Can Accountants Work from Home?

My Post (9)Each passing day, more and more Americans are switching to working from home. In 2017, around eight million Americans worked from home. This figure increased by 5% compared to 2016. And since then, the trend has only seen upward growth.

But what about more specialized roles, such as an accountant? Can accountants follow suit and work from home? Let’s find out:

What are some common remote accounting jobs?

Here’s a list of some of the most common accounting-related jobs that can be carried out remotely:

a.      Accountant

An accountant is not the same as a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers are usually in charge of recording and maintaining financial accounts. They also record transactions and create annual reports.

On the other hand, an accountant analyzes these reports, after which they make recommendations that will ensure the company’s financial health. They also review the financial statements of a company to make sure they’re accurate and complete.

It’s a lot easier for accountants to work from home because their immediate job is to stay connected with clients and internal leadership, while having access to all the financial information.

There’s also little paperwork involved. If the company has adopted digitalized accounting processes, accountants can continue working as long as they can access the accounting software and easily download the required information on their home computer.

Communication with clients can take place via phone calls, emails, and video conferencing.

b.       Auditor

An auditor’s job is to make sure that all financial statements comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). They gather financial information about the company’s processes, quality controls, financial statements, tax returns, and other financial activities. They also scrutinize the data and look for any discrepancies, non-compliance, and inaccuracies.

One of the biggest aspects of an auditor’s work is communication with different departments. As long as the auditor is either meeting clients occasionally or holding online meetings, they can work from home easily. This is why there are plenty of independent auditors who work on a freelance basis.

c.      Payroll accountant

Payroll is a highly specialized function, and therefore, many businesses outsource it. They also outsource it because many businesses don’t have a payroll module in their accounting software, since it’s an add-on in most cases. If you have a version of an accounting software with a payroll module, you can carry out most payroll-related tasks from home.

Common payroll duties that can be carried out from home include timely payroll generation, calculating employee paychecks, keeping track of their leaves and absences, and accounting for tax operations.

What has made work from home easy for accountants?

Accountants used to be caricaturized as figures who would always be surrounded by piles of documents and endless files. Thanks to cloud computing, however, this notion no longer holds true. Cloud computing has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in the field of accountancy, and has largely enabled work from home.

One of the biggest benefits of cloud technology is flexibility. As an accountant, you now have access to the same information and company resources that you have at work. – Read more

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Between Two Alerts: Phishing Emails — Don’t Get Reeled In!

My Post (2)Potential attackers are really good at what they do. Security analysts see this firsthand with the amount of phishing emails their organizations see daily. A newly released State of the Phish report reveals that nearly 90% of organizations dealt with business email compromise (BEC) attacks in 2019. End users reported 9.2 million suspicious phishing emails globally for the year.

A BEC attack starts with a hacker spoofing emails to impersonate an organization’s internal email alias or a vendor email alias. Security analysts can spot these phishing emails fairly easily, but many employees can not. Hence, they fall for the trap and click on links within the email that they think are trustworthy. Once this happens, cybercriminals request personal or company information through what looks like a legitimate business transaction. Because it looks legitimate, the employees comply and the security analysts are left to clean up the mess.

What This Means

A successful BEC attack can result in the loss of sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, account data and customer information. In a previous post, we highlighted that working from home has led to an increase in BEC and phishing threats. If organizations aren’t actively monitoring for threats — or are simply training their employees to report suspicious-looking emails to the cybersecurity team — attacks can and will fall through the cracks.

When employees report emails to the security team, this creates a manual workload for the Security Operations Center (SOC). This could result in 10-15 email investigations per day for a small organization, and up to 1,000 per day at a large financial institution. Each analyst could spend anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes to complete each investigation. That represents an overwhelming time commitment for even a large security team. It’s almost impossible for security teams to keep up, especially if they are forced to manually investigate these threats.

Consider an average SOC with around 10 full time employees who have to follow a manual process of investigating suspicious emails. The work is soul-crushingly tedious. These security analysts generally have to look through each email, pull out the attachments and/or web links, and then paste those artifacts into other security tools to find out if they are “known bad” or exhibit unwanted behaviors. Security tools like web reputation services, threat intelligence services, endpoint security, and sandboxes are all used simultaneously, or in a sequence, to investigate and resolve a phishing threat.

Analysts need to assemble all of this information, evaluate it, and then act to prevent further harm to the organization. It’s time-consuming and tedious.

How can security analysts accelerate their investigations and reduce their manual workload? – Read more

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Examples of a virtual contact center doing it right

My Post (1)As cloud computing allows businesses to connect agents and locations across time zones and miles, the virtual contact center is quickly becoming a valuable option for modern customer service.

For many businesses, contact centers operate exclusively through their contact center software. This allows them to use a cloud contact center solution that connects every employee virtually without disrupting or degrading the quality of their customer service.

Switching from on-site contact centers to remote contact centers, in fact, has significantly improved customer interactions, employee turnover, and agent performance for many companies. So much so, that some of our omni-channel contact center clients have shared their stories to show others how they can benefit from using a virtual contact center.

Keep reading below to understand the ins and outs of a remote contact center and the ways you can improve your operations by moving completely online.

What is a virtual contact center?

A virtual contact center maintains the same goals and operations of a traditional call center, but uses virtual contact center software to allow agents to work from multiple locations. Customer service representatives who work as virtual agents often work from a home office, co-working space, or temporary workspace, such as coffee shops.

These software solutions are completely cloud-based, allowing employees to log into the contact center platform from any device with an internet connection. Agents can handle any type of call or interaction, maintaining excellent customer experiences and meeting call center quotas. Remote workforces use their software to communicate and collaborate like a traditional team, staying connected over the cloud to produce results.

Virtual contact centers also benefit business costs, eliminating the need for a physical office and the costs of furnishing and maintaining the workspace. If the business is moving from an on-premise solution to a virtual contact center solution for the first time, they can see improvements in queue times, , customer satisfaction, and disaster recovery. For both inbound, outbound, or blended contact  centers, moving to a cloud-based, virtual set-up can produce incredible results.

Is the virtual call center legit?

Making the move to a virtual contact center is a significant investment and change, so many businesses are hesitant to make the transition. A remote, cloud contact center model, however, can make a critical difference for customer service in any industry, which is why 50% of call centers currently using on-premise solutions plan to transition to a cloud platform by the end of 2020.

Below, we’ve included some of the benefits of using virtual contact center solutions for your business phone system and customer support needs.

1. Higher cost savings

Unlike equipment-heavy legacy solutions, cloud platforms require only computers or mobile devices, microphone-enabled headsets, and a reliable internet connection. You won’t need to host and maintain any hardware or software, which makes adding and removing seats a breeze. Rather than paying for unused seats, you’ll only pay for the capacity you need, exactly when you need it.

The cost of running your team will also decrease, even as your contact center continues to meet your high expectations. You won’t have to pay for utilities, furniture, real estate, or on-going maintenance at a physical location. These additional resources provide more room in your budget so you can improve and prioritize other areas of your customer service.

2. Improved workplace satisfaction

Building a remote customer service operation gives you access to a bigger pool of the top talent available throughout the world. Without the geographical restrictions of running an on-site operation, you can hire awesome customer service reps who bring powerful assets to your team. A Frost & Sullivan study, for example, learned that over 80% of virtual call center agents have experience in management and a college education. For traditional contact centers, only 35% of those in a call center job offer the same qualities.

Most importantly, your agents are far more likely to become long-term employees when they work from home, lowering employee turnover. Pipkins research found that the employee retention rate is only 25% for on-site agents but 80% for remote workers. Customer service representatives who work from home are less stressed and more loyal to their employees, which leads to consistently better work. Happy agents create positive experiences during interactions, so this can also lead to higher customer satisfaction.

3. An optimized customer experience

On-premise contact center platforms are generally harder to expand then cloud solutions. While you would need to add new equipment and software to add new features to your legacy solution, a virtual contact center platform has the features already built in.

When companies want to add live chat to their website or introduce the ability to interact over social media, they only have to adjust their platform business plans to access these capabilities. You already have access to phone calls over your voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) system, but you can also tap into skills-based routing, call distribution, video conferencing, and more with your cloud-based platform. – Read more

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