Sink or Swim: Accounting Department Challenges During a Crisis

Written by Donna Conte on May 15, 2020

Warren Averett accounting department image

One thing we have learned over the past two months is that we must be constantly looking to improve in times of change. We have all learned, through COVID-19, the importance of being agile and automated in our businesses as much as possible because personal interactions have been limited like never before. The lessons and improvements we learn now will help us as we go forward.

Most businesses are experiencing disruption to some extent. Whether your business has been hit hard, is reopening the doors after weeks of closure, or your impact has been minimal, your financial needs are not on hold. Core financial procedures must still take place, and this may pose a challenge with our limited personal interactions.

From cutting paychecks to submitting sales tax filings, any systems and processes you had in place prior to COVID-19 may have been thrown out the window as businesses began to work from home. Now that many businesses are transitioning back to the office, many accounting departments are once again having to rethink every process and procedure with the changing environment.

As you start to get back to the new normal, are there things that you have learned through this crisis that can used to implement change for the better in the office?

Evaluate Accounting Processes and Systems

Now is an opportune time to look at your accounting department processes, systems and controls as you begin to transition back to the office. When systems aren’t set up as efficiently as they could be, any weaknesses will definitely come to light when processes are put to the test, like they have been the past couple of months. As you start to get back to normal, identify the areas that were strained during the crisis and try to identify ways to be more efficient. Encourage your accounting team and advisors to find ways to improve the accounting department and drive strategy.

Ensure Your Team Has the Right Tools

From processing daily transactions to processing payroll, your choice of platform(s) can make a big impact on your team’s efficiency. If you haven’t explored your options in the past few years, now would be a good time to see what’s available that could help improve your systems and infrastructure. Many accounting softwares have moved to cloud-based platforms and are a valuable resource right now for streamlining your accounting department.

Consider Outsourcing

One thing that we’ve learned during this time is the importance of flexibility. If you realized your current accounting processes don’t lend themselves to remote working, you might want to consider outsourcing. Outsourcing finance department procedures can be more efficient and ensure accuracy while minimizing risks to cybersecurity threats.

If you have questions or need assistance to continue working remotely or to transition back to the office, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our advisors.

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