Why I use 4 monitors

Why I use 4 monitors

While there’s nothing new about using more than one monitor, what about using four?

In my situation, I use four monitors every day at my office desk, but it depends on the type of work you do to determine how many you’ll need. Regardless, the bottom line is all about productivity; a report by Bakker Elkhuizen shows that the average person is 10 percent more productive and has 33 percent fewer errors by using more than one monitor.

Here is a picture of what my office looks like:

The main reasons I use multiple monitors include the following:

  1. Data entry, data analysis and verification: An example of this is when I am reviewing the Bank Feeds in QuickBooks® Online and need to verify the recipient and what it was for. I’ll open up online banking on another monitor, view the check, and then come back into QuickBooks Online and verify the details.
  2. Comparing data in the same app: I have lots of different applications I use during the same days – as many as 25 to 35 apps – so it becomes extremely necessary to easily access all these apps very quickly. I also find that I need to compare data within the same application very frequently. For example, in QuickBooks Online, I frequently pull up a balance sheet on my first monitor, the profit & loss report on my second monitor, the advanced search on my third monitor, and the reconciliation or general ledger on my fourth monitor. Or, I have Intuit® Link pulled up to view the source documents and forms my clients sent me on my first monitor, the detail input screen in Intuit ProConnect™ Lacerte® on my second monitor, the final forms open on my third monitor and the diagnostics open on my fourth monitor.
  3. Drafting an email message: I may have multiple sources of data from multiple apps that I need to capture for my message to a client, so it is much easier to copy/paste when I have all my sources of data open on multiple monitors. For example, I might pull data from Lacerte 2018 and compare it to Lacerte 2017, and then compare it again to QuickBooks Online. At that point, I draft the message to my client.

Suggestions to accounting and Lacerte users:

Purchase at least three monitors for all your team members. This is one of the cheapest investments you can make. With the explosion of cloud applications, and the ability to duplicate your tab or split your windows to another monitor, the reason for adding multiple monitors only keeps increasing.

Purchase an app like Display Fusion to manage your monitors. One of the problems introduced with multiple monitors is that you can start having too many apps open at any given time – and then you aren’t sure which app is open on which monitor. The solution to this problem is to develop a strategy as to the apps on each monitor. Display Fusion is an app I use to help develop and manage this strategy. As I mentioned above, the apps open on each monitor may change depending on what I need to accomplish. However, I always try to close whatever is unnecessary and revert to my standard display of apps as soon as I am finished with each project.

I thought it might be helpful to show you what my started display of apps looks like for each of my multiple monitors:

  • Monitor 1: Chrome and eFileCabinet.
  • Monitor 2: Lacerte 2018, QuickBooks Desktop 2019, Zoom and overflow Chrome apps.
  • Monitor 3: Microsoft Word and Excel, BQE Core, Lacerte 2017, QuickBooks Online Desktop App, QuickBooks Desktop 2018, Slack, and Foxit Phantom PDF editor.
  • Monitor 4: Microsoft Outlook, Liscio, Lacerte 2016, QuickBooks Desktop 2017 and Spotify.

I would love to hear how you develop your strategy for using multiple monitors. Feel free to let me know how you use multiple monitors by tweeting me @CalebLJenkins.