Office 365: Apps Beyond the Basic Suite

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 by Jessica Salerno

By Shayna Chapman, CPA

Probably in your office you made the switch from the Office desktop software to what is known as the subscription model of Office 365 (if you haven’t, there are plenty of reasons to – but that’s for another time). It offers all the same, familiar apps (Outlook, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access) but in the cloud. One of the top benefits is access to it anytime from various devices. Fantastic! But have you ever looked at all of the other apps available with your subscription? Office 365 (O365) goes beyond the basic apps and into technology that can help your office work smarter and more efficiently. In the next series of blog posts, I will examine some of those additional apps and how to use them in your accounting firm. For starters, let’s introduce four of my favorites.


    Planner is a fantastic application that allows you to manage projects. You can create a project, assign it to people within your organization, and visually watch it move through the process to completion. The design of Planner makes watching the process super simple and easy to track. 


    This app is designed just like your high-school five-subject notebooks would be. You can setup a notebook, then have different sections (your tabs), and further break those sections down to specific pages. You can type or handwrite notes, make checklists, draw your ideas, add pictures. You have the ability to share these notebooks with other members of your office for easy collaboration. It is a freeform space: just like putting your pencil to your high-school notebook.

  • TO DO

    If you had the original desktop Outlook, then you know what “tasks” are. We have been using and syncing those since the Palm Pilot days. Tasks are still there. But now you have access to To Do’s. This is a fantastic little app and is exactly what you want when jotting down and marking off things as you think of them.  

    My favorite on this list. Teams is your one-stop place for collaboration with your internal staff as well as clients. If you have ever used Slack, you have a general idea of how it works; but with Microsoft you have the ability to integrate many of their applications in addition to third-party applications.

So many more amazing apps exist in Office 365. The above is just a few perks of your subscription. If you aren’t taking advantage of your full O365 plan in your firm, consider if these apps create an opportunity to streamline your technology and create a more efficient firm atmosphere. If you want to learn more, I will be giving you more insight into the specifics of these apps over the next series of blogposts. If you already are using additional Office365 apps, please tweet me (@ShaynaCPA) and the Ohio Society of CPAS (@OSCPA) and tell us about your favorite Office 365 Apps and/or your favorite way to use them. 

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