How to Optimize Your Virtual Finance Office

It might sound like the dream job, but working from home can be harder to master than most people think. Here are some tips for getting your virtual finance office in order.

For most of us, our accounting jobs require that we show up to our offices every day. But if, on the other hand, you’ve jumped aboard the increasingly popular virtual office bandwagon, you may need to go no further than your kitchen table to reach your workplace. In fact, more and more people, in every profession, are choosing to work from home – whether to cut costs, spare themselves a hefty commute, or experience living abroad without quitting their job.

Accountants are no different. While there’s plenty you can do to make your workplace a bit more hospitable, growing numbers of accounting and finance professionals are joining the telecommuting revolution. But if you are indeed planning to go virtual with your accounting job, make sure that you do it right. The following tips should help you get started.

Get on the cloud

It might cut down your commute, but on the other hand, your home office doesn’t come equipped with a handy IT person, who’s ready to bail you out every time your desktop computer is struck down by some sort of apocalyptic force.

…more and more people, in every profession, are choosing to work from home – whether to cut costs, spare themselves a hefty commute, or experience living abroad without quitting their job.

It’s important, then, to ensure that you have a backup of your files accessible from any device. You can start by subscribing to cloud-based sharing applications like Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box, ShareFile, and SmartVault – programs that offer secure, user-friendly file storage, as well as the ability to easily share documents with co-workers, clients, and the like.

Do it digital

When your accounting job goes fully virtual, it’s important to make sure that all of your transactional records are documented in a consolidated format online – as opposed to a shoebox under your bed.

Luckily, there are a number of tools to help you streamline this process. Shoeboxed lets you mail in your receipts and does the heavy lifting for you, digitally organizing them on your behalf. If the idea of using snail mail is a turnoff, try Receiptbank: it lets you e-mail copies of (scanned) receipts or photos you’ve taken with a smartphone. The program not only stores the data, but also categorizes key information for you, including vendor information, date, and the sales tax. 

Don’t scrimp on professionalism 

Doing your accounting job from home is no excuse to come across as anything less than professional. If you have a family or roommates sharing your living space, establish a separate phone line (complete with its own voicemail account and caller ID) exclusively for your accounting job business. Set up call forwarding between your landline and cellphone, so that you can still be reached when you’re out of the “office.”

Doing your accounting job from home is no excuse to come across as anything less than professional.

Similarly, when teleconferencing on Skype, Google Hangouts, or Gotomeeting, dress appropriately for your accounting job – in a suit. Ensure that your background environment is clean, professional, and aesthetically pleasing (read: no messy living rooms). Err on the side of caution; use a portable backdrop, which you can buy online or at most standard photo stores.

Bringing your accounting job into the virtual, or remote, arena can involve a bit of a transition. But with the right tricks, tools and, well, apps (and there are plenty of apps out there to help accountants in their jobs), you may never leave your house again!

Working from home? What strategies have you used to ensure your virtual office is up to par? Share your thoughts in the comments!

       

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!