Coronavirus – Next Steps

In the past couple of weeks, you would have witnessed the federal and state governments taking additional actions to contain the spread and risks of coronavirus, including invoking state of emergency powers. 

At Technology For Accountants (T4A), we are implementing extra precautions to look after the health and well being of our own employees, while ensuring we continue to support our valuable customers through this uncertain time. 

Firstly, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to my hardworking team for the incredible work they are doing servicing every one of our clients as efficiently and effectively as possible. I applaud their professionalism, especially those on the front line, handling multiple pressures and the magnitude of requests, previously unforeseen. 

Here are some suggestions on how you, as a proactive accountancy firm, can stay in front of the curve.

New precautionary measures

With the situation here in Australia and overseas moving so rapidly, you should consider these next steps to combat coronavirus and do what you can to slow its spread and threat to your business. We suggest these steps after consulting the latest advice from government and health authorities. 

It is important to note these suggestions are not meant to be in response to any official case of coronavirus but simply what’s necessary to implement practical measures to protect your employees while staying open for business.

For Client Meetings in your office arrange nightly deep cleans of meeting and boardrooms. Have notices on your office door and the door to all meeting and boardroom rooms reminding people to wash their hands, social distancing and no handshakes. If you are not comfortable with this or it causes stress within your team consider remote access only – i.e. FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, phone calls, emails etc. 

In your offices, where people who are in roles that can be done remotely, move to a rotating “split teams” approach as soon as possible. This means half the team will work from their usual workplace and half from home, rotating every two weeks which is in line with the advice from health authorities and will help manage the number of people in an office. 

As a first step, employees and their Manager should agree how their roles will be done from home and what their deliverables will be.

For employees at increased risk from exposure to coronavirus, insist that they work from home immediately. The World Health Organisation has identified the at-risk groups as those over 60 and those with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory issues, or compromised immune systems. Also consider employees who are pregnant or who need to work from home to care for a vulnerable or at-risk family member, if they wish to do so.

Many of your employees may already be set up to work remotely and without any disruption to their roles. However, as more employees move to a working from home set up, further IT support will be necessary and T4A will need to assess the technical and logistical support each business team will need. 
  
These changes are in addition to the other preventative measures mentioned, including stopping domestic and international travel, as well as limiting gatherings and events to fewer than 100 people. 

Simultaneously, there should be extensive work taking place to strengthen your Business Continuity Plans to better support your employees.

Microsoft Office 365

For those firms who are on Microsoft Office 365 (not the email only plans); We have been able to secure via one of our partners access to their mini course on Microsoft Teams. This course is called Team Essentials and is temporarily available for free on YouTube.

If you are after further training or advice on setup of Microsoft Teams or other Office 365 tools please contact me to discuss.

Cyber Security

Due to the increase in Cyber Security threats at this time, we will be rolling out for free, to all our IT Assurance Clients, simulated phishing attacks and security awareness training campaigns to educate your employees while they are working remotely.

This will start in April and will continue for the foreseeable future. If you are on IT Credits (Block time) please contact us to set this up for your team at a cost of $10 ex GST per employee per month or to discuss changing over to our IT Assurance support plans.

Remember – The government Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080 is operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you are seeking medical information on COVID-19. 

We understand this pandemic situation is requiring significant adjustment for everyone. The next few days and weeks will be tough for all and T4A is committed to helping you take whatever steps are necessary to keep your business going. 

However, we also ask for your understanding during this challenging time. We are experiencing an unprecedented number of job requests and need our clients to recognise that we are assisting you based on the severity of the issue and the order we have received your request. 

While we are doing our best to facilitate your request(s), if we have made a time to configure your remote access please be available at that time, be in front of the machine, be on the internet and make sure you have all passwords for your computer and your mobile device (so we can configure Two factor Authentication) as we are unable to simply reschedule.

Again, thank you for your patience, we have a bespoke implementation formula that will assist setting up your business remotely without compromising the quality of your firm’s work, privacy of your client-base or increase the security risk. We know this is of the utmost importance to you. 

We are your dedicated IT partner, and we remain committed to providing IT solutions – even on a global pandemic scale!