6 productivity hacks for remote CPAs

Marci RomneyBlog

As the brick-and-mortar economy flirts with reopening, working from home is becoming the new normal. CPAs have no need to return to crowded offices, especially not in states where COVID-19 is having a second wind. Even if CPAs could resume their usual office rituals, their clients (or colleagues), may not be eager to meet in person. It seems that accounting will remain “remote-flexible” for the foreseeable future.

For some CPAs, the transition to remote was fine, and some even thrived. For others, the transition to a remote career has been more of a challenge. To help smooth out the remote process consider these pointers:

Manage projects transparently

Showing clients the progress on their projects or requests can increase the level of trust between the client and the accountant. Project trackers such as Trello or Workfront enable you to easily share a project dashboard with clients. 

Digitize payments

These days there fewer and fewer paper invoices and checks. Some CPAs cling to checks because they’re useful for establishing an audit trail. However, they can create cash management problems for clients and vendors. Sophisticated CPAs enter their payees’ ACH info once and automate the payments from thereon. 

Even more advanced CPAs use AI platforms to digitally parse, allocate, and pay invoices. This results in more time to provide more interesting high-value information to clients.

Stay collaborative

CPAs are used to sitting with their clients (or company executives) in a conference room where everyone has a copy of the financial statements. It can be hard to understand the numbers without context. Consider doing introductions and catch up with video conferences, and then use screen-sharing to share spreadsheets, navigate clients through their QuickBooks, or show invoices from an AR or AP automation platform. This approach will streamline approvals and slow the slew of emails and questions you would receive later if clients were to review the numbers on their own.

Be proactive, but not annoying

CPAs need to find a balance between being proactive and annoying. Yes, clients want your help surviving the shutdown, but they don’t want to hear from you daily or weekly. Most would prefer a short and relevant email once a month that provides actionable information.

Be concise or call

Use one introductory sentence, two at most. Deliver the details in bullets, then be done. If a client opens your email on their smartphone and has to thumb-scroll more than once to reach the end, that email won’t be read for days. If you find yourself overwriting, pause, and schedule a call instead. Fifteen minutes on the phone is more productive than a chain of 15 distracting emails.

Offer clients an automated scheduler

Don’t waste your time emailing time back and forth instead offer your clients an automated scheduler (e.g., Calendly, Appointlet or GigaBook) where they can pick times within parameters that can be pre-set.

Conclusion

Working with clients and coworkers remotely can be challenging, but new technology advancements are improving efficiency daily. These new and improved methods will ensure a more resilient, secure, transparent, and convenient future for the accounting world, whatever the future may hold.

For more information please visit: https://www.accountingtoday.com/list/6-productivity-hacks-for-the-remote-cpa