We’re thankful for technology around here, especially in this trying time with COVID-19 going around the world. If it weren’t for apps and the internet, we’d be stuck in the dark ages of filing paper by hand.
The best thing about technology is that it keeps getting better and better. Features that are only found in state-of-the-art products trickle down to everyone. On this week’s Grow Your Firm podcast by Jetpack Workflow, we welcome back Kellie Parks, cloud-accounting specialist at Calm Waters Cloud Accounting in Canada for another interview.
It’s different from our previous interviews. We’ve asked Kellie to talk about the top five apps that she thinks should be on every accountant’s radar right now, and along the way, we go down some interesting tangents. Here we go!
Kellie's Top Five Cloud-Based Apps for Accounting Success
Kellie is a self-admitted app junkie, but for her business, she prefers to keep a minimalist toolkit of apps that work well together. She understands that there’s an absolute glut of apps to play with. If you have an existing app that fills these niches in your toolchain, keep using it!
A crucial idea that Kellie brings up is that choosing apps means more than just choosing something that has the features you need. You also have to enjoy using the application. If the user experience or the interface are tough for you to use or wrap your head around, you’ll hate using the application even if it does what you need. One thing that drew her to Jetpack Workflow was how similar checking things off in our application was like checking things in Excel, so she considered it a natural fit.
She also explains that the number one thing you need to do when you look at an app stack is to define the outcomes you want to have from your technology. Once you have that, then the rest falls into place. Kellie wanted to collaborate with her clients seamlessly in the cloud in real-time and drop paper entirely. With this app stack, she could do it!
If you’re looking to try something new, here’s what she recommends.
- QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Online (QBO) is the main hub of her operations, and most readers of this blog will be familiar with it. Kellie has been using it since 2012, and it has come a long way from the early days. We asked her why she chose QBO over Xero, the main competitor. Kellie used to be certified in Xero, but for her needs and for her tastes in UI, she prefers QBO.
- Rewind. One difficulty of moving things to the cloud is figuring out how to back up all the data coming in from your customers. A loss of customer data is the same as having your filing cabinet full of receipts catch fire. It’s terrible! But with cloud apps, it’s not like you can pull a few files either. Accidents happen! Rewind cuts through all of that. It is a backup solution that is designed for cloud apps. It can connect directly with QBO to automatically back up your client’s information. Furthermore, it lets her go back in time and cherry-pick transactions to restore if there was a problem. It also links to many of the major e-commerce apps like Shopify so your clients can have peace of mind knowing their accounting information is saved if something should happen on their end. Kellie once saved eight hours of work after some sales receipts had to be deleted for a retail client of hers using Rewind. We’ve linked her story in the resources section.
- Receipt Bank. If you are looking to go paperless with your company, start with this document management app! In fact, she’s moved her clients so far down the paperless route that she doesn’t have printers or scanners in her office. Some of her clients prefer to use Hubdoc, and she has one bank that doesn’t play nice yet with Receipt Bank, so she is using two apps for document management, but everything is forwarded into Receipt Bank because she prefers that program’s reporting tools.
- Plooto. Pluto is an AR and AP payment processing tool that connects with your accounting software to auto-load upcoming bills and invoices. Kellie uses the data gathered from Receipt Bank and QBO to handle that side of her business. Kellie is in Canada, so there are fewer options for payment processors than there are in America. Plooto is one of the few that will work with both AR and AP in Canada, but the important thing is that you have a payment processing component in your tool stack. However, if you use one, then it is crucial to get buy-in from both your clients and your client’s vendors to have deposits drop straight into their bank accounts rather than receiving checks. Kellie’s approach was to play hardball. If they didn’t want to use the system, they got one more check and were dropped as a vendor. That may not work for you! What helped them to become comfortable was sharing the information from things like Receipt Bank and proving that everything was kosher. Once they knew that the system was working as it should, they were much more comfortable with it.
- Zapier. The four apps we’ve talked about all handle their own part of the accounting package. Zapier is the glue that connects them all together so they can share information without conflicting and automate workflows between them. Around 1600 different applications can connect with Zapier! Many apps have some way to share information with other apps already. This native sharing may be enough for you, but if you get conflicts or one program isn’t pulling enough information into another one, Zapier can ensure all the information is correct. Another great feature of Zapier is that you can tell it to send orders to a second program when something finishes in another program. For instance, if you add a new client in one tool, Zapier could add them automatically to a mailing list in MailChimp.
Wrapping it Up
If you’re working remotely, why not give one of these five apps a try and see how they might help improve your workflows? Take some time to figure out how to get them to talk with one another and start thinking of possibilities that will increase your efficiency. It may even help you work from home for good!
This article first appeared in Jetpack Workflow's blog. It was reprinted with permission.