Commuting to offices each day was the norm in the past, and WFH used to be an exception. While WFH was somewhat prevalent in the IT industry in the pre-COVID era as well, it was absent in the accounting industry.
However, the outbreak of the global pandemic in the form of COVID and the Great Resignation which followed it has challenged these norms, and today, we see a rise in WFH in the accounting industry as well. Since Covid, the business world has changed dramatically in a relatively short period of time. Traditional accountants might find working from home difficult, but there are various reasons why it will improve their work-life balance. A lot of people have managed to improve their work-life balance by embracing this approach.
In 2020, rich novel survey data documented that 35.2 percent of the US workforce worked entirely from home in May.
The evidence is based on survey questions about commuting behavior in the Real-Time Population Survey (RPS). It is a bi-weekly online survey with around 2000 respondents selected to be representative of the US population.
Amid the soaring inflation, an increasing number of individuals are switching to working from home. The results are not surprising when considering the challenging economic, social, and political climate.
Can Accountants Work from Home?
Suppose it is the weekend the next day, and you get a call from your boss asking for the bookkeeping records to be turned in days before the deadline.
You will have to cancel your weekend plans with your friends and family and diligently begin working to complete the task.
Research conducted by Dingle, Jonathan I, and Brent Neiman in 2020 titled “How Many Jobs Can be Done at Home?” suggests that the finance sector has further scope for workers switching to WFH. Employees in the accounting profession and industry have also reported work-life balance issues. The ever-changing professional standards and tax laws make accountants prone to facing pressure at work.
Further, staying competitive in the industry requires continuous improvement in the skills and abilities of individual accountants which can sometimes have a negative effect on their mental health as well. Accountants are just like us. They believe that a healthy work-life balance positively affects job satisfaction, performance, and ethical decision-making. Young accountants regard work-life balance issues to be decisive in making career decisions.
A study by Deloitte & Touche, a Big Four accounting firm, associated work-life balance with ethical behavior. Employees who have a healthy work-life balance are more likely to act responsibly, according to 91 percent of respondents in their survey. Working from home with your cup of coffee instead of being stuck in traffic and queues sounds amusing. It also saves you the cost of the commute. As a result, WFH is an effective approach for accountants to maintain a balanced work schedule.
Following are the five best ways accountants can WFH.
1. Set Up Your Workspace
As an accountant, there are several factors you need to consider before setting up your home workspace. Working from home means that you have more freedom to switch locations without considering where your office is situated. A significant number of individuals have migrated to rural areas due to the stressful living conditions of cities. Make sure wherever you move, the internet there is flawless as it is the only bridge between you and your work.
Further, it is recommended to have a dedicated and quiet workspace. Keep your home office separate from the rest of the house. The neater the workspace, the more professional you will appear to your bosses.
Last but not least, remember to inform your insurance team that you will be working from home as it is one of the first things you should consider while you are keeping expensive assets at home. Some of them might be the properties of your office.
2. Join an Accounting Outsourcing Firm
Small to mid-sized businesses are the backbone of the US economy. Many find it cheaper to hire outsourcing and/or staff augmentation services for accounting & finance compared to hiring a full-time employee. With the hike in costs associated with recruiting and training employees, an increasing number of companies are now relying on outsourcing firms to handle their accounting operations.
These outsourcing firms encourage their employees to WFH as they are quick to adapt to technological advancements. However, it is important to choose an outsourcing and/or staff augmentation partner that is reliable in terms of service quality.
Expertise Accelerated as your Outsourcing and Staff Augmentation Partner!
Expertise Accelerated (EA) is Connecticut-based outsourcing and staff augmentation specialist for accounting & finance services. It is committed to delivering 60 percent quality-assured payroll savings to its US clients.
EA is led by Haroon Jafree (CPA) who has 20+ years of experience in the US CPG industry, almost half of which is at the C-suite level.
Haroon is a turnaround expert and his areas of specialization include trade spend management, business process reengineering, and cost optimization, among others. With a proven track record of delivering phenomenal savings to US CPGs in the past, he has initiated the concept of leveraging high-quality offshore resources for realizing payroll savings to US SMEs amid the prevailing wave of soaring inflation and labor market crunch. He personally trains these high-quality remote professionals for client-specific roles so that they become a strategic fit, hence setting EA apart from the outsourcing facilities which are just body shops.
Expertise Accelerated’s General Accounting & Bookkeeping service is just one example of how outsourcing and/or staff augmentation can deliver payroll savings and expertise to US SMEs.
3. Save Energy, Save the Environment
While working from home sounds like an affordable idea. You have to keep in mind the energy costs as you will be working for 8–hours a day. Most employers do not compensate the utility cost of employees’ home offices. Turn off the lights when you are not in your workspace. Unplug any device that has a stand-by function. Print on both sides of the paper. Look for the Print This Page button when printing. Paste only the required information into a Word document. This way, you can save printing costs as well.
4. Keep Yourself in Loop
Employees in an office environment are more likely to talk to the person sitting at the desk nearby rather than the one working at home. However, it is not their fault. Your co-workers might feel as if they are intruding on your personal space by calling you at home. Your goal should be to remain actively involved in the company culture.
Moreover, stay on your toes. Always look for professional development opportunities and stay connected with your co-workers and your profession. Attend meetings and seminars in your practice area. If your office is situated at the same place you live, show up for training seminars.
5. Step Out of Your Workspace
Employees are prone to losing track of time while they are working from home. Although work hours are defined, not knowing when to stop is natural when your work desk is at your home. Take short breaks. Check up on your family and spend a little time with them over a cup of coffee. Use saved time on your commute to revitalize your social life. If you face a decline in your productivity, go with your laptop to a nearby café and try working there. A switch of location is likely to help boost productivity.
The Bottom Line
Working from home might take patience, creativity, and a little sacrifice. But it is beneficial in the long run. As the world continues to evolve, leading US employers are realizing that remote work is beneficial for their organizations. Moreover, their employees become happier and more productive. Modern technology allows accountants to be productive no matter where they are. They focus on the task at hand rather than killing the hours.
Hence, WFH is a win-win, both for the accountants as well as their recruiters.