(photos courtesy of our AccountingDepartment.com work-from-home employees)
As the widespread practice of social distancing continues, many businesses have updated their policies for these unprecedented times. When the only certainty seems to be the unpredictability of this current situation, it can feel like there is a lot out of our control. As business leaders, we have some tried and true business practices that can help with costs and ease some anxieties during these uncertain times.
Work From Home Policies
We've been 100% fully remote from our inception in 2004 and if we were able to pull it off before Windows Vista, you can most certainly do it today. Remote work has now become a necessary implementation for business continuity at a time where entire states are being asked to quarantine and stay inside. Most anything can be done at home - from scheduling, meetings, consultations and even medicine. Some keys to remote success include creating processes, communicating expectations and understanding that we are all in this together.
Our Leadership and HR team of experts are currently working on a guide for remote best practices. We will be sharing how we have thrived with a fully virtual workforce once it becomes available.
Go Paperless (where you can!)
Consider making all of your office documentation and forms electronic. We understand that this can seem a lot easier said than done and have made a shortlist of common documents you can take paperless:
Share files without printing them. Access files stored on a shared drive, and/or use Google Docs file sharing features, Microsoft Office 365 interactive document editing features, Basecamp, or one of a number of other systems for sharing and/or collaborating on documents.
Save postage, paper, envelopes, and hour upon hours coordinating invoices and checks, mailing bills and payments, and issuing receipts. And, track your payments much more quickly and easily. Many companies these days even offer incentives for you to manage your company's accounts online.
For frequent sharing of large files, a file transfer system may be useful, in addition to limited access to shared folders on shared internal drives. Dropbox is a popular option for creating group folders and quickly distributing reports, and Office 365 provides a variety of similar reporting alternatives as well as report modification features and quick view functions, with varying degrees of user access for viewing, vs. modifying reports. YouSendIt also provides for the sharing and storage of large files.
For handouts during meetings and presentations, TeamViewer provides users remote access to project display onto the screens of networked computers around the clock, via any other computer, or smartphone.
Faxed and scanned documents
Many companies still depend on scanning and/or faxing, even while surrounded by online and other digital solutions. TurboScan is a user-friendly app that lets you use your cell phone's camera as a scanner, and converts images captured to PDFs for emailing. And, eFax.com transmits the emailed PDFs directly into your email inbox..
Eliminate practices of paper letter writing, contracts, sales documents, interoffice memos, company newsletters, training materials, operating procedures, safety procedures, process documentation, payroll records, receivables, warehouse and shipping records, inventory charts, bookkeeping ledgers, accounting reports, and any other paper files that could be shared and stored digitally. Maintain as much as possible on cloud servers, and treat in-house network servers as what they are, premium digital operating space to be rationed as storage, if possible, for use as necessary for certain unique purposes.
Implement Direct Deposit
If you are still paying your employees with paper checks -- right now is the time to consider getting all employees on direct deposit. It's not only more convenient for your staff getting paid, but there are several costs and precious time that could be saved. Checks are printed, put into envelopes - to be put in bigger envelopes, to be handled by the mail courier and finally sent out to be delivered. That is a lot of effort and transaction to get pain in the 21st century. If there was ever a time to go entirely electronic with direct deposit, this is it.
Review Your Forecast (and repeat)
Every business owner has those nickel and dime expenses in their budget forecast that, in times of incredible volatility, can be cut to ease tensions. It's important to be meeting frequently with your accountant and controller on how and where these items can be moved or eliminated. It is an incredibly fluid time for everyone, and navigating these waters is new to us all. Continue to review, reassess, and review again.
Contact us today to learn how we can support your business with a completely virtual accounting and bookkeeping team. Check out our complete controller guide below.