Taking remote and running with it…Best practices to operate a highly efficient virtual firm
Join Klein, Rowe & Co, our fictional case study firm, as they learn from our Automating Success webinar series. In each webinar, our thought leaders will share their expertise on how this firm might address those challenges. In each KRC follow-up, we'll share with you what our fictional firm has learned and the next steps they might take to reimagine their firm. Please note: our case study and follow-up articles are fictional and intended for entertainment and educational purposes only.
While both partners view virtual workspaces as the future, neither were fully equipped to lead a remote office. Based on the webinar, partners took a long hard look at the firm’s technology and documented policies. They also questioned whether data was as secure as it could be. Questions included:
What solutions are required so that staff can efficiently and securely perform day-to-day work?
What solutions are required to support employees with internal communications (e.g., video conferencing, instant messaging applications)?
Do we have the right solutions in place to securely stay connected to and work with our clients (e.g., portals, client communication/document exchange applications)?
What new policies are required to ensure success with a remote staff?
What KRC learned…
Maintaining a focus on firm improvement, KRC partners knew that they had to closely review the firm’s current technology ecosystem. After a thorough analysis, partners agreed that a complete transition to the cloud was necessary in order to properly support staff and clients in the new virtual era and heighten data security. They also realized the need to develop remote workforce policies.
Partners stated: ”We’ve always been a proponent of the cloud, but as our firm grew, we didn’t keep up with the latest technologies. This caused gaps in workflow processes because not all of our solutions were connected. When the pandemic hit, we also weren’t completely confident that our existing system was as secure as it could be. That meant client data was at risk, and we can’t operate like that.”
KRC partners agree that immediate attention to improve the firm’s technology ecosystem and put new policies in place is critical to support a virtual team and ensure clients continue to receive excellent service.
KRC action items…
Continuing down the path of recovery, KRC partners developed yet another list of action items to tackle. To-dos are focused on improving the firm’s technology stack and creating remote work policies to ensure long-term success in the virtual workforce arena.
Conduct an evaluation of the firm’s full technology stack including all applications that support both back-office compliance and front-office communications processes.
Identify new back-office solutions that allow the firm to move completely to the cloud and elevate client data security, including client accounting, practice management, bill pay, tax, payroll, document exchange, client portals and other applicable applications.
Identify front-office solutions to help staff stay connected such as advanced instant messaging software (e.g., Slack or Teams) and video conferencing solutions (e.g., Zoom).
Develop a tech stack procedure guide so that all staff are equitably trained on firm technology use. (Note: Make this guide a core component of new-hire onboarding.)
Develop a remote work communications policy for staff and ensure everyone agrees to virtual workspace rules.
Develop a communications routine to maintain consistent, healthy connections with staff. Map out meeting cadence and categorize meetings by type (e.g., bi-weekly staff progress meetings, weekly partner meetings, bi-annual staff reviews, etc.)
Check back regularly to learn how KRC is progressing. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the ideas listed above to help improve your firm’s virtual workforce strategy.