How to Work and Manage Outsourced or Remote Accounting Team

published on 14 April 2023

How To Manage Outsourced or Remote Accounting Employees

There are a thousand articles about how hiring remote employees can save accounting firms a lot of time and money. Not to mention the enormous talent pool available from a global workforce.

But once you have your remote accounting team you have to make it work. This means not only being effective and efficient but to build a trust-based long-term workforce so you don’t lose your new hires on the way.

It's important to understand that planning communication strategies and good management skills can make the merger process between the in-house and the remote accounting employees easier. In this article, we discuss a few things accounting firms should consider to manage a remote team.

Tips to manage remote accounting employees

Be reasonable with your expectations

Setting realistic expectations puts you and your team on the path to success. Remote accounting employees need to know for sure what is expected of them. Setting expectations from the get-go, even before the fulling enter the company helps you not only to filter those candidates who will reach your standards and goals but also clear up doubts once the work has started.

For example, many managers are using the SMART goal framework for setting and achieving goals effectively. The acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific: The goal should be clearly defined and specific. It should answer the questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • Measurable: To be able to track your progress and determine whether you have achieved it or not, the goal should involve setting a target number, a deadline, or some other way of measuring your progress.
  • Achievable: They should be challenging but realistic given your resources, time, and abilities.
  • Relevant: The goal should be relevant to your overall objectives and values. It should align with your long-term plans and be meaningful to your business.
  • Time-bound: The goal should have a specific deadline or time frame in which it should be achieved. This helps you stay focused on achieving the goal.

If you use each of these criteria when creating a deliverable or KPI, you can be sure that goals are well-defined and achievable.

Provide remote training tools

Although remote accounting employees should have knowledge and skills in their area of expertise, they still don’t know much about the firm’s policies or culture. A good onboarding process and ongoing training will ensure seamless integration with the in-house team. Make sure all of the materials you provide are easy to understand, have everything you need them to know, and, if you are hiring offshore, are friendly to people from other countries.

Something you should consider is designing systematized training materials that are easy to use on a larger scale. Making your training and onboarding procedures scalable will allow you to hire more remote employees easier and faster. For example, rather than sending individual training materials to new remote employees, consider the possibility of creating an interactive platform or website where you upload information, documents, and videos for the onboarding process.

Use proper communications tools

No, social media and personal messaging are not management tools. Clearly defining which management platforms your accounting firm is using to enable collaboration in the daily work is essential to make the task easier and avoid misinformation. Make sure the platform you choose has all of the assets your remote accounting employees need to track their work and share results.

There are various tools, both free and licensed, available in the market for communication, collaboration, project management, and time tracking. Depending on the specific accounting task that you are giving to a  remote employee, the tools might vary, but they’ll all need to at least include:

  • Calendar apps
  • Meeting schedulers with video chat
  • Instant messaging systems
  • Cloud shared documents

Training your remote accounting employees is essential to reap the maximum benefits of these tools: How to create a team group, what kind of information needs to be shared with each one of them, who can access it, and what conversations are better held in a meeting, are some of the issues you will have to train your new employees for smooth interaction.

Respect their Time Zone

When hiring remote accounting employees in other countries, the time differences can be especially challenging. One of the many benefits of these online management tools is that they are available 24/7. But people are not, or should not.

Setting clear boundaries and procedures helps avoid burnout and discomfort for a more healthy working relationship. If you consider that some tasks require closer monitoring, then make sure to hire someone near your location.

Regular follow-up

Reviews are essential for accounting firms, especially when hiring remote employees. But be careful, many leaders are tempted to adopt micromanaging ways. That’s not what we are talking about here.

Most of the management tools you can choose from, offer a variety of assets to help you keep track of KPIs, deadlines, deliverables, and procedures. Making them open and transparent to all team members can go a long way, not only to ensure that things are happening but also to make the remote accounting employees feel part of the team, to see the ‘entire picture’.

Also, regular performance reviews help you know what needs to be tweaked and what are those strengths you should make the most out of your remote employees.  Remember to give meaningful feedback after a performance review so that your team can learn and do better.

  >>   Ready to start hiring? Fill out the form and one of Vintti's account executives will contact you within 24 hours.

Not gonna lie, it’s not an easy task but it’s worth it

Managing fully remote accounting employees is more than just sending emails with a task description and waiting for the result. It even requires a fair amount of goodwill from everybody involved.

But with careful planning and skilled management, accounting firms can get to that point where everything works as a well-oiled machine.

Also, don't despair. Everyone is learning from the process, so be kind to yourself and your remote accounting employees.

  >>   Ready to start hiring? Fill out the form and one of Vintti's account executives will contact you within 24 hours.

Kevin Mitchell, CPA

Senior Manager and CPA with over 20 years of experience in accounting and financial services, specializing in risk management and regulatory compliance. Skilled in managing audits and leading teams to deliver exceptional services. Proud father of two.

🔗 Kevin Mitchell | LinkedIn

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