Bookkeeping has come a long way over the past few decades. For example, QuickBooks automatically imports transactions from a bank account, attempts to categorize them based on your past actions, and generates financial reports on demand. Despite these advances, many bookkeepers still aren’t taking full advantage of modern technology to simplify their lives.
Let’s take a look at five ways to improve bookkeeping efficiency and why you may want to consider an all-in-one platform to maximize productivity.
Bookkeeping has come a long way over the past few decades, but many bookkeepers still aren’t taking full advantage of modern technology.
#1. Don’t Store Data in Email
Email has withstood the test of time as the most common form of electronic communication. When clients send you files via email, it’s tempting to leave them in your inbox, but doing so comes at great risk. You could accidentally delete the email, lose access to the email account, or worse, hackers could gain access to the account and your clients’ sensitive information.
Fortunately, there are many secure ways to transfer files these days. For example, Dropbox, Box and other popular file sharing applications make it easy to share tax returns, letters, agreements, invoices, receipts and other documents in the cloud. Many of these applications also have integrations with popular accounting platforms (more on that in #3 below).
All-in-one platforms, like Client Hub, take things a step further by incorporating file sharing into your overall workflow. For instance, you can task a client with uploading receipts in their client portal, and when they upload it, the file will be associated with the task. You don’t have to deal with a giant folder of files that you need to search through to find what you need.
#2. Use Automated Reminders
Bookkeeping involves a lot of recurring tasks—ranging from payroll to quarterly tax returns—that multiply with more clients. Without an orderly to-do list, it’s easy for tasks to fall by the wayside and stress levels to rise as you try to play catch-up. Many of these tasks also require client input, which all-too-often requires sending them constant reminders.
Automated reminders can help make recurring tasks a lot more manageable. For example, Boomerang for Gmail makes it easy to set up automated reminders if you don’t receive a reply from the recipient. Boomerang also makes it easy to schedule emails to be sent at a later date, hide messages until you need to see them and much more.
Client Hub goes a step further by enabling you to create recurring jobs and task checklists that can be assigned to staff or clients. You can even adjust due dates if they fall on a weekend and mark them ‘urgent’ if they are extra important. If the task is late, the platform will send out automatic reminders to complete the task without any extra effort.
#3. Leverage Software Integrations
Most bookkeepers use a patchwork of different technologies in their day-to-day work. You might work primarily in QuickBooks, sync files in Dropbox, manage to-dos in Basecamp and message clients in Gmail. Without integrations, you’ll spend more time moving files around than actually getting client work done—and experience a lot more stress along the way.
Zapier is one of the best ways to integrate different pieces of software. You can start a workflow from any app, pick a trigger that sets a zap into motion, and integrate that action with more than 3,000 other apps. In addition to bookkeeping tasks, zaps are great for marketing automation and other practice-level activities.
In many cases, it’s still easier to use an all-in-one solution that contains the functionality of all of your apps for bookkeeping (more on that in #5 below), but Zapier is perfect for practice-level task automation (e.g., marketing, advertising, reporting, etc.).
#4. Empower Your Clients with DIY Tools
The internet has opened the door to self-service tools. For instance, LegalZoom has automated the process of drafting simple legal documents by asking users a series of questions and filling in the blanks on a form. These same principles can help bookkeepers streamline a lot of their most time-consuming workflows while focusing on the real value-added services.
Client portals are the most common ways to help clients help themselves. For example, Client Hub enables bookkeepers to quickly assign tasks to clients, such as submitting copies of checking account statements. You can even provide clients with access to procedure lists or training videos that guide them through common tasks like using Bank Rules in QuickBooks.
As bookkeeping tools make it easier for clients to do it themselves, you may also want to consider doubling down on value-added services in marketing efforts. Common examples include bank financing, business valuation, cash flow management, strategic business planning and other services that border on a CFO-like role.
#5. Use a Single, Integrated Solution
The single best way to improve bookkeeping efficiency is to use a single, integrated solution. All-in-one platforms, like Client Hub, can address all of the other items on this list in a single pass by handling secure document transfer, automating reminders, integrating with accounting software and streamlining communication with a client portal.
Client Hub was designed from the ground-up to help QuickBooks ProAdvisors streamline their internal and client-facing workflows. As bookkeepers ourselves, we spent a lot of time optimizing internal workflows only to see everything grind to a halt when clients had questions—and we built Client Hub to avoid those problems.
There are several great reasons to try Client Hub:
Communication: Consolidate client communication with in-app messages and file sharing that is accessible to everyone on the team.
Task Management: Create recurring tasks for yourself, team members or clients with automated reminders to ensure that they are completed on time.
QuickBooks Integration: QuickBooks integration means that you can assign client tasks to resolve uncategorized expenses or address other QB items.
Jobs Dashboard: Visualize the status of different jobs using a Trello-like dashboard that provides an overview across your entire organization.
The Bottom Line
Technology has dramatically transformed the bookkeeping profession over the past several decades. Despite these advances, many bookkeepers still aren’t taking full advantage of modern technology. The five tips we’ve covered above can help you streamline your bookkeeping workflows and focus on your true value-added services.
Sign up and streamline your workflow today!