Grow Your Firm

Using Collaboration Tools to Improve Your Accounting Workflow

Gusto Editors  
Male and female colleagues using collaboration tools

Are you getting the most out of your accounting firm’s workflow?

When you incorporate collaboration tools and cloud accounting into your firm, you can save time and money while also improving your ability to serve clients. 

Here at Gusto, our goal is to give accountants invaluable tools for improving and expanding their firms, and that’s why we, along with our partners at CPA Academy, presented two informative webinars about collaboration and cloud accounting tools. The webinars titled “Top 10 Office 365 Features You Should Be Using But Are Not” and “10 New Year’s Tech Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep” featured the tech expertise of Dan Moshe, CEO of Tech Guru. You can watch Dan’s entire presentation on Office 365 here, and you can watch his webinar on tech resolutions here

In this article, we’ll share helpful highlights from Dan’s two webinars. You’ll learn about using collaboration tools and cloud accounting to improve your productivity, utilizing cloud tools to save time and money, and the importance of incorporating communication software into your team’s workflow.  

Using online collaboration tools and cloud accounting to improve your team’s workflow

Utilizing cloud collaboration tools can increase the efficiency and productivity of your accounting firm. You can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with your team so you can receive instant feedback and collaborate in real-time. Further, cloud collaboration tools enable your team to work seamlessly. Previously, only one person could work on a document at any given time when collaborating, but contemporary collaboration tools allow many different individuals to work on the same project at the same time so you can make instant revisions and improve team efficiency: 

“The idea is you can insert comments to communicate in context about the changes that you want to make. … You can communicate about those comments and see feedback and have a conversation about exactly what it is that you’re wanting to work on.”

Dan Moshe
Two male colleagues collocating with an table tool

You can communicate and work with your team instantly through cloud collaboration tools such as Microsoft Office 365. Additionally, cloud tools allow users to collaborate from anywhere in the world: 

“What is so powerful about this tool is that you do not need to be on the same network, [and] you don’t need to be in the same office. In fact, you can collaborate on these documents in real-time from across the world. All you need is an internet connection.”

Dan Moshe

Instantly collaborate with your team both inside and outside of your accounting firm. In addition to incorporating collaboration tools for working on documents, you can also implement cloud accounting into your workflow. Cloud accounting will enhance your firm’s efficiency and improve your client’s experience with your firm. You can automate aspects of your accounting services by integrating tools for automation:

“It’s going to help you integrate with other platforms that are going to save you time and save you money through automations, such as integrations with expense management tools [and] dashboards that are going to give you a pulse on your business, payroll, and employee platforms that will synchronize your payroll transactions.”

Dan Moshe 

When your firm automates menial tasks, you and your team will have more time to serve your clients’ needs and introduce additional revenue lines into your business. You can increase your firm’s revenue by helping your clients improve their efficiency via automation and software integration: 

“Once you get the hang of it, you could add a new line of revenue to your business … [by] helping your clients migrate to similar platforms. Once you get the hang of it yourself, it makes it that much easier to help your clients implement these tools for themselves.”

Dan Moshe 

When you use timesaving collaboration and cloud accounting tools, you can increase your firm’s efficiency while helping your clients.  

Using cloud tools to save time and money 

When you incorporate collaboration and cloud accounting tools into your workflow, you can improve your efficiency while lowering costs. You can save time by working on your documents outside of your traditional workspace: 

“[You] used to be kind of trapped [at] your desk [because you] had to work on your computer to get that document done. But now you can work on that same exact document across any of your devices, whether it’s a tablet, a laptop, a notepad, or a smartphone.”

Dan Moshe 

Your ability to work away from your desk greatly improves your productivity because you can work at any time that’s convenient for you—not just when you’re at the office. When you incorporate collaboration tools into your workflow, you can work anywhere throughout the day: 

“You can edit, share, view, and work on multiple devices. … I literally did this as I was getting ready for today. … I had five minutes of downtime. I was waiting for a meeting to start, [and I] pulled up my phone and swiped through the slides on this PowerPoint presentation, getting ready and getting warmed up for our webinar today. … You can stay productive on the go [and] take advantage of those little pockets of time and really make the most of all the work that you’ve been doing.”

Dan Moshe 

You can work and collaborate on your firm’s documents when you have free moments throughout the day. Have you ever found yourself aimlessly scrolling through your phone as you wait for something? You can use the brief moments in which you’re doing nothing to work from your phone and improve your productivity. 

Colleagues Using Collaboration Tools

In addition to your ability to work from anywhere, you can also use cloud accounting tools to automate tasks to save money and further improve your efficiency. Your firm should consider automating bank and credit card feeds so that there is a direct link between client accounts and accounting software. Implementing bank and credit card feeds will save you the time it would take to manually input data into your accounting software:  

“Bank feeds and credit card feeds are a huge time saver. … I hope you’re not manually inputting … credit card or bank transactions into your accounting software anymore. … Instead of spending the time inputting transactions into your client’s accounting software, what you can do is help them set up these types of bank feeds and then help them do more with their data and get them set up with recurring services on really powerful dashboards that are either built into or could be integrated with cloud accounting software.”

Dan Moshe 

You can save time and money by incorporating automation into your accounting workflow, and you use your saved time to assist clients in improving their workflows. Cloud accounting also features many industry-specific app integrations so you can help your clients’ individual needs. For example, some industry-specific integrations may involve e-commerce tools that improve your clients’ ability to sell products online. 

Collaboration and cloud accounting tools can save your firm time and money, and you can also improve your ability to assist your clients. 

Using internal communication tools 

In addition to utilizing collaboration and cloud accounting tools, you can also enhance your firm’s productivity by incorporating business communication tools. Dan stressed the importance of shifting away from relying on email and instead utilizing team communication tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams:

“Stop emailing. … It’s inefficient, [and] it’s relatively unproductive. There’s a better way to communicate with your teams. … [With efficient communication tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams], you can organize conversations into channels. … Different teams can collaborate and communicate on conversations and topics relevant to what that team is working on. So that eliminates the issue of people getting [incorrectly] copied … and CC’d.”

Dan Moshe 

Emailing team members back and forth is often incredibly inefficient because it takes longer for individuals to compose emails than communicate via Slack or Microsoft Teams. Many different people within your company might receive company emails that are irrelevant to what they’re working on, disrupting their workflow. With business communication tools, you can organize team members so that only relevant team members receive messages. 

Business communication tools can also keep you and others up to date with your firm without needing to scroll through several emails. You can look at past messages within your communication software. You can also add a new team member to your communication software to quickly onboard them: 

“What’s powerful is that you can have a history of conversations that provide context for new team members. … Unlike email, where a sent message is stuck now in somebody’s … archive or trash folder and not very useful to anybody else anymore, … you add somebody new to the team, [and] they can quickly familiarize themselves with what’s been going on.”

Dan Moshe 

Your new team member can look through past messages of your communication software to quickly familiarize themselves with clients and the inner workings of your firm. Online business communication tools can significantly improve your firm’s efficiency and communication, so consider incorporating communication software into your workflow. 

Learn more about collaboration tools and cloud accounting

When your firm utilizes collaboration tools, you can work instantly in real-time from any internet-capable location. You can improve your efficiency by working from any device and by incorporating cloud accounting. You can also automate processes into your cloud accounting software so that you have more time to assist your clients. Finally, you can use powerful team communication tools to replace time-wasting emails and improve your team’s ability to share information. 

Your firm can incorporate many different tools into its workflow to save time and money, and if you want to learn about more tools that can help your firm, read Part Two and Part Three of this webinar article series. Additionally, you can watch the full webinars hosted by Dan Moshe. You can watch his discussion of Office 365 here, and you can watch his webinar on tech resolutions here

If you’re looking for more ways to improve your firm’s workflow, consider partnering with Gusto. Gusto can help your firm automate its back office by automatically filing and sending local, state, and federal payroll taxes for your small business clients that have under 100 employees. Gusto also has 401(k) integration, and your firm will also gain access to HR experts. If you’re ready to learn more about how Gusto can improve your firm, visit our Gusto for accountants page

Updated: March 30, 2022

Gusto Editors
Gusto Editors

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