Thursday, September 15, 2016

Back to School Supplies for Accountants

Schools started on Long Island last week and NYC this week. How can you tell? The increase in traffic, of course! It is also getting cooler these days and I have such an urge to buy school supplies. There's something about fall and school supplies! Why leave all the fun to the kids? Yes, Accountants – You should have some new supplies this fall! 

OK, notebooks and other supplies may be considered low-tech compared to your cell phone, tablet or laptop. But I find people pay more attention when taking notes in a notebook as opposed to a laptop. Don’t you hate giving a presentation to a conference room of people who are typing away on their laptops? You hope that they’re taking notes on what you’re saying, but they are more likely responding to an e-mail. How about when you are explaining how to do something to a colleague and they just stare at you and nod? Fast forward 3 hours later, and they completely forgot everything you said. To prevent them from asking you a million questions via e-mail, rip out a page from your notebook and give it to them to take notes. 

Wise people have said that you retain more information when you put a pen(cil) to paper, and the science now proves it. Check out this article entitled “Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away” which references a number of recent studies that prove this theory. 

I love notebooks and planners (paper!) and will do another post going in-depth about note-taking for work and school (and the Bullet Journal). But here are some of the supplies that I love! I have added the pictures below which contain links to so you can see what I’m talking about. As per the disclaimer in the left sidebar, I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I encourage you to shop around for the best price (Amazon, Staples, Costco, Walmart, drugstores).

OK, here are my Top 5 Back to School Supplies for Accountants:

1.  A Cheap Calculator

At the top of the list is the cheap calculator which I prefer over using my cell phone. My poor cheapie calcs get dropped so many times that I have been known to tape the plastic display covers back on. If yours is like that, don’t throw it out – use it for inventory observations where it doesn’t matter if it falls off your clipboard 10 feet to the ground. Just tape it back up! But get yourself a backup this fall while Staples has them on sale. I can't find the one I have anymore, but there are so many options! 

Wishlist: I want this cool little pocket flip-case calculator!

2.  Some 0.7 Lead Pencils
Forget the wimpy 0.5 lead pencils. And pens – What accountant uses pens?? Say no to pen ink blobs and scribbles. Do yourself a favor and get the 0.7 lead pencils. I like the quality of the Pentel's lead, the cool twist eraser and the rubber grip on the barrel. You can find deals on these at Costco and Walmart. 

3.  An Awesome Eraser
The eraser on those Pentel pencils is good for a quick erase. But sometimes you make a huge mess and need to erase A LOT of stuff. Use the Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser to get rid of any mistakes that cover a large area of the page without destroying your sheet of paper. This is the only eraser I trust in my precious notebooks. 

4.  A Few Notebooks
I like legal pads for taking quick meeting notes and have had collections of notes on legal pads. But 1-subject and 3-subject notebooks are great for taking notes that you will archive and refer to in the future - have a notebook for each client; have a section in your notebook with checklists to refer to. I usually have one with quick reference info for programs I don’t use every day (legacy accounting systems, budget software, fixed assets software, even the copy machine/ printer setup, UPS labels, really anything). By all means, keep a backup on your computer (I have typed up and saved some in Word for access away from the office), but nothing beats just grabbing a notebook off the shelf.  Check Staples and drugstores for a better price.

Wishlist: If you are not ready to go full-on analog, a tablet and stylus might work better for you. These styli come in cool colors. 

5.  Poly File Jackets
Have you had one of those meetings where you didn’t bring your laptop bag or a tote because the conference room is JUST on another floor or ONLY a parking lot away? Just showed up with your notebook or laptop under your arm? It never fails that someone will hand you a stack of expense reports, invoices they approved or other papers on your way back from that meeting. Now you have a million papers shoved under your arm between your laptop and notebook that you hope you don’t lose on your way back to your desk. The solution? One of these pocket file jackets! I shove all papers and sometimes my notebook in there. Nothing gets lost and you won’t find a random invoice stuck in your notebook a month later. 

Bonus! The Highlighting Ruler
Now, this is the best ruler for work. I always order one from Staples. It is clear but has a yellow highlight in the middle. It has saved my eyes throughout the years. 

What are your favorite “Back to School Supplies” for accountants? Come on, admit it. You’re reading my blog, so you must have some supplies you love. 

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