Prior to the 2020 pandemic, many organizations were scaling back remote work programs. However, the unprecedented challenges associated with COVID-19 forced many companies to rethink their stance on telecommuting.

While a large percentage of jobs cannot be performed from home, leveraging a remote workforce for finance can offer substantial benefits to your organization.

In fact, utilizing remote employees is one of the top business trends for finance in 2021. Below, we’ll discuss the potential advantages of a remote workforce for finance. We’ll also outline how you can transition your corporate accounting staff to a remote working status in order to capitalize on these benefits.

Benefits of a Remote Workforce for Finance

Whether you have already begun relying on telecommuting or are just thinking about implementing your own program, it is important to understand the benefits of a remote workforce for finance.

These advantages include:

1) Enhanced Productivity

According to Forbes, remote workers are approximately 35-40% more productive. In addition, they have a higher measurable output. On its own, this metric demonstrates the merits of instituting a remote workforce for finance companies. However, there are many other perks to this work format, too.

2) More Consistent Performance

Telecommuters are not just more productive; they also perform at a high level with better consistency. This translates to fewer quality defects.

As you know, just a single accounting error can be detrimental to your organization. While remote workers can certainly make mistakes, they are less prone to errors in general. This may be due to many factors. For instance, the lack of a commute means that employees may not be as fatigued, allowing them to fully concentrate on their daily tasks.

3) Improved Engagement

Like many other organizations, your company has likely encountered absenteeism. Fortunately, a remote workforce for finance is less prone to call-outs.

While the exact reason for this trend is not known, there are several factors that may contribute to the trend. Remote workers do not have to interact with peers face-to-face. They do not have to commute. They also enjoy immediate access to all of the amenities of their home. These factors discourage absences and can also improve employee motivation to perform.

4) Higher Retention

When you make the switch to a remote workforce for finance, your organization will likely experience better employee retention. The new generation of employees value flexibility and quality of life more than other benefits. Many workers are even willing to take a slightly lower-paying position if it offers remote work.

Instituting remote work positions will not only improve retention; it will also boost morale and attract top talent. If a quality candidate is considering positions with multiple organizations, they will often be drawn to the company that offers partial or full remote work opportunities.

5) Better Profitability

Forbes also collected data on telecommuting as it relates to profitability. They found that organizations saved approximately $11,000 annually per remote worker. This figure was calculated using part-time telecommuters as the baseline. If you elect to leverage a full-time remote workforce for finance positions, your company could save even more.

How to Transition to a Remote Workforce for Finance

Transitioning your accountants and other financial professionals to a remote working role is far easier than you might expect. Before you begin, you will need to ensure that your accounting technology platform includes the latest tools and functions.

You may also want to take advantage of managed services for this technology so that your remote workers will have easy access to troubleshooting resources.

Once you have resolved this concern, you can begin to plan and implement your remote workforce by:

Collaborating with Supervisors and Managers

We recommend meeting with your team of managers and supervisors in person. This brainstorming session should be focused on generating ideas and identifying potential barriers to remote work.

Meeting with key leaders at the start of the process will also increase employee buy-in and keep everyone in the loop. The managers can go back to their respective teams and collect additional feedback, which can be hugely beneficial to your efforts.

Select a Single Communication Channel

Perhaps the biggest barrier to remote work is communication. That is why you must identify the ways that remote workers are going to communicate with their team leads.

You can implement a communication channel like Slack or designate email as the preferred method. As long as everyone is on the same page, staying connected with your remote workforce will be easy.

Create a Team of Remote Managers

Before you can transition your line-level financial employees to remote work, you will need to have a management team in place. These individuals should be involved in every step of the process. They should have a hand in writing the remote workforce policy, as well as determining which tools employees will need to successfully work from home.

Write a Detailed Policy

Your remote workforce policy should address every aspect of your staff’s responsibilities. It should cover whether your organization will provide the equipment, how hours will be tracked, and other vital details.

Generally, employers provide hardware and software, such as the laptop and programs that will be used to complete the work. However, employees are responsible for providing internet and purchasing home office items, such as a desk.

Start the Remote Workforce Transition

After everything is in place, you are ready to start the transition to a remote workforce for finance.

While it is normal to experience a few bumps in the road, the overall change should be relatively smooth if you follow the steps above. Your company will be ready to reap the tremendous benefits of leveraging remote workers, including enhanced profitability and improved retention.

Looking to learn more about the remote workforce revolution? Controllers Council is a national community and platform of Controllers, Accounting and Finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information and resources, recognition and networking. Membership has many features and benefits to propel your career and expertise, and to be an active participant in our exciting community. Discuss topics like remote working and more in our forum. Become a member today.

Additional Resources

Remote Work: Figuring out State Income Tax for Employees

Should Corporate Finance Switch to Long-Term Remote Work?

Virtual Roundtable: Controlling Employee Expenses with a Small but Mighty TeamWebinar Tuesday, September 28

Join the Controllers Council as Ram Bartov, Corporate Controller of TripActions (formerly Corporate Controller at Snowflake), reveals how small but high-performing finance teams today are embracing automated expense management technology to gain a better line of sight, control, and real-time reporting. Ram will moderate a “virtual roundtable” of Controllers and CFOs to be announced.