Episode #110 Digital Tools that Will Save You Time
Once again we're excited to bring you another new episode of The Bookkeepers' Voice. For this episode, our host Angie Martin is again joined by our incredible practice manager, Maia Coghlan!
Last week we discussed all things organisation and how Bookkeepers can best manage their documents in the digital age.
Following on from this insightful episode, we thought we'd discuss more specifically the types of Digital Tools that can help us keep up to date with client files and save us time on a daily basis.
Key Takeaway: “There are a heap of tools that can help save you time and money in running your business”
Host: Angie Martin
Guest speaker: Maia Coghlan
Topic: Digital Tools that Will Save You Time
Summary Keywords: digital tools, business tools, management programs, manage virtual teams, online business, virtual business, online tools, cloud-based
Digital Tools that Will Save You Time
Angie Martin 0:01
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The bookkeepers voice. Thank you so much for joining us. My name is Angie. And once again, I am joined by our amazing superstar practice manager, Maia. Hi, Maia.
Maia Coghlan 0:18
Angie Martin 0:19
So last week, we started our discussion on how bookkeepers can stay more organised in the digital age. So today, I thought we would continue our conversation and discuss a bit more specifically the types of digital tools that are out there and can help us bookkeepers to keep up to date with client files and save us time on a daily basis. Because that's kind of what we're all about it savvy, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So before we go too deep into the digital tools, I thought it would be great just to revisit why it's important to have an efficient digital filing system, because that's what we talked about last episode. And I don't know if anyone would have noticed, it's something that you and I are quite passionate about. And we really actually enjoy doing because we're a bit of nerds. But I thought I'd just revisit that, you know, having a well organised digital filing system can save your business time and money. It it really is amazing how much a poorly organised filing system can cost you in version of your time, which equals your money, and just an increased amount of frustration of not finding things. It can be a bit ridiculous. In fact, I actually looked it up the average bookkeeper in Australia now this is the Australia stat that I found, can lose up to two hours a week looking for misplaced documents and emails. That's an average bookkeeper. So there's people on either end of the spectrum. The spectrum I'm worried about is when you're spending more than two hours a week trying to find files and emails, because
Maia Coghlan 2:20
this podcast series is aimed at reducing that average number for all cases in Australia and outside of Australia as well. Yes,
Angie Martin 2:28
absolutely. Because if you add up two hours a week, for an entire year, the hustle a lot of time just searching for things. Yeah, especially like that could be time that you spend with your family or work on your own personal or business development or anything else you want.
Maia Coghlan 2:49
You can even take on a new client. Exactly. It's actually a lot of time more. Exactly.
Online tools for document management and filing
Angie Martin 2:55
So you know, last week we went through and talked about how proper document document managed can include, you know, store, a storage plan, you know, actually planning out how your files should be looking, actually going through and organising the filing system for where things should be going. You should have a retrieval plan, aka a successful name, namings, like namely retention yes naming convention that is going to help you reduce that two hours a week of trying to find things.
Maia Coghlan 3:34
So you always know what to search for
Angie Martin 3:36
exactly the search. I don't know about anybody else. But I use my searching system and my filing so easy. And I do it because I'm actually a bit lazy not because I can't find things just because I want to find things quicker. So I'll just search for it to say,
Maia Coghlan 3:53
actually, in Surrey use Google Drive. And I use the Google Chrome browser. And you don't even have to log into Google Drive. To access the files, you can type the file name in the browser search bar. And if you've worked on that file previously, it will just bring it up for you. It's amazing, I use that all the time.
Angie Martin 4:17
I it's my cheat. It's it's just because I'm lazy or I'm in the midst of doing something else, and it just amazingly pops up for me. It's great. Um, so we also need to make sure that everyone has a backup process. This is really important when considering how many clients you have, you know how long you have to keep their files for for your business itself. It's just really important to think about and we are going to be able to talk about that a little bit later in the episode today as well. And then we also discussed about the security which we're also going to be able to discuss a little bit further in this episode in more detail about You bookkeepers, we keep a lot of sensitive information for our clients. So we want to make sure that we have a really well done security process, instead of just having all of the files on our desktop computer in our documents folder. There are some incredible ways of increasing security for our clients Now, using digital applications. So it's something that I would strongly suggest all bookkeepers to look into nowadays, because it can just have you let you have a bit more of a peace of mind knowing that all of your clients sensitive information is safe. which is handy because all you need is to be hacked once, or have your desktop computer crash once and then not be able to retrieve any files from your clients to to know that you never want to experience that again. So first thing I thought we could go through today is something we talked a lot about last episode, but I do know some people aren't really aware of what it really is. So Cloud based file management. Since we're in the digital age, more and more of us are working on digital files. So it can all be stored in the quote unquote, cloud, the amazing cloud. It allows us more ways to stay connected to our remote teams or virtual clients. And it just flows us a bit more freedom when considering our own businesses and working and the work life balance. So I thought it would be really great for us to discuss what they are, which the main base ones are, you know, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and kind of just talk about why we love them. For bookkeepers, whether this is if you're a digital bookkeeper or not, if you go into clients offices, these cloud based systems are still amazing, because you are still mobile, working at other people's offices, typically on your own laptop. So these are still super, super awesome to be able to work with. So what I thought I would, you know, kind of chat with you. Because again, you're kind of the expert in getting us in all of our clients actually on cloud based systems, because all of the client work you do is all virtual, of course. So I thought it'd be really great. You know, are there any questions or anything that you commonly get from our clients that might help our listeners understand a bit more about how these systems work?
Maia Coghlan 7:54
Um, well, I think that one thing that I've noticed is, people who use a Word doc, are not familiar with the process that we use using Google Docs, where we can collaborate on the same document at the same time from different locations. And you can see the changes that were making, like when we're mentoring clients with their business plan, and that kind of thing. Yeah, we can both access the same document and do it at the same time. Whereas with a Word doc, it just makes it so much more difficult when you have to save and save. And that has been something that's come up before where people have asked, Can I have it in a Word doc version? Because I don't use Google Docs? And I'm like, No. Because that will just make it more difficult for everyone.
Angie Martin 9:00
I love that. But No.
Digital tools to embrace cloud-based documents
Maia Coghlan 9:02
Yeah. There was one time that I did do it for someone, but generally, no, it's just you need to embrace cloud documents, even like OneDrive is the Microsoft one so you can actually get an online word doc version now. Yeah, you say the same as Google Docs.
Angie Martin 9:24
Yeah, it's the same actual like, I know some people are really loyal to word. Finally, like word actual systems, but the same, it's just they've put the one that's for desktops, they put it virtual base, so it's the exact same layout. When you're in it. It doesn't look any different. It just has some extra little bits that you can see if someone else is on it.
Document management programs for virtual business
Maia Coghlan 9:49
Yeah. So it so yeah, Microsoft Word and the whole Microsoft Office, my Excel and everything. They all have their online version now as well. So if you do want to stick with word out with Microsoft, definitely would recommend, yeah, OneDrive, which is the Google equivalent from Microsoft. And yeah, it will do all of the exact same things. And you don't have to save a copy of it, and then send it to someone and then have multiple versions
Angie Martin 10:25
of version control. It used to be such an issue with me before I went all virtual, it was such a headache, an ongoing issue. Now, and the thing that, you know, some of our listeners might think, yeah, that's great, and all to do for business plans, but I really don't do that with my clients. But you do, you just use things more like Excel, where let's say you're having an annual or quarterly or semi semi annual meeting with your clients, and you want to review their figures. And this gives you the option to screen share, or both look at the same document that you've prepared for them, and actually review it together. It's a really great way to be able to do things like that. And it also helps you let's say if you have a contractor or an employee who is either in a different timezone, or which can happen in Australia, and a different time zone, or if it's, you know, in a different country or anything like that. Being able to work on something together as a team at the same time is incredible. And those kind of virtual base, Microsoft Word or Google Docs, whatever you use, are just really, really handy. To make things all in one place, quote, unquote, localised, but accessible to everyone. Which is great.
Maia Coghlan 12:05
And not even just for a remote team. But even if you're in the same office, you're working on different computers. So it still makes more sense to use the cloud based versions, instead of sharing the documents between each computer. Yeah, I definitely know you're in the same office, even if you use the same desk. Yeah, it still makes more sense to use the ones that have the collaboration options. And, yeah,
Angie Martin 12:41
especially you know, what if one of your employees have a sick kid, and one of you guys have to work from home one day, cuz you're not sick, they're sick, you can still do a little bit of work. You don't want to be tied down and go, I can't do any work today, because it's all on my work. Computer, which is in the office, which especially considering what we all just went through in the last year with COVID. That would have been a big issue. For a lot of people. It makes it just so much easier. And it does allow if you do do face to face, work with your clients, it allows you to bring your own computer, your own laptop, or if you can just sign in through your email or something and exit direct access it directly through their computers, it just makes it so much easier to be able to do all the work that you need to to provide them a better service, really.
Maia Coghlan 13:38
And then those people who don't have a team who just work on their own, but it's still would be the best option for you because it makes it easier to share any reports or anything with clients. And it gives you that flexibility. If you're if you're a one person business. You can take your laptop and go and work when you're on money from from a holiday house or on vacation or something. If you have to go visit your parents or family you can take your laptop and work from there and not have to transfer all the files from your desktop computer onto your law
Angie Martin 14:19
much easier. So much easier. I know I loved it. When I went over to Canada for an entire month. I did my same hours. I just worked in it. It was this exact same hours. It was just my evenings in Canada instead of mornings that I worked. No one knew from the clients that I worked with. And it was fantastic because I had everything just on my laptop. It was so easy and I didn't have to prepare anything for leaving. I just knew I had my laptop. And I was good to go.
Maia Coghlan 14:51
You can even access it from an iPad. Yeah, well, you're fine if you really I
Angie Martin 14:55
did. Yeah, there were certain times when there was like a climate emergency or something. And I wasn't meant to be working. But I just sat down, got my phone out and did what I needed to do, and then went on with my day and made my holidays so much less stressful. It was great. Another thing that we've mentioned, we mentioned last episode, as well is that being able to retrieve old versions of documents. Now, this doesn't have to happen often. But when it does have to happen, it's usually due to an emergency. So it makes it a lot less stressful knowing that you're in these cloud based software's that easily can retrieve older versions without you having to panic and going to a computer guy, I know when I was younger, doing essays for a school and my laptop would crash or word would crash. And then I couldn't access my older versions of my, like, different works that I was doing for school, I would freak out. And it was a very stressful thing where now if something happens, you can just click a button and see all the different versions. And that goes for Dropbox. It goes for any of them. It makes it so handy to push that back button.
Maia Coghlan 16:24
Yeah. Yeah, it's
Angie Martin 16:25
a fire love. I lost everything.
Maia Coghlan 16:29
None of that ever.
Angie Martin 16:31
Yeah. And I love to how the cloud based software systems also save as you go. You don't actually have to push save anymore, because I am never horrible at that. I am so bad. I'll do hours of work on Microsoft. And I'll forget to push Save, and then it will crash. And I'll be like, Oh, no. And then it's like, oh, it's okay. It's okay. I'm working in Dropbox. Dropbox has saved it for me. It's fine. Which is a big, big, really good thing.
Maia Coghlan 17:08
Really good. Big, really
Angie Martin 17:09
good thing. Like I've had so many scary moments.
Maia Coghlan 17:14
Angie Martin 17:17
And they just do automatically and they make it super easy to retrieve your files, especially I think I mentioned it last week on how my partner's business, my assistant accidentally deleted everything. Yeah, the working folder, which is over. I think they're almost at 200 or over 200 clients, and he deleted everything. Bit of a stressful situation at the time. But we easily went okay, well, we know Dropbox saves everything and has a backup of everything. So we just stopped the deletion. Because you can do that on cloud based software as well. You can just stop it. And then we just reversed it. And it was fixed in 30 minutes. Where if you did that on your computer. There was no going back from there if it was on your computer. Yeah,
Maia Coghlan 18:10
so something that big wouldn't get put in your trash? It would be no, it
Angie Martin 18:13
would just be automatically deleted. Yeah. So thankfully, code base based software's have much more storage space to allow for those kind of oops, which those oops, happen. They do they just happen. Another thing that we use a lot of savvy is the password protected will actually savvy and off the hook is the password protected files in the permission level as well. Those are like really important, especially for bookkeepers. You know, I think a lot of bookkeepers forget how much personal information they have, of the businesses they work with in the business owners, especially if you're working with solopreneurs they are work for themselves. They have their own business, you typically know a lot about their personal life as well as their business life. So you have a lot of sensitive information. And the more you can say, I've your information is secure with me. You know, you don't have to worry about anything getting hacked, or any anyone accidentally getting into your file because we have a system that specifically protects it for you. It does a lot of ease for your clients. Which again, I just really love about cloud based software. Do you want to give some examples because I don't work so much with the clients at off the hook. But you want to give some examples on the different passwords and permission levels that they use with I guess that would be a Sharon question, wouldn't it? Because Sharon does those reportings with? Yeah. Well, I know because Sharon, I have talked about it. She will, because she heard because she loves her spreadsheets so much. I know that she gives them access to the Excel documents and everything that she uses. But she doesn't give them editing,
Maia Coghlan 20:24
she only only access Yeah,
Angie Martin 20:26
she only gives them read access so that they can't mess anything up. Yeah. Which when you're using, you know, highly intense, different spreadsheet reporting software's, you definitely want to be able to share documents with your clients, because it's their information, it they're allowed to have those documents, but you might not want to give them access to be able to edit it, because if they break it, and you don't know, or they don't tell you, it could be a big issue. And one that you might not pick up for a couple quarters maybe. So I know we do that with off the hook. I guess with the password protected files, we use that more savvy, the two of us than we do with off the hook, we don't deal with clients. So when I'm talking about the password protected, it's, you know, allowing our clients to have certain acts like access to some things and not access to other things. So there's certain things that we, you know, obviously we work with our clients with some things, but for our you know, IP or things like that behind the scenes that every bookkeeper has, you don't need to share that with your clients. And you don't even need to share that with all leave your employees, you just give them access to when you want to where you want to. And cloud based software's are really great at doing that, on how you just give certain folders certain access. So if you have a contractor who works with you only once in a while or a VA, let's say you have a VA, and the VA only works on, you know, social media things, they don't work with anything to do with clients. So they shouldn't have access to any of the client information. Don't give them access to that. It makes it so much easier. It just it really helps to get those things really organised. Which is pretty awesome. I really love it. But the one thing that we haven't mentioned, and we actually mentioned it when we were talking before the podcast is how all of it can just really help reduce your stress and reduce how hectic your days can be you know, sometimes you have days where you have to go pick up the kids from school, go to appointments, travel for work, stop working, because there was a leak in your bathroom or something blew up or I know was Sharon a horse got out of the stables or, you know me my rabbit started to box or cord that he shouldn't you know, things happen for me our power went out yesterday,
Maia Coghlan 23:36
five hours doing maintenance on it. So that was my day.
Cloud-based applications for your online business
Angie Martin 23:43
Yeah, these these kind of cloud based applications allow you to pick up and go you can go to a coffee shop, you can do work in your car, when you're waiting for your kids to get in her weather on your phone, your tablet, your laptop or anything. It just makes your life so much easier. And there are also ways because you know, once you get it on your phone, then you check it all the time. You can just turn the alerts off at certain times of the day. So you're not getting notifications or updates when you're not working.
Maia Coghlan 24:19
Angie Martin 24:20
Which is great. It's awesome. So the other kind of tools that we use a lot at savvy and I would love to see the bookkeeping industry to use more his personal assistant apps. These things are amazing guys. I would love you after this episode to just start researching different ones that you love and different ones that will help save you so much time and stress and help you be so much more productive, productive throughout the day.
Maia Coghlan 24:58
And base before we before we We're going to mention a lot of different things here. And for each sort of category, we've got a bunch of different Yes, apps that we can talk about so many options. Please don't get overwhelmed with all of these suggestions. I would suggest pick one that you know, you're missing that category of assistance, and try to find something that you like from that list and then move on to something else. After you've implemented the one don't get freaked out by I have to do all these apps. And I don't know anything about apps. I don't want to learn new things. Just learn one new thing. Yeah, one. Yeah. And then when you know it, learning number one.
Angie Martin 25:44
Yeah, it's such a good tip. And also, don't forget, guys, for these podcasts, we do have blog write ups that are done to partner with the actual sessions that we do on the bookkeepers voice. So what you'll be able to do is we're going to have all of these different apps that we're going to be talking about listed in the podcast, and the podcast notes, transcript and in the blog. So you'll be able to go through and click through and learn a little bit more about them as well. So if you miss the name of one or something, don't worry, it will be in the podcast notes, transcript and the blog as well. So first off, do you want to go?
Maia Coghlan 26:30
Yeah, sure. So first off, we're going to talk about calendar apps. I wish that we could get a raise of hands for everybody listening. Who uses a calendar app? And who doesn't? If you don't?
Angie Martin 26:49
What do you doing?
Maia Coghlan 26:55
You've got client meetings. When do you how do you know that you have a client meeting? How do you know that you have an initial consult? If it's not in a calendar app? That's a genuine question. And I don't know he can't answer me. But yeah, how do you do it? I couldn't I couldn't live without
Angie Martin 27:14
my even today, you forgot about us during this podcast until it came up on your calendar out to tell you we were doing it.
Maia Coghlan 27:22
Exactly. I was about to start working on something else. And then I got a notification to say I was meeting with Angie in 10 minutes. And I thought Oh, right. I guess I'll do that.
Angie Martin 27:35
Yeah, now I would love Actually, I would love some feedback guys. In because we always post this and our I heart bookkeeping Facebook group. Just when we shared this podcast out to the Facebook group, do a little call out to say yes, you use an app on a calendar app or no, you don't just so we can get kind of that show of hands cuz we the two of us live off of our calendar apps. Like I do it personally as well. If it's not in the app, it doesn't happen in my house, like even grocery shopping. If it's not in it, we don't do it. We forget and we plan other things to do. And then we just don't get groceries. And then it's an ongoing issue of that we have no food. I would love to learn how people live without calendar apps. Because I wouldn't.
Maia Coghlan 28:32
Yeah, I think that. I mean, I couldn't be wrong. But I think that people who live with that calendar apps would find life to be a lot better if they lived with a calendar app. Great. Yeah, I could be wrong. Maybe it just really doesn't work for you to have a calendar app. But for most people, I think, especially running a business. Yeah, I think a business where you have to have meetings and talk to clients and schedule things in.
Angie Martin 29:01
Yeah. And you can't miss those meetings like they're important. So how do you remember Do you like have it written down in a diary and then just continually check your clock so you don't forget? I don't know. Because that would just be very distracting for me.
Maia Coghlan 29:18
I would forget I forget I'm very forgetful. I have. I have a lot of capacity in my brain to remember things, but I don't always remember the things that are the most important. Yeah,
Angie Martin 29:28
yeah, I get that. Now and not to be honest, though, the other day, I was talking to a new savvy member. And we were discussing, you know, questions she had about the membership. And she was like, you know, you're just always right on time calling me She's like, how, How'd you do that? I was honest, or how I was like, I have a reminder in my phone to call someone. I have it to reminders, 10 minutes away and then five minutes away. So that have enough time to open up their Client Profile, and then call them I push the button and call them at that right time. I could never keep any of the appointments if I didn't have those reminders at all.
Maia Coghlan 30:18
Yeah, Yeah, me too. If I have to meet with a client, I, the the Google Calendar app automatically sends you a reminder, 10 minutes before anyway. So that gives me enough time to open up the business plan or open up my last email with this person to figure out what it is that I'm supposed to be talking about. So I can open some tabs in my computer and have information ready to go. I don't do preparation before that, unless, unless I need to,
Angie Martin 30:47
unless it's a big topic.
Maia Coghlan 30:49
Yeah. Besides that, I check in 10 minutes beforehand and make sure I'm ready to go.
Angie Martin 30:54
Yeah, no. And that's to be honest, for most meetings, you should only have to do 10 minutes of prep beforehand. If you're needing more than 10 minutes prep beforehand. That means probably your organisation system needs to be a bit more organised because you're having issues finding things or something. But some calendar apps that Android and so team Android in team iOS, because I know, you know, on Team Android all the way. Amy's kind of in the middle right now because she was using iOS. Yeah, she's always been apple. And now she's kind of come on. She recently
Maia Coghlan 31:35
got a Windows laptop now.
Angie Martin 31:37
I'm quite excited.
Maia Coghlan 31:39
Yeah. But and then I'm the opposite. I am. I'm on windows at the moment. But I literally will be switching to Apple over the next year or two. That's exciting. Yeah. And so if
Angie Martin 31:54
it is, but there's so many apps that so there's the Google Calendar app, that one works for either. Outlook can work for either. There's calendar comm works for either Google or Apple calendar, obviously, is for apples. Yeah, there's so many different apps that are out there. And I actually have multiple on my phone. Because I only have that because I like to keep a personal one completely separate.
Maia Coghlan 32:28
Well, I have the I I have about five different Google logins. Yes, I mean, yeah, I have two different ones for savvy and then I have one for off the hook. And then I have my personal one, I'm sure have another one somewhere. Yeah, for something. Um, so I just have, but they're on Google. So my personal one is Google and is my own Gmail, email. And then I have the savvy ones. So I have the Google Calendar app on my phone. And I have an Android phone. So I made it into a widget thing. So the whole calendar, I can see the whole month on the one night,
Angie Martin 33:09
I do a week I do the week, I don't do the month I do a week because I have so many appointments.
Maia Coghlan 33:15
And then you can add other calendars to it as well. So I can toggle it on and off whether I want to say just my personal stuff, or just the savvy stuff, or both together on the same screen. So that makes it really handy when I open the app on my phone. If you know it's all weekend, I don't want to look at savvy or Yeah, yeah. So yeah, you can switch between the two if you've got logins for the same. The same app with you know, with work and personal but then I guess I've never used calendar Comm. But I hate you for that. Can you have a Gmail and an outlook that but yeah, Kelly Yes. Cool. Yeah, that's why
Angie Martin 33:58
I have I don't have the calendar. com I have another one. I don't remember it's called right now. But I combine my so I have Google accounts I have like you I think I have like six between my personal business as well. And personal. And then I also have a hotmail one that I have for more official things that are just, it's really old, and I get a lot of like important emails to them and stuff. So I get appointments through there as well. So I combine them all. And then I also have things like Facebook events that I have to actually attend or I'm actually organising for either friends or professional reasons. So I link that all in together as well. And so that's pretty handy. But I do have it like you said on the one widget. It's just I have multiple so sometimes, if, like sometimes it's something Really important, I'll get three different apps reminding me to do something, but I have them all set at different times. Yeah. Which is super handy. So if it's something that's like a really big deal, I have one app that tells me the day before, and then I have another app that tells me half an hour. And then I have another app that tells me 10 minutes before.
Maia Coghlan 35:19
Yeah, if it's something I can't forget, yeah, I will set extra reminders for it. 30 minutes and an hour, two hours before.
Angie Martin 35:29
Yeah, so I get this thing. I do do that. Just in case, it's something that's really important. And I just, sometimes my memories, just not there. It just doesn't happen on busy days. So I love that with calendar apps. Another thing I really like. And I know again, I would love to have a show of hands. For how many people use scheduling apps, scheduling apps and calendar apps are not the same guys just just yet.
Maia Coghlan 36:02
It's a great segue into the next topic, because having a calendar app means that having a scheduling app works so much better and make so much more sense you. They're separate things, but you can't really have one without the other. So the reason for that is that if you use a scheduling app, so we use acuity or calendly is also really popular, they're probably the most popular to Yeah, then you have a calendar when you log into the scheduling app, and it will show all of your appointments. But all of those appointments will sync to your personal or business calendar app, the one we were talking about just before. And if you get you know, an appointment, or you have to take a day off, for whatever reason, you can block it out on your own calendar app, and it will sync to the scheduling app. So no one can book you in for that day. It's amazing. Magic. It's so good.
Angie Martin 37:13
It's It's amazing. And scheduling apps can also then be integrated into your client management software's they can be integrated into your websites, and everything. So if you want your clients to be able to book in with us just really easily with those blocked out times, or just the times that they're available to book in, you can easily do that with the scheduling apps, and it just saves so much time instead of emailing back and forth. or calling and being like all this time doesn't work for me. What about this time for you? Oh, no, that doesn't give you all the back and forth is such a waste. And it's so annoying waste of time. Hmm.
Maia Coghlan 37:59
Why do you don't need to waste that time? If you have a scheduling app, you put in your availability, and then you just send them a link and say book and when when it suits you.
Angie Martin 38:08
I always say you know if anyone has a question, when it savvy anyone has a question, I'm always just like, here's my booking link, you can see what I'm available, please book in at a time that best suits your schedule, because bookkeepers are busy. Once I know they're not busy, and they can have a chat with me, then I'll call them. It's so much better. And it goes for bookkeepers as well. Your clients are busy, they run their own businesses, once you know that you can call them in, they're actually going to be able to talk to you, those calls are 10 times more productive than if you were to just call them willy nilly. Because they know that you're going to call them and they know what you're calling them about. It saves a lot of time for both of you. So the apps actually are for savvy they're lifesavers.
Maia Coghlan 39:03
Also for for initial consults. If you get someone contact you maybe through a referral, or if they messaged you on Instagram, or Facebook or something like that, and you don't have any of their contact details. So you can't get just give them a call. You can't just send them an email if they message you through social media. So if you just send them your booking link, because any of these apps, these scheduling apps will give you a link that you can just copy and send to anybody and when they click on the link, they see your calendar they can book in. So if you just send your link to them and say Here you go, here's my booking link you can book in, it will save you so much back and forth trying to figure out a time and you don't need to ask for their contact details in the messaging app. And you're probably more likely to get the initial contact Meeting with that person compared to if you did have to do back and forth, and then they message somebody else that had a similar process. And then they then you lost that potential client. Yeah.
Angie Martin 40:12
People want things that are easy, huh? Okay. That's the biggest thing, especially most of your clients now, especially initial consults, they're probably doing things on their phone while they're working. So if you can send them just a simple click, and then they can fill in for things like their name, their email, their phone number, their, you know, first name, last name, email, phone number. That's why I was four things. That just saves them so much time. And it also gives you a really professional look that you do this. This is what you do you want to speak with them, you are making it easy for them to do this. This is this is how you run your business. It makes you look really organised. And it makes them feel really organised because now it goes in their calendar app. And they get reminders that they're having that appointment with you as well, because they get email reminders when it's done through a scheduling app, which is amazing.
Maia Coghlan 41:16
Yes, yes, yes.
Angie Martin 41:18
Yes, it's super handy. So definitely suggest if you guys haven't gone through any scheduling apps, we've already mentioned the one that we use acuity, there's calendly. There's Doodle, which I just like the word doodle. It's a pretty handy app. I've only used it once, but it's pretty good. It's pretty popular within the bookkeeping industry as well. And appointment. T I always say that wrong. A point of view is pointy.
Is it? Is it a pointy Okay, so that's how it says that's how it's written. So it's a pointy. So that one's another one that's really popular.
Maia Coghlan 41:56
So it's calland Li
Angie Martin 42:00
Yeah. I always, always do the earth. I can't. Sometimes guys, I'll have issues saying things. I don't know if you've noticed that. But yeah, so those ones are some of the top ones that are the most suited for bookkeeping. But if you guys use another one doesn't matter, as long as it works. Those are just the ones I thought I'd suggest. It's amazing, though, and it really makes a big difference. Now, the next one I thought we could talk through pretty much everyone already knows this. But I also want to do a show of hands. How many of you use client communication apps? Did you know that means GE, Gmail, Outlook, Air Mail, whatever email that you use? Did you guys know that those are apps?
Maia Coghlan 42:49
I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably everybody uses some kind of email app?
Angie Martin 42:57
Yes. But do they know it's an app? Because
Maia Coghlan 43:02
they use it from their phone, they know it's an app. But if they only ever use it from their computer, then maybe not.
Angie Martin 43:09
That's my thing. So what's really great about all of these apps, and the reason why they were created into apps, because outlook wasn't always like an app, it was an actual embedded system. So it was, you know, airmail, oh my god, that was that used to be just a monster in itself.
Maia Coghlan 43:34
Back in the day,
Angie Martin 43:36
but these are actually apps that you can access anywhere in everywhere. It doesn't have to be on your desktop computer, it can be on your laptop, it can be on your phone, it can be on your tablet, it could be on someone else's computer, tablet, or phone. These are commuting communication ways that you can go in and access remotely. They're meant to be used like that. They're really handy. And all of these systems have more ways of communicating with your clients than just email. That's the big thing. So many apps have more than one purpose. So Gmail app, you have your calendar app built in. You have your Google Docs and excels built in as well. You have a heap of different ways of communicating. You even have things like hangouts now that you can go and do a different way of zoom meeting, built in through your email apps. So there's so many new ways that you can actually use them. I actually support my partner business, he uses Gmail and he uses clickup. Those two apps integrate. So if a task comes in through an email, all you have to do is click a button. And then it goes in and creates a task in his task management software, just with a click of a button. I don't have to do anything else. It's very handy.
Manage your virtual team using online applications
Maia Coghlan 45:23
How project management app that we use teamwork does the same thing.
Angie Martin 45:27
I just haven't used it yet.
Maia Coghlan 45:29
No, I never use it. But it hasn't. But
Angie Martin 45:32
yes, she does. Yeah, you're right, she does. But so they all do that as well. So since you're right, pretty much everyone uses one of the apps out there, maybe have a little peek one day when you're watching TV or just relaxing and go through and see what other options are available in your app that might save you time and effort, your day. Just a little tidbit. My next bit of technology or tools, digital tools, I thought you could talk about this a little bit more, because you've spent a lot of time with Amy and reviewing time management apps. And you are probably the most productive one on our entire team. So I thought it would be great for you to chat through some time management apps that are out there and how they can be super beneficial.
Maia Coghlan 46:30
Sure, yeah. And not just time management. But this list also includes productivity apps, which are slightly different. And I'm sorry, if you can hear someone mowing in my background. I was trying to mute my microphone, but now I have to speak. Ah, yeah, so time management apps and productivity apps, they can be the same thing, or they can be different things. And some of them can, you can have two different apps and they can work together. So this, this will be interesting. Um, so yeah, these apps are designed to help you organise your day and keep track of how you spend your time and, you know, encouraging you to focus on the tasks that are the most important, rather than just whatever comes to your mind at the time or doing all the small unimportant tasks instead of the big, important tasks
Angie Martin 47:34
that we always tend to put off.
Maia Coghlan 47:36
Always, it doesn't matter how productive you are you always put off. I'm so sorry about that noise. Always. Can you please talk about
Angie Martin 47:53
Sorry, guys, my I was about to break out laughing because of the mowing and her background. I'm sorry about that kind of love, live recording sessions are always a heap of fun. So what she was in the midst of saying is that these kinds of software really encourage you to stay on track and focus on what you need to get done that day. So that you're being as productive as possible, while getting things done. And kind of still having someone helping you to do the things you want to do even if you don't want to do them. Which as business owners, one thing that we always kind of have trouble with is we want to do what we want to do and not the things that we don't really want to do. So then we put them off, and then they never get done. So these apps are amazing. I've written a couple down, there's a to do list, which is simply just a app to write down your to do list. It's exactly what it sounds like it, you write down the things that you need to be done. And then you check them off when they're done. There's focus booster, which is a more of a phone app, which is pretty cool. It just helps you again, it's just a task app where you go through and you can write down the tasks that you need to focus on. And then it helps you basically just focus on that one task and then move on to the next once you're done. There's clickup, which we have mentioned quite a bit in the past, which does the task management as well. There's Asana which a lot of bookkeepers use, there's toggle, which is a time management app, which is exactly I actually really loved the name of this one because you can toggle through the different tasks that you have to do and it keeps track of what you're doing. There's Trello which again, a lot of bookkeepers use in the industry. We used to Teamwork because teamwork does everything all in one, which makes it just really easy for us as a team since we really try and be as productive as humanly possible, savvy and off the hook. But all of these applications help you track your speed of what you're actually doing. So how long it's taking you to do these tasks. So that in the future, you can look at them for your clients again, and go. Okay, so last time, it took me five hours to do this client's bass. So I can assume it's going to take me five hours to do their bass this quarter. So I should be charging them this much. On average, for their basses ongoing as a package price kind of thing. It makes it really easy, also helps you if you hire on someone, a new team member, your first team member or a new team member, to say, Okay, so this task should take you five hours to do your clients bass. If it takes them less. Awesome, let's find out why it takes them longer. Okay, let's find out why. so that you guys can really assess to make sure the right person is doing the right job. Or if there's something that's been missed in the past, it's just really great to kind of figure out what's going on there.
Maia Coghlan 51:31
Plus, Yeah, go ahead. And the fact that they are productivity apps, as well means all of your list of tasks are already in there. So when you hire on someone new, you just give them access and say, This is the stuff that you have to do. It also helps yourself with your monthly, quarterly, weekly, daily, whatever processes that you go through, so you don't have to remember what do I do after I do this, or when like, have I done this yet or not. It's all just there, you don't have to remember, we're trying to minimise the amount of stuff that you pack into your brain and carry around with you every day. So this these apps are perfect for that. Um, the other thing I wanted to say is that ones like clickup, Asana and Trello. They're great for tasks. And clickup is actually kind of similar to teamwork, the one that we use, it is slightly different. It's quite different, actually. But it has a lot of the same features of each personality. So that's cool. But they don't necessarily have a built in time tracker. But they sync with toggle, and toggle is free. And toggle actually rebranded itself recently. So the time tracking apps, right is called toggle track, specifically. And they also have another app within the toggle brand. That's called toggle plan, which we should add to this list because it's actually really great, especially for team collaboration, to work on projects and with clients. And obviously that syncs with the Tuggle track app. So you have the plan app that has all your tasks and projects in it. And then you have the track app, which tracks your time. And then if you go into Trello or Asana or click up, and if you have a toggle account, which is free, then you can actually use toggle from within these other apps. And you can have your task list in Trello or your task list in Asana or click up and use toggle to track your time. So then you can go into toggle and you can see a nice report of all your time and the breakdown of the different projects that you spent your time on. Yes, that's right, how they integrate together. And I also just really like the time tracking app, I use toggle obviously. Yes, toggle. Yeah, for savvy we use an off the hook we use the the built in one for teamwork. But if I use toggle to check my time for stuff just on random stuff that doesn't even work related. Because sometimes it's nice to know how long you spend on something if you want to spend you know, if you got like a personal project that you want to work on, you want to make sure that you spend this amount of time on it each day or each week or something. time tracking app is perfect for that. Or if you think you spend too much time on social media, maybe turn your tracking app on. We'll go on to social media and then check back when you finish and see how much time he spent on It. So it can give you some really interesting insights for that as well. It doesn't just have to be used for tracking billable time for clients. You can use it for all kinds of different things just to see how much time you spent on something.
Angie Martin 55:13
Yeah. And it's also, you mentioned something really important. Most of these platforms have a free option. We are not saying that you guys need to go out and spend a fortune in these digital tools. Most of them are completely free.
Maia Coghlan 55:28
Yeah, I don't think teamwork. The one that we use has a free version. But I'm pretty sure all the rest of everything
Angie Martin 55:33
else does do. Yeah, that's all the ones except for teamwork does. Teamwork is just exactly what it sounds like. It's built for teams. It's built for just the higher level. But all of the other ones that we mentioned, and again, will be in the podcast notes and will be in the blog. They all have the free plans for you, which is just really handy. And really important as well, you know, it's
Maia Coghlan 56:01
and the ones that I've used, which are most of the ones yes list. The free version is plenty good enough. Yeah, most things that you would want to do. Especially if you don't have a team, then the free version will definitely be enough. Yeah,
Angie Martin 56:21
I there's many things that I use professionally for multiple clients. And I just use the free version. And I know what out there for the other versions, but I'm not missing anything. So I don't need to upgrade at all. So the free versions for a lot of organisations, software's are actually really impressive. And they do that on purpose, because it's important. Yeah. So I hope you guys learned a couple things today, and had a bit of fun of us googling over software and tools that we love.
Maia Coghlan 57:02
Yeah. I just wanted to say a couple of people did comment about the calendar app thing. Oh, yeah. And, and one person said that they use a diary. And I do actually like using a diary as well, like a paper planner. But I, I can't go back. Yeah, I try to go back, I go back to it. I like to keep it to do list there. I've tried a bunch of different ways of using it because I do really like it. But the one thing it doesn't do is remind me of stuff in the middle of the day when I'm focused on my work. And there's something I have an appointment, or I have a podcast with Angie that. Yeah, I might have looked at it at eight o'clock this morning and saying I have that on this afternoon. When it gets to the afternoon, I don't remember. And it's not in my paper planner is not going to remind me. Yeah, that's the thing. Am I never remember to look at it.
Angie Martin 58:02
Some days, there's days where you just lose three hours in your work. And if you're not watching the time, you will miss that client consults or that client meeting or picking your kid up from school or something, you know, things happen. So having like you do you and Amy both do the physical planners are Yes. And yeah, I'm not saying
Maia Coghlan 58:29
no, do that I really am doing that. But it would not work for me just on its own, I have to have the calendar for the stuff that is for a specific time that I have to be there and I can't miss it. That has to go on a digital calendar so I can get a reminder.
Angie Martin 58:47
Agreed. Agree. So as you guys can tell, there are heaps of tools out there that can help you stay organised on time showing up when you need to show up, saving you time, money and just supporting you being that it's almost kind of like that, assistant that's supporting you to help support your clients. It's an invisible assistant being like, Oh, hey, didn't you have that meeting with so and so today? Don't you need to kind of open that document up to get ready for that?
Maia Coghlan 59:21
Yeah, Hey, come on, wrap this up and get back to what you're supposed to be doing. Yeah. And like I said in the beginning, don't feel overwhelmed with this multitude of information we've just given you pick, just pick one way, you know, you might not be working as efficiently in that area, as you could be. picks up that one area trial, an app trial, a different app, see what works for you see what you like and figure that out and then move on to something else.
Angie Martin 59:54
Yeah, yep. And if you want to learn more about because this all really comes into Creating Your task lists and knowing your priorities. If you want to learn more about that, please feel free to check out our resource list in this episode's description. On our actual website, which is the savvy bookkeeper.com. In it, we have, I have a couple different podcasts that Maya has done in the past and a blog that she's done as well, for learning how to do your goals for bookkeepers. They're both in relation to the priorities masterclass that we worked on together, to really just work out that time blocking that we mentioned for calendar apps and scheduling apps, and really helping you realise what the main priorities are for each day, or each week or each quarter that are for you. We also have a new product that Maya launched, was it last week, or the week before I think was it last week, which ties in with the task management and time management that we talked about is we're going to be starting to bring out some processes, bookkeeping processes. So what you can do is, instead of trying to write down all of your processes, you can grab these processes, put them in your time management or task management applications and go through them. So again, you don't have to remember what you're actually doing. If your kid comes over and breaks the class right in front of you, you can stop what you're doing, then come back and don't need to go, oh, what was I in the middle of you can go back to your tasks, and actually see where you're up to.
Maia Coghlan 1:01:47
also makes it so easy to give the tasks to somebody else. Exactly.
Angie Martin 1:01:54
Yes. So we so far have our onboarding process done
Maia Coghlan 1:02:00
for onboarding new clients. Yes, the sales process it's for after they sign the proposal
Angie Martin 1:02:05
after they're signed up? Yes, they're going to be working with you. This is the process that we've created. And we use off the hook to make sure that you have a really successful onboarding experience for yourself and for your client with minimal amount of work that you have to do yourself.
Maia Coghlan 1:02:23
Yeah, yeah. basically making the easiest possible email templates and check outs and all that stuff.
Angie Martin 1:02:30
Yeah, going through. Yes, I've done this. I've done tha t. I've done this. It just gives you some additional tools and tips to getting organised and getting on with your day. Basically. That's what digital software and tools are all about and staying organised. So do you have any other words of wisdom about digital tools?
Maia Coghlan 1:02:53
I think I've given enough words of wisdom today.
Angie Martin 1:02:56
I love your words of wisdom. They're amazing. Awesome. So until next time, guys still stay safe, sane and savvy. Bye bye.
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