Is a CPA’s office setup important? You bet.
Like you, I am continually looking for ways to be more productive. I buy books, watch videos, and take note of how others work.
I like to see the offices of other CPAs. Here’s mine.
Docking Station – I use a docking station that allows me to push one button to disconnect and place my laptop into a bag for travel. The docking station provides connectivity inputs behind my computer. Rather than disconnecting several wires to “set my computer free,” I push one button.
Multiple Monitors – I use multiple monitors. See how to review financial statements on computer screens.
50″ Monitor (on a swivel hinge) – This monitor is about two feet behind my desk. I use this screen as a fourth working monitor. For example, when I am reviewing financial statements, I sometimes place the balance sheet on the 50″ screen and a second copy of the financial statements on my lower center monitor. Then as I review the remainder of the statements (e.g., notes), I can glance at the balance sheet.
The 50″ monitor hangs from a swivel hinge. The swivel hinge allows me to tilt the screen in other directions when I am sharing information from my laptop with others in my office. We also use the monitor to watch webcasts.
Todoist Checklist – I place all my outstanding to-do items in Todoist. Since Todoist integrates with Outlook, I usually have Outlook docked on the 50″ monitor. With just a glance, I can quickly see what I need to complete. With one click, I can add a new to-do item. And the to-do items I add on my laptop show up on my iPad and iPhone Todoist apps (and vice versa)–this integration is why I started using Todoist.
Logitech Camera – I often have online meetings and share information on my computer screen with those I am speaking with (I use Zoom). This Logitech camera (C930e) creates an excellent picture and sound so those I’m sharing with can see and hear me.
iPhone on a Stand – Do you ever lay your phone down and later you can’t find it? (We used just to lose our keys, now it’s the phone and the keys.) This stand provides me with a consistent place for my phone. elago M2 Stand for all iPhones, Galaxy, and Smartphones (Angled Support for FaceTime), Black
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Scanner – When I receive physical paper documents, my usual first step is to scan the paper and place it (the paper) in my shred box. I use this scanner several times a day. Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1500 Color Duplex Document Scanner with Touch Screen for Mac and PC
Deluxe Shred Box – My deluxe shred box is a box top. I know, sophisticated, huh?
Landline Phone – I keep my phone over on my side table to keep it off my main desktop.
HP Printer – Many CPAs use a central printer for several people but think about the cumulative time you waste walking to the printer. HP Laserjet P2035 Printer
iPad – This is my favorite device. I use it mainly outside the office, but I place it on the corner of my desk, so I can quickly pick it up as I go out.
The Physical Library – I order most publications electronically, but for my physical books, I keep them handy here.
Adjustable Standup Desk – In my attempt to be a (little) more healthy, I bought this standup desk about three years ago. About once a day, I will print and stand while I review a set of financial statements–mainly to get my rear out of the chair. There has been a great deal of press lately about professionals (slowly) killing themselves by sitting too much. This desk does adjust down to the level of my main desktop, and it is mobile, so I use it–when I’m tired of standing–as an extension of my main desktop. I recently purchased a Varidesk for my home (not pictured). It raises up and down electronically. Somewhat expensive but the quality is outstanding.
Paper-in Tray – I use a three-level tray for my incoming paper. The top shelf is for newly arrived paper information.
Corner Meeting Spot – I use this corner area as a place to meet with partners and staff, especially if they bring paper copies in to discuss.
Coffee Maker – This is probably the most important appliance in my office. No coffee, no Charles.
Whiteboard – If someone needs to draw an idea out, here’s the place. I sometimes take iPhone pictures of the information drawn on the board and then store it in Evernote.
Watercooler – Drinking plenty of water each day will enhance your stamina. You want to create energy that sustains you.
How would you change my office? What additional ideas would you add to these?
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Charles Hall is a practicing CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner. For the last thirty years, he has primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses. He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He frequently speaks at continuing education events. Charles is the quality control partner for McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. where he provides daily audit and accounting assistance to over 65 CPAs. In addition, he consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.
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