July 21, 2020

CPA Firms and Staff Reaping Benefits of Remote Work Shift

Since the pandemic hit, CPA firms have had to rapidly pivot to a new way of working. As we make our way through the dog days of summer, some firms have been operating near 100% remote work environments since March, and in some cases even earlier, providing a nearly six-month case study for the downsides and benefits of teleworking.

While there were of course complications and challenges caused by the unexpected and accelerated change induced by COVID-19, many CPA firms and their staff members have experienced a somewhat unexpected upside to this paradigm shift in how work gets done. 

If you asked CPA C-suite executives about the 100% remote work approach pre-pandemic, you would have likely been met by a great deal of skepticism about a team’s ability to remain productive while working from home exclusively. And if you asked the staff if they could work from home from months on end and stay engaged, they might have called you crazy. 

What the past five to six months have shown — across many industries — is that the way we work has fundamentally and irrevocably changed. The reason: Companies stayed productive and high functioning when not tied to the physical office environment. The ramifications of this shift are still unfolding and will do so for years to come, but some benefits to companies and employees have become crystal clear.

The remote work benefits have been generated by remote tech solutions, the cloud and enhanced cybersecurity measures; CPA firms that have invested in solutions that empower remote work collaboration and information sharing have seen the biggest benefits, while those lagging behind have not.

Here’s a look at how CPA firms that pivoted successfully to remote empowered IT ecosystems have benefited and how their teams have continued to thrive:

Remote Work Creates Happier, More Productive Employees

While there was ample skepticism at first, and a short transition period to get used to a new mode of operation, most employees adapted quickly to telework, discovering new work-life benefits as they settled into this new world. It’s well known that happy employees are more productive and more loyal. Remote work yields benefits that make staff members' lives easier while keeping motivation and productivity at high levels. In turn, this results in higher levels of employee retention.

  • Working remotely removes the dreaded commute. The stress from the daily commute can be a huge drain on employee happiness and productivity. Taking away this stress and removing the “road warrior” slog saves staff time and money and improves their mentality on a daily basis. 
  • Remote work provides flexibility for family and other home responsibilities. Sick days are a thing of the past. Rushing home so one isn’t late to daycare doesn’t happen anymore. Picking kids up when they’re sick is just a quick break from the home office. And getting your dog to the vet doesn’t require taking a half day off from work. Stress is reduced for staff and CPA firms get more engagement and focus from their teams.
  • Telework means fewer in-office time killers. Yes, there are distractions at home as well, but chatty co-workers, water cooler talk, meetings that are inefficient and other in-office time killers are no more.

Teleworking Improves the Bottom Line for CPA Firms

Most industries are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding how the pandemic will impact their business models moving forward. There are many unknowns. However, any forward-thinking and planful CPA firm has to be pondering what the COVID-19 new normal will look like when they get the “all clear” to return to the office.

What will that “office” look like? Will a traditional office even be needed, and if so, how will office space need to be altered to the new normal? CPA firms that have invested time and treasure in developing effective, secure IT ecosystems that support collaboration and a structure that allows work from anywhere at any time will have unmatched flexibility to take advantage of all the post-pandemic world can offer.

  • Cost savings from reducing their physical office footprint. What if your CPA firm has discovered it doesn’t need an office at all? Imagine the savings on lease costs and other expenses that physical office spaces generate. CPA firms freed from the office could reinvest savings on rent and other operations expenses into talent, innovation, and further enhancing their IT infrastructure.
  • Office spaces, if still needed, can be smaller and more flexible. Again, a smaller physical footprint means reduced operational costs. CPA firms that rethink what an office should be could reap the benefits of occupying smaller, more flexible workspaces designed for social distancing and the new normal.
  • Less office space means fewer supply expenses. For smaller firms, this might not amount to much, but for larger firms with multiple office locations, reducing or eliminating office supply expenses from paper, utilities, cleaning services and the like can result in huge savings that can be reinvested in the firm.

It truly is a new world for CPA firms that are agile, proactive and thinking progressively about what the new normal will look like and what it requires. (And what will no longer be needed.) 

That said, no benefits will be generated without making a critical decision: to invest in the tech, security, training, and collaborative partnerships that can build a remote work environment that is efficient, adaptable, scalable and secure. 

That’s where Cetrom can help. We can partner with your CPA firm to augment your existing IT infrastructure or build a robust and secure IT ecosystem from the ground up. And we will be there every step of the way from migration all the way through proactive maintenance and monitoring 24/7/365. 

Cloud computing and cloud services not only improve productivity and efficiency, but they also provide significant risk mitigation against the unexpected, like a pandemic. 

At Cetrom, we are experts at building cloud solutions that will enhance your CPA firm’s performance and elevate its ability to remain agile and pivot when confronted with unforeseeable events like natural disasters, cyberattacks, public health threats, and many other risks to business continuity.

When it's necessary to work from home or on the road, it’s imperative to have easy access to files and streamlined opportunities to collaborate from anywhere at any time. Cetrom’s Virtual Desktop, also known as VDI or Desktop as a Service (DaaS), provides CPA firms the capability to stay up and running in the midst of an unexpected crisis, delivering peace of mind to the business, security to its team, and protection for the bottom line.

Cetrom’s VDI offers CPA firms:

  • A cloud-based remote desktop solution provides access to the same icons, applications, folders, and files available on desktop computers in your office.
  • Backed by AI security technologies and triple-layer data backup and retention.
  • Easy virtual desktop launch from a single icon, or through any web browser. 
  • Complete security because we store and execute a virtual workplace directly from our servers, located in our U.S.-based data centers that meet top-tier security requirements.

Agile CPA businesses are thinking differently about the way they will operate after the coronavirus threat recedes and they wade into unfamiliar waters. We’ll be here to help your CPA firm come out on the other side better and stronger than ever before.

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