Making Hybrid Work, Work in Accounting Firms

As the world slowly starts to return to some semblance of normality, businesses are faced with the challenge of how to move forward in the post-pandemic era. For many organizations, the answer lies in hybrid working. It seems like companies would have to conform since according to a study done by Cisco, at least 92% of employees in the Philippines now prefer hybrid work.  This model allows employees to split their time between working from home and working in the office, giving them the best of both worlds.
For accounting practices, a hybrid work arrangement is also viable. It provides greater flexibility for employees who may need to care for family members or juggle other commitments outside of work. At the same time, it ensures that crucial face-to-face interactions still take place, whether that’s for team meetings or client meetings.
Here are some tips to make the most of hybrid work arrangements and to ensure that your practice is ready for this reality.

1. Onboarding should be facilitated smoothly.

When new employees join your organization virtually, it can be challenging to onboard them, conduct inductions, and grant critical access and permissions solely online.
It can also be difficult to engage new employees and provide them with the information they need when you are not able to meet in person. You may need to get creative with how you onboard new employees and make use of technology to engage them in the process. 
For example, at Deloitte, new joiners are set up with a buddy on their first day who helps with familiarisation tours, inductions, and other general queries virtually. Deloitte has also created an e-learning module for all new joiners that covers topics such as the company culture, values, and the different policies in place. Additionally, all new joiners are given access to an online community where they can ask questions and collaborate with peers.

2. On-going training is even more important.

Virtual training processes can help employees stay updated with changing industry trends. Accountants are often required to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses. These courses are often offered online, but accountants may still need to participate in live, in-person classes to fulfill their requirements. 
Many accounting firms are now offering virtual training courses that accountants can take from the comfort of their homes. These courses often include live, interactive sessions with accounting professors and practitioners who can answer questions and provide guidance. One such firm is PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which offers a range of virtual courses on topics such as financial reporting and taxation. Considering the challenges of the hybrid work model, firms like PwC are helping to make sure that accountants have the skills they need to be successful.
In addition, many firms are providing webinars and podcasts on various accounting topics that accountants can access on-demand. An example of a company that does this is Ernst & Young LLP. They have a segment of their website dedicated to their webinars and podcasts on various accounting topics. By staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends, accounting staff is able to provide the best possible service to their clients.

3. Your tools also need to be hybrid friendly.

Are staff able to collaborate even when working remotely?
Are you able to track their productivity as a manager when your team is spread out?
Do your documents have a single point of entry or are things coming from all over, resulting in lost documents?
These are just some of the questions you can ask of your processes in a hybrid work situation. 

How Olivia Helps Accounting Firms

Olivia SmartXtract is an AI-enabled accounts payables app that allows accounting staff to bulk upload invoices and extract all receipt and invoice details, reducing the need for manual encoding.
In addition,
  1. Managers can allocate work to staff and track their progress.

  2. It is cloud-based so remote teams can access it from wherever they are. You can then hire staff from outside cities, reducing costs for your practice.

  3. Easily search for receipts and invoices instead of combing through boxes of physical receipts in a store room.
If you are looking for help and advice on taking the pain out of your accounts payables process, do reach out to us at with the subject line “Olivia SmartXtract for Accounting Teams”.

Transform receipts and invoices into reports and digital assets, in seconds