While there is no Evernote just for CPAs, it’s still a game-changer for beancounters. I’ve used this tool for about ten years and it is one of my favorites software packages.
So, what is Evernote?
Think of it as your digital library.
Evernote is a cloud-based storage system that allows you to capture and file voice recordings, documents (including Word, Excel, PDFs), pictures, and videos. Once information is placed in Evernote, it is searchable in a Google-like fashion. Even hand-written notes are searchable.
What can CPAs do with this killer app?
Here are examples of what you can do with Evernote:
So, what are the main components of an Evernote storage system?
The skeletal framework for Evernote has three elements: Notes, notebooks, and tags.
1. The primary element of Evernote is a note.
Think of a note as a blank piece of paper on which you can type. You can also attach other files to the note (e.g., an Excel spreadsheet or a picture taken with your cell phone or a voice message recorded with your cell phone). Once you create your notes, organize them in notebooks.
2. Notes are placed in notebooks.
Think of a notebook as a three-ring binder.
For example, if I want to create a note about comprehensive income, I can do so. Then I can attach related files (e.g., PDFs) to the note. Next, I might add a note about other comprehensive income and another about reclassifications from other comprehensive income. The separate notes can, for example, be a text file, an Excel file, and a voice message.
All three notes can be added to a notebook titled Comprehensive Income.
Another way to organize your information is to tag each note.
3. You may also tag each note.
I could place the comprehensive income notes in a notebook titled accounting (a more generic category) and tag each note as comprehensive income. Then I can search and find all comprehensive income notes by using the comprehensive income tag. When I type tag:”comprehensive income” in the Evernote search bar, all notes tagged as such appear.
Use both folders and tags to help you more readily find information.
And how do you move information into Evernote?
Feed your Evernote account in multiple ways. How?
You can use Evernote apps or programs on your iPad, PC, and smartphone to add information to your account.
I use the smartphone app to make and save pictures, notes, and voice messages to my Evernote account.
Evernote also provides you with a unique email address that can be used to feed information into your personal cloud. When you find something you want to store, you can email it to your Evernote account.
Also, you can use the Evernote clipper to capture information on the fly, such as when you are browsing the Internet. Just download the Clipper program from the Evernote website.
Another neat way to get information into Evernote is with your scanner. I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap to feed scanned pages directly into Evernote.
To create your account, go to the Evernote website and follow the directions. There is a free version if you want to try it out. The premium version is $7.99 per month. You can see a comparison of their plans here. I have not received any type of commission for this recommendation.
See my article An Auditor’s Cell Phone.
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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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