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How My Tech Stack Transformed Accounting Operations

Hey all, Tanya Hilts here from Cloud Business Services and Tanya’s Bookkeepers Bootcamp. Today I am sharing with you how important a tech stack is to have, and how it can streamline your operations. As we are moving (or in the case of early adopters like myself, have moved) to the cloud, having a solid tech stack is a must-have.

A solid tech stack is like a sturdy foundation for your software or application. It provides stability and reliability, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Think of it as the backbone that keeps your system operating efficiently. Having a solid tech stack also makes maintenance and scalability easier. It’s like building on a solid foundation that can be easily expanded as your business grows. This means less headaches and more room for innovation. Performance and user experience are also improved with a solid tech stack. By choosing the right technologies, you can optimize speed, responsiveness, and usability. It’s all about creating an application that your team can get behind and love. Last but not least, a solid tech stack future-proofs your firm. By choosing widely adopted and continuously evolving technologies, you can ensure that your firm and services remain relevant and adaptable to future changes and advancements in the industry. It’s like future-proofing your investment, which is sure to impress your clients and prospects.

To find the best tech stack for your accounting or bookkeeping firm, here are some things to think about when sourcing your tech stack:

  1. Understand your needs: Start by figuring out what your firm actually needs and what you want to achieve. Consider things like the size of your firm, the type of clients you work with, and the services you provide. This will help you determine what kind of technology you should be looking for.

  2. Do some research: Look into different tech options that are available. Explore and compare the alternatives. Make sure to consider factors like how easy they are to use, whether they can grow with your firm, if they can work well with your existing tools, and how secure they are.

  3. Get recommendations: Reach out to other accountants or firms in your industry to get their recommendations on the best tech stack. We are a tight industry, reach out to your trusted colleagues or through Facebook groups. Make sure that you take every comment, both positive and negative with a grain of salt as everyone’s situation may be different.

  4. Check compatibility: Make sure that the tech options you’re considering can work well with the systems and software you already use. You want everything to seamlessly integrate and work together smoothly.

  5. Think about costs: Compare the costs of different tech options, including any fees, maintenance expenses, contract terms, and other additional costs. Also, consider the value you’ll get in return for your investment.

  6. Try it out: Before making a final decision, try out the tech options you’re interested in. Many providers offer free trials or demos so you can see how they work and if they meet your needs. Start with your own firm books first. If you won’t use it on your own books, why should your clients trust you to use it on their files.

By following this advice, you’ll be able to find the best tech stack for your firm that fits your needs, improves efficiency, and supports your growth.

Now I’m going to share my tech stack. This is not my complete list, as different situations call for different software. However, the apps listed are the main stack that I use with all clients.

Drum roll……..

Accounting Software: This will be no surprise to many of you, but QuickBooks Online is all that we use. I chose to be a specialist in one, rather than just proficient in many. The reason I say this is because it is easier to train my team on one. The more you add, the longer the training and learning curve are. We have many accounting firms reach out to us for help due to the reputation we have built. We know all the workarounds, and it’s just second nature for the team. This also allows us to access the bank feeds to be able to work in real-time with our clients' data. This is the first step into real advisory. So it is imperative to us and our clients that we are being proactive rather than reactive. We are able to utilize all of the features in QBO to be as efficient as we can. Keep in mind, that as we are in Canada, and we audit proof our files, we do not auto-add anything that isn’t a bank or merchant fee as every expense needs to have a receipt attached to it within our processes. We can head off unexpected transactions for clients, or times where cheques have been cashed for the wrong amount (such as adding another 0 - yes this has happened), and most importantly, this helps us keep an eye on cash flow and be a fraud detector. This all adds piece of mind to our clients and increases our value to them.

Receipt Capture Software: We want to keep things streamlined for our clients, and work in the cloud, while being proactive rather than reactive, so we use Dext for our receipt capture software. The phone app makes it super easy for anyone who can take a selfie to send us the receipt in real time. This allows us to keep our one-touch policy with transactions. This keeps our costs down and efficiency up. And as we are in Canada, we do not use auto-publish. We review every single receipt, but there are supplier rules that we can use to save coding before publishing. We have the settings set to not publish and do not automatically reject duplicates so that we can control and view everything that is submitted.

Communication Software: We have had issues with email, so have moved out of email and have moved to a secure communication app called Liscio. This enables us to keep all communication and file sharing in a secure place and clients have access to an app they can add to their phone. It’s just like WhatsApp but for our firm and clients. This has ensured that nothing is being automatically moved to the spam or quarantine folder and ensures that we receive every piece of written communication that our clients sends us through the app.

Back-Up/Restore Software: This is important to us and our clients. Those that don’t quite trust technology and those clients that like to integrate or add things without discussing with us first. We have the ability to restore the data with the click of a button. Rewind is not used often, but when it is, it more than pays for itself. It is the piece of mind that both us and our clients like.

Payment Software: For the most part, we do not carry any accounts receivables. There are the odd ones, but in order to keep our costs and administrative duties, we use Rotessa to automatically withdraw the fixed price from our clients' bank accounts. Clients change bank accounts much less than they do credit cards and we are able to pass along the savings of not having 3% of merchant fees hidden in our costs. Rotessa is a Canadian-only company, however, to my American friends, there are many options available to you.

Quality Assurance Software: We use Xenett Autoreview for all of our QA. We are able to set the parameters and this has helped to train my team for better quality as well as they have gained confidence without me having to micro-manage their work for the quality I expect.

Other mentionables: As I said that was not my exhaustive list. Some of the other apps I use that are worth mentioning are Keeper, Bookkeep, Synder, and Business Importer. On the administrative side of things, we are using Upbase (ClickUp alternative) and Moxie (proposals, questionnaires, lead forms).

To wrap up, what works for me, might not work for you. Do your research to ensure that it ticks all of your boxes and works for you and your team. I hope you found this blog post insightful and inspiring. Should you have any questions or wish to share your own experiences with these tools, please feel free to share and comment. Your experiences may help someone else. Remember, embracing cutting-edge technology can be a catalyst for success in the accounting realm.

Until we meet again, happy accounting!

Tanya Hilts, CPB, AIA

Disclaimer: This blog is a paid partnership with Intuit

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