The Future of Accounting
The Future of Accounting is Working from Home and the idea of going into the office was made a part of workplace culture by the baby boomers, but it no longer suits the best interests of employers or their employees. Even before the pandemic, there was a lot of work that could be handled more efficiently from home. And working from home is not equivalent to childcare. Some firms are experimenting with remote work in terms of using technology to grow their practice, and here is why it is a good idea.
Some of the world’s largest companies have chosen to have their employees work from home even after the pandemic is finished. These include Apple, Microsoft, WeWork, and others. Owners of small companies may argue this model would not necessarily suit smaller businesses, but that is not true. Here is why the “The Future of Accounting” revolution that may take off had a faster pace than anticipated and why we must not discount the idea that for some industries and job roles, working remotely could be a better option.
The idea of working at an office was made popular by boomers. Boomers are typically perceived to be very hardworking and motivated through incentives such as perks and a good position within their organizations. They also highly valued personal accomplishment as the mark of a successful professional, income generator, and head of household.
The Future of Accounting and the needs of younger generations, however, are markedly different than those of boomers. Millennials and Gen Z do not necessarily value homeownership as something they want to work their entire lives securing. For that matter, many other things that are common for those of us who were born before the Millennial generation, such as car ownership, are changing fast. It would be wrong to group everyone together, lay down the same rules, and expect the same results, which, after all, is a hallmark of the corporate culture.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken and uprooted many of our core beliefs. Some of these are actual limitations that we have set on ourselves because we do not have an insight into how this will translate. Traditionally, remote work is something not very popular with most organizations, however, IT-related firms have generally had more remote workers than others, like banking and manufacturing.
For the latter industries, the role of individual contributors at a factory-floor level remains invaluable if they are working on a production line. With most of the work based on handling equipment and managing the movement of goods, it is common sense that some roles cannot be remote. But what about the role played by individual contributors in an accounting firm, a law firm or, let us say, any consulting organization?
Twenty or even just ten years ago, an entry-level position in an accounting firm may have had to work with a lot of paperwork, printed receipts, and documents. Thanks to automation, today, these individuals work mostly with digital assets that are created, managed, and shared through the Internet.
In fact, the future of accounting, work now takes place exclusively online. Some companies that have heavily adopted remote work include Adobe, Amazon, Capital One, Facebook, Infosys, MasterCard, Salesforce, and many others. Companies such as Twitter have even gone to the extent of offering employees the option of working from home indefinitely, going into the office when they choose.
Some considerations around having a remote workforce are also about evaluating the rules and responsibilities of employers and employees. This change could impact the workplace safety insurance premiums that companies pay, workplace injury laws, shadow IT usage, privacy, and identity management, to mention a few areas of impact. For example, who is responsible if an employee who is working remotely is injured while performing a work-related task? How would organizations ensure that proprietary information is protected at remote worker locations, even though employers are unable to control who comes in and goes out of the home office of a remote employee? All these things will form a great basis of discussion when it comes to policymaking for a remote workforce.
Today, the role of operating a military drone is fully remote. An operator in Langley can maneuver an unmanned drone across continents, go on reconnaissance missions, and even engage in warfare, all remotely. This was unthinkable a decade ago. If a highly specialized role such as this can be successfully managed remotely, why not open yourself up to the idea that many office-based roles in the accounting industry can potentially be made remote?
The Future of Accounting Profession must learn and adapt to the needs of the post-pandemic world. If operating lean means moving to a smaller space, offering the chance to work remotely, and getting used to collaboration via video conferencing and shared documents, then firms are pivoting towards being more future-ready.
With no guarantees of what a future disruption may look like, whether it’s a form of a pandemic, natural disaster, or a geopolitical conflict, true prudence is enabling systems to operate based on a talent-centric philosophy, distributing risk across different regions or locations, and operating as an organization that can come together when needed and stays distributed otherwise.
As of the writing of this article, the government of the United Arab Emirates has recently created a new ministerial position called the “Minister of Remote Work.” This just goes to show the focus that some governments have concerning remote work, which will be reflected in government policymaking, business, and culture impacted by technology. It is where we are headed soon. While the leaders of small firms certainly don’t need to create a position like this, it’s wise to consider whether your role or those of your employees can be performed largely from home so you are prepared for these changes.
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