In a welcomed break from Cashflow Boost, JobKeeper and other stimulus measures – I wanted to share the tools that we’ve been using at the IQ office to help make the work from home situation a little easier.
We made the call early to go to “work at home”and closed the office on March 16th, about a week before most offices did the same. When we closed, we didn’t speak to our IT people and there was no phone re-direction, we just packed up our laptops, took the extra screens and went home. The office looked like it had been robbed! It was eerily easy – apparently we’ve been planning for Corona Virus all along and hadn’t realized it.
- SLACK – I wrote another post here which covers my top 5 things that help me stay productive and slack made this list under communication. We would be lost without slack. We use this as our “messenger for 2020.” We’ve been using this for almost 5 years now and when we began microsoft teams didn’t exist. I’ve sat in on my fair share of teams meetings lately and my kids have been using teams with school for online learning and there are a lot of things I really like about it but nothing beats the integration options that Slack has so IQ are firmly on team Slack.
- GO TO MEETING – This is our preferred meeting platform and while I’ve sat in on teams, zoom, skype and google hangouts – at IQ we choose GTM because of the whiteboard ability (making tax planning a breeze), higher number of attendee options but mostly because of the safety. GTM uses robust encryption mechanisms so anything discussed in these meetings stays confidential and the data isn’t stored – even if we opt to record the sessions (like in bookkeeping training.) For us, the security of safety is paramount and while it may make joining slightly more difficult on the initial attempt – it’s worth it.
- SPARKLY – This is a bot which we’ve integrated to slack and it connects the IQ team, 2 people per day on a randomized schedule. The aim is to have a quick 5 minute catch up as if we were in the “office kitchen” and chat about whatever’s going on in our lives and aims to keep us connected.
- 3CX– We use a phone system called 3cx which allows us to answer and divert calls as if we were in the office. So many clients have asked me about this as we have found this to be exceptionally reliable. It sits on our computers and some of our work phones (not all staff have these.) It also has a video function so we actually get to see each other when we make internal staff calls – this has really helped keep the team connected.
- PRACTICE PROTECT – We use a special security system designed especially for accountants where our team only know one password and not any other passwords to log into any client files or other programs. This has given us great comfort during this time where there’s been a lot of talk about cyber crime and IT issues.
- ROCKETBOOK – These are actual books which you use special pens to write with and then you can upload it to email, google drive etc and then…….wipe clean and use it again. I love this product, it’s sustainable and really suits our staff who prefer the handwritten notes but keeps them in line with our paperless office workflows.
- IQ CLIENT PORTAL – I saved the best until last. When we went to work at home, I knew that without the portal – we would have been in struggle town. We are so grateful to our clients who utlise the IQ portal and who in turn have been able to assist us in keep our business running seamlessly. We have been able to continue to prepare and lodge tax returns and BAS, receive documentation and provide anything requested through the portal.
Staying connected to each other and to our clients has been really important during this time, particularly with the office being closed. We appreciate all of our IQ clients and are grateful for everyone for being on this technology journey with us.