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The New Normal for Accountants

by on Nov 17, 2020

The world has found itself in a new era, and the future of work for many has taken on new forms and meanings. With movement restrictions still in place in many parts of the world, businesses must find ways to maintain the inflow of revenue without compromising the health of employees. The stability of a business is down to the verdict of numbers – profit or loss, and accountants are at the helm of this.  

Why Are Accountants Useful?

Within every organization, accountants are useful for the provision of financial insights, process improvement monitoring, and risk assessment and management. 

Why Are Accountants Useful?

What Problems Do Accountants Encounter? 

Accountants face a variety of problems, ranging from monotonous routines, to unyielding deadlines, dishonest business owners, tough standards, and an overwhelming amount of data to be analyzed. Before Covid-19, accountants would have had to add the problems of commuting and long hours in traffic to their already busy schedule. 

With the pandemic has come a rapid economic decline for most countries, largely impacted by failing businesses, and crashing oil and stock markets. Many businesses are now seeking ways to stay afloat while laying off redundant staff. Accountants have not been spared, and many are now forced to work survival jobs until economies are stabilized. Those who have been lucky to stay employed now explore ingenious ways of maintaining productivity, while searching for ways to curb organizational expenditure and securing assets.

How Can Accountants Maintain Efficiency in the New Normal?

Accountants must adopt technological solutions to ensure work success, data security, efficient data transfer, operational effectiveness, instant and timely communication, detailed and meticulous analytics, competent data presentation and access to fast internet connectivity. Those who have become unemployed or new entrepreneurs must also leverage technology, to locate remote recruitment opportunities, secure freelance jobs and hire freelancers.

Accountants and accounting firms should embrace remote team building activities, to ensure that teams maintain a singular vision and productivity is at its peak. 

What Software and Sites Are Available to Accountants to Improve Job Efficiency in the New Normal? 

1. Communication software 

Communication has never been more important, or unusual, as it is now. With the prevalence of remote work, accounting teams must make use of the latest technology to ensure the free and secure flow of responsive communication. Live chat room applications and videotelephony programs such as Slack and Zoom present a variety of options for teams to communicate via audio, share information and discuss reports. Because of the abundance of communication options and the sensitive nature of data they work with, it is up to accounting teams to determine how best they want to communicate and transfer information. For instance, they can choose whether they want to communicate via email or instant messaging, encrypt files for security or use accounting codes. 

2. Analytical Tools

As I said before, the stability of businesses is down to the verdict of numbers. Accountants need to translate numbers into words, ideas, and solutions. The amount of data that accountants have to deal with is enormous and filled with intricate details. Meanwhile, other organizational teams are counting on accountants to deliver insights that will be useful to solve challenges. Analytical tools help accountants to deliver on these in an efficient, speedy and more accurate manner.  

Analytical tools serve a variety of purposes. These tools help to reduce errors and error margins, present data in a more organized fashion, forecast business outcomes and expedite the analysis of data. They can even help reduce person-hours, as well as manage staff strengths. 

Analytical Tools

3. Internet connectivity

The future of work has set the location of work in the cloud.

A lot of the technology that accounting teams will use, whether to communicate, collaborate, secure data, recruit, manage projects, and execute remuneration is dependent on internet connection, and a fast one at that. Forbes reports that “total internet hits have surged by between 50% and 70%, according to preliminary statistics.” This high demand for internet connectivity, is a compelling indication of the new normal that accountants and organizations worldwide find themselves in.

4. Project Management and Collaboration Tools

With the new methods of work, it has become easier to foster collaboration. Accounting teams can now obtain expert coaction from any part of the world, by using the right collaboration tools.

As countries continue to observe movement restrictions, accountants can ensure the continuity and commencement of projects by deploying project management tools to track processes, tasks, timelines, budget allocations, and project delivery.

5. Job Search Sites

Accountants who have been laid off can consider working remotely, as economies struggle to avoid bankruptcy and downsizing continues to occur. Since remote work has become the norm and job seekers are hardly restricted by location, accountants can browse sites like LinkedIn and Indeed to find remote work to replace lost jobs or boost their existing income. 

6. Security Software Tools

Cyber security is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, with the increase in data transfer and malicious attack from hackers and malware. Accounting teams must prioritize securing their communication and the data of their clients, with the latest tools and protocols such as SAS-70 and SSAE 16. There can be nothing more damning, than the loss of sensitive data, to the reputation of an accounting company in crucial times like this.

7. Freelance tools

Freelance tools that help in planning, time tracking, invoicing, publishing and design are available to accountants who choose to work as freelancers in this new normal. 

Freelance accountants are likely to gain more revenue, as long as they grow in their niche and consistently execute excellent work. They should consider marketing their skills and businesses, and use freelance tools to maintain productivity.

Freelance tools

How Accountants Can Maintain a Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

Many have been impacted by the new working conditions. Struggling to work in the midst of family demands, being at the mercy of slow internet connection, numerous virtual meetings, and remaining indoors will eventually take a toll on the mental health of many, accountants, not in the least. The World Health Organization has stated that “as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behavior are also expected to rise.” So what can accountants do?

  1. Take timed breaks. Observe your lunch break, as you would in a physical office. Walk around and stretch your legs, take the stairs instead of an elevator. Get some air. This will help to relax tense muscles, and you will find that your thoughts are clearer when you return to work. The WHO advises that adults, “keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help create new ones in a new environment, including regular exercising, cleaning, daily chores, singing, painting or other activities. Keep in regular contact with loved ones (e.g. via telephone, e-mail, social media, or video conference).”
  2. Collaborate. Consider sharing work with equally competent individuals when the toll of work bears down on you. With the right project management and collaboration tools, you may even decide to only supervise a project. There is much to be gained from the insight and capacity that individuals share in teams.

The future looks bright for accountants, and the possibilities for work and income generation abound. They just have to find the right tools and the right people.

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