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Under-Used Microsoft Tools to Benefit Your Practice

Eric Parker
Posted by Eric Parker on Dec 9, 2021 12:21:40 PM

Microsoft Office is much more than just documents and email. There are lots of little features built into Microsoft that could make your business life much easier. Here are three under-used Microsoft tools that are already included with your Microsoft subscription, including examples of how you can use them in your practice.

Microsoft Forms

Microsoft Forms is a tool that allows you to gather data and conduct surveys and polls. With Forms, you can get quick feedback from your accounting or bookkeeping clients or collect more detailed information from them through branching questions and document uploads. Once you receive responses, you can instantly visualize the data with built-in analytics. Microsoft Forms integrates with Excel Online, OneDrive for Business, OneNote, Outlook, Power Automate, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Stream, Sway, and Teams. 

How can you use Microsoft Forms? You can power your new client intake process. Questions can be formatted so you can obtain necessary information prior to a meeting, ranging from contact information to requesting uploads of pertinent documents from them. 

You can learn more about Forms on Microsoft's Support site

Power Automate

Power Automate is an incredibly simple yet robust automation system built into Office 365. It allows you to automate repetitive tasks using "if this, then that" options. There are three different types of flows you can automate. 

  • Cloud flows are used when you want your automation to be triggered either automatically, instantly, or via a schedule.
  • Desktop flows are used to automate both web or desktop tasks.
  • Business process flows provide workflow guides.

Power Automate flows can be started in three ways. 

  • Automated flows are triggered by an event. For example, receiving an email from a specific person could trigger an automated action to be completed by someone in your company.
  • Instant flows are initiated with a click of a button either on your desktop or your mobile device. For example, the flow could be to send a reminder to your entire team with a push of a button from your phone. 
  • Scheduled flows are those that happen regularly, such as a daily upload to a database. 

Because Power Automate can connect with applications both within and outside of the Microsoft suite of products, it is an exceptionally powerful tool. There are thousands of prebuilt Automate flows for you to use, such as:

  • Save email attachments to your OneDrive
  • Create a task in Planner from Microsoft Forms and post a message in Microsoft Teams
  • Send an email notification when a OneDrive for Business file is uploaded. 

You can learn more about Power Automate on Microsoft's Support site

Microsoft Visio

If you ever need a diagram of your ideas to present, you’re in luck. Included with your Office 365 subscription is Visio which is a diagramming and vector graphics application. Visio includes built-in templates for brainstorming, creating floor plans, organizational charts, and mind mapping.

How can you use Microsoft Visio? You can use Visio to produce flowcharts as educational tools for your advisory clients.

You can learn more about Visio on Microsoft's Support site.

Learn Setup and Usage Best Practices

Are you ready to implement M365 in your practice or improve your use of it? M365 and the included apps are functionally easy to use, but can quickly become disorganized without a well-planned, comprehensive setup. Woodard's Microsoft 365 Implementation Boot Camp will walk you step by step through setting up many of the Microsoft apps and best practices in using Microsoft's suite to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your practice operations. 

Topics: Business Technology


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