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Running a business

The remote worker’s guide to the galaxy in 2023, Part 1: Let’s talk about QuickBooks® Online

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. today. By 5 a.m., I was working out in my home gym that I started building during the pandemic. A little after 6 a.m., I am in the shower, then getting dressed, coffee brewed in a french press; let’s face it, once you experience that, you’ll never have another K-cup ever again. By 7 a.m., I am in my home office watching a video I needed to watch before a 7:30 a.m. Zoom class I am taking.

I’m taking a leadership class based on Brene Brown’s Dare To Lead program. My client, pLink, is a certified facilitator for this class.

I am doing my best to stay focused on the class, but I have a client who needs to pay about $50,000 to a sizable list of contractors who will get very restless if their payments don’t arrive on time. The client pings me in Slack to let me know of a correction in the Google Sheet I prepared to summarize how much each contractor is getting paid.

At the first break, I go in to make the correction, let the client know, and then I am back to focusing on the class. Another message pops up with another correction. Another break and it’s fixed.

Meanwhile, my assistant pops up on Discord with a question about how to respond to someone’s email. This could mean new money—and that is always a priority, so I write her a quick answer and then go back to focusing on the class.

Between what I am focusing on (or trying to) and the distractions I have, I make a lot of pivots throughout the day. And I rely heavily on notifications that let me know what needs my attention. My favorite thing I can do in Slack is if I click over and realize a message is not something I can address immediately, I can mark the message unread. This keeps that marker on there, which rings my bell every time I look at Slack until I address it.

While all of this is going on inside my house, I have a construction crew outside finishing up on some work that we had put off since the start of the pandemic. We are very excited to have this done, especially given how much time we spend here at home. While the rest of the world returns to “normal,” we are still keeping our distance and staying home.

Some people spend thousands of dollars to go on vacation and get away. We (my wife, The Mighty Goddesses, and I) decided to make our home the perfect place to “get away.”

During one of our breaks from the class, I walk outside with my wife and we talk to one of the guys to get some questions answered. Then back inside to continue class.

As you can imagine, it’s a bit noisy outside, so my dogs are barking a lot. I mute my microphone on the Zoom call out of respect.

And I make no apologies. This is the world we live in today. This is the life of a remote worker.

The class is over at 2 p.m. I take a look at my Google Calendar. I have a 15-minute discovery call at 3:15 p.m., and a personal call at 4 p.m.

I was working remotely for about seven years by the time the pandemic started. For me the pandemic was just another day, but for many, it was a major shift.

Early on in 2020, I ran a webinar on remote work that was based on helping people with the software and equipment they were going to need in order to get set up to work from home. CPA Academy picked it up, shared it on their platform, and didn’t charge me like they normally would, because Scott Zarret felt it was such an important and valuable topic.

As you would expect, during the pandemic we experienced a dramatic increase in the number of people working remotely. No shock there, no need to look at the numbers. It’s boring already!

Now people and companies are faced with the choice. Go back to the office or stay remote? Some companies are requiring employees to come back, others are not. Some are offering a hybrid of working from home and in the office.

What’s next for the remote workforce?

What has changed?

The main thing that has changed is the number of choices we have, and that gives rise to some important considerations, in terms of culture, features, and benefits.

Here’s your guide to the galaxy if you’re planning to stick it out as a remote worker in 2023.

To run your business remotely, you’ll need a bunch of apps. Let’s break them down into categories and then choices. Then I’ll discuss the benefits and limitations of each. These are, of course, my opinions based on my experience.

Let’s talk about QuickBooks Online

Years ago, my friend and colleague Doug Sleeter used to give a talk at a lot of conferences about “chunkification” of processes. In his diagram, you would see QuickBooks® Online at the center, and surrounding it would be all of the apps for everything you have to manage. These things would be “tangent” to your accounting information, but not the actual accounting information.

You have things such as your CRM, project management, and even apps that do touch the accounting, including bill pay and receipt management.

The point is that the accounting system is at the center of everything, and if we’re talking about remote work in 2023, I think it’s worth noting that you’ll want a solid accounting system that lends itself to remote work—and that means QuickBooks Online.

There are those out there who will tell you that QuickBooks Online doesn’t work for all businesses. Don’t listen to them. There are people who say they can and those who say they can’t. Both are usually right!

If you are just getting started and not familiar with QuickBooks Online, there are plenty of resources out there to learn it, as well as accounting and bookkeeping in general. That’s one of the advantages of using one of (if not the) most widely used cloud accounting software applications.

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