a few tips
I am a CIMA qualified accountant who has spent the last 12 years working in industry. Four months back I attained my CIMA MIP certificate and started doing client work. I have had to face a very steep learning curve which I will need to keep climbing for the next few years but even at this early stage of my practice there are a few processes and resources that I have come across which are helping me massively which I thought I would share with you.
Check-lists - I am building up check-lists for each area of work I am doing. Currently I have lists for the below and whenever I come across something new I will add it to the list. It gives me peace of mind that I am not relying on memory (mine is quite poor!) when working through processes.
- Self Assessment overall
- Sole Trader specific
- Corporation Tax
- Statutory Accounts (Ltd)
- Management Accounts
Evernote - whenever I read something on AccountingWeb or anywhere else which I want to refer to again I copy the text and URL into a notebook in Evernote which I have called "Knowledge Base". I then have tags for what topic(s) it relates to e.g. Capital Allowances, Dividends etc.
Toodledo - I use this to manage my one off and recurring tasks. I setup folders for each type of work e.g. filing of annual returns there is an annually recurring task for each client.
Google Apps Email - I pay for the business level of google apps which costs me $5 per month and gives me 25GB of email space. This allows me to work very efficiently and to search for emails very quickly. I don't have folders, if I want to keep an email I simply hit archive as I know I can search for it in the future.
Dropbox - I know this is somewhat controversial as some people have issues with the data protection side of things but for me the peace of mind that all my work is backed up instantly with no effort from me and can be accessed on my phone and ipad when out and about is priceless. This costs be $10 per month for 100gb of space.
AccountingWeb - goes without saying but regularly reading this website is hugely important for me, especially in these early days of practice. It also gives me confidence that there are plenty of other people in the same boat as me.
Mentors / Resources - you need someone you can lean on when something stumps you. I have a friend who has always worked in practice who I am constantly asking questions of. I also subscribe to the RossMartin tax site which is really useful. I am currently researching a resource that will give me structured CPD which I need for CIMA. I have looked at the Tolleys Seminars online CPD which does look good but is expensive. If anyone has any tips on this I'd love to hear them.
Software - I currently use VT for book-keeping and stat accounts, TaxCalc for SA and CT returns, Quickbooks if any clients need management accounts and Moneysoft for Payroll. All of these are good value and quick to use. There are plenty of threads covering these so I won't go further.
If I have missed anything or think of anything else I'll add to this
Hope that helps someone and if anyone has any further tips I'd love to hear them