The 4 biggest challenges accountants face when working remotely

The pandemic took the world on a rollercoaster ride. With businesses shutting down and hospitals flooding with customers, every continent was in turmoil. Intense changes in daily lives had to be introduced to battle the coronavirus. One of the worst and the hardest to adapt to restrictions was office work. Businesses and firms worldwide had to adopt remote working practices to continue their work.

While many may not have been too hesitant to change their working environment, remote work did not seem right for the accounting profession. Too many tasks would have to be done differently or not done at all if work shifted to home. While accountants around the world and especially in Cyprus, are trying their best to adapt to this change, there are still numerous challenges that accountants face when working remotely.

LACK OF FOCUS

With a professional working environment being close to non-existent, accountants feel a huge hindrance with work. Due to a changed workplace, they are left with finding a secluded place in their house that all other members of the family can stay away from when they are working. Unfortunately, there is no such place.

An accountant may be in the middle of a meeting with clients, noting all the details it needs to prepare in-depth financial statements when its  dog starts barking out of the blue. These working conditions may cause him  to lose focus and miss essential notes required to carry out the task correctly.

BARRIERS TO WORK

An auditor may find it hard to prepare accurate audit reports in most circumstances. Such can be the case when they cannot physically examine a company’s state. This is important so they can fairly create audit reports to determine whether a company behind the scenes matches its financial statements. This is a crucial step in preparing precise audit reports. If not performed, it can generate false results, which may misguide its shareholders. It can also deem the auditor’s accountancy firm uncompetitive and inefficient.

ACCESS TO FILES AND CRUCIAL SOFTWARE 

Even though the pandemic made everyone more agile and posed some new ways of getting things done, some firms still struggle to give all those digital tools needed by accountants in order to perform their everyday duties unobstructed. No access to the firm’s data, slow VPN connections and exposed virtual environments are only some of the technological challenges faced by accountants today. 

DECLINING PRODUCTIVITY

In the absence of a proper team discussion, accountants may have to rely heavily on excel and pdf files forwarded to them. Investing hours in front of a screen to make sure nothing is left out is absolutely tiring. What is even worse is that it is also impacting your productivity negatively. Accountants may find themselves attracting sleep problems, and severe back and neck ache due to long hours in front of a screen in lack of professional office equipment. This may make them unmotivated to work in such conditions and may affect their efficiency.

Working remotely, from home or from anywhere, is surely here to stay, but like every new habit takes some time to settle into it. If things start frustrating you about remote work, give it some time and share the problems with your peers or managers. For firm owners and partners, it surely is a challenge and a new, challenging pillar added to the great headache posed by current  circumstances which make doing business even harder.