Accounting Firms Have Increased Flextime & Telecommuting to Boost Retention
CPA firms of every size are using “employee-friendly” incentives to increase employee retention, including offering flextime work, telecommuting and reduced hours in the off-season, according to the Journal of Accountancy. The larger companies typically offer more flexible options for employees, with two-thirds of the larger firms offering flextime work, for example, while only 55% of the smaller companies offer this benefit. Similarly, 83% of the larger firms offer telecommuting to employees, but only about a third of smaller companies do.
The Digital Frontier: How Cloud Computing & Videoconferencing Can Improve Recruitment & Productivity
Accounting firms, in general, are moving to cloud computing and cloud-based system backups, to using Skype or other similar means of videoconferencing, and are recruiting via social media. Not only do these methods appeal to younger workers who are comfortable with modern technology, but also these tools can easily be applied to remote employment opportunities.
50% of Surveyed Millennials Cite “Flexibility” As a Factor When Choosing An Employer
How important are flextime and telecommuting to employees? According to Accounting Today, “Deloitte’s 2018 ‘Millennial Study’ surveyed 10,455 millennials about the most important factors when choosing an employer, and 50 percent of those surveyed cited ‘flexibility (i.e. hours and location).’” One reason for the popularity of work flexibility is that employees find it aids in work-life balance, which can be crucial to long-term success in high-pressure fields, like accounting and auditing. Greater job contentment translates to greater company loyalty and better work performance.
Mobility & Burnout: Workplace Flexibility Helps CPA Firms Retain Talent for the Long-Term
Companies that allow remote work are better able to retain key employees who may need to move for reasons that are not job-related. Implementing flexible hours and locations into the company structure permits company management to reach out to previous employees who have moved out of the area and potentially rehire them, thus regaining talented, experienced individuals.
Consistent Communication is the Key to Keeping a Professional Workplace Culture
Two difficulties companies encounter with offering flextime and telecommuting to employees are “billable hours and fear of losing the established workplace culture and employee relationships.” Billable hours can be replaced with a focus on desired results by using transparent management practices and clearly stated expectations, while workplace culture can be strengthened using creative measures that establish methods to involve all team members, including those who are working remotely.
Open and consistent communication is critical to have successful flextime and telecommuting policies.
How to Implement an Effective Retention Program at Your CPA Firm
Intuit explains five steps companies can take to successfully use flexible work practices to benefit the firm’s employee retention practices.
Document & Communicate Strategic Goals & Expectations
Clarity of expectations, preferred work methods and the expected end result make it possible to do the same work from a different location.
Define & Document Each Staff Member’s Exact Role
Knowing each person’s expected roles, individual responsibility for performance and the chain of communication can enable efficient work and cut down on frustrations, blame and a decline in productivity.
Determine the Frequency & Preferred Modes of Communication
The desired type and frequency of communication may vary from company to company, but these decisions should be made before flextime is offered, and the guidelines on communication should be clearly stated.
Mandate Regular Working Hours
Setting standard hours for work to be done, for availability for communication with other staff members and with customers, and for the timing and frequency of being in the physical office can reduce frustrations associated with flextime work.
Use Technology to Ensure Connectivity
For flextime and telecommuting to be successful, firms need to invest in the computers and related equipment required to provide adequate service for remote access and ease of communication, while considering the additional security issues involved.
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