Is productivity rising as we adapt to change?

iStock 639618518 | Is productivity rising as we adapt to change?
By James Nadal | 2nd July 2020 | 6 min read

IRIS Keytime blog

As we enter the 'next normal' are accountants already managing to get through a higher volume of work?

Clearly recent circumstances have had a big impact on accountants in many different ways.

But with a recent survey amongst SME leaders showing that 33% feel productivity has soared from remote working, it seems there has been a positive change for many when it comes to approaching and tackling their workload.

Many accountants have brought in constructive changes during lockdown. Some of you will have been ahead of the curve, already using digital tools to help you function and flourish.

Either way, adopting productivity tricks and tools will leave a lasting legacy as we head into the ‘next normal’ of the months and years to come.

Here, we look at productivity benefits and barriers in more detail...

Adapting to change

In many industries, the infrastructure was there to enable remote working, but accountants have by-and-large been office-based, so the discipline and setup were lacking. However, most quickly adapted and found a way of working.

Many homeworkers have been more efficient thanks to having fewer distractions and learning to work ‘smarter’. Even those juggling other responsibilities at home have become more adapt at prioritising and using their time effectively to complete tasks.

Undoubtedly digital solutions have had a huge role to play in making the office ‘portable’! With a device, internet connection and the right tools in place, accountants have been able to get to work regardless of where they are.

Tools such as IRIS Keytime Practice Manager can help, by becoming the hub of your practice. It helps to plan, track, manage and control staff, clients, jobs and communications. It gives visibility over tasks and more control over workflow. Cloud hosting solutions allow you to use IRIS Keytime anywhere, so your office becomes anywhere with an internet connection.

Overcoming obstacles

Barriers to productivity are often personal; people thrive on social interaction and this has suffered through isolation. The spontaneity and effortless collaboration that happens over a coffee or a chat between desk-mates has been lost. We have to work harder to keep our interactions fresh and meaningful – instant messenger and video calls fill the gap for now, but it is a challenge not to let online meetings zap productivity.

For accountants, getting hold of clients has been a challenge too – and for those still relying on email or posting information back and forth, it has been especially laborious. IRIS OpenSpace has enabled accountants to share documents securely, cutting back on communicating via email and being hampered by the lengthy to-and-fro process that involves.

Regardless of size or sector, it will have been a tough time for many clients, who have needed greater guidance. Accountants that can add value and advise on a range of issues, with a proactive stance and positive mindset are the ones pulling ahead. Easy and quick client communication has become more important than ever.

Investing in the future

In adapting to new tech, accountants and clients are in the same boat. Who would have thought months ago that Zoom and Teams would become office staples? The same may be the case for those who have adopted practice management software, where the solution previously may have been tasks assigned on a whiteboard! Yet this education isn’t time wasted; once learned and embraced, these solutions make a difference and will continue to.

We have all had to learn how to thrive in a different environment and trust one another more. Being stationed at a desk from 9-5 has never mattered less. For some, juggling childcare or other responsibilities has meant a change to working patterns, and practices have had to be more flexible and let people manage their time. Productivity rather than presenteeism has become a more meaningful measure of success, which will hopefully endure.

Practices that have embraced and invested in tools, like practice management software and hosting, are equipped for the next normal; whether that means continued homeworking, local lockdowns, or returning to the office in stages. These have ceased to be stop-gap solutions and are now long-term changes.

They have the means to keep productivity high now and in the future, as well as making practices more agile and able to adapt.

An unforeseen upside of these manic few months has been that many of you have embraced the opportunity to put better processes in place, strive for better interaction and seize the moment to offer additional services.

Accountants who are fighting fit and going forward in pole position.

For those keen to catch up, there is still every opportunity – and we are here to support you.

Call IRIS Keytime on 0344 815 5560 or visit our resources hub.