The number of remote roles has tripled in the last three years, and nearly 75% of employees report that flexible work has had many benefits, often relating to improved work-life balance, productivity, and saving money. CPA firms that want to stay competitive should consider the benefits for their organization and employees, as working from home is the new normal post-Covid.
Accounting professionals who work remotely can often save money on expenses such as transportation, meals, and formal attire. These savings can add up over time, and they aren’t just for employees, either. Having each employee work remotely can result in significant cost savings, potentially increasing the profitability of CPA firms.
Despite all of its benefits, remote work still comes with its hurdles. In this article, we’ll share common challenges facing remote CPA firms and offer remote and hybrid work strategies to guide you to success.
Challenges of Remote & Hybrid Work Strategies for Accountants
A flawless transition to a remote and hybrid work environment doesn’t exist for any industry, but accountants and CPA firms can be harder hit by some challenges than others. Three prominent problems faced by remote CPA firms include burnout, data inaccuracy, and miscommunication.
Remote and hybrid work settings bring accountants additional flexibility, but this doesn’t mean that burnout is a non-issue. You might be surprised to learn that nearly 70% of all remote employees are experiencing burnout while working from home.
To escalate this problem, nearly 60% of these employees are taking less time off, and more than 40% don’t plan to take any time off. Considering that 99% of accountants report that they experience chronic workplace stress, burnout is especially important to watch in the accounting industry.
Accuracy & Reliability
Increased burnout comes with its own sub-challenges, including a greater likelihood of human error. In a 2022 survey, 85% of accountants admitted to reopening their books at least once during the year to fix mistakes, and nearly half had to reopen their books three or more times. This is why it’s crucial to implement tools and policies that encourage work-life balance.
In an office setting, it’s easy for employees to walk down the hall to a colleague when they have a question or need clarification. With remote work comes different work schedules and time zones, which can cause critical breaks in communication.
While that may not sound like a huge deal, a lack of communication could mean up to a 25% loss of productivity, which can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
How Workforce Management Software Can Help Remote & Hybrid Accountants Thrive
While flexible work options introduce some complexities and unexplored territory, there are some remote and hybrid work strategies that CPA firms can use to help their teams thrive.
One of the biggest drivers of success is making use of remote work tools such as workforce management software, which can alleviate most of the challenges caused by flexible work settings all in one solution.
This results in:
- Better communication
- Increased team alignment
- Greater accountability
- Improved legal compliance
- Business scalability and sustainability
Here are three pivotal ways workforce management software can empower remote and hybrid employees.
Did you know companies that encourage collaboration have five times better performance rates than organizations that don’t? Workforce management software has built-in technologies to improve schedule transparency, keep teams connected, and celebrate employees’ accomplishments in real-time.
Benefits of tech-aided collaboration for accountants include:
- Improved output quality
- Greater workflow efficiency
- Higher employee satisfaction
- Increased innovation
- Reduced turnover
Promote Work-Life Balance
On top of already high burnout rates among accountants, remote employees work 10% more hours per week than their office counterparts. For a regular 40-hour work week, that’s an additional four hours per week, which can accelerate burnout.
Workforce management software can help mitigate this problem with tools that:
- Alert employees when they’re about to work overtime
- In those employers that have a legal or a policy requirement to provide meal and/or rest periods, reminders to employees to take their meal and/or rest period when eligible
- Enable employees to keep track of personal commitments alongside their work obligations on their calendar, which can be kept private from others
- Develop accurate estimates to avoid overcommitment due to underestimating the amount of time a project will take
- Ensure tasks are assigned equitably across team members
These tools not only help reduce fatigue and frustration – but they also help avoid missed deadlines and rush work that could compromise your business’s client relationships and reputation.
Create a Sense of Purpose & Belonging
Without a social office environment, it can be easy for remote and hybrid accountants to feel out of the loop with their in-office peers or management.
Workforce management software comes with tools that offer the same amount of feedback and coaching via:
- Real-time recognition
- Task monitoring for teachable moments
- Individual goals that help employees see how their contributions are helping the company succeed
- Task tracking and transparency to empower greater accountability
Make Remote & Hybrid Work Seamless With Workforce Management Software for Accountants
Remote work is here to stay, which means developing the right remote and hybrid work strategies is essential to keep your CPA firm running smoothly.