As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep a majority of organizations operating in a remote environment, business owners are leaning on their accounting team now more than ever to closely monitor financials and maintain procedures, from cash flow management, financial reporting and more.

Doeren Mayhew’s dedicated outsourced accounting specialists recommend the following best practices to use within your accounting system to help keep your remote team working effectively:

Administrative Practices

  • Designate a full administrator. This will streamline procedures and communication within your accounting team. With a designated full administrator, team members will know exactly who to go to for items such as password resets, workflow approval updates, system lockouts and more, eliminating time wasted on reaching out to several individuals to get a final resolution.
  • Enable email notifications: To prevent delays within your approval process, have your accounting system enable email notifications as they pertain to actions required by a user’s role within your accounting department. Most accounting systems will offer this notification enablement and will help keep activities such as posting entries to the general ledger, managing accounts payable (AP) or purchase orders (PO), or reviewing invoices, moving forward efficiently.
  • Create a company message board. As team members log into your accounting system, these messages should appear on the home page. These messages can include reminders about upcoming deadlines, changes to processes, system updates and more.
  • Set up delegates. If utilizing purchasing approvals within your accounting system, setting up delegates can be essential when a user who is vital to the approval process is out of the office. Their approvals will then route to the configured delegate approval going forward until the out of office is turned off.

General Recommendations

  • Provide training. Cross-train users and make sure everyone has a backup. This is critical if someone will be out of the office for an extended period of time. When users aren’t cross-trained within an organization, a company will see a sudden influx of delays or issues because a user who performs a crucial task is out unexpectedly.
  • Document all processes and actions. In addition to cross training, document all processes and actions each user performs as it applies to their individual role. For example, what type of activities does your staff accountant or AP clerk perform within your accounting system and what permissions do they have in order to complete that job? When roles are not documented, or applicable permissions and actions outlined, users who suddenly must be someone’s backup to a vital workflow or task will not have a contingency plan to follow.

Additional Accounting Software Tips

  • Go paperless. This effort is even more important given the current pandemic. A robust accounting system will have the capabilities to support a paperless environment, which will help your remote team become more efficient and eliminate the need to handle paper.
  • Add an AP automation partner. Consider adding this capability to the equation to electronically inbound invoices. The integrations to receive payments may be handy in getting them electronically (plus, no mail).
  • Integrate an accounts receivable (AR) accelerator. This is an essential tool for companies with a lockbox at their bank. If your company does not already have a lockbox, now is an excellent time to consider setting one up. A lockbox service can eliminate having to collect receipts at a central location, as well as eliminate the need to handle mail for internal staff.
  • Use bank feeds. This provides an electronic option to import bank transactions into your accounting software on a daily basis.
  • Consider spend-management software. If your company hasn’t already implemented electronic approvals in spending processes (AP, PO) or general ledger, this is can be a helpful tool to conduct all of your spending activities all in one place.
  • Use your system dashboards. How are you sharing information internally from your accounting team to other departments? This is an optimal time to use your system’s dashboards and the report scheduler for paperless data delivery. A report scheduler supports delivery via PDF or Excel.

If you’re in need of assistance with implementing new processes to streamline your accounting procedures, Doeren Mayhew is here to help. Our team of advisors can assess your current accounting system and make recommendations to best fits your needs. Contact us today for assistance.