San Francisco-based accounting firm Kruze Consulting has built a big business working with venture capital funded technology companies, so it's only natural it would embrace technology for its own operations.
The company, which made its way onto this year's Inc. 5000 list, uses a host of tools with the goal of making day-to-day tasks easier. For instance, Slack, a popular collaboration program, makes it easy for an accountant to get a quick answer to a tough tax question, while video conferencing allows CPAs to meet with clients without having to brave the ever-increasing Bay Area traffic.
Healy Jones, Vice President of Marketing for Kruze Consulting, says that if it weren't for tech, the company wouldn't have been able to grow into the 35-person operation it is today. "If you're in the service business, you can only do as much as an individual can do," he says. "If you want to grow faster, then you have to use technology to make you more productive." And, in today's digital landscape, there's no shortage of productivity-boosting tech that companies can employ.
Here are five difference-making technologies worth checking out:
Work From Anywhere With USB-C
Stephen Miller, a brand ambassador with Lenovo, says that USB-C-enabled devices can do wonders for efficiency. USB-C is an easier-to-use USB port and cord that's been embraced by most technology companies and comes with a majority of devices. With USB-C, employees can move from one desk to another without having to drag their own cords and computer docks around. "You have the same dock everywhere so people can work from anywhere," he says.
Make Use of More Monitors
With more companies offering their employees more places to work--outside, in a cafeteria, in a closed cubicle--they must also give staff the tools they need to be productive wherever they are. That means providing more monitors and TVs where people can plug in and get right to work. "Maybe you're working in the cafeteria--you can just plug your USB into a TV and be as efficient there as you are at your desk," says Miller.
Soup Up Your Video Sessions
Video is a big deal at Kruze Consulting, which uses Zoom, a free video-conferencing tool, to communicate with clients and colleagues in other offices. But as useful as that may be, Miller suggests taking it a step further with something like the ThinkSmart Hub 500, an all-in-one device that connects with Skype and allows people to join a conference as soon as they enter a room. Since audio and video is already connected, all you need to do is hit a button and say hello. "It knows when the meeting has started," says Miller.
Find Time-Saving Software
There are a host of programs that can save companies time and money, from project-management software to cloud-based file-storage sites that make document sharing a snap. One of Healy's top programs is Gusto, a cloud payroll provider. All someone has to do is input employee details into the program and the software will pay staff and submit government deductions. "It would take hours each month to do this manually," he says. "Now, it's automatic."
Beef up Security
It may not seem obvious, but security and efficiency go hand in hand. A cyber attack would slow down your business and destroy productivity. That's why Miller recommends using software from companies you trust. Brand-name businesses spend millions to monitor breaches and they're always updating security patches. To keep your data safe, it's important to take advantage of multifactor authentication, an important security measure that makes it difficult for hackers to weasel their way into a program, and to ensure all firmware and software is updated, he says.
There are plenty of other tools to use, too--virtual reality is making training more efficient, while 5G-enabled devices will allow people to connect faster, says Miller. But the goal is the same: to help your business accomplish more in a day. If it weren't for productivity-boosting technology, then Jones and his colleagues wouldn't be able to help their clients bring difference-making technologies to market. Instead, they'd be spending hours on manual processes - like many accounting firms still do - and growth would be nonexistent. "Technology has helped this business grow a lot faster," he says. "It's also helped us continue moving forward."
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