The virtual workforce concept can be a valuable asset for businesses, enabling them to adopt services and employ skilled staff they might not otherwise be able to afford.
However, most small businesses are yet to effectively position themselves to take advantage of virtual working practices. While the benefits are extensive, administering a virtual workforce requires improved financial and project management processes, which can now be facilitated using advanced accountancy software.
Here’s how you can prepare your small business to embrace new, more agile employment practices:
What is a virtual workforce?
A virtual workforce is a network of freelancers, contractors and other non-affiliated professionals employed by businesses to carry out specific services without the need to set up resources in-house.
By structuring a business in this way, owners can overcome the following hurdles:
- Geography: Providing working practices can be synchronised, a member of the virtual workforce could be based anywhere in the world. This enables the employment of highly skilled staff from regions with a skills surplus.
- Employment trends: A growing number of talented professionals are choosing to become freelancers rather than seek permanent employment. The virtual workforce concept allows businesses to tap into this rapidly growing market of self-starting, expert staff with ease.
- Flexible demand: A virtual workforce enables businesses to access specialist services (such as digital marketing) as and when required, reducing overheads and allowing resources to be adapted in order to meet seasonal or market fluctuations.
The rise of the virtual workforce has been facilitated by the improving global superfast broadband infrastructure. In recent years, a host of digital systems have been developed that enable people to work together conveniently from distant locations. These include:
- Cloud computing
- Project management applications
- Videoconferencing services
Prepare your business for a virtual workforce
Payroll can be set up to automatically send out remuneration alongside a digital payslip based on the services provided each month. Expenses documents can also be submitted using a smartphone or other digital devices, automatically updating a running balance sheet for ease of payment.
Small business owners can manage all aspects of a project (including: invoices, estimates, expenses and tasks) using accountancy software. Project managers can build up a to-do list complete with useful information (such as the hourly rates of virtual employees) to work out the costs and potential profitability of each business initiative.
Advanced accountancy software provides a real-time overview of business cash-flow. This can help business owners to review which virtual workforce services are bringing value to the business, and when best to deploy them in order to maximise returns. This data can then be shared with a qualified accountant in order to provide advantageous financial guidance in a timely manner.
Call on the experts at 3 Wise Bears and prepare your business for the age of the virtual workforce.