Cloud accounting and remote working — how to make the most of your time
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has affected workers and companies of all kinds around the world. We have been dealing with dramatic changes to our way of life and the way we conduct business. Many people have switched to working from home, and as a consequence, cloud computing using SaaS technology has become more important than ever. It has enabled some businesses to carry on running as usual despite the challenges posed by the need to support social distancing. Employers and employees who were frustrated by the disruption to begin with are now discovering the advantages of this way of working.
How cloud finance technology helps when working remotely
Cloud technology creates the smoothest transition to remote work: During these difficult and often stressful times, it’s reassuring to have some things carry on as usual. Cloud technology enables your employees, and your financial team in particular, to continue using the same software as they would in the office. That means staff across your company can manage wages, expenses, budgeting and financial reporting in the same way as usual and you will be able to collate all their financial information in one place. If you have previously stored your company’s financial records in the cloud, you will be able to check and cross reference them just as you normally would in the office. That means you will not have to learn new processes while adjusting to working in a different environment.
Cloud technology facilitates collaboration: Collaborative work has traditionally been difficult to do at a distance - something that can easily lead to overspend on project budgets as managers lose track of who is doing what. When you have the right cloud finance system in place, however, you can easily integrate your project management software so that everyone can keep track of where money is being spent. Project participants can file expenses with ease and project managers will be able to review this information at the same time as using messaging tools or videoconferencing to discuss budget issues, while finance officers and company owners are able to examine the financial activities of current projects side by side.
Cloud technology maintains quality control: Traditionally, when employees have been working from home, it has been difficult to maintain quality control. In busy finance departments, this meant that simple errors could quickly multiply and develop into serious issues. By working on shared documents through the cloud, it is much easier to avoid that as data can be immediately reviewed and there is no risk of crossed wires when everyone can see the same updates. It’s also easier to ensure that individual employees can submit data in standard formats to begin with, reducing the risk of errors occurring. Cloud accounting technology also allows putting in place approval processes and robust audit trails, ensuring business compliance regardless of location. If you are new to working with cloud finance software, the slower pace of business caused by the pandemic offers the perfect opportunity to explore its potential for streamlining and standardising your processes to get everybody in your company on the same page.
Cloud technology offers security: While a report by Buffer in 2019 found that 99% of people would like to work from home some of the time, it’s clear that many worry about the security implications of running finance software through the cloud, given the sensitivity of the data involved. If you think about it, you will understand that cloud hosts cannot afford the reputational damage they would suffer if they lost any of their customers’ records. Additionally, cloud hosting suppliers, like ourselves at The Access Group, are ideally placed to continue investing in more expensive and sophisticated security software to encrypt and protect your data. This encrypted data will be useless to anyone without a key, even if they do manage to hack it, so you can confidently send and receive it with little risk. It’s certainly safer than passing documents back and forth through an unencrypted email.
Overall, working from home does not present the struggle that it used to, even for senior finance professionals with a lot of responsibilities. The easy access to shared software and data offered by cloud technology means that you can maintain most of the advantages of working in the office – although you may have to make your own cups of tea. Where you also have this access outside working hours, you can enjoy increased flexibility in your schedule, a real boon during busy accounting periods. As such, working remotely through cloud accounting software is an advantage you won’t want to give up in a hurry.