As a generation, we think we are very technologically advanced and able to cope with anything. However, in light of recent events, many companies are optimising flexible working and working from other locations such as from home. This sudden shift in working environments has caught some companies off guard and has resulted in companies facing new challenges in a situation which they have never faced before.
This, of course, raises many questions: “Do we have the appropriate hardware for working outside the office?", "Can software be accessed remotely?", "Does the company have to stop due to people unable being to reach the office?” These are all questions which companies are asking themselves on a daily basis right now, the real question is can we continue to operate in an environment where everyone is working from separate locations?
The key challenges companies and employees face when working from home or other locations out of the office include:Technology
“Technology is great whilst it works”. There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to complete a task whilst working from home and are unable to access the relevant software, or the hardware isn’t working as expected. Cloud-based accounting software can be accessed anywhere, at any time and from any device therefore there is no challenges to overcome when you are working away from your desk.Utilisation
Allowing employees to work from home requires an element of trust. Employers can be hesitant to encourage employees to work from home as they are concerned that utilisation will decrease, and deadlines may slip. Through the use of a virtual finance function, this removes the risk of utilisation internally. You have a designated external team who are responsible for ensuring financial deadlines are met and the finance team operates as normal.Teamwork
We are all so used to being able to walk over to someone’s desk to discuss work, or have a team meeting within the office to ensure seamless team working. Emails are great but nothing compares to a face to face conversation, therefore how do you manage this when not everyone is in the office?
Many apps can be utilised to ensure teams can work together whilst not under the same roof. Video calling apps including Microsoft Teams and Skype allow for video calling, therefore, encouraging face to face contact out-with the office. These apps can also be used to manage workload and assist each member of the team.
A virtual finance solution allows for your finance team to be based out-with the office and utilises technology and cloud accounting to ensure there is no interruption to financial reporting. It allows businesses to keep a close eye on their finances in real-time, which is especially useful during such periods of uncertainty. This is of course highly applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic however, it is actually applicable throughout the entire year.
It is very much a time of unknown, but finance shouldn’t stop at the office door. Through the use of cloud accounting software and a virtual finance solution, this removes the need for office-based finance teams and desktop-based accounting software. Now is as good a time as ever to ensure to future-proof your finance team and keep your business operating as normal.
If you are unsure about what Government support package is available to your business, we are here to help. We have created a simple toolkit that cuts through the noise and make you aware of exactly what help is available to you. It takes a few minutes to fill out and you can find it on our COVID-19 Information hub.
By Lauren Wilson, Business Advisory Services Manager
To find out more about Lauren and the Virtual Finance Function, click here.