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Alternative Takeaways with Sunil Shah, IT Partner at MGR

Here are three takeaways from Sunil Shah, IT Partner at MGR, at our recent Accountancy Hangout where our panel of speakers discussed how accountancy firms can best facilitate remote working for their people and clients, using technology to do so.

PREPARATION IS VITAL

From broadband speed to security and ergonomics, how can you best equip your team with technology?

“Checking in with people is quite critical and making sure everybody’s got the right equipment, the right setup, and are able to work from home. The issue we faced was the difference in broadband and that was a challenge because not everybody had a good connection.

Looking to the future, we need to look at how we, as a practice, can help make that adaption better for our staff. So we are thinking of offering broadband wherever possible to make sure we’re ready for it.  Because as your headline says, like it or not it’s here to stay and we recognise that. And it’s working great for us in many parts of the business.

Obviously, we need face-to-face interaction but remote working is here to stay, so we want to make sure that people are ready for it and are technologically set up for it. Security is a big aspect, of course. But even ergonomically, making sure that everything is in place at home. It’s a process but it looks like it will have to be more permanent than we thought in March.”

Going the extra mile to provide your teams with seamless home working setups will help them put their best foot forward.

PEOPLE MANAGEMENT RELIES ON SOFT SKILLS

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Although productivity metrics play an important part when managing a team remotely, soft skills are the glue that holds everything together.

“We are looking out for early warnings. For example, we want everybody to post time sheets on a daily basis just to see if there are any issues. In terms of the objective numbers, we are using KPIs to manage that. But obviously there’s a softer side to it as well – the soft skills that are required to manage people. Communication is the key, making sure they are on board, that everybody’s singing from the same hymn sheet and that everybody’s aware of what everybody else is doing.”

Sunil reiterated the need for solid and regular communication with staff.

STREAMLINE CLIENT COMMUNICATION

Sunil explained that clients don’t want to jump through lots of hoops to access their information with their accountants.

“I think digital communication is the key here. We need a simple streamlined way of communicating with the clients, so we are making small steps toward that.”

Finding or building a single door by which clients can enter a system with ease is the next step for many businesses.

For full details of the Alternative Hangouts series please click here.