No doubt an increasing part of your role as an accountant revolves around educating your clients on the benefits of using cloud software to manage their finances.
I know many of you have also embraced cloud accounting tools in your own business, but the majority still seem to be only cautiously investigating online technology for the rest of your businesses administration processes.
If you want to transform yourself from an office-bound compliance drone to a work-from-anywhere business advisor then you’ll have to start practicing what you preach. Here are 10 cloud software solutions that can help you run a more efficient accounting or bookkeeping practice, particularly if you work from a home office:
1. Google Apps
If there’s one system that will transform the way you work, it’s Google Apps. This application offers you email, shared calendars, online document storage and video meetings - pretty much everything that gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. You can create documents and spreadsheets using Google Drive, collaborate with colleagues or clients instantly, and access them from wherever you have an internet connection - whether that is on your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Dropbox is a document storage solution that gives you access to your documents from anywhere. It also means you can share them easily with your clients - which is particularly useful when you’re trying to send large reports. Dropbox is a handy option if you don’t want to get into the whole suite that Google Apps offers. It also integrates with a whole bunch of other awesome apps for business.
Xero Practice manager makes it super easy to manage your practice online. It delivers job, time and invoice management specifically to accountants and bookkeepers. It also connects seamlessly with Xero - so like your clients, you get better control over your cashflow and increased visibility of your business.
Workpapers is an online tool that makes it much easier and faster to process your compliance work. It connects seamlessly with Xero, so there is no double-handling of work. You can also collaborate with your clients online, by sharing and reviewing jobs simultaneously from anywhere.
Make sure you are keeping in touch with your clients regularly through your email newsletter. A cloud-based option allows you to keep a central database of your clients and contacts. You can then communicate with them regularly using a professional looking email newsletter created from a customisable template.
6. Receipt Bank
No more shoebox full of receipts required! A cloud service such as Receipt Bank means you can digitise your documents and then import it directly into your online accounting system.
Organise all your ideas and notes in one place. You can collect articles, notes, photos and documents related to clients, meetings or projects. It’s also a fast and effective way of creating a presentation of your work by transforming your notes into a display-friendly layout.
Make it easy for yourself - use a tool such as Spotlight Reporting to quickly create stylish and useful business reports to present metrics and KPIs to your clients.
If you’re keen to keep on top of your social networking, give Hootsuite a go. It is an all-in-one dashboard where you can manage your social accounts, schedule posts and monitor your community engagement for each platform - much easier than trying to manage them all individually!
DocuSign is a fast and easy electronic signature solution. You can prepare and send documents for an electronic signature in a matter of minutes - just upload a document from one of your file-sharing options (Google Drive, Dropbox or Box), enter the email address of your recipient(s) and then add in DocuSign tags where you need a signature and send it off.
Are you an accountant or bookkeeper who has embraced cloud technology in your business? What other online tools do you use which you think are particularly useful for managing your practice? Share them in the comments below and don't forget to share this article with your networks!