From XU Magazine, 
Issue 24

Navigating the New Normal with Cloud-Based Financial Tools

The coronavirus pandemic has shocked the world this year. Companies around the world have been forced to adjust quickly to social distancing measures and working remotely.

Home businesses have struggled to change their working environments and processes to fit this new normal. Hospitality and manufacturing industries in particular have been negatively affected in 2020. However, there have been many firms that have adapted very well to these circumstances. Citigroup has 96% of its employees working from home indefinitely and many other companies have similar policies.

The technology and operations departments in these businesses have had to make sure that they have the systems to support the new normal of mobile working. This increase in demand for services to assist working from home has given rise to applications like Zoom. They have seen their user base increase from 10 million to 200 million within 3 months this year.

As the infrastructure improves and companies adjust to employees working from home, we might see this more flexible mentality continue as the severity of the pandemic decreases. This might incentivise companies to cut office costs, however, the CEO of Barclays recently stated in an interview that although their employees are succeeding working from home, they are still keen to reunite their organisation and get back to a unified environment and culture.

So as the pandemic carries on and cases in the US and Europe still seem volatile, finance professionals need to utilise all the tools available so that we can still be efficient and productive at home.

Cloud-Based Solutions

Prior to the outbreak, many companies were still using legacy systems and software. The new normal has made the issues of these outdated systems and their inflexibility very apparent. Consequently, many companies have been forced to leave behind these outdated processes in favour of cloud-based solutions in order to adapt.

Cloud-based finance software, like Xero, help accountants to maintain work for clients and provides a holistic system to manage their organisation. These platforms can perform the majority of finance-related tasks including creating invoices, help with billing and PO creation.

Working from home, you may need a software that can manage inventory and track expenses automatically. Cloud-based platforms offer the functionality to really be your own accountant, with inbuilt help and tutorials, plus a very user-friendly interface it is hard to not learn quickly. Furthermore, the ability to integrate your bank account live into these platforms really makes them a one-stop-shop for accounting needs.

Therefore, anyone that needs to cut costs with outsourcing finance to other professionals or needs a solution for their newly remote team, can really feel comfortable transferring to these cloud-based software packages. Software like Xero also allows finance professionals to help clients through the platform, something that the pandemic cannot negatively impact.

Benefits

The primary benefit of cloud-based software during the new normal is that it keeps employees connected despite not being in the office. As all documents, data and transactions are stored on the cloud, employees can access everything they need to do their job from anywhere and on any device.

Having everything in a central location streamlines processes and saves time for your team by improving communication and reducing the risk of errors.

What stopped many companies from making the move to cloud-based software sooner is the concern over security. There is no need for concern, however, as cloud companies use market-leading data security. Measures such as notifications of unknown logins and data backup and recovery have been implemented to make sure your data stays safe.

Project Management Tools

There are also lots of new cloud-based tools that help with project management, task specialisation, and contact between employees like Slack. Slack is a chat system that has team abilities, private messaging, an open API, and the ability to integrate with Google and Dropbox. Using software like Slack means that communication between employees is not limited at all.

Zoom similarly facilitates tasks that are important for work at home. Zoom allows employees and clients to have face to face meetings, which are not limited by size. Whole departments can have meetings on Zoom and can share screens, operate each other’s computers, etc. These tools mean that accountants are not limited when working from home.

In summary, the pandemic has posed many problems for financial work around the world. However, the rise of cloud-based accounting tools has meant that many professionals can rely on these platforms to make adjusting to the new normal of working from home much easier.

Why leave it there?

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