Businesses these days are becoming more virtual thanks to the growing number of people working from home. Technology has advanced far enough for most organizations to allow their employees to work from home. Of course, the pandemic has managed to accelerate the rate at which companies are accepting remote working as a viable option for their employees.
That said, setting up a remote working environment comes with its set of challenges, especially for managers who are new to handling a remote team. The common thing any remote manager needs to ensure is that their team has an appropriate software setup suited for work. Without taking the time to appropriately set up these tools, teams will not be able to communicate and remain on the same page.
From project management tools, video conferencing, chat apps, and so on, all of these are crucial tools needed for remote teams to survive. Of course, this is just one of the many things managers need to deal with when setting up their remote teams. However, there is one aspect that is overlooked by most managers, one that is necessary to keep your operations running smoothly.
Budgeting and financial expense are something that needs to be taken into consideration by remote managers. As a remote working environment, employees can find it challenging to gain access to the company's essential expenses. For example, if they need to subscribe to a specific software package, how will they be able to do so if they can’t walk to their manager's office and make a request?
Remote managers need to learn how to manage their team's budget and expenses. That is why for this post, we are going to cover what you can do as a remote manager.
Remaining virtually secure
If an employee were to incur some charges on the organization's account, they would need to pay it from their wallet, and later on, fill out a receipt for the expenses to the financial team to claim reimbursement. However, remote working has made things more complicated when it comes to managing these expenses. An employee could share a picture of the receipt online, but that would make the process long and tedious for both parties.
With the challenges provided by remote working and their inaccessibility to their usual resources, they could start spending their personal finances on the tools they need. For instance, if they need a subscription to specific software, they would need to use their personal finances to acquire it since they have no access to company funding.
Furthermore, the idea of sharing company information through images can lead to a lot of security risks no manager wants to take. To gain control over the expenses, managers need to take the time to implement a streamlined module for keeping track of expenditures. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure this process is to pull off.
Expense management software can assist managers with allocating separate cards for every remote employee on the team. Anytime your remote employees need access to these funds, they can merely request the manager to provide a specific amount on their card and then proceed to make this purchase. Best of all, this can be done in real-time, so your employees will not have to wait for days about receiving these funds. Plus, you will not have to worry about handling paper receipts or reimbursements. Managers can take advantage of this system by prefixing budgets onto credit cards for future payments.
Aside from the flexibility offered to your remote employees, expense management software also offers ways for spending to remain transparent and visible. Whenever one of your remote employees uses the funding provided on their budget, the remote manager will see where, why, and when of that spending. A system like this makes things more seamless for managers to notice if anyone on the team spent money on something they should not have. That way, managers can seamlessly enforce a company's expense policies and ensure the rest of the team is aware of what is and is not allowed.
Virtual credit cards
As we've stated previously, there are going to be times when employees need to make online purchases for tools and such required to get their work completed. However, managers need to implement a robust way for remote employees to pay for their online purchases. Of course, this can be somewhat challenging since remote employees do not have the luxury of requesting credit cards from their managers. When it comes to taking an online training course or replacing a keyboard, how can they do so?
The answer to this question is virtual credit cards. These virtual cards offer a secure method for paying for things online, regardless of where your remote employee lives in the world. The best virtual credit cards are capable of working as either a one-off payment or recurring subscription.
The one-off credit card is only capable of being utilized to make a single payment. Whenever a remote employee uses it to make a purchase, the card detail becomes utterly useless. On the other hand, subscription credit cards are intended for recurring payments. Each of these payments will have unique card information since the cards were generated for a particular payment and are not allowed to be used anywhere else. That makes them even more secure than using the traditional company credit card on the internet.
Whenever one of these virtual credit cards has been used, the remote manager will be notified either through email or in-app. The payment request and supporting information can then be seen by the managed and approved by them. That ensures employees are following the company’s expense policy.
Creating a budgeting plan
The financial requirements for a remote team are far more different compared to an office working team. Managers can not rely on the previous budgeting plan that was made for office-related work. For instance, if the budget has included expenses for team lunches or travel, it may be necessary to take them out of your budgeting plan. If anything, managers need to take the time to carefully look over their budget and make sure their resources are being used in the right places.
Since your team has transitioned into a remote working environment, it may be ideal to start your budgeting from scratch. Coming up with a budgeting plan suited for remote working will make sure you know what you are planning to do and set a clear goal in mind when it comes to profit, expenses, and so forth. Furthermore, setting up a budgeting plan also places some restrictions you need to keep in mind when deciding on what you should spend the budget on.
Always questions decision
It’s alright for managers to have confidence in their decision-making with the budget, but they should also keep in mind to have a fair amount of uncertainty and question the decisions being made with the budget. That enables them to make more objective and reasonable decisions about the budget instead of acting on impulse or not taking every aspect that can assist in determining a more suitable choice.
For instance, if you want to set aside some finances for a particular tool that can help with project management. Instead of blindly choosing a random product and deciding on how much you should spend on it, take the time to do some research and see what others say about the product before committing to it. However, keep in mind that you can also cut costs, especially since these services usually provide a free trial to test out their product.
Be transparent and get your team involved
As a remote manager, you have a remote team that needs your guidance when it comes to the daily grind. Since the budget will concern them in some ways, it's a good idea to discuss the budget with them instead of making every decision on your lonesome. That not only prevents any miscommunication and misunderstandings from occurring but also bolsters trust and loyalty in your remote team. Additionally, it can help avoid situations when you were expecting the expenses to be less than they were.
Sharing your budget will also help the team understand how the budgeting process works and develop a sense of shared ownership. It could also cause your remote employees to find better ways to manage expenses. Video conferences are most likely the best way you can go about when holding these budgeting meetings. Although, try not to use group chats when talking about the budget and expenses. It’s far easier to hack into a chat application and see the messages passed between people. Plus, chat groups can get a bit more chaotic, while video calls ensure everyone remains respectful.
Remote managers have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to dealing with an offsite team. The budget and expenses are just one of the many responsibilities remote managers deal with when they are placed in this leadership role. The information we have provided should give you some ideas on managing your budget and expenses when dealing with a remote team.