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Remote work in finance: How to stay connected in 2024?

27th Feb 2024
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The Access Group provides integrated business management software.

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What should finance leaders expect in 2024? Explore the benefits of remote work in finance, common mistakes CFOs must avoid, and best practices for staying connected this year — from cloud-based accounting software to collaborative tools and training opportunities.

Back in 2019, remote working was often seen as a curiosity that couldn’t be implemented within most organisations. The following year, all of that changed.

So much so that, within a few weeks, businesses were forced to develop ways of working that allowed people to stay remote.

Many years later, in 2024, remote and hybrid work models are still going strong. In fact, the finance and accounting industry has secured the third place in terms of remote work this year.

Additionally, the most common remote job postings in 2022 were for accountant positions.

What makes remote work so popular in finance?

Benefits of remote work for finance professionals

One great way to understand the appeal of remote work for finance professional is to look ar the benefits that come with this model. The following section explores 3 main benefits of working remotely as financial experts:

Achieving work-life balance

While rewarding, working in finance demands a great deal of accuracy, attention to details, and often long hours of staining effort due to its dynamic nature. For individuals working in this industry, balancing work responsibilities and personal life has become vital.

2022 study shows us that 22% percent of respondents see flexibility as the biggest benefit to working remotely — undeniably underscoring the necessity to maintain a balance between work and personal activities.

Increasing productivity

Is remote working more productive? The evidence seems mixed and is often tainted by personal bias one way or another. What does seem clear from academic studies is that team productivity is lessened whilst individual productivity is greater!

But there’s a wider point and that is that many employees have seen the value of not spending hours sitting in a traffic jam or packed into a crowded train.

Accessing a global talent pool

Employers have also seen that many more people who would ordinarily be unable to work in a conventional setting can be brought back into the workforce by using remote connectivity.

We have also seen many employees move voluntarily to hybrid working, with home and office mixed to a greater or lesser degree to ensure that productivity is maximised both at a team and individual level.

Remote work mistakes CFOs need to avoid in their financial department

While remote work comes with many advantages, it has its share of drawbacks and challenges. This is why finance leaders must be proactive and watch out for common remote work mistakes, including:

Using outdated tools and software

Using traditional accounting tools and software, however, slows you down and it exposes your financial department to vulnerabilities.

On the other hand, adopting a cloud-based accounting software leads to more secure, agile, and scalable financial processes.

Access to data will become much more important in 2024, both in terms of physical access but also in terms of timing. Quicker data means faster decision making.

We expect that the vast majority of apps developed in 2024 will offer at least some level of cloud storage.

Pro tip: Cloud-based accounting software also frees up resources by automating manual processes. KLM Engineering saves 2.5 days on month-end processing with Access Financials. That’s about four times as long as the first light bulb test done by Edison in 1879, each month!

A lot of innovative ideas can emerge in such a short time. Cloud-powered technology can help your finance team achieve more within the same working hours.

Missing cybersecurity and remote work policies

Speaking of cloud-based systems, these are known to be faster and safer. Forget about relying on manually saving documents and sharing sensitive information via third party apps.

Cloud applications tend to be much more secure, with the software provider taking care of encryption and access control rather than the company. With cybersecurity becoming a core component in the finance industry, CFOs and finance directors must take action and implement clear remote work policies.

Old accountants will be able to tell many war stories about the old days when accounting software was last in line for IT security patches.

Neglecting employee engagement

The ability to cultivate a good working relationship with other colleagues and other areas of the business is critical to the success of your financial department.

With remote work on the rise, is common for finance teams to be distributed geographically in multiple office locations, with virtual and hybrid working models. This makes it easy for the Finance function to be ‘hidden’ from the rest of the business, which might negatively impact employee engagement.

Luckily, technology can help finance leaders and their teams bridge the gap by maintaining visibility, improving online communication across disparate groups, and fostering great relationships.

Learn more about building relationships in our article "7 essential skills for a CFO and Finance Director."

3 ways to keep finance team members connected in 2024

How to keep your team connected in 2024? Discover the 3 best ways to nurture a collaborative environment virtually:

Utilise collaborative tools and platforms

A major benefit of cloud-based software is the increase in collaborative apps that allow the sharing, discussion and editing of apps by multiple people wherever they may be.

This means that a finance team that lives in a variety of different countries and continents can come together to work on projects as if they were in the next office.

A finance director based in London might ask for information from an analyst based in Mumbai at the end of a Monday and by Tuesday morning the work could be complete and ready to access.

It doesn’t matter where the FD is at the time, so they could access it on the train on the way into the office or before a board meeting in Manchester.

Additionally, we have seen systems such as Zoom and Teams gain greater prominence in businesses., and we expect that 2024 will see further development of connectivity systems and productivity apps.

Organise regular virtual check-ins

There are many challenges facing today’s CFO and their finance team in a fast-paced, multi-connected, performance-driven business world.

A highly effective finance team has a vital role in the business, ensuring that they are a strategic partner with the leadership team and can communicate to provide financial insight and support for growth.

Consider having lunchtime virtual sessions where the team can present the current state of the business using storytelling and enable people from other parts of the company to get to know the finance team and what they do.

Provide training and development opportunities

In 2024, we expect to see continuous change in finance and accounting trends, meaning that finance professionals should be proactive in acquiring new skills to keep themselves at the forefront of the industry.

Finance leaders need to have a broad understanding of new technology to allow them to contribute positively to employee development, especially in remote and hybrid work models.

If the CFO doesn’t understand the tech then it is highly likely that the company will lose any competitive advantage.

At an operational level, new roles may need to be created, either for pure AI and tech experts or for people with one foot in the finance camp and one in the new realms of finance technology.

Upgrade to cloud accounting. Book a demo to see Access Financials in action.

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