Want to manage your spreadsheets on your own schedule and escape the traditional office approach? Make sure you’ve got the right tools in your tool-belt to execute in style. Managing your accounting business on the go is easier than you think.
While you may not be ready to pack up your apartment and live on the CoBoat catamaran just yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t start experiencing some of the many benefits that millions of digital nomads around the world are relishing.
A virtual life – one not bound by the traditional office, the clunky photocopier in the corner and the nine-to-five hours – is fast becoming a lifestyle that accountants and bookkeepers are embracing, driven largely by clients who are becoming more comfortable with being serviced in this way.
Why wouldn’t you join a whole new generation of professionals who have traded in the £450/week rent on a Kensington studio for a £200/month rent on a bamboo bungalow on the Thai coast?
But just what tools are essential for getting your ‘location independent’ lifestyle started, so you can trade in your briefcase for a suitcase in 2016?
- Accounting Business essentials: Equipment – invest in the best: Your laptop, tablet and phone will become your right arm in your nomadic life, so invest in the best hardware that you can afford and ensure they are synced and optimised. If you don’t know how, ask your eight-year-old nephew – they have an inbuilt tech brain!
- Accounting Business essentials: Cloud-based software: Take the time to learn about cloud technologies and watch them revolutionise your world. To begin with, you will need accounting software and you can’t go past the extensive product line from QuickBooks, including the vast array of new features with Online Accountant. You may also wish to look into web-based project management software (of which there are numerous options) such as BaseCamp or TeamWorkPM, which will boost your productivity and allow you to work effectively with your clients and even virtual staff.
- Accounting Business essentials: Virtual office: This is not an essential aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle, but co-working hubs come with many benefits, including the opportunity to network with other solo operators, making professional friends and often even acquiring new clients. Another major benefit is having access to business meeting rooms, conference or cinema rooms to host seminars, presentations and lectures and also having your own ‘shared’ receptionist, among other features.
- Accounting Business essentials: Phone calls: Everyone knows Skype, and it still ranks highly among those on the move. Google+ Hangouts is another application that allows you to have group video chats and/or meetings and you may also like to check out Truphone, which gives you one phone number to roam like a local (without the ridiculous roaming charges) in more than 60 countries. It’s the first company to patent more than one phone number on a sim card.
- Accounting Business essentials: Airport lounge: Depending on how seriously you wish to roam, you may consider purchasing a membership programme with OneWorld airline alliance (of which British Airways is a member) that gives you access to 60 BA lounges and 90 partner lounges worldwide. A great way to get work done before or after flights, network and meet with clients if needed.
- Accounting Business essentials: Online marketing skills: Unless you have ongoing contract work, you will need to build an online presence. Start by learning the basics around SEO, SEM, websites etc. and look to the numerous blogs that teach you how to do your marketing on a shoestring. You may also boost your LinkedIn profile and build some expert credibility into your profile by creating a blog on your niche area of expertise.
Beyond the tool-belt, you will need to embrace some new habits around discipline and productivity when working out of the office, as usually the new location is going to be more tantalising than the spreadsheets in front of you! There are many blogs and books from those who have succeeded in the Digital Nomad lifestyle, which can inspire you with proven tactics and techniques to master your new way of life. Happy roaming!
To find out how cloud accounting can benefit both your practice and clients, sign up QuickBooks Online Accountant for free.