CPA Practice Advisor

40UNDER40 2011

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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Page 22 of 40

Kasey Bayne — 29 Accounting Ambassador, FreshBooks Toronto, Ontario, Canada Blog: Twitter ID: Education: BBA, University of Toronto (2005) Hobbies: I'm a new runner (encouraged by some fellow FreshBookers), and ran the Harry Rosen 7k for charity this spring, and a beginner rower (I LOVE being out on the water!). I also enjoy yoga, reading and travelling (visiting historic sites and eating lots of new foods while I'm there!) What are some ways your business has gone "paper- less" and/or "green" in the last two years? FreshBooks has always been focused on being a paperless business, which is so great because it aligns so well with my own personal values – less paper!! A few of the ways we've improved things over the last two years include an improved recycling program, something so basic, but so important! Even in a close-to-paperless office, there's still a lot of recyclables that come in – mail, cardboard boxes, glass bottles – all that good stuff. Another amazing recent development is our new plant wall. Taking up a full floor-to-ceiling wall in our common area/kitchen/ game room, shelves and shelves of greenery fill the office with clean air, and just add so much to the work environ- ment. On a more traditional note, we use a lot of scanners to help reduce the papers we need to keep a record of. From the big traditional printer/scanner combos, to our new ScanSnaps (which have quickly become office favourites for the road warriors), it's much easier to scan and save rather than keep an outdated paper filing system. Do you embrace cloud computing? FreshBooks is a cloud solution, so it's certainly something I believe in. Professional association aside, cloud computing is changing the profession – not only the accounting profession, but really, the whole business industry, and, even though it's cheesy (and maybe a few years off), the world! Having anytime, anywhere access to your files, your music, your data – everything! – it's incredible to be able to take advantage of this kind of technology. My personal favourites are Google Docs (my rowing team uses it for schedules and updates), and I love it for lists and other documents I need to access from my work and home computers, and even just things I want to store online for safekeeping. Another favourite that I couldn't live without is Dropbox. It sounds like I am obsessed with document storage, but I'd prefer to say I'm just a fan of organization. I also do a lot of work outside of the office – some time working on the patio, at the cottage, at a conference, or at Starbucks – wher- ever and whenever inspiration strikes! Being able to have consistent access to my files, and what I need to be productive, is so important. Dropbox is an amazing way to store files, and share files with others. Such a great example of a company doing things right, too! My most fun (and non-work related) Dropbox share were some of the P90X videos that a few of the FreshBooks guys got me hooked on, that I passed on to my cousin, and my Mom. It's amazing to see how these cloud solutions have evolved from something I use profession- ally, to collaborate on projects and share important documents, to something that expands outside of the 9 to 5. It's great to see applications for cloud computing expanding outside of the more traditional uses. That's how I know it's here to stay. How is cloud computing changing the accounting profession, and how concerned are you with the security issues related to cloud computing? The profes- sion is changing, that's for sure, and it's really an exciting time for all of us. It's a move towards new technologies, new processes, new ways of running firms, and working with customers – a whole new way of thinking in the accounting profession. Cloud computing is such an important part of all of this. Finding specialized solutions that work for you and your client at this moment – the flexibility and options of solutions that can grow, scale and change with you, along with anytime, anywhere access – this is the stuff that's changing the profession, and the business world, for the better. Security comes up a lot when talking about cloud computing, and for good reason. When you're trusting so many important aspects of your business (and your clients' businesses) to another company, you've got to have confidence in who you're working with. It comes down to doing your due diligence, talking to other professionals and asking questions to make sure that the vendor you're working with can become a trusted partner of your business. Once this base work is done, I'm confident in my cloud solutions. I know there's a team of professionals there, dedicated to keeping my data safe and available to me when I need it – that's their whole business model. Having a whole cloud company dedicated to keeping my company up and running for me beats having a box in my office (that can be stolen, damaged, infected by a virus, incorrectly updated, or drowned in water like the time the roof started leaking…). The multiple backups and experienced professionals of a trusted cloud solution provider gives me one less thing to worry about. I know for small business professionals (myself included), this is a big reason that a cloud solution makes sense. Are you using social networking (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+) as a marketing tool for your business … or do you use such sites for personal use only? Have you gained any clients/customers or seen other demonstrable benefits from the use of social networking? This one is a huge YES! The biggest social networking tool I use is definitely Twitter. For me, it's evolved into an amazing meld of personal and professional contacts and conversations. I'm always learning new things and have built up a great network of professionals, many of whom I now call friends (both online and off). The personal benefits are there, as well, but professionally, there have been many. I think this is something that so many professionals miss when thinking about how to work social networking into their businesses. I've made so many new connections and contacts that have turned into business and referrals, and I know I've found people to work with and sent referrals of my own to people I've met, and now trust, on social networks. The best part about all of this, in terms of a business aspect, is that it's my favourite kind of marketing or selling — almost "non-sales." It's about finding people I can help, and offering to help! About sharing solutions, ideas and experience, and those things, more often than not, turn into business success on both ends. As more and more professionals begin to expand their use of social media, through Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (and others), I can only see this being a more and more important part of how we do business. I'm a firm believer in that social networking is just a new way to communicate, and communication is the key to building any professional or personal relationship, whether it is by phone, email, or tweet — it's something that we've always done, and will continue into the future. What pitfalls or what unwritten rules of social networking etiquette exist, which are frequently missed by others in the profession? The biggest pitfall I find when professionals start using social networking is not being themselves. People don't follow others because of the letters after your name or the company you work for. It's about your personality, what you're able to share, and the conversations and connections that you can make through social networking. You can't worry too much about being "too real" or too personal; that's the stuff that makes these online connections so much more valuable! I do understand some concerns, though. There's a way to participate, by having a personality and not being afraid. That's the stuff that makes all of this worthwhile! For those of you feeling cautious about jumping into the world of social networking from a professional standpoint, jump in! The water's just fine, and the fish don't bite. Be yourself, make connections, have conversations. That's what gives social media such huge benefits for professionals. What ONE piece of technology could you absolutely not live without? This has got to be my BlackBerry. I carry that thing with me everywhere! Outfits without pockets are not my friend (for a lack of a handy place for my phone). Being connected, both personally and professionally (although, the two meld together quite nicely these days), is so central to everything I do. NOT including your current employer, what company do you most admire and why? Google immediately comes to mind, but perhaps not for the reasons you'd CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 23 Back to Contents Page 3

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