Everyone wishes they had more time in their lives. While we’re constantly told money can’t buy more time, there are things we can buy to save time by automating the menial tasks we all want to avoid.
If you’ve been to industry conventions, talked with fellow accountants, or generally kept up with accounting technology, you already know that so much of the accounting workflow is starting to be streamlined. No longer do you need to sink time into account reconciliations, categorizing transactions, and generating reports, this can all be done for you with new software. But what about everything else?
So many of the other tools we use for our communication, admin, and scheduling have been modernized with the purpose of streamlining our work life. If you still use a Rolodex, scribble a to-do list, and your morning day planning makes you look like a conspiracy theorist, it’s time to kick your tech into the 21st century.
Emailing with ease
Email is the preferred method of communication for 74% of adults. With no expectation of an immediate response and opportunities to fully flesh out your thoughts, it’s one of the best ways to send and receive messages.
For all its benefits, email can also get insanely overwhelming, especially once the volume picks up. An inbox can become Pandora's box, but with a couple of tools and extensions, you can turn it into a powerful work management tool.
Tools to help
Boomerang for Gmail
Price: Free for the basic package, up to $49.98 a month for premium features
Good for: Sending messages and setting reminders for specific times
Do you find that you lose too much time jumping on emails as soon as they come in? Boomerang can help with that. When you go to send an email, you have the option of scheduling it to send in the future, setting reminders for yourself to follow up, or even booking an appointment right in the email. Or if you want to stop receiving emails during a work block, Inbox Pause can do that.
Price: Free to start, then $9.99 per month
Good for: Eliminating distractions and turning off for the day
If you’re the type of person who obsesses over keeping your inbox clean, you’ll inevitably go overboard potentially even checking your email in your off hours. BatchedInbox lets you kick the addiction by limiting when you can receive emails. You can turn off emails for your off hours, work blocks, or meetings to limit your distractions.
Price: Free, up to $15 a month for premium features
Good for: Saving time on the rewrites you obsess over.
Kevin from the Office says it best: why waste time say lot word when few word do trick? That sentence would probably give Grammarly a stroke because above all else, it cares about grammar. But it also suggests word changes that can enhance the tone of your communication and make your message more succinct. Now you can draft up your thoughts and refine them for quick sends.
Price: Free tools with a full suite starting at $45 a month
Good for: Launching a newsletter or managing client-wide comms
A regular newsletter for current and prospective clients alike can boost engagement and keep people informed on the policy changes that affect their business. Alternatively, if you like sending client-wide messaging to clients, Hubspot can help you keep them bucketed based on industry, size, location, or anything else you want to define them by. Their helpful templates also give you a great starting point for any of your messaging.
Appointment booking without the back and forth
What’s worse than a one-hour meeting where nothing gets accomplished? Spending an hour booking a meeting where nothing gets accomplished. But rather than losing time coordinating and cross-checking schedules like a codex, these tools can make finding time—and making the most of it—simplified.
Tools to help
Price: Free, up to $16 a month for premium features
Good for: Having clients book times that always work for you
The tried and true method of sending over appointment options gets tiresome. You check your calendar, pick out time slots that work for you, and then somehow none of them work for your client and you start all over again. But with Calendly, all of the time slots you have in your calendar can be booked by a client so it’s guaranteed to work for you.
Price: Free to start, up to $8 a month for premium features
Good for: Managing calendars across everyone on your team
It takes some guts to name your software after the thing you’re trying to replace. But Calendar really feels like that next step in time management. Everyone on your team can manage their time on this platform with automatic booking slots and appointment booking links. You can even use their analytics suite to see how people are spending their weeks for insights on where you can save time.
Price: Free, up to $5 a month for premium features
Good for: Setting appointments with paid invoices
If you charge an hourly rate for your time, Setmore lets you send an invoice for the appointment beforehand. No more chasing clients to pay for services they’ve already received, they can pay directly through the platform. This also works really well for taking a deposit ahead of time. Paid invoices are just one of the additional features to this time booking app.
Price: Free, up to $10 a month for premium features
Good for: Having appointment booking integrated on your website
If you’re looking to open up a channel for bringing in prospective clients on your website, Appointlet is the route for you. With its integration options, you can have a form on your website for people to book a time to make an introduction. Its custom form options also allow you to collect the information you need on the submission so you can enter the appointment prepared to make the best first impression.
Calendars that do more than just plan
A calendar can be a lot of things: day planner, to-do list, and reminder. But if you’re not careful, it can become overwhelming and your day too structured and scheduled. What if your calendar had your best interests in mind and managed your day for you? With these tools, you’re one step closer to a calendar that values your time as much as you do.
Tools to help
Price: Free to start, up to $20 a month for premium features
Good for: Understanding where your time is spent and adjusting
Whether it’s for billable hours or building out your perfect work day, understanding where your time is spent is essential. Fortunately, Toggl offers this and much more as part of its package. Pro tip: use its client tagging feature to understand what clients you’re spending the most time with. These are upsell opportunities for advisory services or red flags for clients that are more work than they’re worth.
Tags for Google Calendar
Good for: Quickly reviewing where your time is going
If you use Google Calendar, a great free extension is the Tags option. With this, you can tag meetings, appointments, and tasks with project or client names. Then simply filter for that tag to automatically see how much time you’ve dedicated to a certain project. Whether it’s tracking billable hours or better understanding how your week is structured, Tags is the perfect way to get started for free, but with no additional functionality.
Price: Free to start, then $14.95 a month
Good for: Having the perfect day structured for you
Have a hard time putting your day together? Skedpal specializes in reshaping your day to address the most time sensitive tasks so you’re always putting your time in the most important work. You can also schedule repeating blocks for your recurring tasks like triaging emails or your end of day close out tasks. Use the project note functionality to stay on top of all essential information and hit the ground running when you have the time for it.
Automated bookkeeping at your fingertips?
Now that your office admin is up-to-date, what about your bookkeeping tech? If you’re looking to make a change, check out Botkeeper. Beyond automating your workflows, it offers streamlined onboarding, password management, and so much more. Get started today.