4 Tips for Providing Practical Training to Your Remote Accounting Team

When designing your new online training program, consider these four critical steps to keep employees learning and engaged.

Training Magazine

If your accounting department was thrust into a remote work environment due to the pandemic, you’re not alone. Navigating technology needs and maintaining teamwork and camaraderie was no small feat. But you likely found your stride along the way.

And whether you’re planning to continue with a fully remote accounting team or transition to flexible schedules, you will need to shift how you provide training to your workers. Your training will need to adapt, just as your team did in 2020.

When designing your new online training program, consider these four critical steps to keep employees learning and engaged.

1. Leverage Technology

Think back to when your team first went remote in early 2020. Remember how utilizing the right technology helped your team succeed? You’ll need to do the same with your training program.

When it comes to training remote workers, on-demand training is key. Since workers are scattered among different locations and may not be working the same hours, having training available when they are ready for it is crucial.

Be sure you have a system in place to track and document who’s completed training. Learning management systems are a helpful tool to automate the delivery of training courses and track completion. Having a complete tracking system is essential for employees who are CPAs to help them log their continuing education hours.

Let workers access training on their timeline. And if you offer a live training session, be sure to record it for future reference. You can also use the recording to share short snippets of information with your team.

2. Maximize Microlearning

Each employee needs formal training courses to keep current with company policies and stay up to date with their job duties. In between these traditional courses, supplement their learning with quick bits of microlearning.

Microlearning focuses on short learning lessons. They could be:

  • A short animated video covering your time tracking software for your new hires
  • An online library of short videos or infographics that cover some of the everyday tasks, like how to request time off or how to create new projects in your project tracking system
  • On-demand quizzes employees can access to refresh their knowledge

Microlearning is best when topics are condensed and cover one specific task. These small chunks of information are helpful because they are easier to digest and can be squeezed into your employee’s busy workday.

3. Balance Group and Individual Training

When a new policy or procedure is being introduced, scheduling group training makes sense. You can convey the latest information to your team at one time. This group training can strengthen your team’s connection by having everyone together at the same time. Bonus points if it’s a video conference where they can see each other.

For more personalized training, create individual training modules and programs. Self-guided study plans are great for employee professional development and let your employees study at their own pace.

Be sure you have deadlines in place for self-study programs to ensure training is completed in a reasonable amount of time.

For all training, make sure it’s as painless as possible. For group training, send an email a few days before with links to the virtual classroom and send another reminder email the day of the training.

For individual training, automate as much of the process as possible. Sending automatic reminder “nudges” if the employee is behind schedule can get them back on track.

4. Cultivate a Remote Work Culture

You cultivated a supportive work environment when everyone was in the office. You’ll need to continue doing that when everyone is remote.

A recent study by PWC found that 87 percent of employees surveyed believe the office is an integral part of collaborating with team members. And now that the built-in reinforcement of work culture through daily interactions is gone, letting employees know what’s expected of them and what they can count on from you sets your team member up for success.

A healthy remote work culture includes:

  • Setting clear expectations for each job
  • Provides paths for support and help
  • Establishes time and places for employees to connect with

If hosting frequent in-person meetups for your team is possible, consider doing it at least once every quarter. It could be a group lunch, morning coffee social, or fun outing during regular business hours. You want these in-person gatherings to happen during normal working hours, so employees aren’t expected to use their free time to socialize with their team members.

A byproduct of healthy remote work culture is trust. When there’s explicit communication of expectations, implicit trust is created among team members. All employees know they are being held to the same standards and are more likely to remain engaged and productive.

Swapping out your old in-person training system for a remote-friendly version won’t happen overnight. With careful planning and keeping these vital tips in mind, you’ll be able to develop something that’s guaranteed to enrich your employees and strengthen the connection between your remote employees and your company.

Mike Whitmire
Mike Whitmire, CPA*, is CEO and Co-founder of FloQast, a provider of accounting workflow automation software created by accountants for accountants to help them work smarter, not harder. Prior to founding FloQast, Mike was part of the accounting and finance team at rapidly-growing Cornerstone OnDemand. It was during the Los Angeles-based tech company’s preparations for its IPO that Mike first composed the idea for what would become FloQast. Mike began his career in audit at Ernst & Young, where his focus was on media and entertainment. During his time at EY, he performed public company audits, opening balance sheet audits, cash to GAAP restatements, compilation reviews, international reporting, merger and acquisition audits, and SOX compliance testing. Mike graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.