How to Make Your Virtual Firm Work: Part 2
A couple weeks ago, we analyzed data from an Accounting Today article that focused on the innerworkings of four virtual firms. We published a blog that discussed the benefits of being completely digital – like increased responsiveness, work/life balance, and the ability to work from anywhere – along with the added challenges virtual firms face, including communicating, fostering a consistent culture, and recruiting the right people. The article also provided insights about what makes these firms successful. Some of these tips include:
- Tracking results consistently. Completely virtual firms have every reason to track the status of projects. You can’t see your staff getting the work done, so it’s sensible to ask for progress reports. Assess which teams you need updates from, and figure out a timeframe for reports – daily, weekly, and/or monthly.
- Making sure employees contact external clients and vendors during normal business hours. Even if you offer flexible work hours, you probably don’t want employees sending outside correspondences during off hours. Creating a policy that directs employees to send messages between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM maintains a consistent image and doesn’t catch external contacts off guard.
- Consider franchising. If you’d like to cater to specific markets, franchising could help you establish a local presence and reach your target audience.
While your firm may not implement all these ideas, there are some universal characteristics that help make virtual firms successful. Here are the ones Accounting Today uncovered:
- Take hardware and software seriously. Every one of the four firms Accounting Today interviewed ensured employees had at least two screens.
- Invest in the apps you need most. According to the article, “All virtual firms have extensive stacks of apps for document management, billing, and a host of other tasks and services. [They all] use online accounting software (and none use desktop).”
- Implement a powerful practice management solution. Technology gives you the ability to track tasks and projects; use it! A key part of taking your firm 100% virtual is leveraging technology that empowers everyone to work remotely.
- Use a versatile communications platform that supports several messaging styles. GIFs and emojis play a large role in helping people perceive messages correctly. Make sure your internal communications solution accounts for them.
- Take advantage of softphones. According to Accounting Today, two of the firms they looked at touched on the importance of softphones (or Voice over Internet Protocol), which “provide Internet-based phone numbers that can be turned on and off and routed to physical cell phones or landlines…” Softphones save you money on phones while meeting necessary business requirements. They also help staff unplug from work with the simple touch of a button.
As technology drives shifts in the digital landscape, accounting firms are embracing new ways to do business. Tapping into mobility’s potential will be one of the biggest keys for firms to run their practices in the new era. By learning about the benefits of mobility and allowing your firm to capitalize on them, you’ll empower your staff to work better and faster.
Ready to future-proof your firm, and empower them to work from anywhere, anytime?Get a demo of Abacus Private Cloud today.