Remote Work and Your Accounting and Finance Team
While the pandemic was the catalyst that increased the remote workforce, people are the reason it’s here to stay. Men and women alike discovered they enjoy working from their home office (or anywhere they happen to land) and are more productive. Furthermore, the time saved in commuting makes work-life balance a reality. But let’s face it, some roles are accomplished remotely more easily than others. Accounting and finance, for example, have specific challenges. As professionals working with confidential data, their remote work has an added layer of security needs.
For example –
What is your plan for accessing and sharing the company’s financial documents?
Is a cloud-based system or a VPN (virtual private network), or a combination of both, the best for your business?
Should every remote accountant have a work computer, or can they use their personal computers? Will using personal computers create additional security issues?
Will you use a shared dashboard? (This not only keeps everyone in sync and aware of progress, but it also reduces emailing and boosts productivity.)
Security is a significant issue, but not impossible. Begin by asking IT experts for guidance. If you do not have an in-house IT Team, contract a third-party IT expert. They can evaluate your system and train your team members in accessing information w/out jeopardizing security. They will also ensure your security system is updated and whether you need a cloud-based system or VPN. Finally, if your systems and processes are not working efficiently, they can help you make the necessary adjustments to maintain accuracy and increase productivity.
Speaking of technology, don’t pull the purse strings on your technology and automation budget too tightly.
Remote accounting and finance talent has the same needs as your in-house staff, including –
- The software that your company is currently using installed on their laptop. Keep it updated.
- A quality webcam and headset for conference calls.
- High-speed internet service.
- Digital automation for accounting and finance processes
Remote accounting and finance teams go beyond technology
Empower your team players –
- Be flexible. Trust your team with the flexibility to choose when and where they work. Give specific assignments, set deadlines, and establish security must-dos, of course, but providing flexibility will result in increased productivity.
- Maintain updated systems and provide training when needed.
- Establish appropriate metrics to gauge performance. Be creative in using those metrics to boost morale.
- Be accessible. Establish your company’s communication style, and then maintain consistent, transparent engagement. Listen well. Recognize and encourage two-way feedback.
- Encourage positive relationships. Friendly connections do not require in-person connections. Share encouraging stories, company news, etc. Consider having Monday Memes, Tuesday Trivia, or Tik Tok Thursday.
In summary, involve expert IT assistance to ensure security and appropriate automation. Empower your players with the tools they need. Be patient, flexible, engaging, and maintain communication. Managing remote accounting and finance teams may be challenging, but it is doable and can open the door to more talent.
Looking for talent? The Robert Joseph Group specializes in Accounting and Finance recruiting. Contact us today.