As a firm we’ve embraced new technology and online systems for many years now. We started our journey with Xero in 2007, back when they had less than 1,000 users.
I saw the other day where a memory popped up in my Facebook feed from 7 years ago, I had a suitcase full of paper files that I’d taken home to review at night.
Three years ago I would have said that working from home as an accountant wasn’t really viable, even with all of the systems we had in place.
Then COVID happened.
We were forced to send our team home with their computers and work from home for the next 6 weeks or so. Yes, this caused significant disruption to the way our business worked, but we learned to adapt and have changed our processes since.
We deal with sensitive financial records for clients, and we were worried about sending physical documents home with the team. So we made the call to not give them printers, everything is completely done online.
We’ve archived all our old client records and gotten rid of most of our filing cabinets. We now only have 2 cabinets left, one is empty and the other has some stationery and our Christmas decorations in it!
Dealing with physical documents still poses a few problems. Some clients still prefer to bring in their physical documents. We scan the information we need and load it into our system so that our team can access the information from where they’re working.
We now have a firm policy of trying to minimize physical client records in the office, and not having any records that haven’t been copied electronically. The idea being that we need to be constantly prepared, whether it being for a change in COVID alert level or a natural disaster like flood or earthquake.
We currently have a team of 6, yet 3 of us work remotely. Pete is enjoying the sunshine in Napier, Maggie is based in Upper Hutt and Kate usually works from home in Island Bay (although she is currently based in Sydney for a few months). It means we’re able to offer flexibility where in the past it may have meant losing our valuable team members.
Our team have been told that (within reason) we don’t really mind where in the world they live! Shannan is looking at potentially working from Columbia in South America for a month over our Kiwi summer. Working in different time zones could provide some challenges when it comes to team meetings and discussing issues, particularly for Europe and the UK, but I’m sure we can find a way to make it work.
What this means is that we are now in a position of being able to offer a purely online accounting experience for our clients. It doesn’t matter where you are in New Zealand, or in fact the world, we can still offer accounting services and support for you.
We’ve launched a new website onlineaccounting.co.nz that is dedicated to delivering this service to you.
Don’t worry though, if we still prefer meeting face to face and buying me a coffee, we’re still doing that!