The stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic altered the way people work. It prompted the widespread adoption of remote work. What began as a necessity four years ago has become the norm today.
Buffer’s State Of Remote Work 2023 Report disclosed that 91% of survey respondents had a positive experience with remote work. But is remote working productive? Research says yes. A new study discovers that half of employees feel more productive when they work from home.
The emergence of the remote work phenomenon has revolutionized various industries, which include accounting. The pandemic demonstrated that working remotely is possible for accountants.
Building a remote accounting firm has many benefits, from access to a vast talent pool to reduced overhead costs. However, it also raises new management challenges for leaders. The good news is that a strategic approach can help you overcome those challenges.
In this article, we’ll share a few tips to help you manage your remote accounting team effectively.
#1 Process Data in Batches
Never should you transfer financial data to statements and ledgers as soon as they become available. Instead, you should process the information in batches throughout the day.
Doing so will allow you to group and process financial data in a subsidiary ledger before they are transferred to the general ledger. Also known as a sub-ledger, a subsidiary ledger is a detailed report that contains transaction data. This approach is generally ideal for clients who require real-time accounting.
Accountants working in remote settings are prone to distractions. Batch processing provides them with sufficient time to review entries and detect blunders. Besides, you can compartmentalize the workload, which will help you assign work more effectively.
You can assign the categorized and organized transactions to whoever is available and make adjustments to the assigned tasks as and when required.
#2 Invest in the Right Tools
Good intentions and clarity will get your accountants so far if they don’t have a reliable stack of tools to support their daily work. A remote team requires apps that are secure, functional, and easy to use. Only then will they be able to collaborate, communicate, and manage work effectively.
Coordinating projects and tasks becomes challenging when your team is working from different time zones or on several projects. Embracing project management accounting software can make a huge difference in managing projects.
Top project management systems offer a centralized location to manage tasks, track progress, and communicate effectively. The task management feature of project management software for accounting firms allows managers to create detailed task lists for each project and assign them to team members. This feature lets you keep track of what everyone is working on and when the projects are due.
You can further streamline the workflow by automating tasks using project management software. Automating tedious tasks frees up your accountant team’s time, which they can dedicate to higher-value activities. Software with built-in automation features can handle tasks like account reconciliation and invoicing without manual input, explains Mango Practice Management.
In a virtual environment where face-to-face interaction is minimal, effective communication can foster a sense of inclusivity and belongingness. Instant messaging tools like Slack facilitate quick conversation, which promotes fluid communication among team members.
Remote teams also benefit from Microsoft Teams, which allows members to chat, video conference, and share documents.
File-sharing solutions help streamline internal collaboration and gather client documentation securely. The right file-sharing platforms, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, make sharing information super-easy. Besides helping you deliver exceptional client service, it increases your accounting team’s productivity.
#3 Be Flexible on Schedules But Rigid on Deadlines
Working nine-to-five is an antiquated relic from the past. With work-from-home being the new norm, this old-school schedule can seem stifling. Blending professional and personal responsibilities can be taxing for your employees.
Will it not be humane if you allow your remote accounting team to work at schedules that match their working environment? Allowing room for flexibility will give your team the freedom to chart out their own routine and work at hours they are most productive.
Finding equilibrium begins at the top. You must showcase the habits you use to work from home effectively. This will help your team members establish their routines and foster the culture you want to create.
You should allow flexibility on working hours but be rigid on deadlines. Create realistic timelines and make sure each accountant is on track. If anyone lags behind, reach out to them to know what is getting in their way of duties. Reduce their workload or drop them to a part-time schedule for a week or until they return to form.
To put it all together, managing a remote accounting team has its own challenges, but you can navigate them by following the above-mentioned practices.
As team members of accounting firms handle sensitive financial information, be sure to implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect it from hackers. From anti-virus software to a VPN, make sure your team members have everything they need to minimize the risk of data breaches.
You must also review your remote work practices regularly. This will help you spot new challenges before they get too big.