The remote worker’s guide to the galaxy in 2023, Part 3: Project and document management
As a remote worker in 2023, the next thing you have to tackle is effective task management—something you’re likely already struggling with.
I’ve recently seen ads about how Elon Musk laughs at the idea of a to-do list. We should all be so lucky to reach that point one day. Until then, those of us left here on planet earth will probably need a good system to capture, clarify, and organize everything we need to do, everyone we need to do it for, and those we need to delegate to.
There are a ton of these, but instead of overwhelming you like I might have with the communications apps, I’m going to focus on my top three apps that you can use for project and document management.
I’ll start with Keeper app. By now, you’ve likely heard of this app, and many of you are already using it. As someone who works with many accounting professionals, I can tell you that everyone who uses this app loves it.
Ben Stein and his team have done an amazing job of developing this app, with the monthly close in mind. Once you connect Keeper to QuickBooks® Online (QBO), it pulls in everything you need to review. Whether it’s bank reconciliations, anomalies, or custom sections, you can build in for those specific things you need to handle that Keeper wouldn’t be able to derive from the QBO data.
The process of handling uncategorized expenses, alone, is incredible. It makes it so easy to send a message to your client and give them a way to respond to your questions. Then, you can make the updates directly in Keeper, and QBO will be updated right away.
This solves a big problem with sending spreadsheets back and forth, or giving your clients another thing to log into. While clients appreciate our systems and our desire to be efficient, they don’t appreciate when those systems encroach upon their efficiency. And “another app” is often perceived that way, unless you can show them the benefits that it provides, such as real-time weekly reports that they can analyze and rely on!
Every week, I get an email with the updates to the app, and these aren’t superficial “code” type updates that no one understands. These updates are significant improvements to the tools at your disposal. This is the sign of a company who is “HOME.” They are present and available, and constantly working to improve the user experience.
Keeper is an app and a company that I can get behind 1,000%.
There is no mobile app at this time, but I’m not sure I would want to manage this kind of information from a small screen.
The mobile site works really well. If you have a tablet, set it on a landscape orientation, and off you go!
ClickUp was not built specifically for accountants and bookkeepers, but out of the box, it’s a powerful and robust tool that can be set up and customized any way you like. ClickUp also has a very “notion-like” documents area, which makes it easy to keep notes about any client, project, or task.
Since ClickUP is so widely used across many industries, you’re likely to encounter clients who are using it, which will make collaboration very easy. There is also no shortage of videos on ClickUp (including their own documentation, which is really good).
I am not a huge fan of ClickUp’s mobile app. The mobile experience is limited compared to the browser or desktop experience. One example is the Table View that I had very much relied on, which is still not available in the mobile app.
I used ClickUp heavily for a few years and even wrote a course called “A Course in ClickUp for Accountants and Bookkeepers,” and I still highly recommend it for accountants and bookkeepers.
As many of my app developer friends have pointed out to me, I am not like most accountants and bookkeepers. For that reason, when I had another look at Notion in November of 2021, it was love at second sight. And that brings me to my next and final suggestion for this part of the series.
Notion is a very different animal from the other two above. You might want to use this in tandem with one of the other two. As such, you would use it for notes and perhaps document storage.
If a note-taking app is what you need, then Notion is it. It would be crazy to use anything else!
The thing about Notion is that, out of the box, it’s just a blank page. This means that if you want to use it for project management, there is some assembly required. That’s the bad news!
Here’s a video on “How to Get Started with Notion.”
The good news is that Notion is so flexible that you can bend it to your will and make it work for you, however you want.
My favorite thing about Notion is that it’s the first app I’ve ever used (and there have been many) that truly makes it easy to develop a dashboard that puts everything you need right at your fingertips—where YOU can put everything you need right at your own fingertips.
Many apps have dashboards, but it feels like you need to take a whole course just to learn how to get what you want, and in terms of the layout, you’re usually very limited. With Notion, if you can conceive it, you can create it.
You can watch this video to learn more about how to create a dashboard in Notion.
The secret to understanding how to use Notion is to recognize that everything starts with a page. A page can stand on its own, just like a page in a notebook where you take notes about a client meeting. On the other hand, a page can be for a particular client, and then you have sub-pages, within that, for each meeting, task, or entire project, where that project is a page with more pages and information about what needs to be done to complete the project.
Backing up a step, you might have a page called “Clients,” and then a page for each client within that.
Do you train clients 1:1, or in groups? Here’s a video I created that shows you how to set that up and track that in Notion.
If you want to create a Wiki for your business to serve as either an internal training manual or even something client facing as a resource to serve them and attract new clients, Notion is the perfect tool.
The mobile app for Notion is fantastic. With all the features and tools it has, I’m amazed that I haven’t run into anything I can’t do in the mobile app. Some items are tucked away because it has to be optimized for a small screen, but it’s all there!