I recently upgraded my work bag and it got me thinking about what other tools accountants use for work. After asking around I came up with a short list of some of the essentials.
I ditched the old free laptop bag provided by my a firm as it was costing me in weight. I have used many of these similar bags in the past and they are all made with the same heavy cordura material and packed full of pockets and zippers. While we get these for free, they are simply not worth it in the long run due to the extra weight. For example, the messenger bag I gave up weighed 4.5lbs before anything was put in it. The Peak Design Messenger weights only 2 lb 12oz and has just as much room.
Estimating that I would carry my bag 30 minutes each day to and from work, for 260 workdays a year, this small change saves 420 lbs over 130 hrs!
At $250 it is expensive, but is well built and versatile.
If you are looking for a backpack, Peak Design also carries two sizes for $260 and $290.
Any accountant knows that excel is the most used tool in our daily jobs. To get up to speed quickly Excel Campus is the ticket for pivot tables, and vlookup. Many other training videos are plagued with bad audio or amateur video editing so this is a good source to start with.
With hot-desking and open-space working, keeping your focus is tough when working long hours. Music is essential. I assumed BOSE headphones were a dinosaur with the popular Beats and Skullcandy taking over the market, but after polling accountants, and finally using them myself, the Bose Noise Cancelling line is clearly the top choice. The Quiet Comfort 25 is affordable at $170 but if you want the best the new 35 line will cost you $350 for the jump in performance.
If you are still using a calculator at your desk, I highly recommend you look at upgrading it to something that connects to excel. Belkin has the best Bluetooth option and has a good clean ‘Apple’ design.
MASTER TAX GUIDE
This is the only book I recommend keeping at your desk as this works the best when doing tax research. Each fact is footnoted to help with followup research to the primary sources. Ditch the quickfinder and start with this.
If you are still carrying EXPO markers at your office, send this link to your office manager. Idea Paint Markers leave a better line and are widely used among the top tech firms. This company uses special paint to cover walls to act as dry erase boards.
Alternatively the Quartet is a great runner up and the Chisel tip is a must have for clean, clear writing.
There is a growing appreciation for paper organization systems and there is none better than the Bullet Journal developed by Ryder Carrol. The system is easy to use, and adaptable to anything you may need. I made a list of good notebooks to use with this system HERE.
For accountants, we are developing a notebook system of our own to help get organized all in one place. It has six different layouts and includes a reference section that is a collection of websites, excel tips, formulas and benchmark data. Find it HERE.
The three most popular accounting apps I have found are OmniFocus, Tiny Scanner, and a new one I have just started looking into, Jetpack.
OmniFocus - The ultimate work and personal task management system
Tiny Scanner - Great for client files and easy transfer to secure portals
Jetpack - Accounting firm workflow and management assistant
If you want the news without a lot of bias and editorial filler, this is the best choice.
After putting up with clients and bosses all day, and if you're going to have a drink, this is a good way to avoid the calories during busy season. Cheers!
Let me know if I missed anything and want to add it to the list.