Knowing how to do things “the old school” way (aka the longer and often harder way) is good. It means that if you will have the skills to get things done even if your computer network goes down…which, let’s face it, tends to happen at the worst possible moment. At the same time, knowing your way around the latest software is also important. Knowing how to operate these tools makes your own life easier. It also makes you more marketable to future employers and more valuable to your current employer.
Here are the three most beneficial software tools a business can have in place and why you need to know how to use them:
A filing cabinet is nice, but buying and using contract management software is better. This is software that will help you manage your (or your employer’s) contracts. This is software that keeps track of details for you both while the contract is still valid and binding and long after its terms have passed. That’s nice and all, but what makes a solution like, say, http://www.contractlogix.com/ better than doing everything longhand? A multitude of factors, but most of them fall under the following three categories:
Speed: Instead of having to pull files to figure out, say, how many clients are being billed at rate A instead of rate B, you simply type the search into your software and get the information within a minute or so.
Space: When you scan in and enter your contract data into software, you can store the hard copies off site (or in another part of your offices). This frees up much needed space within your office.
Data Management: The great thing about contract management software is that it also helps you manage your contact information. You can type in a person’s name and find out how many different contracts you have (or have had) with them, their contact info, etc.
You can find lots of great accounting options online but most professionals use is QuickBooks. This is because it’s easy enough to learn and is easy to integrate for every type of business. It also offers you solutions if you want to manage your personal finances as well as your professional finances.
The benefits of this should be pretty self explanatory, don’t you think? Particularly if you’re bad at math!
If not, consider this: accounting software will help you track what comes in, what goes out and reminds you to pay your bills on time. If you hook it up to your bank (some banks will allow this), it can even send bill payments for you. This way you don’t have to worry about underpaying or missing a payment ever again…though you do have to be pretty diligent about entering your receipts into the system in a timely manner.
And being able to tell a potential boss “I’m really good with Quickbooks” makes you look even more impressive.
Most tax software, like Turbo Tax, is easily integrated into your accounting software and vice versa. One of the primary benefits about using tax prep software is the audit protection it offers. When you use a company like HR Block or Turbo Tax software and a mistake is made, you can send the audit notice to the company that did your taxes (or that made the software) and they’ll handle it on their end. You can go about your business as usual.
Did you know that tax preparation is an incredibly lucrative career? More importantly, it’s easy to fit in around other jobs because your busy season will only last for a couple of months out of the year.
These are just some of the most basic types of software and systems that will help you streamline processes in your office. Scheduling software (yes Google Calendar works, but there are other options out there), task management software, etc all fall under this category too.
So, Type A’s: what methods for streamlining have you tried and liked the best?