COVID-19 has changed the way businesses operate. Companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft have all announced that they have extended their work-from-home programs while Twitter has committed to allowing their employees to choose to work remotely forever. Many accounting firms are following suit and have begun to transition towards a fully remote accounting firm. In this article, we have compiled our best practices for remote accounting firms to consider while making the transition.
Best Practices for Remote Accounting Firms: Infrastructure
The most important best practice for remote accounting firms is to invest in the business infrastructure. This ensures your team has the right tools to be successful. We’ve categorized this best practice for remote accounting firms into three topics summarized below:
Remote Accounting Firm Team Communication
Since you will no longer be in the office together, a remote accounting firm will need to determine how to communicate internally with team members. In this category, there’s not a one size fits all model so explore your options and compare it to what your team really needs. For example, you may consider having a video conferencing solution, such as Zoom, as well as a messaging system, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. The best part of these messaging communications is that you can create channels. You may consider creating a virtual bookkeeping channel, virtual accounting channel, and virtual CPA channel and add only those team members based on their role.
Remote Accounting Firm Client Communication
Once you have an internal communication plan, you can focus on how to best communicate with your clients. Many virtual accounting firms have switched to virtual phone systems, like RingCentral, allowing them to take incoming calls on their cell phone as well as their computer. You may also consider Zoom to replace in-person client meetings.
Remote Accounting Firm Shared Files and Collaboration
Since you won’t be in the office to access a dedicated server, you will have to find a solution for your team members to easily have access to shared files. You’ll also need to consider how employees will work on these files. For example, will they download the file to their local desktop then upload again into a portal or work directly in the cloud. Remember, free is not always the best option to share files and collaborate. Always consider the application’s security especially when dealing with your client’s personal and financial documentation.
Best Practices for Remote Accounting Firms: Workspaces
When you transition from the office to a full-time remote employee, we recommend you create a workspace that will promote productivity. Each employee will be different. Personally, my workspace depends on the task I am working on. For example, I’ll take Zoom calls in a quiet corner in my house but I’ll create content videos at my desk where I need multiple screens to edit content. Then, I’ll write blog content on my couch or on the patio while listening to Spotify. It may be unorthodox, but trust that the employee knows what works best for them.
Best Practices for Remote Accounting Firms: Time Tracking
Many accounting firms track time to bill their clients. Since multiple team members can work on a project, we recommend a common time tracking tool for all staff members to use. Time tracking also allows you to analyze where your time is spent so you can better manage your schedule and tasks.
Virtual Accounting Professionals Love Qbox!
Your file sharing solution summarized above may not be able to handle sharing of QuickBooks Desktop files. Intuit does not recommend sharing QuickBooks Desktop files through traditional 3rd party syncing tools because of the complexity of the database files. However, Qbox was designed specifically to share QuickBooks Desktop files with your remote users without conflicted files or corruption. With Qbox, there’s no need for expensive hosting fees, server fees, or per seat licenses. Virtual bookkeeping teams can now share files with their virtual CPA team or even their clients to create a cohesive remote accounting firm solution. To learn more about Qbox, visit https://www.qboxplus.com/solutions
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