In Pursuit of Profit
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The 2020 pandemic caused significant change across the business landscape. CEOs and business owners were put to the test as they decided how to strategically navigate the effects of the pandemic. As a result, many business owners have realized certain aspects of their company’s financial operations may shift indefinitely.
As the practice manager for an accounting firm, I’ve been in a unique position throughout the pandemic because I’ve witnessed our client pool expand to include companies that would never have considered using a third-party accounting company to handle their accounting needs before. However, these business owners were put in a difficult position when in-person work was shut down and some key employees had to take time off for sickness or family obligations. Some lost their accountants to virtual school responsibilities, while others were forced to upgrade their desktop accounting systems to cloud-based versions so employees could collaborate remotely.
As a result, business owners have now experienced first-hand that their bookkeeping and accounting work can be performed remotely without having to sacrifice quality and efficiency. In other words, the same value can be realized whether day to day accounting is being performed remotely or onsite.
Let’s look at what business owners are telling our accountants, and what this means for the future of accounting and finance.
The Wide-Reaching Benefits of Remote Work
Business owners have often wondered if productivity would decline with employees working from home. However, for many companies, productivity has remained high, and sometimes even higher than traditional onsite settings.
One of the main drivers for higher productivity in remote settings is capitalizing on commute time. Employees can start their workday earlier and often end their day later, since they do not have to invest time into a daily commute. For many, no commute equals more hours to execute daily workloads, pursue learning opportunities, connect with their families, and engage in hobbies. It’s no surprise then, that eliminating the commute by working remotely drives a preference for remote work among employees who live further from the office.
Another benefit of working remotely is a more focused work environment. Employees have communicated they experience less interruptions at a home office than they do while working at a corporate office. Less interruptions can often result in more productivity. Focused and productive employees tend to be happier and more fulfilled in their respective roles, which is likely why companies that offer the option to work remotely have 25% lower turnover than their counterparts.
Consistency of Regular Accounting Tasks
Rest assured, whether accounting work is being performed remotely or onsite, critical day-to-day deliverables remain consistent.
When client billing needs to occur, it can happen remotely. When account payable invoices need to be paid, it can happen via bank bill pay, ACH transfers, or platforms like Bill.com. When payroll needs to be processed weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly, it can happen remotely. When the monthly accounting close needs to be completed, it can happen remotely. When financial statements need to be generated and presented, it can happen remotely. When cash flow needs to be monitored and managed, it too can happen remotely. Do you sense a trend?
Since daily workflows can be designed and executed electronically, it gives bookkeepers and accountants all the flexibility they need to meet ongoing, critical deliverables of any type.
Improved Team Collaboration
When it comes to team collaboration needs, today’s technology is definitely available to deliver. Video platforms such a Zoom, MS Teams, and WebEx are great platforms to facilitate team collaboration. For some, team collaboration has actually increased due to the ease of use of technology.
Whether it be meeting new clients or potential team members, or an important presentation that needs to be shared, any of the latest video platforms can get the job done. In fact, many of my colleagues have expressed that they experience just as much value in video meetings as they do in-person meetings.
But employees are not the only ones who feel this way. Employers have also witnessed equal performance between employees that are working onsite and those that are remote. One business owner told us, “As long as there is clear, consistent communication, I’m happy to allow my employees to work from home.” Another business owner stated, “As long as deadlines are met and the job is getting done, I’m not partial to where the work is being performed.”
The Future of Accounting and Finance
Business owners now understand that their bookkeeping and accounting work can be performed remotely without having to sacrifice quality and efficiency. They realize they can still drive their corporate vision, scale the business, and meet strategic initiatives without being down the hall from their accountant or finance team. As a result of discovering the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, it’s very likely we’re not going back to the traditional method of onsite work only. The new post-pandemic hybrid remote work norm is here to stay.
When you’re ready to hire an accountant, contact us to find the right fit for your business needs! We can provide highly experienced US-based fractional accountants for part-time work, project work, and interim engagements remotely or on-site.
About the Author
Eric Moore is the Practice Manager of ASP. He brings two decades of progressive experience in Controller, CFO, and General Management roles with privately held companies, and has a broad perspective from working in environments ranging from start-ups to multi-generational mid-market companies with revenue in excess of $100M. As Practice Manager, Eric is responsible for managing the consulting teams for ASP in all markets, for setting and executing business strategy, and acting as the primary client manager for all engagements.
Eric holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Washington State University with an emphasis in Accounting and Finance. He is an active community volunteer, serving with various faith and compassion-based organizations for the last twenty years.