Companies in nearly every sector are announcing plans to retain remote workers, and experts anticipate that there will be 36.2 million remote workers in the United States by 2025.
According to the Journal of Accountancy, over 50% of the top performing accounting firms in the country have staff working remotely.
The average employee who commutes to the office spends 100 hours driving to and from work and an additional 41 hours stuck in traffic per year. Eliminating commute time is only one of the most notable advantages.
While there are several benefits of going fully remote, there are five that are especially beneficial for accountants. Each has its place in other sectors. However, these benefits can specifically help accountants grow their firms.
5 Benefits of Going Fully Remote
Working remotely saves the employer and employee money. HR professionals state that each remote worker saves the company approximately $11,000 a year. While that seems like a lot, when you break it down, it’s easy to see where the saving occurs.
What are the benefits of going fully remote at your accounting firm? Here are the top five reasons accounting firms are making the switch to a remote workforce.
1. Commercial Real Estate Savings
The average office space in New York City rents for $85.56 per square foot. In smaller cities like Billings, Montana, commercial rental leases are roughly 12 times less than that, but overall, office space rental accounts for one-third of operational costs.
Firms that employ remote workers save on office rental space leases because less space is needed.
Furthermore, not only do firms save on rental costs, but they also reduce the costs of maintenance and utility expenses. When firms reduce operational costs associated with rental fees, they can redirect spending to other areas to help them grow their firm.
Accounting firms can also take the money saved on office space rental costs and give employees stipends to help them get the equipment they need for their home offices. It’s important to ensure your staff has the proper equipment so they can work productively from home. This includes a nice office chair, desk, a large monitor, and high-speed internet. Organizations may also choose to offer other incentives to boost employee satisfaction outside of the office such as fitness stipends.
2. Employee Happiness
Remote workers are generally happier than their office-working counterparts. It provides flexibility that improves work/life balance and promotes a healthier lifestyle.
Over half (54%) of employees say they would quit their current job for one that offered more flexibility, like offering a remote work schedule, among other employment benefits.
Firms that employ remote workers spend less time recruiting because happy employees don’t look for work elsewhere. They also let others know about their employee experience at work and are more likely to refer someone to a position within the company.
Working remotely also allows employees to customize their workspace as much as they want. Since most opt to work from home, they have set their office up to meet their style or workflow. Happier employees are more:
- Fun to work with
Remote workers are, on average, 35-40% more productive than their colleagues who work in the office full time. Employees who work from home increase their output by roughly 4.4% and have fewer than 40% quality defects in their work.
Not only does it lead to increased productivity and enhanced performance. Remote worker absenteeism is also 41% lower than among office workers.
4. Increased Employee Retention
Enhanced employee experience and a boost in productivity lead to increased employee retention. These lead to higher employee engagement resulting in a lower turnover rate.
FlexJobs published the results of a survey regarding workforce retention rate. According to the survey, 80% of employees said they would be more loyal to a company offering remote work models.
The loss of an employee could cost an organization 50-250% of that staff member’s annual salary to recruit, hire, and train their replacement, depending on the position and scope of the employee’s experience (i.e., entry-level, C-Suite, etc.).
5. Access to a Larger Pool of Talent
Firms can hire candidates from anywhere around the world. As long as the employee speaks the primary language spoken at the firm, organizations can onboard extraordinary talent without a location barrier.
When hiring a remote workforce, consider the following:
- Pick what remote management software to use
- Choose a communications platform (e.g., Slack or Microsoft Teams)
- Select a universal time zone
- Evaluate your firm’s IT infrastructure to ensure it is capable of remote work
- Invest in organization-wide security and cybersecurity systems
Furthermore, more employees are only taking job opportunities that offer remote work, at least part-time. According to an Employ Inc. report, 65% of employees say remote work options impact their decision regarding even taking a job.
With more people looking to work remotely and location no longer being an obstacle, the expanded talent pool allows accounting firms to ensure they employ only the best. It also allows firms to specialize by making it easier to hire industry-leading experts.
Coordinate the Transition Into Going Fully Remote
A 2018 survey of accounting and finance professionals showed that 43% worked remotely, and those numbers were slowly climbing before March 2020. That was when 95% began working from home, and over the last two years, over 69% of FS companies have at least 60% of their staff working from home at least once a week.
For accounting firms that have not yet made the transition to remote or hybrid work models, it’s time to consider what software integration they’ll need before they begin. It isn’t as simple as ensuring employees have the computer equipment, software, and hardware they’ll need.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all that needs to get done before going fully (or even partially) remote. That’s where Tech Guru comes in. We are an IT firm that specializes in working with accounting firms and decision-makers like you.
If you’ve been considering going fully remote at your accounting firm, schedule a call to speak to one of our technology specialists. We help accounting firms migrate to the cloud and offer IT strategy, security, and ongoing support.