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Way, way back in the early 2000s, when I did a clean-up/catch-up in a QuickBooks® Desktop file, I would print out the bank statement, set it beside me, and manually type in each transaction. That wasn’t too bad because I had the settings to remember the category for each vendor, and if I started typing St … it would fill in Staples pretty quickly. I had previously worked on a 10-key calculator for years, so I was really fast with entering numbers. Not bad.
Then, along came QuickBooks Online. The way of the future!
At first, it seemed like a leap backwards to me. That’s because in those internet days, every time I finished a transaction and hit “enter,” I had to wait for the page to load. Even if it was only two seconds, it was two seconds that I would have spent on the next transaction. I hated it.
Then, I learned how to connect the bank feed. In the name of all that is precious to accounting, hurrah! Now we’re talking!
Old dog. New tricks. Fortunately, I was a savvy dog, not just an old one.
The lesson I learned was valuable. Change is good.
I know, I know! A lot of people hate change. Adopt new procedures. Alter habits. Spend time on training and getting used to the new way. It can be very annoying. But if you can just get past that initial change, you may be very surprised to learn that you are saving time and money! Here are three big steps to help you benefit from change.
- Embrace new technology. Apps and software are not successful if they take more time and cost more money. If a peer recommends an app, it’s safe to assume that there are benefits. But not every app is perfect for everyone.Take advantage of “free trials” and see what you think. Most software will give you a free demo, so that you can ask questions and decide if this is the one you need. It’s kind of like software companies realizing they are teaching new tricks, so they need to offer you a treat to get your attention. Take it!
- Save time. Absolutely, apps can save time for you. But so can other things. Here are a few ways to save time:
- Schedule your day. If you determine what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it, then stick to that schedule. You will accomplish much more.
- Avoid distraction. Part of the schedule. Don’t let other things creep into your schedule that you didn’t count on.
- Turn off your email. Yes, that’s right. Turn it off. You can look in periodically. There is absolutely nothing in your email that can’t wait an hour. Turn it off.
- There is no such thing as an accounting emergency. Finish one task before you move to the next. You’re not flying an airplane or racing into a burning building (although your clients may make you feel that way at times). Anything can wait.
- Get organized. Quite a few years ago, when I would go into my CPA’s office, I would have to fight my way through a maze of stacks of file folders, brown envelopes, bank statements, and pieces of last week’s lunch. The first 10 to 15 minutes of our meeting would be small talk, while he went through the mess to find my tax return.
Teach a new trick to that dog? Probably not. But the example was very educational to me. Organize your stuff! Whether it’s a paper file folder in a drawer or an app like Financial Cents or Liscio, get your stuff in an easy to find place.
Embracing change for more efficiency and growth
So, do you want to be an old dog with wilting whiskers and a drooly mouth? Or do you want to be a cute and perky contest winner (see my dear friend Kelly Gonsalves’ dog, Nina!)? Just learn some tricks, and you’ll be fine.