How to Improve Remote Work for Accountants?
As accountants continue to work from home, accounting firms can help increase their productivity and improve remote work.
Accountants have long been the archetype for the traditional, pencil-pushing, 9 to 5 corporate job. Structures, workflows, stringent policies and antiquated accounting and management systems were the norm for accountants preparing taxes and developing financial plans.
While much of this still holds true, accountants and CPAs are by no means stuck to their desks anymore.
As the World Health Organization declared the pandemic a global health crisis, the Canadian government issued work from home orders. A good majority of workers were then required to observe social distancing orders and stay home until regulations were relaxed.
Accounting firms across Canada have not been excluded from these orders. Accountants and CPAs are now expected to hold virtual meetings, communicate with clients over text, calls and emails, and work with software they can access from home. The modern world came calling and we finally had to answer it, however it has not been easy. So how do we improve remote work for accountants so they don't fall into burnout?
Fast-tracking Transition to Remote Work
While remote work has been unprecedented for some accounting firms, the concept is not entirely new. Virtual accounting firms were already providing services to Canadian accounting clients pre-Covid while others offered flexible work models.
The pandemic only made remote work imperative from being an optional advantage accountants could benefit from.
For accounting firms that were previously providing on-site accounting services, navigating and managing their teams through this transition was difficult. It took some time to adjust to the new norm.
The pandemic is still a present threat, prompting the government to extend work from home orders. This only means that accountants will likely work remotely until the restrictions are lifted and possibly even after that.
It’s now critical that accounting firms take steps to improve remote work for accountants. Here are some tips for how they can achieve that and sustain their team’s productivity.
We may be close to a year of social distancing, but remote work still involves a learning curve for many accountants. CPAs who've spent the majority of their career working regular 9-to-5 might find getting used to new technology a little difficult.
Furthermore, you don’t have the leverage of holding in-person communication. While communicating over Zoom meetings and phone calls are effective, some things can get lost in translation.
As your team tries to find a balance and create a rhythm when working remotely, be patient and avoid micromanagement.
Establish processes and workflows
While management principles for accounting firm leadership remain the same, workflows and daily operation processes will certainly change. Some questions that might arise, include:
● How will accountants receive documents and paperwork from their clients during the tax season?
● How will the firm onboard new clients without holding in-person meetings?
● How will the firm authenticate critical documents?
● How will the team communicate during work hours?
● How will overtime be regulated?
All of these questions should be addressed at the start of a work-from-home placement. Accounting firms must include these work processes as part of regular operations, ensuring there is a framework for accountants to follow. This will simplify their work and make management easy for employers.
Fill communication gaps
Communicating with your team when you’re in the same physical space is relatively more effective. You have more opportunities to get things done quickly and engage in team building activities.
However, accountants working remotely may feel the effect of losing that aspect of communication and community. As a workaround, management can host virtual team meetings where everyone shares their project statuses, get in sync, and align work.
The most effective way firms can improve remote work for accountants is by equipping them with software that automates manual tasks.
There are various online platforms that can automate different financial functions. From billing and invoice management to verifying documents and tax software, these platforms can make the transition easier
One online software-as-a-Service platform accounting firms have access to is Taxbotic. If your firm is struggling to communicate effectively with clients and obtain T1 tax prep documents, then Taxbotic is the answer.
Taxbotic automates T1 tax preparation and document gathering, reducing your time spent following up on missing information. It gathers client information with a few simple questions and document uploads through the user friendly Taxbotic accounting software.
Learn for yourself why so many accountants choose Taxbotic this tax season. Start your free trial today.