If you’re like the employees of Schneider Downs, you haven’t seen the inside of your office since mid-March. The first few weeks of work from home were filled with uncertainty, not knowing how long the quarantine would last and if you could continue performing your business processes effectively with a remote workforce. As time went on and the business adapted and settled into new routines, your processes and controls had to be adapted to address the challenges of working remotely.
For example, let’s look at a standard invoice approval process that was in place at many organizations (pre COVID-19, of course). Accounts Payable received an invoice to be paid, which was forwarded to another individual within the organization for approval. That individual reviewed and physically signed the invoice to evidence their approval, and sent it back to Accounts Payable to be processed. But wait…how do you get a physical signature on a physical document while working remotely? The simple answer is that you don’t. The process would need to be revised and adapted to the new situation. Approvals would have to be obtained electronically, which also happens to save a lot of time in the process.
While the solution here may have seemed obvious, there were numerous processes that had to be changed to adjust to the “new normal.” Do you think you will continue with the new processes once you return to the office? Or will you revert back to the old way? In Western Pennsylvania, as in many regions of the U.S., as we begin to return to our offices, it’s a great time to reflect on the lessons learned and efficiencies gained while working remotely. You can start by asking the following questions about your modified process:
Where have we been forced to make changes due to the remote work environment?
Do the changes present new risks or concerns in regards to segregating duties?
Will we save time and/or effort while still accomplishing the same goal?
Would similar modifications benefit other business processes?
It is important to evaluate and assess your business processes to determine if the changes made to accommodate the remote work environment have adequate controls in place to mitigate the risks and whether they are more efficient and should be permanently adopted upon your return to the office. If you’d like assistance evaluating your processes or controls, Schneider Downs Risk Advisory Services group can help. Contact us at [email protected].
You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours
The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].
Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.