As more companies transition to a permanent remote work model, many accounting business leaders and employees wonder what they can do to make their work from home experience positive and productive.
A constant factor in success while operating as a fully remote business is choosing and employing the right technology. Using the appropriate technology is necessary for any business, especially an organization working outside of the traditional, physical office environment.
As your team begins working from home on a full-time basis, here are a few helpful suggestions regarding selecting and using technology that will enhance your remote work experience.
Maintaining open and consistent lines of communication both internally and externally is an integral component of running a successful business.
For a company new to operating as a virtual office, creating and maintaining these communication channels can be challenging, as prevalent behaviors in a physical office setting may no longer be possible while working remotely.
For example, an employee who wants to talk to a coworker no longer has the option of merely walking from their desk to their colleague's office to discuss a work-related issue. They now have to engage their peers using some form of technology.
More specifically, using programs that allow your team to communicate quickly and as frequently as needed is incredibly helpful.
Also, mandating that all staff members interact similarly helps maintain a transparent and collaborative work culture. This particular mandate can require that your team uses the same technology across the board to ensure that everyone has access to each other.
Our firm has discovered over the years that selecting the right technology aids in the efficiency of our operations.
For example, instead of coordinating multiple attendees on a conference call, which can take a considerable amount of time and effort, we have software in place that allows us to coordinate and manage team meetings and client calls with multiple attendees easily. This software also gives us the flexibility we require to shift meetings around as needed.
While the technology we employ has given us the freedom to update our schedules in real-time and arrange meetings with ease, it can also reduce the amount of time spent trying to address pertinent work issues.
At our firm, the software we use allows us to see whether the people we need to connect with are available.
Therefore, we no longer have to rely on more traditional methods of communication, like calling someone on the phone, leaving a message, and waiting for them to call us back.
Instead, we can see when or if they're available to speak, talk to them, and move forward with our work from there.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to selecting the right software and using the appropriate platforms for your firm.
The key is integrating software that you believe will best-suit your business needs. The exact software you choose may differ based on your culture and your company's needs.
Here’s a look at some of the tools we use at Summit CPA Group.
This kind of technology allows employees to operate in a completely virtual office setting. At Summit CPA, we use Sococo, which has helped us maintain transparency regarding all office activities.
For example, when logged into Sococo, you can see when someone meets with an individual or group in their virtual office. You can even go as far as to "knock" on someone's office door if you need to have a quick conversation with them.
The informal nature of discussing work-related matters allows for frequent communication and more opportunities to collaborate.
As an accounting firm, keeping client and company information secure is a top priority because we deal with sensitive information regularly. However, we recommend that companies look into purchasing and using trustworthy security technology to protect themselves and their clients regardless of the industry in which they're operating.
Maintaining adequate security measures while working from home is particularly important, as employees often work on personal computers and use their home Internet connection, making their equipment vulnerable to hacking and other cyberattacks.
Boxcryptor, which is encryption software for cloud-based applications, and LastPass, which generates passwords that are harder to crack and allows us to share and protect our passwords are two secure platforms to consider for security needs.
Choosing the technology that best fits your business needs is helpful in a physical office setting and imperative for a business with primarily remote employees.
Fortunately, there are many programs and tools to choose from, which means you will find ones that will best suit your business needs.
From there, consider purchasing the software you selected to make your team's experience working from a home safe and positive one.
Co-Founder and CEO, Summit CPA Group
Jody Grunden is the Co-Founder and CEO of Summit CPA Group, the leading provider of Virtual CFO Services in North America. He started the company in 2002, bringing more than 23 years of public and corporate accounting leadership, tax expertise, and executive management experience to his role with the company. He is a member of the Forbes Finance Council, AICPA, and the Indiana CPA Society and the author of Building the Virtual CFO Firm in the Cloud.