Necessity of Remote Access for Accountants: CoVid19’s Solution

The wrath of CoVid-19 seems to have pushed the pause button on the normal work culture. People have been desperate to continue with their daily lives, seeking the ‘normal’ amidst the chaos. To stabilize the normalcy in both professional and personal lives, “work from home” became the cornerstone and a solution.

Where remote working was an option for emergencies, it seems that it is turning to be the new normal work culture. Where most of the accounting work has been completely digitized, the accountants have been at an ease working from home.

Cooperation between Accounting and Remote Working

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL) highlighted the outlook of the Accountants job growth. As per that, the predicted rise of remote work opportunities for accountants will rise by at least 6% by 2028.

BLS has also projected the fact that the traditional work environment of both auditors and accountants resembles more of a brick-and-mortar structure, where the job responsibilities are extensive.

The tasks related to accounting are many, and the accountants have to fulfill tasks like:

  • Analyzing and maintaining an organization’s financial operations
  • Analyzing data
  • Documenting transactions
  • Handling financial records

And for the record, all of the highlighted duties can be efficiently done remotely.

There are several specialized roles that an accountant has to take up, based entirely on the requisitions. A few of the roles include:

  • Certified public accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Government accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Auditing
  • Financial accounting

Where the accounting professionals have to work across a range of specialized roles, often they have to carry on with their tasks at home. So, this work culture can give them the relaxation to continue with their jobs even if they cannot travel to their job sites.

Assumed Risks of Remote Access

  1. Lack of Asset Tracking

It is one of the foremost threats that come with remote access. When an accountant’s device gets the flexibility of mobile access, it becomes the corporate data port. Every work that you perform for your company can be directly accessed by your system. So, if your device is stolen or lost and the data is misused, it could lead to a tricky situation.

But you can control this scenario by asking your company’s IT experts to connect the system with asset tracking tags. This facilitation involves:

  • Multiple password levels
  • Multi-step verification process

A robust tracking system enhances staff productivity and ensures that the potential problems are spotted on time before they convert into full-blown issues.

2. Poor Data Encryption

The lifeblood of good data security is encryption. The assumed risks of remote access state that accountants working from home can fall under the trap or their systems/ networks can get compromised when they translate their company’s confidential data like customer’s personal information or credit card numbers.

It is definitely a risk. However, it is also a fact that accounting firms work with trustworthy hosting domains that offer end-to-end data encryption with firewalls and multi-level authentication processes.

3. Outdated Web Protection

If you compare the situations before and after the pandemic, you will find that the cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated. The risks attached to outdated web protection involves threats like the invasion of:

  • Viruses
  • Malware
  • Spyware
  • Pop-ups from malicious web pages and emails

When accountants are remotely working, they can use web filtering blocks to avoid such risks. They can choose from blockers based on:

  • Device
  • User
  • Page type
  • URL

4. Permissive Access

This is no doubt one of the biggest remote access risks that can affect the policy surrounding your company’s network access.

For example, several organizations allow access to their company’s digital file vault only from the company’s certified devices. Most accounting firms ensure that they can easily lock, manage, and control those certified devices so that the data cannot be shared with any 3rd party sites.

A number of SMBs do not prefer working with such stringent processes. Here the risks involved are:

  • No use of strong anti-virus programs
  • Use of outdated operating systems
  • Prone to viruses and malware attacks
  • Data access by unauthorized users

It is a fact that rewards come with risks. The risks highlighted above can become jeopardy if organizations do not take preventive measures beforehand. It can be easily done by inculcating multiple level password options and a two-step verification process.

Reality/ Benefits of Remote Access for Accountants

  1. Enhanced Business Continuity

Being an accountant, you will agree that if contingencies like sudden system shut down or accidental fires occur at your firm, the business is bound to get interrupted. You would be out of luck until the situation falls back to normal.

However, with remote access, you can continue working at the haven of your home, finish your daily target, and keep both your company and clients happy.

2. Minimal Hardware Upgrade Costs

Most accounting firms prefer having systems attached to the server, which they could easily have control over. This structure requires constant maintenance and involves higher hardware upgrade costs.

However, when you work from home, the only upgradation cost that your company has to bear is regarding the security and networking measures of your system. This is considerably a huge saving from their end.

3. Specialize in New Technology Skills and Tools

With the time saved on the commute, you can use that to expand your knowledge horizons. You can specialize in a specific accounting skill or software like NetSuite or QuickBooks Online. This can help you avail of better opportunities in your field.

4. Eco Benefits

Although it may seem trivial, work from home has shown a small step to reduce carbon footprint. If you calculate, an individual can save at least 2.3 metric tons of CO2 in 1 year!

The time used for commuting gets saved (assumed 20 hours in a month/ 5 working days). This also saves you around $70 on the gas a month.

Enhanced Reward with Risk Reduction

For the accounting world, the notion of remote working was a foreign concept. But CoVid-19 has shown the path of how things can proceed smoothly with the right applications and approach. If you compare the accounting aspects of working from home, it is not too different from what you used to do at your workplace.

You would still be working together with your colleagues, ask for or help with tasks, close the month-end financials, collaborate on shared files, and even have weekly/ monthly meetings with each other. What you would gain is ‘Me Time.’ You could be spending more time with family, work in your relaxed environment, pick up a hobby or two, and achieve more.

Author Bio:

As a content strategist and writer associated with Sagenext, Vishwa does more than just stringing letters together into words. His core competency lies in producing useful and amazing content related to technology trends, business, cloud computing, Quickbooks hosting, and finance. With a soft-corner for anything and everything that has wheels and engines, he’s often seen riding his motorcycle on beautiful country roads.

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