Working remotely is no longer a pipe dream within the accounting profession—we are firmly living in the remote workforce era. Some firms have come a long way, harnessing the power of cloud technology to support remote workers and broaden their reach into the pool of qualified staff. Others have not progressed as far. Either way, most are familiar with traditional protocol for new hires:
Note to IT Professional: New staff person starting on Monday morning. Prior to her arrival be sure the following is accomplished:
- Clear out and set up the third office.
- Order a new desktop computer, three monitors, a scanner and a
- Setup MS Exchange email account and include the MS Office Suite.
- Set up username and password to the network.
- Run the local install for tax, depreciation, practice management and
document management solutions.
- Install QuickBooks desktop versions 2016-2018.
Does this bring back memories of an outdated hiring model? Or are you still operating your firm in an “onsite-only” mode? While some firms have kept pace with the remote workforce movement, there are still others that play out the above scenario over and over. For those who have resisted the remote model, there’s no better way to state this than: This model DOES NOT make sense any longer.
To keep pace with change, firm leaders must understand two things:
- Work can be accomplished from anywhere, at anytime and from various devices. The number of hours an employee is in the office is not a proper measure of proficiency and productivity. Time clock mentality must go.
- The technologies we use to run our firm must be cloud-based. If not cloud-enabled, desktop applications represent an outdated model. Modern firms are operating within a cloud tech stack, offering tools that can used from anywhere and on any device.
Today’s staff want a choice—work onsite or from other destinations. As firm leaders, we should be offering this choice—not only to satisfy the needs of a modern workforce, but also for ease of recruiting and maintaining qualified, top-tier professionals.
In our firm, RootAdvisors, we practice what we preach. Every tool we use is cloud-based, which opens the door for staff to work remotely when desired. This is what our firm looks like:
- Google for email and calendaring.
- Google Drive for document management.
- Slack for all internal staff communications.
- Liscio for all client communications.
- Zoom for video conferencing.
- QuickBooks Online and Right Networks for client accounting.
We use a number of additional cloud-based tools to solve other business process needs, but you get the gist. The concept of “moving to the cloud” is now past tense…we are there.
I believe everything that’s been mentioned thus far is critically important in order to attract talent that will power your firm. Staff members no longer need to walk through your front door every morning. They can be located across the globe or down the street if you have the right tools and processes in place to support them.
Today, our firm supports about 15 remote workers. Upon hire, we ship them a laptop and walk them through our digital technology stack as part of the onboarding process. Their laptop serves as their phone, as we use Zoom almost exclusively for both client and internal staff meetings/calls. And Slack, our IM tool, has all but replaced email for internal communications. It really is that simple. No more setting up physical offices and worrying about the slew of to-do’s that have traditionally come with new hires.
Keeping pace with a remote workforce is more important than ever. Modern staff want to work within a digital environment, or at least have a choice to do so now and again. Firms that fail to offer a remote work alternative will most often lose a potential recruit to those that do. Today’s firm must look and behave differently than yesterday’s traditional model. The right mindset and tools are instrumental in powering a modern, mobile workforce.
If you are looking for more information or a road map to moving your firm to the cloud, visit us at rootworks.com.