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Three tips to help accountants to write faster

1️⃣ Use keyboard shortcuts

Navigating documents and spreadsheets is quicker using the arrow keys than using a mouse or trackpad. There are shortcuts for most of the popular actions such as copy (Cmd/Ctrl + C), paste (Cmd/Ctrl + V), save (Cmd/Ctrl + S), and open (Cmd/Ctrl + O). In Word the shift key combined with arrow keys highlights text faster than you can drag a mouse.

You can see the shortcuts next to the items in the menus in apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You could also do a web search for lists of shortcuts

2️⃣ Use text expansion

There are some phrases, sentences and paragraphs you use over and again. This could be contact info like your address or the disclaimer text for a report or the standard text you use in emails when you send the monthly report to your boss (if you don’t always use the same text for something like this, why not?)

Text expansion is a service where you link a short trigger phrase to a longer piece of text so that when you type the trigger phrase it is replaced by the text. For example, when I type ‘socf’ it is replaced by ‘statement of cash flows’ and ‘xdate’ is replaced by today’s date.

You can also use text expansion for auto-correction of words. For example, when I type ‘cipfa’ it will automatically be capitalised to CIPFA.

There are many text expansion apps available and which suits you depends in part on the devices you have and how much you are willing to pay to save time. TextExpander is the one I use. (If you use Apple devices you can do text expansion for free because it is built into the operating systems. Go to the Keyboard section of settings to set it up.)

3️⃣ Use your voice

I am sure you can speak faster than you can type. Smartphones are getting better and better at voice-to-text translation. Now, we can all dictate our writing without having a personal assistant and the artificial intelligence means the translation improves the more you use it.

Next time you have a document or long email to write that is a few paragraphs long try dictating the first draft on your phone. You could save a stack of time and effort.

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