In this Free Training webinar, learn more about some of the small features inside OfficeTools that can have a big impact on your business, and see why OfficeTools is the most complete practice management software on the market.


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All right, guys, good morning. Welcome to the Free Training Thursday for OfficeTools. Today's topic is going to be Tips and Tricks. Just so you guys know, my name is Brandon, as you guys can see here on this slide show.

Today, we're going to be going through a couple of things, some things you might already know. Hopefully, this just gets you a little bit farther in your knowledge of the program.

Here's some of the basics that we're going to be talking about, some of the contact list search options. We're going to be talking about the contact message screen, the contact cards and social media options that we have and how to use those fields if you're not using social media, better utilizing the activity list, getting a little bit better version of the activity list via the undock option, using some ghost staff, view all button in the "notes" section, "client calendar," and the "undock calendar," and a way to see it with multiple staff members on it.

It's just some of the topics that we have lined up for today. If we have more time, then we'll go into it a little bit more, and if we have less time, then hopefully we get to that point. Without further ado, we are going to go ahead and jump into the program, and start talking about some of these things.

Here is OfficeTools. The major thing that we are going to start off with here, just because it's right on the front page, is the contact search. A lot of people, especially if you use [inaudible 00:01:51], or something like that, it's not always directly obvious how to find contacts within our programs. A lot of people will click in, they'll start typing in, and it'll take them to the last letter. If you didn't know that, if you start typing in, let’s just say OfficeTools, and we start office, we end up in the E's. You guys know that, if you guys start typing into that list, it's going to get you to that actual letter that you last typed, but, the search bar found right above that contact list, that is what you are going to utilize to actually search for contacts.

Now what a lot of people don't know is that that search bar is more than just the name. That searches phone numbers, that searches email addresses, that searches address, so inside of that section you can actually start typing in a phone number, and it will actually search that within the database. Obviously we don't have one in there, but if we starting finding a contact. Let’s just say we choose this person, we got 406284. If we put in the search bar 406284, you guys will notice that it actually brings us back to that contact. It finds more than just the name of the contact.

The reason why this is a tip and a trick, obviously it's a trick because if you don't know the name of the contact, and they are rambling on giving you all of this information, you don't even know who you're talking to yet, you could search the phone number that might be on your phone or something like that. That's a little trick, but it's also a tip because what we get a lot of calls about is when people are searching information in that search bar, they get more than what they think they should.

They start typing in office, for example, and the contact pops up that doesn't have office in the name. Knowing that it's searching more than just the name of the contact will help you understand why things are popping up because they probably have office maybe in their email address, for example, and that's why they came up. Again, understanding that that's more than just name search, but it also goes deeper can help you find people that maybe aren't as obvious.

Couple of other things that I want to bring to your attention. We have something, if you guys aren't familiar, called the contact card. The contact card actually sits right beneath the contact list. It's the section right here. It has a lot of the basics for that contact as far as their contact information, like their phone number or email address.

The reason why that's so important, a little trick here, is that you can have that information available no matter what tab you're in. If you are looking at the schedule to make an appointment, you want to give that client a call, you can see here that you have a phone number and an email address available. You can actually correspond with the client without jumping back to the contacts tab, back to schedule, back to the contacts tab, back to the projects... You can just be where you need to be and also have access to some of their contact data.

If you didn't know, just as a quick little tidbit, that is an actual link. You can click right on that email address, and it will pull up an Outlook, or whatever you are using for your email, and allow you to shoot off an email. Just so you know, that is a link.

Now, a couple pieces that you may or may not be aware of inside of this: number one, that phone number that you see in that contact card, that can be updated. If you haven't noticed through your use of OfficeTools, inside of the contacts tab there is no phone number field that's labeled "main phone number." There's no real way inside of the contacts tab to distinguish which number you actually need to use when you're getting in contact with your client.

The way that we allow you to do that is by setting it as what we call the display phone, and the display phone is what shows over there in that contact card. If you don't know, to get a display phone to show up over there on the left, you actually just click right on the name of the actual phone number itself. You want to click on work, or home, or mobile. You'll see the option there that says, "Set as Display Phone." Now we'll go over there to the left and actually update that option. That way you have the new phone number available to you whenever you look at that contact card.

Sometimes it takes little bit to actually update, so don't freak out if it doesn't immediately populate. You might need to switch contacts and come back, or something like that, but it will eventually make sure that that number over there in the contact card is the actual display phone.

Another really cool piece of that contact card that isn't obvious at all, if you haven't been though a training like a basic training or an onsite, you might not even know that this exists. In this section right here beneath all of the information, there is this lightly tinted blue section. If you right click into there, you can see that there is that option that says, "Add Contact Message." If you click on that, it pulls up a big text box. What this will allow you to do is put in a client specific message ... let's just say their credit card is expired ... and insert it into that contact card in bright red letters.

Again, remember, because of the fact that that contact card is with us no matter where we are in the program, any of your staff members that access that client, will be consistently reminded of whatever message you put into that contact message field, so if you have a specific time where you can't call the client, or they only want to be contacted via email, or like this case the credit card is expired, or you have specific pieces of information that you just want to put up in front of your team members to let them know, "Hey, any time you access this person, make sure to keep this in mind," you can utilize that contact message. Again, it pops up in bright red letters, so it's very, very difficult to miss if you guys are utilizing that field.

Just to keep you guys on board, continuous throughout OfficeTools is the concept that you don't really hit a save button, so to add it you just type it in and close it. To delete it you just remove it out of there and close it down and you'll notice that it's a clean slate at that point.

Another tidbit that I want to bring up because this comes up a lot, especially in this day and age, email correspondence is something that is on the rise. We always have to keep in mind how the client wants to be contacted, and those sorts of things are stored within Office Tools, so you guys all know at this point that there's only one email address field located on the contact's tab and that any other email addresses that you want to store go along with the contacts themselves under the "more contacts" button. That's just basic. There's not really any more tips or instructions there, right?

If you have a husband and a wife, for example, or a couple people under the corporation that you're dealing with, those are going to go in as a "more contact" and the email address for that contact is going to be stored inside that button as well, but what we do allow you to do to make it easier for you is utilize the "social media" field that exists on the contact's tab as a way around the fact that we only have one email field.

How you would you utilize those social media fields on the contact's tab here for something other than Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn? Granted, if you're utilizing them for those things, then continue to do that, but if you're not using them, which a lot of offices aren't, if they're just sitting there empty and you want to make use of them, a good way to do that is by utilizing it for an additional email.

Now, the key here is, before you just type in the email address, is to prefix it with "mailto:" no spaces, and then the email address that you want to put in there.

Because of the fact that these are actual website fields, which means that they create a hyperlink, the "mailto:" actually sends that hyperlink to your computer's default email program, so in most cases that should be Outlook, but that's what that "mailto:" is for.

When you click on this, you can see it underlines it now at the link ... when you click on this it will actually open up in the email in Outlook with, so it's into the two field automatically, so it doesn't put "mailto:" into the two field. "Mailto" is just what directs it to Outlook. The email address that you see inside of there is going to be what populates into the actual email itself, so that can be used inside of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn only.

That's key too. You can't use a custom field in the same way, you can't use a phone number field in the same way. You can't even use the website field in the same way. It has to be either Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn that you use for that because those are the ones that create hyperlink fields.

"Website" also creates a hyperlink, just so you guys know, but it inserts the prefix of http in there, so you can't use that for mail because that redirects it to a website, so just keep that in mind.

That's just some basics on the "contacts" tab, how to navigate your "contacts" list a little bit better, how to utilize that contact card right beneath the contact list, how to make use of some of the fields that you might not be using currently like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Those are just some pieces to get you guys going.

We're going to jump down to the "activity list," because especially right now you guys are all in tax season. This list should be what you guys live and die by, which means that you guys have to understand, not just what shows up on the list, but also how to interact with it a little bit better.

I'm going to teach you guys a couple different ways on how to actually interact with your activity list, because it's not just a straight list and that's all it is. There's a lot to it, and we're getting a lot of calls right now about the way that it's viewed and some of the sorts that are on there. It's causing some people to feel like things aren't showing up, so if you're running into those, a lot of times you can double check some of these things and get a little bit better feel for what's on your list.

First things: on the activity list, there is actually a "view," so just you guys know, it's come up quite a few times. The gray box, the gray bar that you see right here, everything in and below the gray bar has to do with the activity list, so this search doesn't have anything to do with the section that you have up here. The views and the sorts don't have anything to do with what you have up here. It's going to be everything below that.

You can search your activity list, if you didn't know, if you want to find something like IRS notices, you start typing in "IRS" and you can see it focus your list down. You could type a client into there, you could type pretty much anything that exists in that tab. You can start typing and it will filter that list down.

There's other ways to do that. You can use the negative sign to get rid of certain pieces and actually start building complex searches. That's a little bit more advanced. If you need help with that, just let us know. We can walk you through some of those things, but what you really want to focus on is some of the basics here, because that's actually what most people stumble on.

The "view" button right here, people get a little trigger-happy, and they go in here and they like to click off this "project due date" because they think that that means due-date, and a lot of times what that's going to do is really throw you off, because anything that is not associated to a project is not going to be on that list. It gets rid of things out of there, so if you have a to-do, a regular to-do or a regular phone call, write on your activity list sitting down there, and it's not associated on your project, and you choose "project due date," it's going to wipe those out. They are no longer going to be on your list.

Now, they're not going to be deleted. They're not gone from the system. They are just not going to show on your activity list, and some people, they expect certain things to work certain ways. They click that button, then they start creating to-dos and they don't pop up on their activity list, and they call us because now the activity list is obviously broken.

Well, you've got to be careful with the views that you have in place here because it's going to decide what actually shows up, so just so you guys know, as a little bit of a tip here, if you choose any of the three options that have to do with projects, anything that is not associated to a project will not be on your activity list. Just keep that in mind. If you want to do a more isolated search into things that are assigned to a project and you want to view that by the project due date, then you can utilize those three options, but in most cases it's going to be fairly rare that you want to sit with your activity lists viewed by one of those three options down at the bottom.

You have "project due date," "project received date," and "project delivery date." The project due date itself, like at 10:40, would be April 15th. Project received date is the date that you first got it in, and delivery date is the estimated out date, right? The delivery date to the client, what you promised them, right? Because, they have a due date of 4:15, but that's coming in right now may or may not be actually hitting that. You might get that done a lot earlier, so you can develop a delivery date to track that, but your due date and assigned date are going to be what you use most frequently.

In most cases if things aren't showing up you always want to revert back to due date, because that is going to be the due date of the actual task itself, and in order for something to show up on your activity list, it has to have a due date. There is nothing that would be on your activity list down there, where when you click due date, it wouldn't show up if it's set to show up at that point. Okay?

Due date will always revert you back to anything that's set to show up on your activity list at that moment. Assigned date is also another way to view that activity list. That would be the date that you created that task or assigned that task. Again, not related to the project, so everything has an assigned date, because everything was created and assigned at some point, so you could choose and flop back and forth. "When was this assigned," versus, "When was it due," to help you identify that list itself, so those are some of your views.

Now, your sorts are also very important. A lot of people call us up because they think that their most recent tasks aren't showing up at the top and they should be their most outstanding tasks that sit at the top, or they get it twisted up where it's ordered based on contact instead of based on date, so a lot of times it's just a matter of clicking that "sort" button and choosing how you want your list to be sorted.

Now, a lot of you are probably thinking, "Well, that's obvious." The trick here is that if you click on an item again, so if we choose date again, then you'll notice that it actually reverses the order that that list is in, so although it's still date-driven, it's not based from either oldest to newest or newest to oldest, one of the two. If you want to reverse the order of your list, then you're going to choose that sort and you're going to click on the item that you have it sorted by again, so that's just a little bit of a trick there.

Another thing that you want to keep in mind, and this is just to draw your attention to it more than anything else, is your filters over here on the left. If you're looking to see something specific, like you want to see only calls on your list, then you've got to make sure that you have that box checked.

If you want to see just assignments on your list, then you would make sure that you uncheck everything else. This is just a good management tool to make sure that your activity list doesn't become overwhelming in the amount of items that are showing up there.

The last thing that I want to bring up before we jump into any questions is going to be what's called a "ghost staff." I actually just got off a training session where we brought that up, and what we mean by ghost staff, if you guys aren't familiar, you guys don't actually pay for the amount of staff members that can be keyed into Office Tools. What you guys pay for is the amount of people who can be logged in at the same time, so what that opens you up for is the capability of using a "ghost staff" as a way of assigning things to a queue, as a way of assigning things to a shelf, to a department, so on and so forth, because if you guys aren't familiar, you can drop this staff member down on your activity list and choose which list you want to see.

If you create a ghost staff for the input shelf ... the shelf of despair, the drawer of doom, you guys are familiar what that is ... where you put your folders when they first come in, and then the preparers that is available next, they go and grab the next one in that list. You can create a fake staff member and assign your projects, assign your prep steps, to that staff member instead of a real person. Then you're preparing staff can go in there, drop that menu down, choose that fake staff member, see the list of assignments that are on that fake staff member's list, and if you guys aren't familiar, all they have to do is right click and then reassign it to themselves.

So, if you have a list of preparation steps that need to get done, but they're all assigned to a drawer, they can go in. Again, remember your views and sorts. They can sort it based on the next available due date or when it was assigned, grab the next one in the list, right click on that task, and then reassign it to themselves. Alright? We just go in there, pick their name, click "okay." It will remove off of that fake staff member's list that queue, and move onto their actual list as a staff member.

Utilizing ghost staff goes well beyond just preparation. It could be if you needed to assign something to a wages department, or if you needed to make sure that one of your [inaudible 00:20:37] teams sends out a disengagement letter. The key to this is making sure that your staff members are checking that activity list, because it's not popping up on their actual list.

That's the caveat to this whole process, is that somebody has to be making sure that people are managing that fake staff member's list, but that ghost staff member concept can be applied to as many different things as you guys need, and you're not limited to the amount of staff members that you can have keyed into OfficeTools, so if you have a few different ghost staff that you'd like to create, that's fine. You guys can go in there, create them, and use them as you guys see fit.


We're going to go in here now and take a look at some of the questions that we have in here, and see if we can answer anything that's there. I don't actually see any, so if you guys have questions, feel free to just type them in there. If I don't see anything pop up, I'm just going to keep going with some of the other tips and tricks that we have.

The next thing that I want to bring up here is actually what we call the "view all" button on "notes." If you guys aren't familiar, haven't gone through any training with OfficeTools, like an initial training or something like that, there is a section in OfficeTools called "notes". The "notes" section, as you guys probably know already is for basic pieces of information that you want to store on a permanent basis for that client, so the note tab is client specific, but there is a "notes" tab, but there's also notes that are associated to "to dos", there's notes associated to calls, there's notes associated to appointments, there's notes associated to projects, there's notes associated to time cards, so you guys can see here that there is notes everywhere in the system and you want to make sure that you have the capability of pulling all of those into one spot and knowing exactly what's going on with the client.

You can see in here under the "notes" tab there's this "view all" button. This will actually show you all of the notes that have been tracked for that client in one spot. It's not staff specific, it's not cap specific, it's client specific, so all of your notes are going to be wrapped up inside this "view all" button. Okay? Keep that in mind as you guys are going through, as you guys are at the speed of light working in office tools and plugging things in and making sure you're tracking everything, that you know how to find information if it gets lost or if you just want a quick snapshot of what is going on with that client.

We did get a question from Devon. It says, "When does the 'refresh' button on the activity bar work?" When does the 'refresh' button on the activity list work? It works whenever you click on it. I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but if you're talking about this guy right here, a lot of times what you guys have to do is click that a few times to get it to actually run, and that just rebuilds your activity list, so as far as when, it's as needed, and then you guys can go ahead and utilize that as well. Okay?

"Can you please show again how to put the note onto the client's view panel?" Okay, so that note happens if you write quick into the section over here. Let me go ahead and close this little window I have open. To add that note to that contact card, you right click anywhere in this contact card down here at the bottom. You right click anywhere in that section, and click on the "add contact message" option and then you would just type in the message, just like that, and then you close it down and that adds it to the contact card right there on the left.

Alright. Now we've got a few questions coming in. So, "I have assigned a couple of projects to a preparer that does not show up in their activity list. I've never had this happen before. What could be causing it?" Bonny, what you might need to do is email us. There could be a setting in the background that maybe got checked or unchecked that is causing it to not show up. It could be that "view and sort," it could be that "filters". You could have us double check a couple things, but ultimately you may need to email us directly so we can take a look at it and see what's going on with you. Not much I can do at this point, but email us at, or you could even email me directly: "brandonb", b as in 'boy,' "". Alright, Bonny, so just go ahead and email us.

Next question that we have here is that "The note is not in the "view all" but was there. Where can I find it? I was doing an edit, clicked the "save" button, and it was gone. Thinking I did not move away from there." Little bit of more information there, but if you accidentally move something, the only way that it wouldn't show up in the "view all" is if you changed to a different client, so what you might need to do is maybe look at a few of your recent contacts, which if you don't know already there is under the file, or under the contacts section right here, you can actually go and view recent contacts and see who you've accessed recently.

Go and take a look at that. Unless you either deleted it or moved it to a different client, it should show up in the "view all." There's absolutely nothing that would keep it from showing up there if it's under the right client, so you might need to double check that, but other than that it should pop up on the "view all" button.

"What is meant by 'a project is unprocessed'?" Okay, a little bit outside of this specific webinar, David, but unprocessed simply means in the most broad strokes that it is unassigned. It has not been started yet, so that specific "unprocessed" means you have a project, it's been created, it's been created for a client, but it is just not currently assigned to a staff member. David, if you need more information let us know on that one, but that's what that means.

Melissa, she asks, "I don't have a 'view all' button under my 'notes' tab. Why is that?" Really, the only thing that would cause that "view all" button to not be there is because you're probably sitting in the "summary view." Okay? So, if you're sitting in the "summary view" of the notes tab, you'll notice that that "view all" button goes away. You have to make sure you're under the "detail" view, and then you should see that "view all" button there in the toolbox. Okay?

You'll notice as you guys go through that some of the options that you have in here are more based on, not just the tab that you have selected, but also the button that you guys have selected. Okay?

So, that's going to wrap us up for today, guys. Thank you very much for attending. Did you have any questions outstanding from this "tips and tricks" webinar? Go ahead and email us. You can email us directly at That goes to our entire team.

Thank you again for attending, and hopefully we'll see you guys next week.

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