Remote work is reshaping the future of employment, inclusive of finance roles. According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Confidence Index, 83 percent of Finance professionals claim that they can be individually effective when working remotely while 82 percent felt the entire industry could be remotely effective. Which is not surprising considering that many finance tasks do not require frequent interaction between people. Are virtual accounting teams then the way of the future? Maybe so. Companies shouldn’t dismiss the idea.
We put together a list of pros and cons for employing a virtual finance and accounting team, to help get the conversation started:
Real-Time Access To Accounts: Cloud-based accounting software such as Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Wave and Xero and file hosting platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox have enabled accounting teams to work remotely and share financial data easily. Leadership teams can access up-to date financial reports in a timely manner and can be sure to achieve higher data accuracy because of the multiple eyes on the books. Real-time access to accounts also allows for data-driven decision making.
Flexible Hiring: Virtual accounting professionals can be more easily hired on an as needed basis and are unrestricted by geography thus expanding your talent pool. Since accounting and bookkeeping needs can vary from one financial period to another, companies can hire contract/temporary accounting professionals to work on specific projects for a certain number of hours without the hassle of setting them up in a physical setting.
Cost Savings: With virtual accounting teams, companies can benefit from reduced overhead costs, like paying for extra office space and supplies to accommodate additional hires, especially ones that come on board for a temporary period to help with project needs. There is also potential to save costs on computers if you allow your remote team to use personal devices.
Limited Control: Managers could feel that a certain degree of control has been lost with virtual teams. Therefore, it is important to maintain consistent communication and conduct regular check-ins to keep a tab on the company’s finances.
Poor Coordination: If your accounting team requires on-site collaboration with other departments or needs access to in-house systems to carry out specific functions, going virtual might result in poor coordination and hinder productivity.
Data Security Threats: As company’s leverage cloud-based technologies for remote data access, it becomes easier for hackers to misuse sensitive financial information. Safeguarding financial information beyond the bounds of a company’s internal network is crucial. Virtual accounting teams should consider implementing multi-factor authentication to ensure that confidential information is not being compromised at any cost.