• Tech

    Modern Accounting Firm Offices Sport Fancy Coffee, Nap Rooms, But Cling to Hoteling

    By | September 11, 2017

    Big accounting firms are becoming known for their swanky offices. How else will they woo the best and brightest campus hires unless run-of-the-mill abstract art is hanging on the wall? 

    If you’re on the tax team (something I didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing), enjoy the lap of luxury every day since you’re tethered to office almost 24/7, especially during tax season. Auditors, on the other hand, are at a client most of the time; when they do get to spend time in the office, my, that’s a treat.

    After all, what’s not to love when you can look forward to all of these luxuries of the modern workspace.

    Who needs a coffee shop?

    These days, lots of large firms boast a great lounge space and break room. Most have an elaborate coffee machine which is arguably better than Starbucks (or, conversely, it serves Starbucks coffee).

    Denver Business Journal took a peek at regional firm Eide Bailly’s’ new digs to house its 135 employees. Their new break room might be one of the coolest I’ve ever seen. It has a putting green that will have both golfers and nongolfers feeling envious.

    And if you need to hold a meeting, firms are decking out conference rooms with all the fancy gizmos. All the rooms are named after local attractions or points of interest. Pretty much every conference room in Denver is named after a peak in the Rocky Mountains. To switch it up, Eide Bailly opted for Denver landmarks as room names (e.g., Union Station). Very creative for an accounting firm.

    Let me take this lying down

    Once the caffeine wears off, why not take a nap? Lots of firms have a “quiet room” (i.e., a fancy closet with a nice chair) for naps or where new moms can find some privacy to pump. Plus, if you do your best work from the comfort of your own bed but are forced by your employer to work in the office, here’s a unique solution: Forget the stand-up desk and try an “any position” desk from Altwork. Sure, it looks like a dentist’s chair, but think of the comfort! Too bad accounting tends to be dull enough to put you to sleep. No need for that quiet room if you can snag one of these fancy desks that allow you to:

    …sit, stand, recline into a focus position for tackling your toughest work challenges, or even work in a zero gravity position—all while maintaining ergonomic integrity and being comfortable so you can be more productive.


    All of this luxury comes at a cost. The offices are a lot smaller, and you’re expected to share. We all know it as hoteling, and I am not a fan. It’s not complicated; you just reserve your space each morning for the part of the day you will be occupying it.

    Sure, the concept is logical, and it saves firms money since they don’t have an half-empty office when most people out and about. But who wants to feel like a nomad in their own office? Plus, it’s annoying when that out-of-town associate bumps you out of your favorite spot when you forget to reserve it. Either you’re ready to have a throw down to get you space back, or it messes with your work mojo all day.

    But most accountants are willing to put up with it and will have to if they stay at a big firm. At least it makes getting your own desk that much sweeter once you jump to industry. No matter how many people say “Millennials like an open office,” everyone likes their own permanent space.

    Does your office have some unique feature? A tennis court? Maybe a sushi bar? Do tell. Just don’t brag about the walking workstations. We all know those are gathering dust.

    Image: by Breather on Unsplash
    • SmallFry

      “At least it makes getting your own desk that much sweeter once you jump to industry. ” — growing up in the tax industry, i’ve always dreamed of getting my own office as a sign of “making it”. Now it seems everyone is moving to an open office or hotelling model. As I see the company experimenting with hotelling and even taking away offices from director levels, I feel like that “made it” moment will elude me even when I make it up to that level.

      I recently met a VP at a place that doesn’t give office space unless your SVP and above.

      I don’t like it.

      Give us back at least that last symbol of “success”!!

    • Debit_cash

      An entitled millenial like myself surley appreciates the upgraded coffee machines and nice views of downtown. But I would also like a raise and constant reminders of how great my work papers are. Us millenials need positive reinforcement.

    • jgreenecpa

      Our firm just relocated one (of 2) of its offices. The new space has EVERY desk height-adjustable–even the cubicles. The entire L-shape workstation and cube partitions can raise to a standing height and lower at the touch of a button.