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Zapier Inc

Lessons Learned From Working Remotely As An Accountant

Below is an article originally written by Brandi Shuttera, an Accountant at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on November 30, 2018. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

When most people think of accountants and accounting jobs, they think of someone sitting behind a desk in an office, meeting with clients, and dealing with piles of paperwork. Working from home—without any face-to-face meetings or paper handoffs—might not seem possible.

When I first looked at the possibility of finding an accounting job I could do remotely, the odds didn't look too good. Most of the accounting jobs that were open to remote work were tax-related, which didn't align with my current accounting experience and was not the type of job I was interested in. Considering the amount of paperwork staff accountants typically deal with and how closely I worked with others at my in-office job, I figured accounting was out of the question when it came to working remotely.

Fast forward to a few years later…I came across a job opening at Zapier, a 100% distributed company, for an accountant role and knew I had to go for it! I had already set up an office at home that was a happy environment that I was ready to use. I also saw other benefits of being able to work remotely other than utilize my new happy space:

  • Save time and money by removing the commuting portion of my day: over 13 hours a month on time and $80 a month on my gas and even auto insurance (since I was using my car less, my auto insurer lowered my rate).
  • Reduce my carbon footprint by at least 2.3 metric tons of CO2 a year!
  • A chance to benefit my health and well-being. Working from home allows me to make healthier meal choices, work in a cleaner office environment (and I get to control the thermostat!), and use my commuting time to jump on the treadmill every once in a while.
  • The ability to work from anywhere such as coffee shops, co-working spaces, or visiting friends and family.

I was nervous at first since I didn't know what to expect. How would an accounting position work in a remote world and how easy would it be to balance my work and home life, since my home was now also my work? Now that I'm six months in, the transition from working in such a paper-heavy environment to a practically paper-free one was easier than I thought. It ispossible to have a role that's not traditionally remote-friendly and still thrive.

Working Remotely as an Accountant: Lessons Learned

Meetings: When I worked in an office, I sat through many meetings that were either scheduled or impromptu, and there's nothing different in a remote setting other than it's via video conferencing. (Well maybe that and the elimination of having to find a conference room that hasn't already been booked.) It's just as easy to have impromptu meetings here at Zapier as it would be in any office. Spin up a Zoom meeting and share the link in your Slack channel and you can have that same sort of spur of the moment meetings, as long as all the participants are online at the same time.

Communication and water cooler moments: Communication is key when it comes to working on a remote accounting team. In my past experiences in working in an office, I would find out information from just hearing other conversations happening around me that gave me context of what was happening with the rest of the team. With remote work, you don't get that opportunity in the same way. But then there's Slack.

"Default to Transparency" is one of our company values, so it's good practice to use public channels as the main form of communicating in Slack even if your question is specific to one person. This will help keep the rest of the team in the loop on what others are working on and prevent folks from feeling isolated. Plus, if you have fun Slack channels set up like "#fun-food," you get the same camaraderie as you do in an office, but just at everyone's most convenient times.

Work: As for the accounting aspects of working remotely, I've found it's not much different from working in an office. We still have a weekly team meeting, 1:1 meetings, collaborate on shared files, knock out month-end financials together, and ask for each other's help/perspective on tasks we are working on. We use a lot of cloud-based apps that allow us to share and work on files together.

  • With Quickbooks Online we are all able to log in to add in journal entries, run reports, import transactions vs the desktop version which would limit access to one person.
  • Sharing spreadsheet files are easy with the ability to save Excel files in Box, or use Google Sheets and Excel Online, which both allows for the team to work simultaneously on one file.
  • We also use Google Docs often when working on writing policies and company announcements. It's a great way to share your work with the team and allows for everyone to add notes and editing suggestions.
  • Notejoy is another tool we use to collaborate notes as a whole for the Ops team. We've used this tool to track our weekly meeting notes, draft our team's weekly update post, and save any other notes that would be helpful to share with the team.

Zapier: Creating Zaps (our word for automated workflows between apps) has helped me decrease the time I spend on mundane tasks and helps to keep me up to date on tasks I need to work on. I use one Zap to reduce the amount of time I spend saving invoices that we receive to our box folder, and another to alert me on who has turned in an expense report. And yet another Zap to automatically add cards to my "To Do" Trello board for weekly recurring items.

Working remotely may seem like a foreign concept in the accounting world, but when you're set up with the right applications and an awesome team, it's totally achievable! (P.S., Zapier's fully remote and hiring.)

Netskope

Life @ Netskope with Andrea, Central Channel Sales Director

Below is an article originally written by Zoe Revis at PowerToFly Partner Netskope, and published on September 13, 2018. Go to Netskope's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

In this Life @ Netskope, we talk to Andrea Schreiner our Central Channel Sales Director out of Frisco, Texas. In her two years at Netskope, Andrea has made a huge impact with the Netskope field and channel teams covering the Central US area. Outside of Netskope, Andrea spends her weekends between the softball field cheering on her oldest daughter and her youngest at the horse barn. If you have spent much time with Andrea on the phone, you have probably heard her four-legged child Sprocket in the background.

What made you choose Netskope?

I have a funny hiring story. Mike Burnett, who was a Regional Sales Manager at the time, had talked to me a few times about coming to Netskope and timing was never right. A few months later, I met Gary Ochs, VP of Channel Sales at the time, at the OH airport, we started connecting the dots on Netskope, his open position and it being the company Mike Burnett had been calling me about, the timing was perfect! Gary and I both boarded our separate planes texting Mike and two weeks later I had an offer letter. It was a right place, at the right time situation. Once I started the interview process and learning about Netskope, the product, the people, and the culture, I knew Netskope was the place for me.

What's your favorite thing about Netskope and why?

My favorite thing is the culture, the people and how everybody works well together as a team. Whenever I interview people for potential jobs at Netskope, I don't want to sound cheesy and oversell it, but I talk a lot about how amazing the culture is here. Everybody at Netskope collaborates and helps each other in order to accomplish our main goal, which is to see Netskope become the next iconic security company.

Working from home, how do you stay connected to HQ and your team in the region?

As someone who works remotely, Netskope makes it so easy to stay connected through Slack, (which I am still learning). Everyone is so receptive, you never have to worry about being stranded on an island. I really enjoy Chris Andrews, our SVP of Sales bi-weekly calls with the worldwide sales team. It's a great way to keep up with what is happening at HQ and learn about our newest products. Our Central US team also has a call every Monday where we share updates in the territory, and best practices.

What advice would you give to someone starting a remote position at Netskope?

My advice would be to learn your resources at corporate, do a good job of getting them out in the field and make lasting connections with the members of your team. I support eight different sales/sales engineering teams so I make sure that I am communicating with them almost every day. In a company where most everyone is remote, it takes work to keep a great culture and I feel like Netskope has done a great job in this area.

If you could only watch one TV show for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Oh, that's a hard one, I'd have to go with This Is Us. It's a great storyline and it seems as if it is a real family going through heartache and happiness and working together. It's a rollercoaster of emotions but it also has some great lessons.

Stash

How To Be Productive When You’re Working From Home

Partner Content

Below is an article originally written by the Stash Team, who is a PowerToFly Partner. Go to Stash's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Working from home can be fantastic. You don't have to deal with a commute, a uniform, or the fuss of annoying colleagues. You might even be able to make your own schedule.

Here's the thing. It can be difficult to settle into the daily grind when you're only moving from your bed to your desk and you have the option to stay in your pajamas all day.

Here are some tips on how you can harness all the positives of working from home to have productive and industrious workday:

Office space

Even if you aren't lucky enough to have a home office, create an official workspace for yourself with everything you need, such as your laptop, phone, files, and whatever else. This will help get you into the working mindset when you've got to get down to business.

Even if it's just a desk in the corner or your tidy kitchen table, having a proper workspace is much better than flopping down on the couch while you work.

Get dressed

Getting dressed in the morning is a signal that the day has begun and you're officially "on," something which is easy to forget when you work from home. You don't have to put on a suit and do your hair, but by putting your pajamas away and changing into something fresh, you're telling your brain that work is about to begin.

Research suggests that this simple change can trigger much higher productivity in home workers.

Don't eat where you work

Make sure to set apart time for lunch and get away from your workspace when you aren't working. Make an effort to eat elsewhere, and get out of the house on your breaks when possible, so that you return to work with fresh eyes.

Don't sit down and eat in front of your computer and browse the internet. It can make it harder to get back on track.

Play office sounds

Working at home lets you have more freedom than you would in an office; you can chat to whoever else is at home, play music out loud, or even sink into the silence of an empty house. But these things can easily become distractions. Try sticking in your headphones and listening to office sounds on YouTube. The familiar sounds of a work environment will put you in the right mindset for a productive day.

Like working in coffee shops but can't get to one? Check out Coffitivity, an app that plays the sounds of your favorite java joint.

Stay accountable

One of the biggest killers of productivity when working from home is letting yourself get away with procrastination. When there's no one watching you or checking up on your work, it's easy to sit back and spend the afternoon watching videos or hanging out in bed.

Test out some free time management apps to keep you accountable and your work on track.

By getting your routine into shape, you'll be getting work done while also loving your workspace.

Women at Work

5 Tips From The Director Of People At A Fully Remote Company

An Inside Look At Our VIP Office Hours With Courtney Seiter

Courtney Seiter is the Director of People at Buffer, a fully remote company hiring through PowerToFly. In addition to working as Buffer's Director of People, Courtney has a knack for writing - she's appeared in TIME, Fast Company, Lifehacker, Inc., and more. With four years of professional remote work experience, Courtney has a wealth of knowledge about the characteristics of successful remote employees and workplaces.

On May 18th, Courtney sat down with a small group of PowerToFly VIPs and provided tips for landing a top remote job as well as advice for being successful remote team members. Would you like access to informative, valuable, and exclusive chats with successful women like Courtney? If yes, then click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women committed to empowering one another.

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