Over half of FE workers feel remote working has sped up digitisation in the sector, improving efficiency and their overall working experience (@bluQube).
As the shift to remote working becomes permanent for many, new research has found that employees within the FE sector experienced the process of digitalisation accelerate since working from home began. Finance teams within the FE sector have experienced an increase in efficiency, with more investment in automated processes which have provided new flexibility for workers.
According to a nationally representative survey of FE finance leaders across the UK, conducted by accounting software provider bluQube, 77% of respondents felt digital transformation has advanced rapidly since the shift to remote working.
The introduction of new digital technologies has sped up processes by providing secure access to data and allowing for increasingly efficient reporting and auditing. Of those surveyed, 78% felt they were using more time this year than last to develop or implement new processes, showing the scale of the changes taking place.
As a result of these new, efficient technological approaches, 24% of FE finance workers said they were spending more time liaising with colleagues, perhaps due to less time spent on time consuming data entry, as a result of automation.
However, these developments in technology have not been without challenges, with 61% of financial employees within the FE sector admitting they struggled with remote access to systems and IT. This is alongside the 43% who experienced the slowdown of admin processes.
The FE sector therefore needs to invest in better technological support for finance teams committing to remote working to make the transition easier, especially as 65% of those surveyed believe more flexible working will become standard in five years and 50% think remote working will become standard practice. Furthermore, the same amount of respondents (65%) believe automation will be the biggest change of the next five years.
Simon Kearsley, CEO of bluQube, who founded Symmetry in 1996, commented:
“Remote working has sped up the digital processes for many sectors, and FE is no different. There have been significant advances in the way the finance departments of colleges and further education providers operate with the rise of remote working. Many financial systems were not prepared for remote working as teams could no longer rely on paper-based solutions. The digitalisation which has followed remote working is something finance departments can continue to reap the benefits of.”
“The findings from our research have shown the requirement for increasingly flexible and accessible finance systems as remote working continues to dominate the FE sector. Hopefully we will continue to see colleges use the services of bluQube to help ease their concerns about automation and further adjust to the system of remote working, which employees clearly feel is here to stay.”