The classic workplace productivity formula is simple: Productivity = Output ÷ Input. But what do actually you do once you have that information? Read on to find out!
Accountants are responsible for researching and analyzing financial data and presenting financial reports to management. In today’s fast-paced world, such a level of responsibility demands optimum productivity. When boosting performance efficiency as an accountant, it’s essential to understand which tools are an excellent fit for your workflow and how they impact your performance. For this purpose, we have created a list of productivity tools for accountants in various categories.
1. Time Tracking – actiTIME
actiTIME is a versatile time tracking tool with a user-friendly UI design and such features as work scope management, report and data analysis. actiTIME is ideal for any accountant as it encompasses all significant ingredients for productivity boosting.
One outstanding feature of this application is Data For Accounting. This feature enables
- Cost tracking and preparation of employee payroll;
- Project profitability analysis;
- Easy access to custom invoices for billing your clients;
- Cost and billing data analysis, coupled with customizable reports and data presentation in formats like charts, HTML spreadsheets and CSV files.
actiTIME offers a fully functional 30-day online trial for companies of any size and a free version for teams consisting of up to 3 members, which makes it an excellent choice for accounting teams. actiTIME is available as both a cloud solution and a self-hosted package.
2. Productivity Boosting – Luxafor Flag
Luxafor offers many practical solutions for improving employee productivity and task performance management. One of them is Luxafor Flag that
- Indicates if its user is busy or available with red or green colors,
- Has an option to set up color notifications for specific calendar events and urgent emails,
- Allows customizing notification colors and patterns.
Companies taking employee productivity seriously – like Google, Facebook, EA and others – equip their whole departments with Luxafor Flags to control workplace distractions better. Since the daily job of every accountant requires sharp focus when processing data, this tool can help you reduce the risk of errors and, consequently, the amount of time needed to complete work.
Luxafor Flag will cost you merely $31 per unit, which is a fairly small price for a ton of value it provides. You can learn more about how having a do-not-disturb light can skyrocket your office productivity here.
3. Team and Project Management – Aha!
Aha! is a web and mobile application for organizing, tracking and managing projects. With this tool, you can
- Plan new projects from scratch;
- Develop different kinds of graphs, charts and diagrams for an overview of projects’ roadmaps and work progress;
- Create and allocate assignments to your team members;
- Monitor the statuses of essential project tasks on the Kanban board;
- Communicate with key stakeholders and gain feedback;
- Run reports and share presentations.
The tool’s functionality is tremendously rich and provides much value for teams of any sizes and from diverse professional backgrounds, including accounting teams. Therefore, Aha! has become our favorite in the category of project management, and we have been using it for many productive years in a row.
Aha! offers 4 user plans: Startup, Premium, Enterprise and Enterprise+. The Startup plan incorporates all the primary project and team management features but affords merely up to 5 users. The paid plans are for bigger teams, whereas the Enterprise and the Enperprise+ license also offer an extended list of functions.
4. Communication – Slack
Slack is a freemium messaging platform designed to replace email as a core method for user interaction and file sharing. Slack’s workspaces allow users to establish communication channels for group conversations and private messages to exchange information, files and other forms of data all in one place. The tool’s key features include
- Support for large-scale collaborations on shared channels between two different organizations,
- A secure group and private messaging, as well as video conferencing,
- Integration with apps, such as Google Drive, Salesforce Chatter and Asana.
Slack offers a free version for small teams for an unlimited period. Other subscription plans include Standard, Plus and Enterprise Grid for SMEs, larger businesses and extra-large businesses, respectively.
5. Accounting Software – QuickBooks
QuickBooks is an accounting software platform for managing sales and expenses, as well as keeping a record of daily transactions. It facilitates invoicing, billing, calculating payrolls, filing taxes and many other accounting tasks. The app is highly rated by accountants in SMEs and includes such features as
- Cloud accounting: synchronized account management, which is accessible on mobile, tablet and computer;
- Bank-level data security (128-bit SSL encryption) to ensure your data is always secure;
- Automatic backups on the cloud;
- Expense tracking, invoicing, cashflow management and accounting reports filling;
- Integrations with multiple external tools for time tracking, communication and project management, such as Google Drive, Asana and actiTIME.
Quickbooks offers a free 30-day trial on several licenses ranging in cost from $5 up to $31 per month. Payroll and payment services attract additional charges.
6. To-do List – Microsoft To Do
Microsoft To Do, as the name implies, is a to-do list application built and backed up on the cloud. It allows users to create to-do lists and manage them from a smartphone, a tablet or a computer. This productivity tool comes with essential features, including
- Collaboration and shared tasks,
- Sub-tasks for coordinating the workflow of team members engaged in a specific task,
- Keyboard shortcuts for smoother user experience,
- Live tiles on Windows 10 and a Google Chrome extension.
Microsoft To Do is a freeware for such operating systems as Android, iOS, Windows 10, Web browsers and MacOS.
7. Email Management – Zoho Mail
Zoho Mail is an email hosting service offering secure, encrypted and ad-free email hosting. This tool comes with a built-in platform that allows users to share information within the inbox. A hybrid of the standard email and social network, it has additional features, such as like, share and comment buttons. Key features of this productivity tool are
- Email archiving, data recovery and retention;
- Email monitoring;
- Queue, response and signature management;
- Shared inboxes;
- Spam blocking, as well as whitelisting and blacklisting.
Zoho Mail is supported on Mac OS, Windows OS, iOS, Android OS, Cloud, SaaS and Web browsers. Pricing starts from $1 per month for a single account. Other plans start from $3 and $4.
9. Document Storage – Google Drive
Google Drive is a file hosting, storage and synchronization service designed for creating and sharing files across smartphones, tablets and computers. Google Drive provides space for not only data storage but also collaboration with others in real time as it reflects any modifications made in files and keeps changes history.
With this essential tool, you may
- Create, edit and view doc files, sheets, forms, slides and drawings;
- Integrate data uploaded to Google Drive with all other Google products, including Gmail and Google Hangouts;
- View edit history on each uploaded document, with special administrative privileges for the file owner.
Google drive is available on Mac, Android, iOS and the Web. For regular users, Google Drive offers a free 15 GB cloud storage space. It is free for everyone, but it is possible to buy additional storage space if necessary. Google Drive also has an enterprise version for medium to large businesses.
10. Invoicing – FreshBooks
As a piece of accounting software, FreshBooks is designed to make the invoicing and billing process as simple as ever. With the aid of this tool, you can
- Develop customized and professionally looking invoices,
- Process and monitor payments,
- Streamline the calculation of work expenses and income,
- Create reports,
- Calculate taxes.
These and many other features make FreshBooks an indispensable productivity tool for accountants worldwide.
The price for this app starts from $15 a month for a license that is suitable for self-employed individuals and affords up to 5 billable clients. It can be installed on multiple platforms and accessed from different devices, both stationary and mobile.
11. Payroll System – Gusto
Gusto is an online platform designed to assist small businesses in processing workers’ payrolls. It has such features as
- Time tracking,
- Onboarding, surveys, payrolls and benefits.
Gusto’s features enable automatic deductions and filling direct deposits, W-2s and 1009s. This tool supports accountants in calculating medical benefits, 401(k) retirement benefits, unemployment, employee compensations and paid time off.
Gusto is a SaaS platform supported on the Web. Monthly pricing plans range from $6 per person to $12 per person.
Using the right accounting, time tracking, communication and other types of tools for productivity improvement will take you a long way in enhancing performance efficiency and bringing your accounting practice to higher levels.