How to Keep Processes Flowing While Working Remotely
In a traditional setting, offices are designed for maximum efficiency. This is why remote working can be quite a challenge for accounting practices. They'll have to implement new processes in order to continue their day-to-day workflow effectively. Here are the best practices for hybrid work environment 2022.
Communication is key: 6 best-practices to keep processes flowing
1. Establish clear lines of communication and set expectations around responses and availability
In order to successfully manage a virtual accounting firm, it's important to be clear about who should be notified when something happens, so that everyone on the team has a general idea of who they need to contact when they have a question or want to make an update. This will help minimize confusion about what needs to be done during any given project or meeting and ensure that everyone has access to the same information at all times.
You can also establish rules for how quickly someone should respond to an email or Slack message — for example, if your company uses Slack for communication, you might set a rule that all messages sent between 9 AM and 5 PM will receive a response within one hour.
2/ Be Consistent with Your Processes
It's easy for people to get into bad habits when working remotely. Things like forgetting to reply to emails, not answering questions, or being late on deadlines can all become common if there's no one around to correct them. Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and what they should be doing at all times so that they don't get off track or fall behind on their tasks.
3/ Have Regular Meetings
Meetings are an important part of any company culture, but especially so if you're working remotely since they let everyone know where they stand with each other and their projects. Having weekly meetings will help keep everyone informed about what's going on in the company and give them time to ask questions or voice concerns about anything that might be affecting their productivity on the job.
4/ Keep regular office hours
Be transparent about your availability. If you're working remotely with flexible hours or in different time zones from your teammates, make sure everyone knows when you're available for meetings, calls, or other forms of collaboration. Transparency helps prevent miscommunication because it makes it easier for people to plan their day around your schedule — and vice versa.
5/ Make sure that your staff have the equipment they need to be functional
Make sure everyone knows how to use these resources so they can find answers if they get stuck on a problem. It also helps if you have someone who can help troubleshoot problems — this could be another manager or it could be an intern who has no other responsibilities besides helping with process issues from time to time.
- How much space do they have?
- Does their Internet connection work efficiently?
- Do they have children?
- What are their professional priorities?
- How do they organise their domestic tasks?
6/ Provide remote training, coaching, and support to ensure the team has the skills they need to succeed when working remotely
The future of work will be a hybrid of remote and in-office work: a study by Robert Half on Accounting Employment Statistics From Across the UK show that candidates mostly request two days per week as a hybrid working model. Thus it’s imperative that people know what it takes to flourish in a remote environment. And while Millennials and Gen Z may find it easy to work remote accounting jobs and use their work software independently, others might need more assistance.
That's why it's important to offer remote training so that everyone can learn how to use the program they need in order to get their jobs done. When providing remote training, try using screen sharing software like TeamViewer or GoToMeeting so that you can show them exactly what they need to do.
This could be as simple as sending an email with instructions or sending out training videos via Google Hangouts or Skype (or whatever other video platform makes sense for your team).
Use cloud-based accounting and project management software
Processes are the backbone of any business. They allow you to do things faster, more efficiently and with less stress. But what happens when you work remotely?
The truth is that you can't have all your processes in place if your team is scattered across the country or the world. You need to find a way to keep your processes flowing smoothly while working remotely.
You don’t need dedicated servers or expensive software for project management. Cloud-based solutions like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello make it easy to share information with the rest of your team — whether they’re sitting next door or in another country.
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection so you can reach your colleagues quickly and easily via instant messaging services like Slack or HipChat. These tools allow you to exchange messages instantly with colleagues in different time zones without worrying about phone calls or emails that might not get answered right away.
Cloud accounting software is the perfect solution for a remote team because it allows everyone to access financial information without having to install software on their computer or phone. According to Sage's report The Practice of Now 2019, 67% of accountants prefer Cloud accounting and believe that Cloud technology makes their businesses more successful.
A good cloud-based accounting system will give you an accurate picture of your finances, streamline your payment operations and clients communication, saves you time on tax season, help you with your statutory accounts and avoid scope creep.
FIRESIDE CHAT : THE FUTURE OF ACCOUNTING
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Leverage workflow automation as much as possible
In an office setting, it's easy for coworkers to collaborate on projects because they're all in the same physical space. However, this isn't always possible when working remotely — so instead of trying to recreate the same type of collaboration environment at home or in another location, focus on automating processes as much as possible, starting with accounts payable and payment processing. This will allow everyone involved in the project to stay updated on what's going on without needing constant communication from one another.
It may seem counterintuitive to automate processes when you're trying to be more productive, but when it comes to remote work, automation is key. Automated processes mean less time spent on tedious tasks that don't require human input — allowing you more time for actual work.
If you have repetitive tasks that are part of your workflow (e.g., approving and reconciling payments, ), consider using tools like Zapier or IFTTT (if this then that) to automate them. This will save you time and energy each day so that you can focus on higher-value activities like strategizing and planning for your business.
Be Aware That There May be Challenges with Training and Onboarding New Hires Remotely
It's no secret that a remote workforce can be a great advantage for many companies. It allows them to hire the best talent regardless of location, and it gives workers more flexibility in their schedules.
But with great power comes great responsibility. As the manager of a remote team, it's up to you to make sure that your employees feel supported and productive.
A good way to address this challenge is by providing training materials ahead of time so that new hires can get up-to-speed before they start their job (as opposed to having them learn everything on-the-job).
In order to ensure that all new hires are fully trained on the company's processes, you may need to rely on other members of your team who have already been trained by someone else on-site. This can lead to a loss of productivity as well as confusion among new hires regarding how best to complete certain tasks or navigate certain tools or software. If possible, try to schedule training sessions ahead of time so that everyone knows when they can expect to receive instruction from you and other team members.
Set up your CPA Cybersecurity Checklist
Among the results of The Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Ransomware Survey commissioned by CyberCatch is a troubling fact: three-fourths of small and mid-sized accounting firms say they could only survive up to a week if they suffered a severe cyber attack.
While it’s not possible to be 100% safe from cybercriminals, the risks can be drastically reduced by adopting a few simple habits. to this end, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) provides firms owners with a cybersecurity checklist to protect the firm and client data from ransomware attacks and cybersecurity breaches. Here are the main points of attention:
- Set computers to automatically update the operating system and key applications
- Use enhanced password controls
- Develop a policy to greet office visitors
- Ensure only trusted, validated users and equipment can connect to IT resources
- Review insurance policies
To keep your firm secure, it's important to have a written, structured process for proactively managing cybersecurity. The following is a list of things you can do with your IT team and employees to make this checklist more comprehensive and valuable.
SIMPLIFY REMOTE WORKING WITH LIBEO
Accounting firms using digital technologies are experiencing hybrid work more simply. Libeo is a fully integrated and automated business-to-business payments platform, bridging the gap between invoices, payments, reconciliation, payroll and accounting.
For accountants and bookeppers, here are 3 points on which Libeo facilitates your remote organisation:
- The dematerialised supplier invoice solution allows you, as a chartered accountant, to reduce costs and payment times while monitoring your accounts in real time, whenever you want, wherever you are.
- Libeo is a 100 % SaaS and Cloud solution that requires no software as the data is hosted on a remote server, accessible from an online interface.
- Libeo is a collaborative tool. Team rights settings and automation rules reinforce collaboration with clients.
From your Libeo interface, check the invoices and documents to be controlled:
Perform bulk imports of your accounts payable invoices from your computer or smartphone. Then let our OCR technology automatically extract the data and convert it to electronic format:
Prepare and validate payments as a team. Export to the accounting system is simplified thanks to the various accounting integrations:
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