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Navigating Accounting In A Work from Home Era

February 17, 2021

94% of companies believe that automating bookkeeping tasks will help grow their business. And they’re right! Companies that invest in cloud accounting enjoy 5x more customers than the rest. Yet large corporations are less likely to buy cloud-based accounting software even amid the pandemic.
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Giants like Slack, Microsoft, Shopify, and Paypal have already announced that they will be going completely remote hereafter. And these are just some of the names from the list that includes large corporations like Adobe and Amazon, as well.

In fact, Facebook has reported switching half of its workforce to remote work by 2030. By combining tech with good internal management, Facebook was able to generate stable productivity while saving a ton of resources throughout this year. This has made them consider the numerous benefits of permanent remote employment.

Twitter, too, has permitted its employees to work from home indefinitely without having any obligations of coming into the office.

Companies that are anticipating growth in the upcoming year have already declared their commitment towards investing in financial software that will help them automate their accounting work.

According to a survey, the reason for executives embracing and adopting technology lies in their optimistic attitude towards their companies’ overall growth. Only 11% of them doubt the usefulness of tech in accounting whereas 65% of executives are enthusiastic about what’s to come in the next 12 months.

So, it leaves us wondering why corporations aren’t prioritizing cloud technology or AI-based accounting automation software.

How cloud finance technology helps when working remotely

Integrating a cloud system in your firm will allow your employees to continue using the same system as they would in the office no matter where they’re working from.

Your team will be able to manage and create financial records and reports in a uniform manner without feeling the need to adapt to a new system that’s specific to remote operations.  

There will also not be any need to shift your data from one system to a cloud-based system because you’ll already be working with cloud technology. This can increase convenience as you won’t have to worry about accessing documents and data while adjusting to the new environment.

Alternatively, cloud technology will allow you to maintain quality control and collaborative spirits because the employees are familiar with the features of the system through regular use. Using a cloud accounting system will also help you ensure more data security and build trust among your clients.

Changing the mindset

“The idea of ‘going into the office’ was made a part of workplace culture by boomers, but it no longer suits the best interests of employers or their employees,” explains Ian Khan, Chief Futurist, Futuracy.

After experiencing an entire year of the pandemic, it’s clear that there are countless tasks that can be managed from home. We have come so far with technology that we can achieve the same results at home as we can in an office environment. So, it’s time to bid the notion of ‘working from home being a less efficient way of working’ adieu.

Even before the COVID-19, many organizations were experimenting with going fully remote with their operations. Firms that are driven by IT and prioritize tech have been early adopters of digital filing. And it all paid off in 2020. All because they were flexible enough to employ a change in the workplace.

Today, a meeting can be a video chat and a contract signing can be a simple email. And 10 years down the line, people may not look for an accountant who has had experience with filing paperwork. Instead, they will prefer going for someone who’s worked with accounting automation software to create digital assets and managed financial portfolios online before.

And the changes are inevident and afoot.  

Challenging employee resistance

Automation has made a lot of impact in the accounting sector. It has enabled firms to focus on providing their customers with services that they seek by getting rid of tasks that can be done without the use of human resources. (ex. paying bills).

As mentioned before, accounting firms have been making the digital shift for a long time. They may not have been drastic changes but organizations were setting up virtual teams and training employees to be more tech-savvy.

But the disruption happened overnight – during tax season. So, only those companies with a nationwide reach were able to thrive amid uncertainty while those who thought locally struggled due to the lack of planning.

And those accountants that resisted change were left grasping at straws when it came to setting up a home office, getting a stable WiFi connection, and diving into the tech world.

Accounting is a collaborative field. So, firms that were not prepared ended up experiencing a poor transition from offline to online. On the other hand, the early adopters of digitization had no problem transitioning into a permanent remote role.

As a matter of fact, companies have saved twice more during the pandemic by asking employees to work from home. While cloud costs have rocketed, the money saved by eliminating paperwork and digitizing the invoicing system has been significant.

That said, employees were able to reduce their expenditure, as well. By working from home, employees have avoided spending money on gas, coffee & lunches, and buying more clothes for their wardrobe. If anything, employees should be the ones asking for remote employment rather than expecting the employers to make it mandatory.

Challenging larger corporations

Big players in accounting with more resources have continued to do business amid COVID-19. It’s the small and mid-sized companies that had to face the wrath of the pandemic.

But what you need to pay heed to is the fact that using technology to manage remote teams can put you on the same playing field as the larger corporations.

Going digital opens up more doors of opportunities for you. It allows you to automate minor tasks and pay attention to those aspects of your business that can’t be handled by AI i.e. strategizing.

Working remotely also allows you to recruit the most talented people for your accounting firm because you’re not limited by geography. This can also save you employee relocation costs.

So, pandemic or no pandemic, the lesson to learn from 2020 is that having a remote work culture will prepare you for the future of the accounting sector and help you make less costly mistakes in your operations.  

In essence, your business should never be put on pause. Instead, your arrangement should be such that it makes it easier for the staff to avail work from home whenever they need to.

Practicing what you preach

When money is involved, accountants are quick to tell their clients about having backups, building reserves and buffers, and practicing good data security practices. So, it was shocking to see the financial services sector take such a big hit.

The accounting sector was ill-equipped and underprepared.

‘Enabling staff to work from home’ is the biggest people-related challenge of the finance industry. To put that in perspective, ‘providing a safe working environment’ was second. And that’s in the middle of a pandemic.

So, it’s time for accounting to understand the gravity of the situation and learn to adapt to cloud technology for everything from machine learning to document automation. What’s more, accounting software can also reduce the time organizations need to retrieve documents from 5 days to a few minutes, no matter where you are.

That’s why many accounting firms are adopting ‘operating lean’ as their motto. Since technology is ever-evolving, it’s crucial for organizations to identify the areas that can use fewer human resources and more automation.

Although change is a constant process, with time, accounting firms can reduce costly IT errors while improving productivity without relying on tech support too much.  

Remember that the future is unpredictable and a new disruption may not be another pandemic but a natural disaster. So, it would be a wise decision to employ automation systems that are compatible with your philosophy, work norm, and tech right from today to be prepared for your next challenge.  

Adapting to the new norm

The pandemic has rushed people into changing their attitudes towards cloud technology and made it permanent. 88% of bookkeeping firms have reported that they will be automating most of their bookkeeping tasks to help grow the business more efficiently.

The year 2020 has been the definition of uncharted territory, which brought in a lot of digital disruption that we weren’t ready for. But one thing that we can set in stone is that the remote work culture is here to stay. So, it’s almost mandatory for organizations to proactively introduce systems and tools that can support and streamline their team’s operations regardless of where the employees are.

Today, having accounting automation software in your arsenal can let you automate document management in a jiffy. A system like DOKKA can not only improve your process but also help your team stay connected irrespective of the global conditions.

Why leave it there?

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