6 Productivity Tools for Accountants and Tax Professionals

Practice Management, Workflow tools

When Intuit® asked for some productivity tools for accountants and tax professionals, I raised my hand, jumped up and down, and said, “Pick me, pick me, please pick me.” You see, productivity tools are my jam; when I’m not busy doing the books for my clients, I’m testing new apps that can help me, my clients or other QuickBooks ProAdvisors® improve their practices.

Here are my absolute favorite productivity tools in the WORLD, at least today:

  1. QuickBooks®. When it was first introduced, we called it QuickBooks Online. It’s become such a prevalent force in the industry that Intuit has asked us to drop the word “Online,” and just call it QuickBooks. I was an early adopter because I knew what the power of moving online would do for ME, personally. No longer would I spend my entire day driving from client to client to reconcile the books. Now, I could do it from the comfort of my home office in my jammies. If you haven’t made the shift to QuickBooks, why not? Check out my recent article on how to know if QuickBooks Online is the best choice for you.

qboa-client-switcher
This is me shaving SECONDS out of my day by using the QBOA Client Switcher.

  1. Boomerang for Gmail. One of my biggest priorities in life, aside from raising my kids, is #InBoxZero. Using Boomerang for Gmail, I can add read receipts to my emails, a must when sending important client information, such as “Your sales tax payment is LATE AGAIN.” It’s also nice to schedule when emails send, if you want clients to think you’re working hard for them at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday. I can also “boomerang” emails to come back to my inbox if I don’t get a response so I know to follow up. If you want to learn more on how I use Boomerang for Gmail to run my practice, check out this short webinar I did.

google-stacy
This image is me telling Boomerang to bring this email back to me in one hour, but only if no one replies.

  1. Another way I keep to #InboxZero is by moving all of our internal practice communications to Slack. Slack is the single source of information for my business partner, Shannon, and me. We use Slack instead of emails to keep track of client work, send files back and forth, and ask questions. Slack allows us to organize team conversations by channels; channels can be a client, a team or anything else we need to keep track of. We can upload files, pin messages to a channel, search the entire archive for whatever we need and even use it for project management. I can also set up channel integrations with Twitter and Google Calendar, and have Slack remind me to do things. Let me tell you, Slack keeps us organized and on task, and has reduced our email use by almost 80 percent over the last year.

slack
This image is showing an integration with Google Calendar, a post that includes a checklist, and an integration with Workflow that posts the last pic from my phone to this slack channel.

  1. Boomerang Calendar. How many emails does it take you to schedule a meeting? It only takes one for me because I use Boomerang Calendar. I was able to cancel the paid subscription to an online scheduling tool and save my practice $600 a year. Boomerang Calendar allows me to share my availability, schedule group meetings and update availability in one quick click. Check out this webinar to learn more.

boomerang-calendar
This image is me trying to schedule a meeting; the blue shows the days/times I’m suggesting.

  1. Zapier. If you have some apps that don’t talk to each other, but you need them to do just that, check out the magic of Zapier. Zapier allows you to set up zaps that are triggered by one app to do something in another. A quick example is how we schedule our StacyKAcademy.com webinars. Attendees sign up with EventBrite, and then I have a Zap that creates a registrant in our webinar application, Zoom, and a Sales Receipt in QuickBooks. It works with a zillion different apps – well, more than 500, including Expensify, Google Calendar, MailChimp, PayPal, Excel and Intuit QuickBase.

zapier
This is the zap that creates a Zoom webinar registrant, and a Sales Receipt is created after someone registers via EventBrite.

  1. Facebook Groups app. Before I explain why I like this app, I’m going to plug Facebook Groups, which allows people to stay in touch, collaborate on projects, get business inspiration, see their kids’ band pictures and even find clients. A lot of ProAdvisors and other small business owners have found new clients by simply being active in a Facebook group. This app simplifies things by providing dedicated space to see all of your groups. While we’re on the subject, I’ll put a shameless plug in for one of my Facebook Groups, Business Workflow & Management, where more than 1,000 members talk about bookkeeping, accounting and other small business related issues. You’ll love it – just submit your request to join!

facebook-groups
The image on the left is a list of all the groups I belong to, and the image on the right is my BWAM/AREX group discussion thread.

One final word about apps: there are a lot of apps out there, but more is not necessarily better. Adding too many apps can bog you down and make your practice more complex than it needs to be. You can always check out Appasaurus Rex to view one of our reviews, or check out the ones on Apps.com.