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Can a Finance Team Be Completely Remote?

by Jim Capuano, on Dec 13, 2018

completelyremotefinance

The rise of the remote workforce is a great situation for employers and freelancers alike. Employers love that remote workers are easier to train, ramp up faster, and cost less money. Meanwhile, freelancers are happier than the average worker because they get freedom, autonomy, and the ability to pursue their passions.

Those factors combined explain why the number of freelancers in the US is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the majority of US workers will be freelancers by 2027. Given these trends, it seems inevitable that in the future many companies will employ completely remote finance teams.

But what if that future was now? Can you currently run a fully remote finance team? What would be the benefits of using all freelancers? Let’s explore.

Benefits of a Completely Remote Finance Team

By going completely remote, your company can gain a tremendous amount of flexibility. No matter the task that needed to be done, you could call upon an experienced freelance expert to complete the work quickly and at an affordable rate. Then, once that assignment is done, both your company and the freelancer are free to move on.

You can think of it as the Uber model for finance. People are ditching their cars altogether, as it’s cheaper and more convenient to call an Uber right at the moment you need a ride. It could be the same for finance teams. Imagine a world where rather than being chronically understaffed or continuously paying for a lot of services you don’t need, you simply pluck the exact right finance professional from the freelance pool at the moment you need work done.

Furthermore, with a totally outsourced team you can quickly adapt to changing market conditions, do faster pivots, and better keep up with the competition. Once the leadership chooses a direction, they can easily build a team that fits the new mold. It would be nearly impossible to make such quick changes with a traditional in-house finance team.

The benefits of going fully remote extend beyond speed and modularity. There is also the cost factor. Remote workers don’t require office space and they typically take less time to train. Then there is the experience factor. Rather than betting that your young hires will do well and learn the ropes, you can hire at exactly the experience levels you want, and they will be ready to go right away. It’s even possible to have your highest levels, such as the CFO, work on an outsourced basis. Paro has helped multiple companies do just that with a lot of success.

The Tools Are Available

There are many tools available to make a fully remote finance team thrive. Your team can still keep its regular meeting schedule, all you have to do is use a video conferencing service like Google Meet or Zoom. You can still chat with them in real time, anywhere in the world, using free services like Skype and Slack.

As for the actual finance work, you’re covered there as well. Cloud based accounting tools such as QuickBooks Online and Xero are available at affordable prices. Nearly 50% of all small and midsize companies now keep their financials in the cloud, and that number will only increase as the technology matures. Even the enterprise resource planning systems--like Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle, for example--for larger businesses are fully cloud-based, so no matter what the size of your finance team, remote is possible.

Outsourcing Part of the Team

Understandably, you are probably not ready to outsource your entire finance team. In the meantime, you can still participate in the freelance revolution!

Maybe you are coming up on tax season and you know you could use an extra set of hands. Rather than spend a ton of time and money on a full time hire, why not check out some of the awesome freelance bookkeepers on Paro that are available right away? They can ramp up quickly and provide key help during this critical time.

Or what if your controller resigns unexpectedly and your entire team is thrown into disarray? No worries. Paro has solved that problem before. We can match you with a new controller capable of closing your books each month in half the time it was talking the old employee.

Similarly, let’s say you have a fundraise coming up and you want to make sure that all your balance sheets are organized and optimized. Instead of pulling a busy team member off of a project and giving them this extra work, why not hire a seasoned financial analyst who has done the exact same thing many times, and can do great work with none of the hassle?

Finally, let’s talk about burnout, the bain of all finance teams. In a recent national study, it was shown that 42% of people in the finance industry have considered resigning and seeking a new job because of burnout. Seeing as a big part of burnout is having too much work and not enough time to do it, bringing on a few outsourced finance all-stars can ease the burden on your team and stave off employee turnover.

The Freelance Revolution

40% of all millennials plan to leave the fulltime workforce to become freelancers over the next five years, and an increasing amount of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are doing the same. The best talent wants to work on the projects they want, with the clients they want, from where they want.

Given those factors, companies are sure to start trying out fully remote finance teams. The sooner you build systems that accommodate for such a change, the better. Now is the time to start thinking about how you can incorporate more freelancers onto your team so as to better prepare yourself for the future of work. If you want to hire premium workers that will do great work and cost less than a full time hire, Paro is here to help.

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Topics:Finance