New York — A huge opportunity for improving efficiency related to technology use is to focus on those at the top of the firm, according to CPA Tom Davis, owner of TC Davis CPA, and president of Knowledge Concepts Inc.

Davis said that partners should know how to organize e-mail for personal use, how to save to the firm’s electronic file room, and how to reply and forward e-mail in a manner that promotes effective communication using different fonts, attachments and other factors.

Most firms lack a firm-level calendar process, Davis said. Staff use the calendar as a “personal” tool, depriving the firm of the benefit of a consistent process that can be relied on for micro-scheduling. Partners and managers should be able to add calendar items, create group calendar views, and change access rights to allow other firm members access to the partner/manager’s calendar.

Every partner or manager should use a notebook computer as their primary machine, added Davis, and must know how to replicate information to work off-line, and how to establish a Net connection from a client’s office or a hotel room. If they are a tax expert, skills such as on-screen tax prep and review, Net research and service management (due-date monitoring) will be important.

In the audit area, important skills are the ability to use the firm’s workpaper tool, collaborative word processing, and communications from the field.

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