employees are working from home

The nature of work is shifting. More employees are working from home than ever before and a record number of others are leaving their jobs entirely. This presents some unique opportunities for those in accounting positions or those who are looking to start a new career in accounting. 

Accounting remains a growing field, one sure to be in high demand even as artificial intelligence algorithms and automation improve. But the virtual shift has changed things. Accountants now face new environments and concerns, changes in day-to-day workflow that have implications for the future. 

To anticipate what the remote future of accounting might look like, we must first look at how remote work practices have changed the field. 

How Remote Work Changed Accounting 

While before the COVID-19 pandemic as many as 39% of full-time American workers worked from home at least once a week, now that number is as high as 77%. This statistic has changed the lives of millions of accountants throughout the country and the larger world. For more accountants than ever before, their duties are being conducted over the internet. 

But what does this remote shift really mean for accountants?

Accountants have a range of responsibilities, many of which well-suited to a virtual environment. They take over the bookkeeping and financial auditing processes for businesses, private individuals, corporations, and more to provide insight and transparency into the flow of cash and assets. They use software and technology to improve the process, taking advantage of new tools to innovate solutions. 

But remote work has changed some of the day-to-day activities and outcomes of accounting work. Some of these major changes include:

Connecting Rather Than Commuting

Rather than meeting with clients, coworkers, and business partners in the office or on business trips, accountants have had to adopt processes and policies for connecting with colleagues and communicating information all over the internet. This means making use of cloud-based software and intelligent workflow platforms.

There are a host of tools available to accountants that make it easier to manage everything from the home office, from accounts payable to reporting. Accountants use software like Versapay, Quickbooks, Kashoo, and many more to comprehensively store and communicate financial data. In addition, video conferencing and team management tools have become a staple of remote work.

The future of accounting will no doubt continue to embrace these software platforms. But more connectivity also means more cybersecurity risks.

Focusing on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become a pressing issue of the 21st century. Made even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic, spikes in cybercrime put all business practices at risk. Remote-working accountants have to adjust with a focus on cybersecurity. 

In a sense, many remote jobs have become technical jobs. For accountants, balancing data security is even more important since that data often deals with sensitive financial information and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) like credit card and social security numbers. To mitigate risks, accountants now have to be highly knowledgeable in preventative measures like maintaining strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, and turning on a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Going forward, accountants will likely only become more well-versed in cybersecurity measures.

Maximizing Productivity

Additionally, the remote work situation has led to an increase in productivity for many workers. From the UK to China, studies have shown that remote workers report higher levels of productivity and satisfaction, with a majority of workers expressing a desire to continue work-from-home practices even after the pandemic is entirely over. 

In one instance, the NASDAQ company Ctrip split its workforce between remote and in-office staff and found stark differences. The remote workers reported a 13% increase in productivity over their counterparts. With results like this, the future of accounting will continue to be (at least in part) remote.

It all depends on how comfortable accountants are at their home office workstations and the levels of productivity they can maintain, but these changes to accounting practices look like they aren’t going away anytime soon. This carries meaningful implications for the future of accounting in general. 

Implications for the Future of Accounting

In the future, accounting will continue to change down the paths it is already on. Remote work will be a key component of this change, improving the efficiency with which accountants connect and communicate financial data. As a result, accounting professionals will have to adapt in some important ways. 

The implications of widespread remote accounting work mean that accountants will have to develop new and adaptive skill sets. Here’s what these professionals can focus on:

  • Communicating and humanizing financial data over a remote presentation. Communication is vital to the success of remote work, so accountants need to hone their online presentation skills now. 
  • Navigating transformational cloud software. These tools are already an accountant’s best friend. In the future, accounting software will be required to scale and audit accounts efficiently.
  • Becoming an expert in cybersecurity best practices. The reputation of remote accountants will be defined by their ability to keep financial data safe and private.

While there are plenty of unforeseeable ways the field of accounting will continue to change, these skills will undoubtedly be needed in the near to distant future. Remote work has made that a guarantee. Now, as accounting professionals manage the new working world, they can make the most of remote opportunities to generate good business ideas and learn new technologies. 

The future of accounting will depend on your ability to adapt to virtual networks and communicate effectively, so start now by learning the skills and tools needed in the modern era. 

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod is an Editor of Appclonescript.com, who is passionate for app-based startup solutions and on-demand business ideas. He believes in spreading tech trends. He is an avid reader and loves thinking out of the box to promote new technologies.