9 time-saving tech tips for the busy CPA

In the average day you probably spend at least an hour or more doing the various steps to accomplish one goal. The time you spend highlighting a sentence in order to paste it into google. The time you spend finding file paths so you can share it with a colleague.

These mini-tasks are not only tedious they waste precious seconds which add up to minutes. Combine with with the few minutes it takes us to switch between tasks, and you’ll see how it adds up quickly! The only solution is to best optimize your workflow so that you reduce the number and time of these mini-tasks.

A quick Google search will reveal thousands of articles on this topic. Although many of them have the same suggestions. However this particular article has some unique points and is well worth a read. One that I find really useful, and I didn’t know until I saw it here, is to use the Copy as Path option.

In Windows, to copy the path of a folder (such as M:\Important Stuff\Firm Holiday Schedule.docx), hold down the Shift key and right-click the file or folder that you want and select Copy as path. The path will be copied to your Clipboard, and you can then paste it where you need to. This tip can also come in handy when you’re attaching files to emails or filling in dialog boxes.

Another is to use MS Office’s built in PDF functionality. I’ve used this for a long time and I prefer it to using Acrobat Pro’s PDF printer or even other many of the third-party utilities. The Save As PDF feature is much less prone to crashes and faster than the apps out there. Plus it’s already built in to the app so there’s no additional IT cost.

We’re always going to be juggling tasks in an effort to get through the day. It’s a part of our job, but it’s something we need to master. By taking every available shortcut we can maximize our own productivity and take back our minutes.

Source: 9 time-saving tech tips for the busy CPA

How to debug Excel spreadsheets

Nearly 88% of spreadsheets have errors. This statistic was compiled by Ray Panko, a professor at the University of Hawaii,  after a study of 113 spreadsheets. I’ve easily worked with thousands of spreadsheets, but in my own experience I do find a high rate of errors. Of course, no one is perfect. But if we take some time to analyze the logic of our work papers we’ll find them to be a lot more reliable. After all the world looks to us to be accurate.

The article  offers some tips to debug a spreadsheet. But the first my favorite.

When initially opening a spreadsheet, first obtain a quick overall understanding of the spreadsheet, its parts, and the interaction between formulas and values.

Always take the time to understand what the sheet is trying to accomplish. Especially if these are your client’s workpaper’s you can see what data points interest them the most. For example I’ve seen at least 10 different ways to present real estate tax information, most are expense emphasized but some empathize total liability and even projected tax expenses. Taking the time to understand the inputs and outputs of the sheet is critical to both working with and troubleshooting a spreadsheet.

Other advice offered is a bit more mechanical including: Correcting the Syntax Errors, fixing incomplete calculation errors, and lastly a review of Excel’s built in error checking tools. The article provides some great info on these so I won’t duplicate it here.

A thorough review of our work papers is always needed. We want to be know for creating the best possible product possible. A careful and competent self review we can ensure our clients have the most accurate data they need.



Source: How to debug Excel spreadsheets