Increasingly, CPA firms are trying to become progressive and attract younger workers to the profession, but one of the biggest turnoffs to a young person entering the field is the brutal workload and strain partners put on themselves to prove their worth. Millennials and Generation Z don’t want to be 50 years old and working 80 hours a week at a desk during tax season. They want to work hard, but they also want to enjoy spending time with their families and have social lives.
“Balance” means different things to different people, but to many, it means the freedom to do the activities one wants while still working and performing at a top level. This might mean traveling, picking the kids up from school every day, or going to every road college football game of one’s alma mater. Regardless, accounting is a profession that allows these dreams to happen. CPAs have the technology and capability to truly work from anywhere (with an Internet connection), something that was unheard of even 10 years ago. Technology has come so far, so fast that it’s outpaced the traditional firm mindset of face time at the office. CPA firms might need to embrace a work from anywhere, anytime attitude that gives workers flexibility to have balanced lives.
Even more importantly, partners at firms not only need to adopt these practices into their firm handbooks, they need to practice the lifestyle so that it truly has an impact on the firm’s culture. Even if the firm has a progressive work from anywhere, anytime policy, it might not be “politically” or “socially” acceptable to actually follow the policy if the partners never work from home or away from the office. If the partners don’t buy into a plan and put it into action themselves, no one else on the team will; this goes for everything, from adopting a new piece of software to working remotely.
As a business owner, how do you example a “flexible” work schedule? Have you written policies that you find hard to follow yourself and therefore your team finds hard to take advantage of? If you want your team to enjoy their lives, it starts with you giving yourself permission to enjoy yours.