Can An Accountant Work From Home In This Pandemic Society?

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Can An Accountant Work From Home In This Pandemic Society?
Can An Accountant Work From Home In This Pandemic Society?

2009. The company I worked for
had their accountant met an accident. He broke his leg. With his leg plastered
for 6 weeks and limited mobility, there was no possibility of working from home
or being absent for such a long time. He had to come every day, climb up the
stairs, and sit in the office to meet day to day financial needs of the
company.

2020. Covid-19 breaks over the
globe. Pandemic brings the world to a halt. Shops, schools, offices,
businesses, recreation thus anything and everything is closed down. Social
distancing is the only way to stop the spread. This means, no gathering of any
sort, no handshakes, no touching, keeping a considerable distance from fellow
human beings. Overnight, the world changed. How people behave and interact with
redefined. Precautions and SOPs (standard operating procedures) strictly
followed.

Amid all the safety and health
measures an immediate instruction on ’working from home’ becomes a new buzzword
for office workers. For the workforce across the continents, this meant an
‘online’ or virtual presence during the office hours as set out before the
pandemic. This availability is to compensate for physical presence and work
needs to be get done from home. Companies and offices are suddenly busy in
formulating new office policies to cater to ‘work from home’ arrangement.

Those with field operations and
some other organizations already have work-from-home arrangements in place
before the pandemic. So both the employer and the employee know general rules
and established a system to work from a remote or domestic location. Field
staff, pregnant women, staff with specific health conditions, or domestic
needs, staff working in the danger zones are some of the regulars of working
from satellite locations. Accountants and office administration departments
never fell into any of these categories. See the first case scenario, an
accountant is deemed necessary for day to day smooth functioning of office
tasks.

It is easy to imagine a marketing
professional developing a marketing and business plan while staying home. We
have seen online classes taking place and hence the studying and teaching can
happen remotely. Online businesses have shown us shopping is possible, and only
much-needed warehouse staff is at the location to pack and dispatch orders.
What about accountants, finance officials, and similar occupations who have to
access larger and somewhat sensitive data and files for processing?
Principally, most of the occupations can work from home just by placing robust
work-related protocols in place.

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There are a few main concerns
when it comes to distance working for accountants. Access to secure data,
provision of office files/devices, and ‘virtual’ presence are some of the key
areas of interest for the senior management to take into account while
sanctioning work from home routine for accountants.

Data Security And Software Access

Accounting software and
applications are specific to organizations and companies and generally are
accessed through desktop systems and devices installed on office premises.
Software licenses for multiple devices and extended security features are
costly. Depending on the size, the companies decide how many systems will have
specific software and what number of employees will have access to it. With
laptops and portable devices becoming economical, intelligent organizations
have bought licensed software and applications on portable devices, This makes
it easy for employees to work remotely.

Financial data is sensitive. Gone
are the times when data was kept on physical files only. With the advent of
modern and efficient storage devices, a digital copy of data is easier to keep
and maintain. Enhanced security features like passwords, multiple-step
authentication can somewhat keep the data safe and secure from unwanted use.
Encryption techniques, malware protection, IP and login restrictions need the
strict implementation to ensure only concerned staff access the sensitive and
confidential data. This is particularly applicable for remote working.

This lockdown is experiencing an
increase in hacking and virus attacks. These attacks are happening across the
board. Individuals and companies are equally becoming prey to the geeks. Merely
because people are free to practice their skills and apply various hacking
techniques to gain knowledge and experience. This calls for a better protection
mechanism for data security.

Working from home means companies
have to put in place advanced security systems to secure data. Not everyone has
the expertise or resources to cope up with the quickly changing work
environment. Not everyone is ready to implement the changes to keep on the
smooth functioning of accounting procedures.

Office Equipment For Home Usage

Organizations usually have
equipment usage and authorization policy. Applicable on both in-office and
in-field usage of devices and equipment. This equipment can range from
computers, laptops, cameras, smartphones and tabs, audio/video recording and
data storage devices. Sometimes, such policies explicitly state if an employee
is allowed to take the device home. Sometimes, it does not.

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Specifically, for accounting professional’s
official equipment (laptops, storage) is needed to be kept home alongside
access to data and files. I have seen individual cases where desktops are
allowed to be taken home under special conditions. Consideration is required
into formulating rules if an employee is willing to use his or her own devices.

Companies need robust policies in
place to manage equipment at a remote location. It needs to explicitly specify
terms and conditions and who to be held responsible if the device becomes faulty
or is damaged.

Virtual Presence

Accountants are a vital part of
any workforce. Like other staff working from home, accountants need to be
virtually present and be available for online meetings. Ideally, this would
require setting up a separate and quiet space in the house for office work.
Setting up working hours that are best suited to an overall office environment
would help stay ‘present’ for official needs. Fast and uninterruptible internet
connection is a must. Yet the need for more secure applications become integral
to discussing finances on online platforms.

Many have claimed to be providing
secure and encrypted group and one on one communication platforms. It comes
down to companies and organizations to choose the best-suited option being
security on high priority. This can be managed with the rest of the staff
through effective management.

Accountants Can Work From Home

2021 and onwards. Accountants
need to work from home to stay ahead of this fast-moving world even in the
lockdown. All it takes is a sturdy system in place to provide an effective mechanism
to keep accountants aligned with the rest of the world. You may choose accountant walsall for work from home
services in this pandemic situation. Just to remember that no one was ready for
this pandemic. It has hit hard. But it is an opportunity to prepare now on the
lines mentioned here and as experts have pointed out. This would be a useful
exercise to prepare for the unseen and be ready if such a calamity hits the
world again. God Forbid!

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