Remote Working for Accountants
The future of recruitment: why accountancy firms need a fresh strategy
As a modern accountancy firm, what would you suggest creates an appealing culture for potential candidates, a productive work environment for your team and in turn a massive difference to your bottom line?
Operating a strict 9-5 policy?
Recruiting talent from the local area only or enforcing a stressful commute?
The distraction of a busy, open plan office?
When you think about it, for our industry in particular – remote working lends itself really well to flexible working conditions. And certainly, none of the traditional office-based working conditions mentioned above are conducive to a productive workforce or a successful accountancy firm. So why do we ignore this new way of thinking and just carry on as we were?
Actually, it’s not a new way of thinking, and many potential candidates will expect an element of flexible or remote working when applying for positions at your firm. In fact, The Flexible Working Regulations of 2014 means that employees of 26 weeks or longer can request a flexible working arrangement, and you are required to handle the request in a ‘reasonable manner’.
According to the Office of National Statistics, over the past 10 years, the number of people working from home increased by 74% to a massive 1.54 million. With 17% of the private sector workforce working mainly from home, and 69% with the option to work remotely if they wish to.
So, as a business owner or decision maker within your accountancy firm – you cannot afford to ignore the facts any longer. If you are not embracing remote working and including this within your overall business and recruitment strategy, you need to start now!
We understand that there are some concerns about remote working, and you aren’t alone in holding back on promoting this choice. So, let’s consider the challenges for accountancy firms and how to overcome them.
Security – The nature of our job means that we deal with highly sensitive and confidential information. You may have concerns that removing that data from outside of the building will incur a breach. However, chances are that a breach is more likely to occur if your team are sending the odd ad hoc email from home without the proper training and technology. So, you may want to look into this whether remote working is on your agenda or not! By investing in technology, updating your policies and training your team, you can overcome this challenge quite easily.
Self-discipline – You have visions of your team rolling out of bed at lunchtime and flopping in front of their computer for a couple of hours a day between daytime TV shows and snacks! Wrong. 85% of global businesses confirm that location flexibility leads to an increase in productivity. And 13% of remote employees take fewer breaks and less sick days. Of course, the flip side to this may be your concerns over employees over-working. Feeling like they are unable to turn off when access to work devices are always on. Once again, this way of working is likely to be happening regardless of your working policy. Do you believe that during January your team went home at night and didn’t at least check their emails? You need to support and train your staff to help them avoid burnout.
Connection – Won’t working from home feel isolating? Will your team member feel out of the loop and lonely? Absolutely! That’s why it’s your responsibility to offer the tools to prevent that from happening. The choice of technology readily available means that a staff meeting or chat with a colleague is just a click away. Also, remote working doesn’t necessarily mean working from your kitchen table. Many remote workers can be found in shared workspaces near home, or at the office for part of the week. Part of your role, is to create, encourage and promote a healthy, happy remote working culture which works for you and your team. It needs to begin with you, and you need to invest in more than a laptop stand and a monthly 1:1 to make it work.
Garry Howling of Public Practice Recruitment Ltd says:
“We appreciate the concerns around promoting remote working at your firm. And if you’re on the fence about it, consider the opportunities around recruitment and retention.
You can cast that hiring net far and wide and won’t be limited by geography. Also, when your talented workers need to make lifestyle changes, being flexible means that you may not lose them to a more forward-thinking firm.
And think about business continuity – weather, travel, network failures…it can be business as usual for you. What about the benefits to the environment that remote working can offer? Not to mention reduction in overhead costs for you and your business!
Your new attitude, strategy and culture must be focussed on results rather than location. The recruitment landscape is changing for accountancy firms and it’s incredibly exciting! It’s time to get onboard.”
In a fast-paced and candidate driven market, we can work with you to examine your unique offering (such as working environment) to a prospective candidate. Additionally, we can collaborate with you to create your overall recruitment strategy if required.
We’re the experts – always here to help.
Call 0333 577 7787