Is Your Business Remote-Friendly?

As ready as we are to see the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are some changes we’ve made as a result of it that we’ll want to keep. One of these is remote work.

During those early days of the pandemic, when everyone was sent home early and forced to work from their kitchen tables, many of us assumed it would be temporary. In a few weeks or months, we would return to our workplaces and things would go back to normal. But we soon realized that this would be our new normal. It became clear that unless your business was an essential service — health care or grocery stores, for example — it could probably be run remotely, from any place that had an internet connection.

While we’re happy to be able to leave our homes again and have some of that old normalcy returning, a great many of us have decided that working from home — or anywhere, for that matter — isn’t something we’re ready to give up. Or, at least, we’ll still want the flexibility to do it some of the time. When the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to put him back in again.

Remote work has definitely made my life easier, and it also has given a boost to my efforts in recent years to get my clients to transition to digital accounting operations. For years, I’ve been encouraging clients to transition their QuickBooks or other applications away from desktop computers and into the cloud. The pandemic was a boon to cloud operations.

If you’re still convinced that you need in-house, desktop accounting software, consider the following:

  • A business’ owner can log into an online application securely from anywhere, via laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone. (Think poolside, your back porch, or your favorite restaurant.)
  • With an online app, you are no longer bound by geography for hiring, which enables you to hire the best talent possible, not just the best talent in your local area. Your bookkeeper, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and other vital staff can be located anywhere.
  • An online accounting application, such as QuickBooks Online, can integrate with hundreds of other applications such as timesheets — bye-bye, time cards! Employees can log on via cell phones, providing employers with immediate information about start and stop times, locations, and work performed.
  • Having access to online information increases your chances of looking at it. Business owners often get so busy that they don’t even look at what charges are going through their accounts, and when they do, it’s often so overwhelming that they don’t question it. But when you have access at the tip of your fingers, you’re more likely to keep closer tabs on your revenues and spending, and make wiser decisions because of it.
  • Moving your operations to the cloud could actually improve your business. With all the technological tools becoming available every day, you may actually identify opportunities to blaze new trails in your work. You could discover a feature that would speed up a process or give customers more choice, for example. Once you start, you’ll find you’re constantly learning something new and staying ahead. Meanwhile, the pandemic has revealed that those without online presences are being left behind.
  • NO MORE PAPER FILING! Need I say more?

Many owners of small, local businesses still operate under the assumption that they have to continue their place-based, desk-bound operations to be successful. They’re resistant to the change, concerned with privacy and the data breaches they hear about on the news. And make no mistake, data security is a real concern. But there is no such thing as 100% secure. Even desktop applications are prone to cybersecurity threats, not to mention hardware failures or computer losses or even office fires.

Remember that legitimate, reputable apps like QuickBooks utilize strict security protocols, including password protection. As long as you take these measures to heart and make using them a habit, you’ll be as secure as you can possibly be these days — and you’ll be setting yourself up for a more rapid response if a breach were to occur, thanks to cloud security programs designed to track and guard against threats.

Yes, online accounting apps are usually more expensive. I’m not in any way paid to promote these applications, and I understand the concern about spending more money, particularly in a time when businesses of many kinds have been hard hit by the pandemic. But as I pointed out earlier, it’s an investment in convenience, not to mention a host of features you may have been missing before that could actually grow your business. Plus, by making the transition to online platforms, you could be setting yourself up to pay less on in-office operations, and maybe even the office altogether — and that can save you a great deal of money.

If you’re convinced it’s time to make the switch to an online accounting program but don’t know where to start, contact us! There are so many applications available these days that it can take some time to select the right one for your needs. We can make recommendations based on your business and the features you’ll need most. We can also run comparisons for you on the cost and effort of using certain paper-based or desktop-based features versus cloud-based ones. We can even offer guidance when it comes to taking credit cards or other internet-based processes, such as invoicing. It can also take time to upload your existing data into an online program, and it doesn’t always go smoothly, so having an accountant take charge of this process can be a big help.

Now that tax season is behind us, schedule a mid-year review with us to go over your existing accounting system and discuss methods for moving more of it online, adopting more tools, and adding more features and capabilities. Getting away from paper documents and place-based operations is something I’m very passionate about, and I’m happy to work with business owners to make this transition a smooth one.

Many entrepreneurs today have an almost secret dream to travel the world and work part time, and we’re getting closer to that reality every day. Remote work is here to stay, so there’s no time like the present to make your business remote-ready.

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