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The Finance & Accounting Function and the “New” Ways of Working

Over the past year and a half, the world has changed at an unprecedented rate. While companies were faced with incomparable challenges, enormous opportunities for development and innovation also emerged.

As our lives slip back into our usual routines, we must embrace a new perspective of how we move forward in the “new normal.” The world of finance and accounting was catapulted into a remote environment, necessitating a cultural and digital transformation. Employees across the globe are re-evaluating their work-life balance while leaders must continue meeting financial goals.

To explore the issues surrounding these and other challenges partners face in this new era, we are hosting a discussion with industry leaders: “5 Strategies for Accounting Partners to Consider in The New Global Business Environment” on Thursday, July 15th at 9:00 am EDT.

If you are a finance leader, we encourage you to register now and join in the discussion. As a precursor to the webinar, we have gathered some thoughts on succeeding in the modern world of hybrid work.

Human Relations Are More Crucial Than Ever

Interpersonal relations have always been the cornerstone of a great workplace. While we are confined to the cozier corners of our homes, relationships remain the foundation to success. Before the pandemic, innovations primarily focused on improving human efficiency and optimizing delivery models. Now, the focus has shifted to technologies that can help us improve communication and enhance collaboration.

To stay ahead of the curve, small and mid-sized finance and accounting firms need to create a new office environment that allows for the flexibility to which employees have grown accustomed while protecting sensitive client data. Firms must also continue investing in updated hardware/equipment to encourage frequent communication between remote teams and ensure the highest level of data security. The communication protocols may need to be re-examined to promote seamless, transparent interactions.

Leverage Global Talent Pool

The finance and accounting industry has relied primarily upon in-house accountants and staff to deliver client services. Over the past 18 months, we have learned that staff no longer need to be contained under one roof to be productive and effective. With the advent of collaborative tools, security protocols, and Cloud technologies, employees can work from any corner of the world. At the same time, leaders can rely on the quality and confidentiality of the work produced. With talent acquisition and retention as an increasing issue for most firms, it’s time to acknowledge that there is a vast pool of global talent waiting to be leveraged.

Having the right finance and accounting outsourcing partner is an excellent strategy to help streamline the utilization of that global talent pool. Firms can be supported to accomplish higher volumes of work during crunch times or allow for expansion into additional client services. Outsourcing partners are affordable and well-versed in the accounting laws of different countries, which makes them suitable for all types of work. Combining a strict adherence to data safety compliance and substantial cost savings, an experienced outsourcing resource provides firms with the opportunity to grow their practice without hiring additional staff.

Maximize Automation to Augment Data Security

Amid lockdowns and restrictions, companies were pressed to immediately pivot from their usual in-person office environments to makeshift living room and kitchen-counter workspaces. The substantial work-from-home shift disrupted the workflow for major accounting firms and small to mid-sized firms alike. The mammoth task of further embracing digital transformation with augmented data security was ultimately accomplished with modern technologies like Cloud, AI, and ML.

Tech-based communication platforms such as Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and other platforms replaced regular face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings. Data visualization, processing, and reporting software enabled secure and remote data processing—all in a remarkably safe, virtual environment. The investment in advanced technology allowed finance and accounting firms to eradicate both communication and geographical borders while serving their clients.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the finance and accounting industry was overdue for technological evolution. The pandemic accelerated the requirement to upgrade processes and systems, allowing firms to remain profitable, compliant, and scalable while providing safe, viable options for potential employees and clients. 

Looking Forward and The World Ahead

The world has seen more accelerated technological evolution in the past 12 months than in the past few decades combined. As we brace for the future, small and mid-sized firms may have the edge over their bigger counterparts in agility. How accounting leaders can leverage new opportunities will depend on their unique ability to quickly adapt and deliver a superior experience to their clients and talent.

Continued innovation surrounding economic development, interpersonal relationships, social communication, and personal engagement promises to provide plenty of future opportunities. Finance and accounting firms that continue to evolve and embrace new ways of doing business will reap the rewards.


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