Evernote is a game-changer for CPAs.
What is Evernote?
Think of it as your personal digital library.
Evernote is a cloud-based storage system which 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 (provided your handwriting is legible).
Picture is from AdobeStock.com
Things CPAs Can Do with Evernote
- Create a personal digital library (e.g., use an Evernote digital notebook to store Journal of Accountancy articles, CPE material, and even videos of class instruction)
- Share individual files or notebooks (a compilation of files) with others (with the premium version you can collaborate with others, allowing them to change Excel or Word files)
- Capture meeting conversations with your smartphone and save them to Evernote
- Use your smartphone to take a picture of meeting notes on a whiteboard (remember manually written words are searchable in Evernote)
- Encrypt selected text within an Evernote note (password protected); it can’t be viewed without the password
- Add selected web information to Evernote using an Evernote clipper–see below
- Email any document directly to your private Evernote email address (which adds the emailed information to a “to be filed” folder in Evernote)–see below
- Create a local Evernote notebook for sensitive information (the local notebook resides only on the device with which it is created – e.g., your PC – and does not synchronize to your Evernote cloud account)
The Skeletal Framework: Notes, Notebooks, and Tags
1. The basic 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 video file or a voice message).
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 and then, if I like, 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 be, for example, a text file, an Excel file, and a voice message.
All three notes can be added to a notebook titled: Comprehensive Income.
3. You may also tag each note.
Think of a tag as a yellow-sticky applied to a note with a descriptive term.
For example, the other comprehensive income note can be tagged: (1) OCI, (2) Pension, (3) Hedges, and (4) Investing – use as many or as few tags as you like. (Tagging will make searching easier.)
Getting Information Into Evernote
Feed your Evernote account in multiple ways. You can use Evernote apps or programs on your iPad, PC computer, and smartphone. (You can also access your account using a web browser–without a download.)
I use this 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.
Capture web pages on the fly using an Evernote clipper; just download the clipper program from the Evernote web site.
Another neat way to get information into Evernote is with a scanner. I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner for PC to feed my 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 desire to try it out. The premium version is $70 per year.
Evernote For Dummies