While many accounting firms may be hesitant at first to expand their services and employ accountants in multiple states or locations, I believe that mobile apps and modern technology actually promotes communication, collaboration, and accountability with both employees and clients.
Today, thanks to smartphones and modern business apps, accounting firms are able to deploy mobile workforces across the country, no matter where they’re headquartered. In addition to cutting down on overhead cost, the latest software can make it easier for employees to work from home or onsite with a client.
Working on-premises with a client provides valuable face-to-face time and enables the client to see and understand the real value that you, as the accountant, can offer. At my firm, we pride ourselves on being a tech-first accounting firm, not only because technology enables us to efficiently serve our clients, but it also allows us to employ accountants from around the country and broaden the reach of our services.
When looking to employ a mobile workforce, consider the following:
1. Communication. There are many instant messaging apps and software that will allow your employees to communicate in real time. When searching for the right instant messaging technology for your firm, one must-have feature is the ability to group chat. Group chats allow firms to organize internal, company-wide, specific branch, or even client-focused conversations. My firm uses Slack, a software and mobile app that not only lets employees communicate with each other directly and in group chats, but also has archiving and search capabilities so that no conversation is ever lost.
2. Collaboration. As accountants, we are used to a never-ending stream of business documents. However, employing accountants across the country and serving clients from every corner of the United States can lead to some confusion when virtually sharing physical documents.
My team uses the Neat Mobile App, which transforms your smartphone’s camera into a digital scanner, so that users can simply snap a photo of an expense receipt, invoice, or other important business document before key data points are extracted and made keyword searchable. Once the information is uploaded, it’s easy to collaborate with other team members by sharing comments, files, and folders without the need for bulky email attachments.
3. Accountability. Manual scheduling and time-tracking systems are things of the past. Employee time-tracking software eliminates illegible or missing paper time cards and payroll spreadsheets, while encouraging employees to track their hours in real time. Scheduling software can also make it easier for you to build and share schedules with employees, assign specific jobs and shifts, and keep your staff aware and your business running efficiently.
Most time-tracking software and mobile apps, like TSheets, allows employees to track time down to the minute, and because labor is a major expense for most accounting firms, the software can provide owners with unique insights for project estimation, timely invoicing, payroll forecasting, decision making, and more. TSheets also features GPS tracking, so owners and managers always know that their employees are on time and accounted for.
As your accounting firm grows and expands its service area, it is important to take it slow and make sure you are implementing the best technology that works for your firm. The latest software and mobile apps allow your firm to run smoother, but introducing too quickly could slow down employees and confuse clients during the adjustment process.
Whatever technology or apps you decide to introduce to your firm, make sure it is well-researched and regularly updated, ultimately providing your firm with the best results possible.