Without notice, your team is working in a different world. Putting together the year end reports with a remote workforce will require careful, but quick planning. To the list of unexpected challenges imposed on CFO's by COVID-19, add this one: closing the corporate books with nobody in the office. For many, finessing a virtual close with remote workers won’t be easy, but it will be doable—with smart, fast planning.
For most companies this is the time for wrapping up audit and also preparing to file returns in accordance with the laws of Ghana. The same people who executed the close last year will, for the most part, be doing it now. And most finance professionals have experience working remotely. But it’s a big leap to go from one or two people working off-site for a day or two, to having an entire workforce displaced while trying to function as if they weren’t—without being able to pop around the corner to ask a question, have hard-copy files at fingertips, or take advantage of the multiple-monitor desktops, highspeed scanners and printers, and other technologies that support productivity and collaboration. Some newly remote employees may not even have the basics: laptop, remote access to the company’s virtual private network, or videoconferencing capabilities.
It isn’t just frontline employees who may struggle. Highly accomplished managers may not be prepared to lead these remote teams as they are encountering this challenge for the first time. Financial reporting is a highly orchestrated process in which team members depend upon each other to produce deliverables on a tight schedule in precise sequence—a symphony of moving parts that could quickly become discordant when well-practiced routines move to a virtual environment.
KPMG recommends a four-phase approach, aimed at ensuring that the financial reporting function continues seamlessly, then refining the process to make it robust and sustainable for as long as required. As an outcome of this approach, organisations will likely uncover process improvements that provide value long after COVID-19.
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