How Accountants Can Use Sharepoint

Many accountants still work in the old fashioned way – all client files are stored at the accounting firm itself. The client either sends their documents in via mail, in person, or via email. This is clunky and inefficient. There is a better way – Introducing Sharepoint.

Sharepoint is often referred to as being the Swiss army knife of collaboration. Over 100 million users have adopted the software across the world, with 20,000 new users every single day. As if that wasn’t enough, 78% of Fortune 500 companies use the software. If you’re interested in using it for yourself, then here’s what you need to know:

What is Sharepoint?

 

If you are an accountant, then you might have heard about Sharepoint in the past. When you use Sharepoint, you can easily create pages, document libraries and even lists. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also add web parts to personalise your content, show important visuals and communicate with your team.

Searching for files and following people across your company is also made easier than ever, with the option to manage your daily routine through lists, forms and workflows. Sharepoint is completely cloud-based and this means that anyone can work with you securely.

What are the benefits of Sharepoint?

Using Sharepoint can make your day to day business life easier. Things like signature approval, document review and issue tracking can easily be initiated, monitored and reported right on the platform.

You will also be able to meet the regulatory requirements regarding sensitive business data. With the option to access settings that revolve around control security, auditing capabilities and storage usage, it’s safe to say that it is now easier than ever for you to make sure that your business is meeting the right compliance standards.

Other benefits of using Sharepoint include the fact that you can manage and even reuse your content. You can prepare and schedule publications, simplify your business data access and connect employees with the chance to increase their expertise.

The key benefit of Sharepoint for accountants is the ability to create client folders that are accessible only by those people who need access to the folder. This means that clients can upload documents directly into their folder, your employees can access the folder and update it in real-time. Everything is accessible remotely and securely.

How to Get Started with Sharepoint

When you sign into the Office 365 platform, you can then click on Sharepoint in the app navigation bar. This is your entry point into the system. It’s important to know that you don’t need to install any software if you want to use Sharepoint online. The only thing that you have to do is connect through your website browser.

How to Upload Files to Sharepoint

If you want to upload files to Sharepoint then you’ll be glad to know that this is very easy to do. You just need to follow the below steps:

  1.     Open OneDrive or the SharePoint site.
  2.     Select “Upload”. This is at the top of the library.
  3.     In the “Add a Document” box, you can then select “Browse”. This will give you the chance to choose an individual file. You will be able to choose multiple files by clicking on CTRL and Shift.
  4.     When you have uploaded all of the files you want, you can then click on the “Okay” button.

Opening Documents

Opening a document in Sharepoint is very easy to do. If you have opened a file from a previously accessed Sharepoint site then just:

  1.     Click “File”
  2.     Click “Open”
  3.     Click “Sharepoint Sites” under “Favourites”
  4.     Click to where your file is located, and then click “Open”

If for some reason, you don’t see your server in the Sharepoint Sites section then type in the URL in the “File Name” box. You then need to click on the name of the library which contains the file and then click on open. If you do not want to make changes to the file, then you can easily open it up as “Read Only” if this is easier.

Collaborating with Others in Documents

Collaborating with others in your document is very easy to do. If you want to open a document from a library, simply:

  1.     Open the document library
  2.     Click the document
  3.     And then click “Open” if you want to edit in MS Office for the web.
  4.     If you do have a desktop app installed and want to use it, then click the file, click “Open” and then click “Open in <product>”.

If you want to share a document- then:

  1.     Choose the document that you want to share
  2.     Click “Share”

From there, you have a couple of options. You can type in the names or even the email addresses of the people who you would like to share the document with and then add a message. When you have done this, you can then click on “Send”.

You can also click “Copy Link” to create a direct link and this can be shared via email or IM.

Lastly, you can click Outlook and then add a link to the file via email.

Working with others at the same time, on the same page can also be done.

If you want to do this- then:

  1.     Open the document for editing in Office on the Web.
  2.     The number of people who are editing the document will show at the top of the document.

Searching for a Document

If you want to search for a document in Sharepoint then this is very easy to do. Every site will have its own search option which is in the top right-hand corner. This will give you the chance to surface content that you have typed in. If you want to search for your content then:

  1.     Navigate to the search box on your Sharepoint site
  2.     Type in the text or keyword that you would like to search for
  3.     Click enter

Moving Files between Folders

If you want to move or even copy files in Sharepoint, then you can do this with ease. In addition to moving files, you can even sync them with the OneDrive sync app.  If you don’t see the other sites listed when you try and move or copy them then your organisation probably won’t allow moving or copying across sites. If you are a Sharepoint user or if you are a global admin then you can enable cross-site copying. This can be done in the Admin centre. If you want to move files to other folders, then here is how you do that:

  1.     Select the files or folders you would like to move in your Sharepoint Library
  2.     On the command bar, select ***. This is the symbol for “More”.
  3.     Select “Move or Copy to”
  4.     If you do not see this option then you will need to switch to the Modern experience.
  5.     When you are on the Move or Copy panel, you can then choose your destination in the library, in OneDrive or any other destination. Sharepoint 2019 supports the current library only.
  6.     Select a folder in the Move or Copy panel and then click on “Copy here” or “Move here”.
  7.     If you would like to move or even copy files to a brand-new folder then you will need to click on “New Folder” and then add it. When you have done this, enter the name, click on the checkmark and then proceed to click “Move here” or “Copy here”.

There are a couple of things that you need to take note of here. One of them is in regards to the “Move to” function. The history of the document will be copied to the new destination as well. When you click “Copy” with a document that has a version history then only the new version of the document will be copied. If you want to copy earlier versions, then you need to copy and restore each one. When a file is moving, you will still see it in the source directory until it has finished moving to the destination. After this point, it will be deleted.

Understanding Sharepoint Sites

If you want to understand Sharepoint better, then you should know that a Sharepoint Site is a website which has different web parts. It might have a document library, a task list and a calendar. A Sharepoint Site can easily have one or more pages that will display content to the end-user. A Sharepoint Site Collection on the other hand is a collection of sites. Each collection will contain a single top-tier site and then subsites below it.

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind here. One of them is that each site collection will have unique columns. This is otherwise known as being metadata. They will also have branding, site templates, permissions and navigational elements.

Subsites on the other hand will inherit any of these properties from the top-level site. If you set up metadata or even security groups under Collection A, then this will have to be manually done across Site Collection B.

You should note that this will include site colours and logos too. This should be the deciding factor when you are making decisions regarding your site. As a general rule, you are better off creating a site or subsite as opposed to a new site collection.

Core Site Functionalities

 

One of the main core site functionalities of Sharepoint is that you can assign a workflow. This is a set of tasks or even decision points that lead to single or even multiple outcomes.

Think of them as being an automated flow-chart application that will control the execution of any process you have. Sharepoint will give you a set of templates and this will give you the chance to achieve any outcome with ease and efficiency.

You have the workflow creator, workflow author and workflow initiator, which all combine together to provide you with a simple yet streamlined experience.

Sharepoint Lists, Libraries, and Columns

There are many elements to using Sharepoint. This includes lists, columns and libraries. Each one has a defined purpose, and can be used to try and boost your overall experience with the software.

Sharepoint Lists

Sharepoint is able to provide you with various ways that you can manage your information. Sharepoint Lists are very similar to spreadsheets, with the fact that they consist of rows and columns. 

Unlike Excel sheets, they reside in Sharepoint but they are available to many people at once. This gives you the chance to get around the hassle of having to email the spreadsheet or even trying to track any possible changes.

Sharepoint can give you access to web-based features and to also review, update and delete a list too. If you want to begin the process then click on the Add lists and other apps panel.

Sharepoint Libraries 

A library is the point of the site where you upload, create or even collaborate on files with your team members. Each library will display a list of files and other types of key information about the files. This can include who was the last person to modify it. It’s a very useful part of the Sharepoint system.

Sharepoint Columns

 

It’s very easy for you to add a column to Sharepoint. You can add most types of columns without even having to leave your library as well. If you want to do this then you need to navigate to the list or the library that you would like to make the column in. To the right, you will see +Add Column. In the dropdown menu, you can then choose the type of column you want.

Content Control 

Some of the features under content control include the content organiser, the asset library and even records management. If you want to find out more about any of these options, then it is very easy for you to get the information you need if you access the part of the panel on the Sharepoint site.

Conclusion

Sharepoint is the ultimate tool if you want to be able to access and utilise every aspect of your operation much more efficiently. If you have never used Sharepoint before then now is the time for you to change that because it is revolutionary and the ideal way for you to make sure that you are making the most out of your sites and the shareable documents you have. This guide should help you with anything you need as well as giving you the head-start you want to get the ball rolling.

How Accountants Can Use Sharepoint | Accountant Marketing
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Steve Jaenke

Steve Jaenke is the founder & CEO of Digimark Australia. He specialises in SEO and data analytics, bringing in a background in sales and social psychology.

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