Creating Effective Remote Working Environments While WFH (Working from Home)

Your workforce is scattered and operating on personal devices with unknown cybersecurity. Those one-on-one meetings are now on ZOOM with lots of people chiming in. Your carefully established accounting processes are being followed…you hope. Sound familiar?

Creating effective working from home (WFH) policies, procedures and company culture is challenging for businesses today. With the majority of companies (nearly 75%) predicting an expansion in remote working, finding viable solutions is important.

PBO Advisory Group convened a panel of experts to discuss how businesses can successfully establish WFH without compromising important aspects of your business.


Culture

Michael Valenzano of Equal Parts kicked off the program with a discussion of three traits company leadership must adopt in a remote working environment that employees will trust – logic, authenticity, and empathy. To achieve these, Michael suggests:

  1. Empathy – create regular opportunities for dialogue with your employees, as often as every day, if possible. Discuss the company’s values, goals and objectives and how the employee’s performance is contributing to meeting these.
  2. Authenticity – be yourself by sharing your story and how you are struggling to adjust to WFH. Share the company wins and successes.
  3. Logic – be transparent by sharing the ‘why’ behind company decisions. 

Cybersecurity

The need to WFH forced many companies to move faster than they were ready to. As a result, the risk is extremely high when it comes to cyberattacks. Motivated by money, cybercriminals are looking for critical information that can be monetized, according to panelist Grant Page of centrexIT. With 54% of cyberattacks resulting from negligence by employees or contractors, businesses of all sizes must find a balance between accessibility and caution.

Grant’s top five recommendations for assuring your business is secure are:

  1. Back-up data on a frequent, regular basis
  2. Train employees about the risks and your policies to avoid attacks
  3. Develop a security program/guidelines for employees who use personal devices to conduct business
  4. Put standards and policies in place that will provide greater security, i.e., stronger passwords, multi-factor authentication, etc.
  5. Require at least a basic virus-spam-malware protection software on all devices employees are using while WFH

Remote Accounting

It is critical to keep fiscal practices inline, even when your employees are WFH. Francisca San Diego, PBO Advisory Group’s Consulting Chief Financial Officer, says this doesn’t mean recreating the wheel but rather ensuring that your best practices are still in place and being followed. She advises that activities and responsibilities be clearly defined. A shared checklist is a good, transparent way to ensure various functions are being completed.

Fran recommended four areas where you should have strong controls:

  1. AP Process – Require written approvals prior to payment or utilize a system for documented approvals
  2. Payroll – separate the processor from the approver
  3. Bank Access – limit this to very few individuals within your company
  4. Electronic payments – verify payments before clicking on links, especially those that aren’t easily recognizable

Also, according to Fran, assume you are still going to be audited and confirm your systems and processes support this. Even during these times, audits are still being conducted…remotely. If you received a PPP loan, you should assume you will be audited.

We’ve posted a recording of the webinar here.  Please don’t hesitate to contact PBO Advisory Group or the panelist, if you have any questions.