1. Paperless Document Management System
If you are still running your bookkeeping firm with all papaer files, you are behind the times. A good document management system is one of the best tools you can get for your business, because it makes you more efficient, and it makes it easier for your clients to share and see documents. Since I started using document management software, my job has gotten a lot easier. I don't have to travel with four to six suitcases of paperwork anymore. I just bring my one suitcase and my laptop, and I have everything I need. And my clients are happier too, because I can get them answers right away. Instead of having to say, 'I'll call you back' when they call with a question, I can look up their documents in the software and get them an answer right away.
Keeping physical copies of all of your bookkeeping documents is old hack. If you're not using an electronic document management system, then you're not going to stay competitive in the industry for long. The features in these kinds of software make you more efficient at your job - instant document sharing, quick searches of information, storage of all client data, access from multiple devices, etc. You can imagine how these kinds of features will save you hours of time that would otherwise be spent sifting through, reading, and filing physical paperwork.
2. A Fast, Efficient Computer
Working as a bookkeeper, my computer is my business, so I need it to be as fast and efficient as possible. Sure, you need the accounting software and the document managment software and all that, but you can't actually do anything with that software if you're computer doesn't run it right. If you don't have the memory or the processing capabilities, you can't use all that software, so you have to have the right computer first. Your computer is the foundation for all of those other things that you need to run a successful bookkeeping practice, so it's one of the most important tools you can have. You can't neglect it.
We rely on our computers for so much these days, but are you paying enough attention to what your computer needs? You give your car regular tune-ups and maintenance, but few people realise that their computer needs the same thing. If you want your computer to be reliable and to run all of its software efficiently, you need to treat it right. You should be doing regular cleanups of your computer by removing old information that is no longer needed; this frees up memory to help your computer run more efficiently. Additionally, avoid putting unnecessary documents on your computer that will slow it down; as we’ve mentioned, using a cloud system will help greatly with this. You should also have antivirus software installed to protect your computer, and do regular “scrubs” to remove any malicious software that may have attached itself to your computer. You should also make sure to install updates for your computer whenever they are available.
3. The Right Accounting Software
I started doing bookkeeping before GST was introduced in 2000 when we had to do it all by hand. I used to write in all the number by hand in a large ledger book. If a client found another income statement or another piece of paperwork that I needed to factor in, I had to recalculate everything and do it all again. Accounting software has really changed the bookkeeping industry, and it's made everything a lot easier. It's got to be one of my favorite tools, just because of how much time it saves. Tax law is complicated enough; I don't need the rest of it to be complicated too! Now, if there's additional information, I can just type it into the accounting software and use and reprint it. Any bookkeeper out there needs to have this tool. It's just that simple.
There are a few types of accounting software in the marketplace; every bookkeeper will have their own opinion and which accounting software is best, so you need to do your research and decide for yourself which software will work best for you and your business. Remember to keep in mind its integration capabilities with your other software, such as your document management system. Once you've selected a software, make sure that you take the time to learn about all of its features. The right accounting software is only effective if you know how to use it right.
4. The Basic Kit
This may make me sound old, given all the technology available for bookkeeping these days, but I still think my favourite bookkeeping tool is a basic bundle of three items: a good calculator, plenty of yellow notepads and a good automatic pencil with an endless supply of led. Bookkeeping is about catching all the details, and you can't solely rely on a piece of software to that for you. Take great notes, sometimes you have to double check stuff by hand if there is a discrepancy. Never underestimate the value of good, old-fashioned, by-hand work every now and then.