an outdated file version, and being able to open multiple windows to jump from client to client in a mouse-click all help speed up your day-to-day workflow.
Additionally, the mobility of a cloud-based platform allows you to login from desktop, tablet, or smartphone and work from anywhere.
Directions can often get lost in translation, and sometimes a face-to-face meeting is needed. But that doesn’t mean you have to go back and forth scheduling an office visit.
Virtual video conferencing software, like Skype for Business or Zoom, can help you “up your game” when it comes to servicing clients by offering impromptu video meetings when needed without anyone having to leave their desk.
At first glance, some companies may wonder about the benefit of team chat platforms, like Microsoft Teams or Slack. But these collaborative applications can make a significant difference in your overall efficiency by offering a more fluid means of communication than multiple back and forth emails.
Team chat applications allow you to:
- Segment chat conversations according to subject
- Set user-based permissions on channels
- Drag and drop files to share within the interface
- Communicate in real-time without sifting through emails
- Keep your staff on the same page more easily
- Create client chat channels for easy external coordination
- Add automations that integrate other programs into chat, like Asana (task management) or ZenDesk (CRM)
Keeping up with ongoing client projects can be streamlined with a project management tool, and especially one that is designed to work with your accounting software.
If you use QuickBooks, Intuit offers an integrated project management application called Karbon. It’s designed to bring everything together into one easy to manage workflow, including emails, client information, accounting details, and more so you can stay on top of projects and keep your team coordinated.
If you don’t work with QuickBooks, other helpful project management applications that you may want to check out are Asana, Trello, and Wrike.
Mobile Device Management
As much for security as for efficiency, mobile device management applications can help you get the most out of a mobile-enabled office while also keeping control of your data.
They allow you to easily deploy new applications across multiple staff mobile devices, keep devices updated, and assign security protocols to ensure data being accessed from mobile devices, as well as the devices themselves, are secure.
Business Automation Applications
The term “If This, Then That” is the logic behind easy automations between different platforms. Business automations reduce time-consuming and repetitive many entry tasks by automating processes.
For example, you may need to take client data from an input form and re-enter into your accounting program, but an automation could allow you to not only bring the data in automatically, reducing both time and keying errors, but also do things like tag it for a particular client category.
Two popular tools that connect applications and automate tasks between them are Zapier and IFTTT.
Do More in Less Time with the Right Business Technology
Are you looking for ways to increase office efficiency and reduce manual entry tasks? Connect2Geek has tech efficiency experts that can guide you to the best tools for your accounting or tax firm that will help boost productivity.
Contact us today for an efficiency consultation at 208-468-4323 or through our website.