Mar 07

Automation Making My Life Easier…. ?

First, I want to apologize for the missing blogs the past two weeks.  I was on a much-needed vacation in Costa Rica.  The scenery was amazingly beautiful, and I was with a great group of friends that made the trip an absolute blast.  I did my best to NOT think about work the entire time I was there.

Coming back into the country I had a new experience though.  My friends all told me to download the mobile passport app.  It made going through customs in Miami MUCH easier.  It used the same lane as TSA Pre-Check, and I was in & out before I knew it.

Accounting is going much the same way today.  I’m in quite a few forums & message boards, and 99% of the conversations are about emerging apps for integration with Xero & QuickBooks Online.  There are so many apps and programs out there now that sound fantastic.  Then I wonder if they REALLY help with productivity, streamlining processes and increased billable hours by reducing administrative workload.  I’m in the process of exploring a few for myself and clients and will report on each as I think it’s worthwhile.

First up is getting my merchant services set up.  The goal is to have my billing and collections 100% automated.  Monthly bookkeeping clients are already automated.  But I still have to collect the money from them.  Merchant services will allow me to automatically bill their credit card or their bank account and they won’t have to sit down to pay the bill, and I won’t have to go to the post office to get checks.  I’m about 60% set up on this.  I should be done this week with the account setup side, then just need to get my authorizations from clients signed & input and I’ll be good to go, I think.

Next after that will be a project workflow app.  I’m finally getting large enough that I can’t keep it all in my head.  I HATE for a client to ask me what the status is of something, and it had slipped through the cracks.  The app I’m considering will keep a “waiting on me” and a “waiting on client” list.  I’m also hoping it will help me schedule my days out, so if I have one hour to work on a client, it will show me which client I should handle in that time period.  It will also keep all my client deadlines in one place, so I can access either from my desktop (preferred), tablet or phone.

Lastly, and this will be depending on if I need it or not after getting my merchant account set up, is a collections app.  One that will assess finance charges on past-due invoices (Xero doesn’t have this function at all), send reminder notices, and even send to collections if necessary.  My needs for this are very small right now, but as I grow, it may be necessary.  Although, my new client contracts will provide for ACH only, so I’m hoping it won’t’ be necessary.

 

What are your favorite apps?  Have they made your worklife easier?  Are you able to spend more time on client activities and less on daily administrative tasks?  Let me know!