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Is Remote the Future of Accounting?

January 22nd, 2020

Remote work arrangements are springing up and becoming mainstream across a wider range of industry sectors every year. Where once “working from home” only made sense for a limited set of positions and tasks, changes in technology and culture are bringing offsite possibilities to positions that were once bound to specific offices, labs, clinics, and other settings. Remote work options are now gaining a deeper foothold in the accounting field, and since employees want these options, competitive hiring managers are wise to offer them.

Here are some of the tools that make remote accounting not only possible but more profitable then requiring employees to stay on site.

Automated Workflow Management

Workflow management tools provide dashboards and real-time updates that let you keep track of who’s working on what, who’s waiting for the next step, and where a specific return lies on the path from submission to completion. Returns are far less likely to fall through the cracks if you—and all relevant accounting staff—know exactly where they are and what’s impeding progress.

Video Conferencing

An accountant may not be in the office, but that doesn’t mean he or she is unreachable or unavailable for a meeting. Even the briefest updates, check-ins, and Q and As can be dealt with face-to-face if your video conferencing software is connected, tested, and updated regularly. You can even record meetings and playback complex details, which can be harder to do in a spontaneous office setting.

Mobile Time Entry and Expense Tracking

Like many other accounting tasks, neither of these need to be done onsite anymore. Time entry can be handled remotely, even through a smartphone, with secure cloud-based tools. And expense tracking can also happen in real-time. Mileage, meals, supplies, and other expenses can be recorded immediately, with no need to collect paper receipts.

Email and Scheduling Tools

Written communication hasn’t required an onsite presence since the arrival of email decades ago. And now with modern email account features and accessories, your teams can check each other’s schedules, plan meetings, receive acceptance and reminder notifications, and make last-minute changes with no difficulty. They can share conference and meeting materials in the moment, share screen access, play and record audio, and make presentations and announcements that can be accessed from anywhere.

Not sure if you have the set-up, tools, or trust to allow your accounting team to work remotely? You may be underestimating your preparation and abilities. Contact Merritt! We can help you determine if you’re ready to cut the cord, and if you aren’t, our staffing experts can get you there.

Five Tips for Hiring Accounting and Finance Personnel

February 28th, 2014

Accounting, controlling and financial decision-making are all critical roles that can be challenging to source and retain, even with the most sophisticated staffing strategy in place. At the highest senior levels, these positions often require vast amounts of institutional knowledge, so an effective strategy will require pipeline building and a program of grooming and hiring from within. But what about the entry level? When you reach out to the general public with an open post for a junior accounting or finance position, what steps can you take to attract and select the best candidates? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

1. Keep long term growth and development in mind.     

Again, if you choose the most promising contenders at the entry level, then bring them aboard and cultivate a long term relationship, you’ll be better poised for success with your senior level staffing challenges. You’ll be reducing risk and setting yourself up for strong cultural matches with minimal guess work.  Script your interviews with plenty of questions that assess  behavior and cultural alignment, not just accounting-focused skill sets.

2. Choose candidates who learn, not those who already know.

A sparkling academic track record and a history of relevant coursework can be great, but if you have to choose, lean toward candidates with natural curiosity, open minds, and the ability to unlearn or relearn as necessary in order to thrive within your company.

3. Don’t let the best contenders slip away for foolish reasons.

Ivy League schools are nice, and an unbroken record of work (no gaps, no travel, no career changes, etc) can suggest focus and commitment. But be careful. Don’t be drawn in by assumptions or stereotypes. Consider each candidate as an individual, not a collection of data points. And realize that a little self- direction and life experience can be a powerful asset to your company.

4. Choose candidates who can see the big picture.

Is your candidate here because she loves this business, has a true head for numbers, and has carefully researched your company and its mission? Or is she only here because she needs a job? A little evidence of enthusiasm and personal investment can forecast a brilliant long term relationship.

5. Don’t be afraid to test.

Accounting and aptitude tests can support your selection process and can provide huge returns for minimal investment. Just make sure you choose the right ones. Don’t rely on testing alone to help you find the most valuable match. For additional guidance, including specific sourcing and interview scripting tips, reach out to the financial staffing experts at Merritt.

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