As companies shed their rigid, 9-to-5 schedules thanks to 24/7 connectivity, we are seeing a global rise in financial services professionals seeking flexible working arrangements. Out of 19,000 accountancy and finance professionals surveyed by ACCA, 71% said they viewed having the option of flexible working as either important or very important when considering a new role. Having this crucial time away from distractions is fundamental, helping employees improve their work-life balance and reducing stress and underperformance.
Interestingly, the reasons many employers are reluctant to implement flexible working are the same reasons as to why it is so successful. Technology, particularly cloud technology, has powered a revolution in flexible working that enables staff to be as productive, reliable and security-conscious as they would be sat in the office – and not distracted, watching television or walking the dog as many managers fear.
Here’s how Microsoft’s own cloud-based ERP solution, Dynamics 365 Business Central, helps debunk the myths around flexible working:
Myth #1: Productivity suffers from flexible working
One of the greatest benefits of working in the cloud is remote access. You could be a CFO in between meetings overseas checking up on the team or a Senior Accountant needing some solitary time to complete this month’s audit. Wherever you are, with Business Central you will be able to access everything you need.
Business Central manages your organisation’s financials, sales, service and operations functions in one system, so you don’t need to call or email when you’re out of the office to get figures from the Sales Director – the information is all hosted in the same platform. This means finding that one pending invoice or next quarter’s sales forecast is as easy to find on your laptop at home as it would be on your office desktop.
Myth #2: Remote teams are unreliable
For flexible working to be effective, you need reliable technology. Having everything stored in a cloud is great, but what if you need to do an urgent task while you’re out of the office? Letting the team down is not an option.
Creating reports when working remotely can be stressful if you’re not sure your software can keep up. This is where Business Central can be really useful – the solution is not only capable of storing vital financial audits and reports, but of creating them on the go. It integrates perfectly with Power BI so you can build a professional-looking report, cross-analysing data and displaying information using a variety of visual graphs – all from your mobile. That way, even if you’re working from the airport, you can still create and send this month’s financial audit from your phone.
Myth #3: Everyone knows the cloud isn’t secure
It’s a common misconception that enabling flexible working will lead to data vulnerability, hacked accounts and lost laptops. This is an understandable concern – if an accounting department suffers a data leak, the impact is certain to be much more damaging than any other department’s. The files your team holds store all kinds of data you wouldn’t want a competitor seeing – what your clients pay you, which projects you’re investing most in or what your turnover forecast is for this year.
Luckily, Business Central isn’t a typical cloud platform. Don’t forget that its creator, Microsoft, is a multi-billion-dollar company whose software is sold all over the world – their success relies on having exceptional security for their systems. The system has enterprise-level, built-in security features that could protect a global multinational just as well as the SME it is designed for.
With the security-enhanced browser-to-server connection, data confidentiality and integrity are ensured between devices and data centres, so you can use a relative’s computer if your laptop fails at home. When you’re out the office, not only will you have the same password for your Outlook in Microsoft Office 365 and your Business Central account, but Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory authentication feature prevents unauthorised access. You get the best of both worlds – the access and the enterprise-level security.
What if I don’t want to switch to the cloud?
Though it is much cheaper in the long run to set up Business Central than to continue operating an on-premise solution, there are reasons why this may not be immediately feasible for everyone. But this shouldn’t mean that on-premise users don’t get the benefits of cloud access for their own flexible working schemes.
Microsoft recently announced that they will be introducing the Intelligent Edge this autumn. This technology will allow on-premise Dynamics users to access the cloud, so they can work as if operating in a cloud-based Business Central platform. This remote accessibility will be a major bonus to many businesses, and could allow many to introduce flexible working policies.
To learn more about how Business Central’s functionality supports secure and productive flexible working, why not book in a demonstration with us today?