Whether to lower costs or create a better work-life balance for employees, many organizations are letting people work remotely. Online cloud software makes remote work easier than ever for employees in many departments, particularly accounting. Your team can tackle accounting from home by logging into the software and performing tasks that would previously require them to come into the office.
If you plan on keeping your team remote in 2022 or are transitioning to working with a remote accountant, here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Why Your Modern Accounting Team Needs to Go Remote
Thanks to advances in technology, such as more options for getting online, accounting from home is the way of the future. If you’re contemplating going fully remote in 2022, there are several benefits of doing so.
- Diversifies your hiring pool: When your team isn’t restricted to working together in the same geographic area, your hiring pool becomes broader and deeper. You can work with accountants who live on the other side of the country from your organization or who might be living abroad. Since you’re not limited to hiring someone who lives within commuting distance to your organization, you’re more likely to find the right employee for the job.
- Makes your organization a more attractive employer: If you give team members the option of working remotely, you might find you have more applicants for the position than you would otherwise. Many people, particularly those who are looking for a better work-life balance, want to work from home. Even if you decide not to go fully remote, allowing people to work from their home offices a few times per week or as needed can mean you end up with a team of more engaged employees.
- Increases efficiency: Working remotely tends to lead to increased productivity. A study from May 2021 found six out of 10 workers said they were more productive when they worked remotely. One reason for the increase in efficiency when people work at home is that they often have fewer distractions. In the office, an accountant might be interrupted by co-workers who have questions or by chit-chat from their colleagues. At home, it can be easier to tune out distractions by switching off email or chat.
- Reduces costs: Remote teams typically cost employers less than in-person teams. Your organization will save on the cost of office rent when most or all of your team works from home. If you use cloud-based accounting software, you’ll also likely pay less than if you used an on-premises program.
Best Practices for Your Remote Accounting Team
Remote work is different enough from on-site work that you’ll most likely need to make adjustments to how your team approaches the workday. Communication between team members is critical in an in-office setting. When everyone works from home, communication becomes even more essential. Following some best practices ensures everyone stays on the same page and work continues to flow.
- Have a check-in system: The concept of 9-to-5 tends to go out the window when people shift to remote work. The early birds might be at their laptops at 7 a.m. while the night owls might work from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Be flexible about the times when people work but also ensure that everyone knows when their peers are working. You can do that by having employees check in when they start work or having them fill out their schedules for the week or month.
- Use a messaging program: Using a messaging app allows you to communicate quickly and efficiently with your remote team. A messaging program also makes it more likely that people will see important announcements, as email inboxes tend to get cluttered. You can set up boards or chat rooms in the app for specific projects and have a general question or chit-chat board for socializing.
- Make sure everyone is trained: Training is still important when people work from home. Develop a training system that introduces new employees to the software programs your organization uses and that goes into detail about your company’s methods and practices. It can be useful to walk new hires through the training process or implement checkpoints to make sure they’ve actually completed it.
- Designate a point person: Have one member of your team serve as the administrator or point person for when others have an issue, such as getting locked out of the system, needing approval for a purchase, or forgetting their password. Make sure everyone knows who the point person is and how to get in touch with them.
The Risks of On-Premise Accounting
Switching to online cloud accounting from on-premise accounting software helps reduce the risk of data loss or theft considerably. Some of the risks of an on-premise accounting program include:
- Out-of-date software: Since cloud-based accounting software is always online, software updates happen automatically. If you use an on-premises software program, you might have to wait to receive a patch or update from the developer, which can make your program more vulnerable to viruses and bugs.
- Physical loss of the software: On-premise accounting programs can be physically lost or destroyed, either due to theft of the software or device, fire damage, floods, or hardware failure.
- Limited backup options: With an on-premise program, you most likely will need to manually back up your files, increasing the risk of data loss if the task isn’t performed.
Automate Work With Technology
In addition to letting your team work from home, online cloud accounting software gives you the option of automating tasks that you previously performed manually. For example, MIP Fund Accounting® includes core modules that let you automate tasks such as bank reconciliation and accounts receivable. Automation saves your organization time and allows your remote team to focus on the tasks that will most likely help your organization achieve its mission.
Technology also allows you to automate other tasks, such as scheduling team meetings and keeping tabs on a project’s progress. Automation tools, such as scheduling and project management software, keep everyone on the same page without requiring one person to act as the administrative assistant for the entire remote team.
Request a Demo of MIP Fund Accounting® Today
If you’re ready to switch to a cloud-based accounting software, see what MIP has in store for you. Contact our team to set up a demo today.