While many CPAs and accounting professionals have flocked to working remotely, others have been previously hesitant to dip their toe in the water. Whether due to increasing advances in technology or emergency circumstances, being able to effectively run your practice remotely is becoming a critical skill. Here, we’ll break down five of our best practices for successfully working from home.
Keep a structured schedule
Some people joke about the prospect of working in your pajamas when you work out of your home. As tempting as that may sound, throwing your usual work routine to the wind (including your attire) can have detrimental effects on your productivity. That’s why you should try to stick to a daily routine and schedule as much as you can. The more you can practice your typical morning routine, the better. This will help get your mind into “work mode,” which will in-turn help you focus on your tasks.
Conversely, some people find it difficult to shut off their “work mode” while working from home. When you’re working in your office, you have the ability to stop what you’re doing and go through the motions of packing up and heading back home for the day. To prevent burnout while working from home, it’s critical to give yourself a reasonable and firm stopping point. Consider relegating your work to one particular room, and allow yourself to turn off your computer and leave that room once your work day is done.
Utilize productivity and connectivity tools
Much of today’s modern productivity and communication tools were designed to let professionals (and their clients) share all aspects of their work with one another, even if they’re not in the same building. Understandably, making use of these tools is essential when working remotely. Some of the most popular software used for remote work include:
- Cloud storage
- Document signing
- Practice management
- Real-time communication (think Skype, Zoom, etc.)
Some of these tools are free, while others offer a trial period, making it easy to test out multiple tools to see which one best suits your practice.
Let your clients pay online
Naturally, when working from home, you’ll need a way to accept payments from your clients. And while they could feasibly send their payments via traditional methods, there are faster and more convenient ways to get paid — online payment solutions.
One of the most significant benefits of online payments is the fact that you can get paid just about anywhere you and your clients are. Plus, rather than having to wait for a check to arrive, online payments start processing as soon as your client clicks “Send.” In fact, a study showed that as much as 85 percent of electronic invoices are paid the same week they’re sent out!
Your clients will appreciate the convenience of being able to pay you online. Much like how you can work from the comfort of your home, they too can set up and send a payment for your invoice without needing to step outside or drive to the post office. Even those clients who prefer check payments over credit cards can still pay via eCheck.
The simplicity that online payments offers for your clients will certainly foster a positive relationship with them, leading to repeat business and potential referrals, as well.
- Related resource: Learn more about the MACPA Member Benefit for online payments at CPACharge.
Take advantage of multiple communication channels
Despite the lack of a physical office, CPAs working from home have a variety of tools to host meetings and working sessions with their clients. Naturally, email and texting is still a standard for back and forth consultations and simple questions.
However, there are also communication solutions that allow you to easily have conversations with multiple people in real time. Some of these tools, including Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts, also allow for video conferencing, so you can see one other and share your screen.
Take care of yourself and others
Finally, make sure you’re keeping your emotional health in mind when working remotely. In some cases, remote work means you are working alone, away from daily in-person interactions with your colleagues and clients. Take some time to reach out to them regularly, whether that comes in the form of a simple text or a virtual video chat with multiple people. Human beings are social creatures by nature, so make sure you don’t find yourself (or your colleagues) isolated from the world for long periods of time.
Also, even though it can be difficult, take time to acknowledge the benefits that working remotely can bring. You can spend more time with your pets or loved ones, as you won’t have the need to commute to and from the office. You may even find yourself getting more done in a more quiet, comforting environment compared to a bustling office. Use your situation to your advantage to adapt and better serve your clients.
Learn more about how CPACharge can benefit your firm by scheduling a demo today.
Amy Mann is director of communications for Affinipay and CPACharge.