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Can An Accountant Work From Home In This Pandemic Society?

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.

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.

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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