Before Summit CPA made the shift from a brick-and-mortar office to a distributed accounting firm, we made a big mistake. We were still working in a brick-and-mortar building, but I felt strongly that the work we were doing did not need to be restricted to our physical space in Indiana. When I had an employee say that she was moving to another state and ask if she could work remotely, I said, “Sure! Why not?”
Before we knew it, we had our first remote employee. It was forward-thinking, and it was exciting! But we were missing a key factor. She was remote, we were not. This meant that when we would all get together in the conference room, we were all together and she was on a big screen TV. There was a lot of background noise and she often couldn’t hear anything we were saying. Outside of the meetings, she felt like she was on an island all by herself and became frustrated.
We learned a great lesson from that experience. Communication is crucial in order for remote work arrangements to be successful — both internally and with our clients. When we shifted to a fully distributed environment, we set up the proper communication tools so that we felt just as connected as we would if we were all in the same building.
Here are a few of the tools we use:
• Sococo — As a virtual office space, Sococo looks just like the floor plan of an office where each person is an emoji. Employees can physically see what other people are up to throughout the day — whether they’re in their office or meeting with someone else in another office. There are also meeting rooms and even a break room. Need something from Sue? Simply knock on her door, enter her office and start a quick video session and even a screen-share.
• Slack — Slack is a well-known tool for distributed companies. We use Slack for our internal chat where we can have private one-on-one conversations, team channels and larger company-wide channels. We can share announcements and have fun conversations that keep us connected on more than just a business level every day.
• Trello — We use Trello to collaborate and keep ourselves on top of things. We can organize all of our projects and easily see tasks in their various stages (to do, in progress and completed) as well as who’s working on what.
• GoToMeeting and Zoom — Who needs a phone anymore? We use these video tools to connect with each other and with our clients. Although we aren’t physically meeting face-to-face, we are seeing each other regularly through video connection and I strongly believe that these interactions are essential for building strong relationships with our clients.
Ultimately, technology is always changing. At Summit CPA, in order to stay ahead of the game, we believe it’s important that we always be willing to adapt to the newest technology that comes along. This allows us to continue to provide the best service possible to our clients. For more on the tools we use at Summit CPA, download our Tech Stack.
Summit CPA is a distributed accounting firm with a non-traditional approach to accounting. We have an amazing team of CPAs and accountants who provide professional Virtual CFO Services and 401(k) Audits for companies all over the United States — many of which are remote companies as well. We fully understand the accounting, bookkeeping, cash flow management, and business tax nuances that come with being distributed, and we love helping our clients overcome these challenges through our own experience and expertise.