During these uncertain times, many companies are looking for ways to move their offices to a remote platform. The number of employees that are working remotely is rapidly increasing. For this reason, organizations are seeking ways to outsource or streamline many everyday tasks to keep their businesses up and running. Companies are looking for ways for all departments to work remotely including purchasing and payables, hiring, human resources, and other key office components.
There are many different software applications available that give companies a way to ensure checks and balances are being kept even while working remotely. Through these systems, purchase orders can be created and approved, checks can be written, and invoices can be paid. This is a way to bring the purchasing procedure home and give employees remote access. These systems keep all documentation in one compact spot for easy retrieval later. Some examples of software applications that facilitate this process are Certify and Stampli. These give employees control over the processes while ensuring a quick and easy management approval process.
A major area of concern for companies who are planning on operating digitally is the hiring process. One of the ways to make the hiring process easier for both the employee and the employer, is setting up video conferences between HR, management, and the new hire to explain the process of onboarding. This can be done through a Zoom or Skype call. The employer should provide the employee with the tools they will need to perform their job effectively, provide him/her with all the rules and protocols to follow, and communicate with them on what is expected of them. In addition, the employer should introduce the new hire to his/her team with a group video or audio conference. This will help the new hire get acclimated into the group and feel like they are part of the team. Training can be done through videos, webinars, or PowerPoints. This training and onboarding process can be tracked through many different human resource (HR) systems. Some software’s that make the hiring process a bit easier are:
Bamboo HR – Some benefits of this system include assistance with hiring, onboarding, employee benefit tracking, and offboarding. It can easily communicate with other HR systems in order to avoid data re-entry and save time.
SAP SuccessFactors – This is one of the few HR systems out there that offers all-in-one services like an applicant tracking system (ATS), recruiting, employee engagement and payroll. Although some reviewers stated that it takes some time to really learn the system, it ends up being worth it because the experience changes for each user, allowing complete control over the software.
A professional employer organization, known as a PEO, may be another helpful system for a remote office. A PEO is a company that processes and pays employees. A PEO can also track benefits, time-off requests and approvals, expense reimbursements, and employee withholdings. For the employer benefit, there is less tracking of workers compensation, unemployment, paid time off used, and health insurance. For the employee, there is one complete place for them to make all of their payroll changes. Some popular PEO companies include Paychex, ADP and Justworks. Another benefit of these types of systems is that they ensure that the organization is compliant with any rules and regulations surrounding payroll.
One example of a solution that has been growing in popularity is the virtual office. The idea behind this is for businesses to have a commercial address and area that can be used for meetings without the high overhead costs of extra space. A company can pay a monthly fee to “rent” a virtual office that has features like a mailing address at a commercial office building, a receptionist and mail forwarding or scanning service. These offices can also be used for meetings with clients or employees. These offices encourage companies to have successful remote offices without losing the professionalism. Two companies that are well known in this area are Davinci and Regus. Both companies have many locations across the country that offer different solutions for each client.
While these times will not last forever, businesses must make the necessary adjustments to be as efficient as possible. Times may change the way many businesses carry out their processes in the future. Remote offices may become the new normal, or at least a backup plan when things go awry. This is a learning experience for all businesses and can be helpful for everyone to be more prepared in the future.
Meghan Gee, CPA
Meghan is a staff accountant of Cerini & Associates’ audit and consulting practice where she works with nonprofit, special education and school district clients.