How Do I Work With A Remote Accountant?

Remote accounting companies have become more widespread over the past 10-15 years, long before the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic made it a necessity for business to continue. Our own path to a remote workforce at GW started in the mid-2010s, when we had a valuable teammember move to Hawaii that we were determined to retain.

In spite of its widespread use in today's economy, we still find we encounter new clients who have never worked with a remote CPA firm. And so, we want to show you some of the processes you can expect.

GW As A Remote Workforce

The first component of a remote accounting company is on our side, ensuring our staff has what they need to work effectively from wherever they are.

This starts with remote access for all staff to our computers (via a managed IT service provider), while also prioritizing cloud-native software like Quickbooks Online. All of our staff are required to maintain high-speed internet access at home, and while limitations sometimes prevent us from duplicating the workstations we enjoy in the office (4-monitor PCs with convertible standing desks), we do try to provide whatever necessary equipment to get as close in efficiency as possible.

Project tracking is also a priority in an office where we don't necessarily "see" each other working all day. And for that, we use task-tracking software, Teams, and Zoom meetings across all levels to ensure #accountability and that no one team member is held up and waiting (usually on a partner) for someone to remember to do their part.

Our Clients Interactions With A Remote Accounting Firm

The second piece of remote work is modeling, encouraging, and sometimes pushing our clients to work in more efficient and effective ways as well.

Over the past few years, this started with remote signing of tax returns, financial statements, and proposals, along with online payment via our website (and now via monthly autodraft for all business client engagements).

After that, Covid accelerated our planned move to meeting via Zoom from anywhere in the world (our retired clients especially enjoy this, not having to fly back from Florida in the worst months of the winter). All our partners have Calendly booking software in our signatures, and clients appreciate being able to book something at their convenience rather than back-and-forth emails just to find a time to meet.

And today, we have 100% document delivery from us (and almost 90% of documents to us) electronically. If we ever do receive paperwork from a still-local client, the first stop in our workflow is to our processing office to be scanned in and uploaded to the most appropriate user and/or platform.

One of the best new features of working with a remote company is our ability to provide our expertise in multi-generational succession planning to clients anywhere in the U.S. While we find most new clients still do value working together in the mid-Atlantic Eastern timezone, we don't let that be the limiting factor on any new engagements.

[GW NOTE: In spite of our expanding capabilities for remote work, we have actually chosen to constrict our services to Domestic US only. We know what we do best, and global tax mobility is not a market that we care to keep up on. We've had great success sending existing clients to other firms specializing in this area.]