10 Efficiency Tips for CPAs

10 Efficiency Tips for CPAs

Successful accountants are also expert organizers who know how to manage their time wisely.

In a world where all of our electronic devices are connected and communication is instantaneous, this process can become even more streamlined and efficient than ever before.  Here are 10 Efficiency Tips for CPA’s to make time and billing software work for them.

 

Email Management

Cluttered email inboxes can be a headache to sort through, and trying to find past emails can waste valuable time. Try creating folders by project or month and sort emails via this simple system.

Another option is to create “Priority” and “Secondary” folders. As your emails come in, simply assign each one to one of these two, or delete it altogether.

Also, quit being bothered by emails in which you have little-to-no interest. Unsubscribe from those time suckers right away, then sit back and enjoy the sound of silence instead of your phone buzzing every other second.

Oh, one last thing. Turn off the notifications for your emails. Most experts agree you should only check your email twice per day at scheduled times to improve your time management.

 

Effective Time Tracking Software

Track exactly how much time you are spending on certain tasks with a good time tracking software. Having a visual representation of how your time is spent daily can provide insights as to how much attention is given to each project.  Time and billing software for accountants and CPA’s is an absolute must for CPA’s that want to effectively track time grow your practice.

For a robust solution, Mango Billing is a fantastic software/app that syncs with all of your devices and gives you a robust set of features with a simple interface. Combined, this will empower you to effectively manage your time and maximize your ROI.

 

Due Date Tracking Software

Use calendar applications to set both short-term and long-term due dates for all of your projects. Having a digital reminder will help ensure that no project is forgotten, and your team has plenty of time to accomplish goals. Mango Billing’s built-in due date tracking features are designed to simplify this process and automate it in a way that makes sure that no money ever slips through the cracks.

 

To-Do Lists

If you’re like most people, your to-do list doesn’t get smaller; it probably gets bigger every day. So, what’s the trick to shrinking your list and getting things done in a more efficient way? Experts say, “cook the frog” and set three main goals each day.

Cooking the frog means to knock out the things that you least want to do, first. Then, you’re able to tackle the more enjoyable tasks without the ever-looming cloud of doom hanging over you all day, creating a subtle feeling of dread. Just tackle it first, boost your confidence daily, and move on.  CPA’s use can use Mango Billing, which has a simple to use To-Do List.

 

Phone Management

Do long, wasteful phone calls make up a significant part of your workday? Use an auto attendant app to restrict phone calls to certain business hours, or plan calls through an online scheduling service. Establish a secondary phone number to point your less-than-useful contacts to, so if that ringtone sounds off, you know you can let that one roll over to voicemail.

This leads me to the next suggestion…do not use or check your voicemail. Instead of asking for people to leave you a message, encourage them to text or email you instead. Checking email is a terrible waste of time, as the purpose of the call will likely be repeated when you call back. Plus you have to trudge through the process of signing into your voicemail and selecting options to hear it, then delete it. If you have time for that, then you really do need this post!

 

Online Scheduling

Having a digital calendar that can be viewed and shared amongst coworkers and clients in the cloud can be super helpful in managing your time at work. Having a shared calendar allows others to see when you’re in meetings or focusing on a task, and they can schedule a meeting without having to interrupt your workflow.

 

Effective Cash Receipt Policies

Obviously, the means in which you get paid for your services should be amongst the simplest of processes. But too often, businesses and clients alike are bogged down by complex payment systems just because of a small percentage of savings. Don’t forget how valuable our time is as well! Using an online payment portal streamlines your billing, helps simplify record-keeping and makes getting paid a breeze.  Mango Billing, for example, utilizes a Client Portal to accept credit card payments.

 

Document Management Solution

Just like a messy file cabinet, important documents can easily be lost in the depths of a computer’s memory. Services such as Dropbox or Google Drive allow teams to easily organize files and share documents across a network, and it removes the need for a middleman approach, such as an email with an attachment.

There are other solutions, but Dropbox and Google Drive have the most integrations with other software solutions, so these might save you time later down the road.

If you’re a one-man show, having an online document management solution can still be quite helpful. If you’re ever out and about, you don’t need to have access to your home computer or set up an inconvenient remote access feature that forces you to leave your computer running 24/7. Using the online method, your computer can get some rest just like you. It prolongs its life and improves its performance, and you get your documents on-demand from any device.

 

Clearly Defined Policies

As the old saying goes, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Even if you employ all of these wonderful tips and tricks into your workplace, it will be ineffective and counterproductive if your team is not on the same page. Provide clear guidelines and instructions whenever you implement new strategies and be supportive to your coworkers as they adapt to change.

Record your processes into a software solution that allows for repeating tasks, clear step-by-step instructions, delegation, and accountability.

 

Simplify Time Wasting Processes

After mastering all of these tips, you should have a solid understanding of how your time is spent at work. If you notice any room for improvement on day-to-day systems in the office, take note and suggest an alternative method. For example going paperless at the office reduces the need for purchasing many office supplies, and allows your work to be accessed from any location with an Internet connection.

I hope you found these tips and tricks to be helpful for you and your business and you’ve picked up at least one thing that makes your days a little more productive and profitable.

Thanks for reading! If you have a tip you’d like to share, please comment below

 

Author

Tim Sines, CPA CEO/Founder Mango Billing, Inc.

Just How Safe is Your Cloud Data?

Just How Safe is Your Cloud Data?

CPAs are migrating to cloud data for their clients’ storage. But how safe is their data, really?

The invisible, omnipresent cloud is taking over the world as we know. It sounds a bit suspicious, doesn’t it? You’re sending your files to some mysterious location that is not your computer and far out of your reach. It’s a little scary, as it feels like you’ve suddenly lost control of your data. Hold off on the panicking though because you haven’t in any shape or form lost your data.

You’re still in charge of what happens to your data, and most importantly, you still own it. You’re just basically putting your data into a kind of digital storage unit you’re renting. The typical storage unit rules apply, you own what’s inside of it and the company protects it from potential thieves or hackers. As an added bonus, since you’re not hosting your data at home anymore, a bunch of the dangers that originally threatened it disappear.

Using the cloud keeps you safe from a majority of things that can cause you to lose your files. You no longer have to worry as much about your actual computer. (Actually, do still worry about your computer some because those things are expensive and while the cloud will protect your data, it doesn’t let you watch cat videos like a computer can).

Let’s say your computer gets stolen from your car after you forgot to lock it while at lunch. Normally, you’d be at a complete loss, but with the cloud, you still have your files. Also, If you get a virus, your data doesn’t get destroyed or corrupted. Even if you spill your morning coffee on your keyboard and fry your computer, your files will be safe!

Some people worry about putting their files in someone else’s hands, but cloud companies, like Amazon Web Services (which Mango Billing uses), Dropbox, and Box consider it paramount that clients’ files and privacy are protected. In order to do so, they utilize a variety of methods, most of which are much more complex security methods than your average computer does.

Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is well-known for its security methods in particular, as it currently has the best firewall in the industry. AWS is also good because it employs monitoring systems that are continuously scanning and testing its data centers for any breach. A breach? What do you mean, you ask?

Well, when it comes to protecting your data, cloud systems rely on a variety of encryption methods. Encrypting your files means that if someone tries to get into your files, they’ll just get a bunch of random letters and numbers with no significance rather than your data. Unfortunately, encryption isn’t 100% percent foolproof.

When the cloud service encrypts your files, only you, the original user, should be able to decrypt them, which means that you should have complete and total control over who can access your files. That said, someone can still decrypt them if they try hard enough. Doing so requires a lot of work, though. You need a lot of computer processing power and forensic software. On top of that, it requires a whole lot of time to decrypt files. Cloud services are always updating and improving their security and encryption too, which means that your data is consistently getting safer.

You can also help keep your data even safer in addition to the encryption services provided by your cloud servicer if you make strong passwords. You know the deal, write the name of your first born child, your second child’s social security number, your spouse’s blood type and birthday, your neighbor’s favorite color, oh, and throw in a couple of exclamation points and random capitals while you’re at it. Okay, maybe it doesn’t need that complicated, but the stronger you make your password, the less likely someone can hack into your account, pretend to be you, and thus decrypt your files.

Don’t worry too much about that, though. There is a whole second part to the security of your cloud data. AWS and similar companies utilize multiple data centers to store your data. These data centers are in several different geographic locations, meaning that if an earthquake or super villain strikes, you’re okay because there is a backup of your data in multiple locations.

The only way you could get your data safer would be to print it out, wipe the hard drive you created it on, put said printed data into a stainless steel lockbox and then stainless steel lock box, bury it in the woods at least 10-feet deep, hide the key in another lockbox in a different hole in a different country from the first, and then throw the key to that lockbox into the ocean! (taking a breath) It’d be safer that way, but you wouldn’t be able to access it ever again. Plus, with that lockbox method you’d have to spend the rest of your life praying that no meddling kids find the key, get curious, and go looking for what it unlocks. The nice thing about the cloud is it keeps your data safe, but also still useable. Oh, and it protects it from meddling kids. It’s the best of both worlds!

Tim Sines, CPA
CEO/Founder
Mango Billing, Inc.