Embracing Remote Accountants Can Benefit Your Business

By | October 10, 2017

Remote working is on the rise. In 2016, 22% of American employees did at least some of their work from home. And for those with advanced degrees over the age of 25, the number is even higher—a full 43% reported working remotely at least some of the time.

It may feel natural to some accounting firms to resist this trend. After all, how can you monitor your employees and their workflow if you can’t physically see them?

But embracing remote CPAs and accountants can have a positive effect on your bottom line and your ability to achieve business goals. Here are four ways the remote work trend can improve your business.

Reduced overhead costs

When employees provide their own workspaces and technology, the cost savings for businesses can be substantial. Companies can maintain a smaller office—or even no office at all—cutting down on rent and equipment costs. Remote work can also slash your IT budget, as you may not need to purchase and manage as many computers, smartphones, routers, etc.

“Companies have caught on that not only are their employees happier being able to work remotely, but that it also saves them money,” says Patti Scharf, Co-Founder, and COO, Catching Clouds.

More competitive recruiting

Today’s accountants know that with the ubiquity of connected technology, they can perform much if not all of their work from anywhere. More and more, the best talent is valuing the ability to work remotely in their career decisions.

“Employees are asking why they can’t work from home, and that’s putting pressure on companies to offer alternatives to remain competitive,” says Scharf.

Millennials are even more likely to seek a position that allows them to telecommute. A 2015 study showed that 68 percent of college grads would weight a potential job more favorably if the company allowed remote work at least some of the time.

Accountingfly keeps an eye on what happens in the accounting labor market, and in 2016, a remote CPA job got 7 TIMES more applicants than an in-the-office CPA job on Accountingfly.

Today’s talent is valuing remote work and a stronger work/life balance. And if you’re not paying attention to this, then they won’t pay attention to you.

More effective business strategy

With employees working in a physical office, it’s easy for managers to get distracted by factors that don’t affect the bottom line. For instance, it’s almost impossible for the boss not to notice who shows up on time and who leaves early, regardless of those workers’ performance.

“It can be painful for a lot of companies and managers to have to shift to paying attention to metrics that matter,” says Scharf. “When a company has remote workers, they have to get extremely clear about their expectations and how they’re going to measure performance, and they need to be able to effectively communicate those expectations to their employees.”

According to Scharf, this shift in strategy can be cumbersome, but the results are worth it. “It’s a very difficult dynamic to master, but if a company can do it successfully, the rewards are great,” says Scharf.

Better employee engagement

Strange as it sounds, remote employees are often more engaged with co-workers and supervisors than their in-office counterparts. According to Harvard Business Review, 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected through the use of video conferencing. We can only offer conjecture as to why this is, but perhaps the comfort and freedom of working from anywhere helps employees connect with each other more openly and honestly.

If you’re a firm that embraces remote CPAs or high-level accountants, Accountingfly can help you highlight that competitive advantage to the best accounting job candidates. Click here to reach out for more information.

  • $gross_prophet$

    I love working from home. Sitting on my ass all day while I search the web on the firms dime is fantastic. But doing it while at home in my pajamas drinking a beer is even better

  • Big4Veteran

    “Remote working” is an oxymoron.

    Companies may be doing this more to reduce overhead costs and be more competitive in recruiting, but they are certainly not doing it for increased productivity or “better employee engagement”. That’s bullshit.

    • Ledgerman

      You are always on about how nobody gets stuff done working from home. I am {almost} always more productive working on something that requires extended concentration at home, because both the office and the client are shitshows of constant interruption. The goofing off comes in when you got your 8 hours of work done in 3.5, not because you got nothing done at all.

      • Big4Veteran

        “I am {almost} always more productive working on something that requires extended concentration at home”

        I guess we’ll have to take your word for it, since there’s no other way to verify this.

        • $gross_prophet$

          That auditor mindset, though

      • Adam Hill

        Would you take a pay cut to work at home? I am in agreement with most everything you said, but money grubbing accountants (ie: partners) will automatically think you are fucking off if they don’t get to keep their thumb on you. It would be possible to fill that extra time with another job or screw around time if you are able and willing to take the pay cut. With the exception of succession planning, I think both sides of the fence would be better off going with a contract based agreement. How that would be structured though is tough.

        • Ledgerman

          No. I don’t actually spend that much time fucking off at home, but I can crank through work easier.

          I’m fortunate to be on a team that wants me on site a couple times a week most weeks, but otherwise doesn’t really care where I am as long as my work is delivered on time and on point. Plus I like being on site to connect face-to-face with the client and the rest of the team, and avail myself of the free snacks

  • TechyAccountant

    I’d much rather work from home, lock myself in my office, and crank away at an analysis or report design….opposed to being summoned every 30 minutes to someone’s meeting that I could give a shite about, or have any business being in.

    • Adam Hill

      One appealing aspect of this site is the ability to use SHIT freely.