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To say that the life of a modern CPA is a busy one would be an understatement. Whether you work for a firm or have your own business, your workday is likely pulled in many directions. You are faced managing your own time and workload, along with balancing the conflicting attention needs of immediate problem solving with deep-cycle planning and strategy for your business or those of your clients. Fortunately, you’ve got a massive number of apps and services that can help keep your head above water.
As a modern CPA, you need to have a tech stack: a set of tried-and-true apps and connected services that helps you accomplish your daily tasks while staying organized.
It is likely that you might already have favored accounting software, so this list goes beyond that to provide productivity tools that can help you communicate efficiently and stay on task with clients, employees, and coworkers.
Own Your To-Do List: Todoist
Your week is filling up fast. You have a tax meeting with a client, a request for consultation services, and many deadlines regarding an audit for a non-profit. How can you prioritize these events and create a to-do list you will actually follow?
Listed as one of PCMag.com’s “Best To-Do List Apps of 2018,” Todoist is a premier list organization app. Organize and prioritize tasks, set daily and weekly goals, monitor productivity, and set deadlines. Cloud-connected desktop, web, and mobile apps keep everything in instant sync. For CPAs who have a variety of deadlines to meet and projects to accomplish, a tool like Todoist can put all of those tasks in one place. The benefits are endless and you can easily test drive the free version.
Easy Project Management for Non-Project Managers: Zoho Projects
So, you are up against the wall. Filing deadlines for a number of clients require you to involve multiple employees, coworkers, or even some remote contractors. How do you effectively delegate and review tasks? Zoho Projects, a top pick for PCmag.com, allows you to plan, track, and collaborate with your team to accomplish all tasks. You can view jobs in a Kanban card-style interface, organize projects with milestones, delegate tasks, track progress through Gantt charts, and track time.
Mind the nickels and dimes and the dollars take care of themselves: Expensify
It is the end of the tax year, and you have numerous receipts and expenses to track and ultimately assign to various clients. Get control of your expenses and receipts with Expensify. This app was not only recognized as the best overall expense tracker on The Balance, but it has also officially been endorsed by the AICPA.
Whether you are managing expenses for clients or trying to backtrack over your own as an independent CPA, Expensify will help you quickly and efficiently track all of your costs. All that is required is a quick photo of a receipt and the item, date, merchant, and price are all recorded in the Expensify database. You also can manage expense reports and integrate data from Quickbooks, Xero, or Netsuite.
Collaborate like never before and never send an email: Slack
Your clients are flooding your inbox with documents. Regular phone meetings create a new information stream. Maybe they’ve even got your mobile number and they text you constantly. You’re super accessible, but you’ve got client materials spread across all the channels.
You need Slack. Named as Techradar’s top collaboration tool, Slack is an innovative chatroom tool that keeps chats, document sharing, and more easily accessible through secure web, desktop, or mobile apps. Set up a channel for every client, add team members, and keep the conversations organized. Participants can direct message one another, share files, organize conversations into different channels, and integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, email and scheduling systems, top productivity and project management suites, and more.
Make it easier for your clients to schedule meetings: Calendly
“Can you meet next Tuesday at 4. How does that work.”
“4’s not good. How about Wednesday at 2?”
Playing Meeting Go Fish is exhausting. Your clients’ schedules are just as hectic as yours. How do you skip the back-and-forth emailing to nail down a time that works for you both?
Enter Calendly. This service is ranked as Business Insider’s number one scheduling and meeting software for a reason. Calendly shows a private schedule of your available times, allowing clients to schedule meetings that work for them. Calendly connects with your iCal, Exchange or Google Calendar account to check your calendars for available times, then allows invitees to schedule meetings based on available slots. Calendly automatically shows times based on your availability, and can build in extra time buffers surrounding your meetings to account for travel or prep time. Calendly can even limit the number of sessions you have per day. Calendly is the next best thing to a personal assistant and will help ease the scheduling worries of any CPA.
Track time better to capture more billable time: Freshbooks
Coming in as Zapier’s top time tracking solution for individuals who need to manage a business while still tracking time, Freshbooks intuitively allows you to monitor your time and better monetize it by seeing where most of your time is going. You can watch time for your entire team, automatically invoice for monitored hours, receive daily breakdowns of your hours, and track your time using a laptop, desktop, or mobile phone. If you use a project management tool, Freshbooks can integrate with many of the most popular to also track the time you spend on them. And of course, Freshbooks’ accounting capabilities integrate closely with its time-tracking features.
From monitoring new financial management regulations to offering accounting consulting services, a CPA’s work is never done. Regardless of whether you have a team of a 100 or are a one-person show, there is a lot to accomplish. While technology is not a cure-all, it can help to ease the modern CPA’s workload.
Chanell Alexander is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. She is a freelance writer and digital marketing strategist. She has over seven years of experience in the nonprofit field, and enjoys blending innovative technology solutions with communications. When she is not writing, Chanell enjoys traveling, contributing to video game blogs, and embracing her inner foodie. See what else Chanell has been up to on her LinkedIn profile and Twitter page.