Notes from the Road and Travel Tips
By Brian Tankersley - We're in our second quarter "mini busy season" here with K2 , and the last few weeks have seen us present technology conferences in Connecticut, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oregon (where I will speak today). We're also preparing for our first CPA Firm Technology Symposium  in Overland Park, KS on 6/10 . Since this is a new, all-day course, I've been working with Val Steed, K2's CEO,  on prep for this course so we have plenty of material and other collateral to help our participants use technology in their firms as effectively and efficiently as possible.
USA Today (normally just good for recycling, but there are exceptions)  has a nice article this morning on how to pack for a long trip, as well as some tips for the chronic overpacker. Doug Dyment, the creator of OneBag.com  (a site dedicated to traveling light) does a nice Q&A on how to pack for a trip. Since I'm headed to Connecticut (two teaching days), Montreal (Canadian GP), and Kansas City (three teaching days) in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be reading this article with interest.
There is also a nice chart in the article  which lists who will have to pay to check bags with various airlines. Fortunately, the other airlines have not been as quick to match American's policy of charging  for the first bag (although they are almost universally charging for the second checked bag.) One of the few (hard earned) benefits of being a super-elite frequent flyer (Delta Platinum Medallion, Skyteam Elite Plus) is that I can check up to three bags for free. While I very rarely use this benefit, it was nice to be able to handle all of the bags for free for my two companions when I went to Florida for the Memorial Day weekend.
Some travel links readers may want to use for their upcoming trips:
- TripIt - www.tripit.com  - This site will create itineraries from your confirmation e-mails from the various sources and put them into an iCal feed which you can add to Google Calendar or Outlook 2007. You can also have "friends" on the site and share info with them or see when you will be in the same area as one of your far-clung cronies.
- Sidestep.com  - This is a meta-search engine for travel which will look on numerous travel sites for a particular trip, and then allow you to find the best match of price and schedule for your trip. While most people use this for airfare searches, the car rental searches are where I tend to save the most money, and they also offer other category searches as well. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
- Google Transit  - lets you plan trips using numerous public transportation systems around mostly North America and Europe. While this is a new service, I'm expecting that the depth of integration with organizations and schedules is going to be really good on a going forward basis. I'll let you know more once I've used the schedules for Montreal on my trip there next week.
I'm also in the process of implementing a hosted document management system for my little firm. I actually installed the client software yesterday, and am now populating the database with a few documents until I can get a feel for how best to organize my documents (which don't really fit the typical organization structure for a CPA Firm, since I do so much oddball consulting). I'll report more on this effort after I do the second revision of tags, categories, and other ways to implement this system. K2 has some good tips on their Totally Paperless site, but I'm working to capture the various steps and factors considered as part of this whole process in a document which can be used for either blog content or teaching classes. I'm also working with this vendor on integration with portals for secure interchange of information, and I hope to be able to write more about this in the near future.
Brian Tankersley is a road warrior, CPA, and CITP based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Brian is an associate with K2 Enterprises and is a senior faculty member with Becker CPA Review.