The benefits of telecommuting for CPAs

Better work-life balance and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re increasingly connected, thanks to technology that allows CPAs to work remotely.

Digital advances are giving CPAs the freedom to work from home or on the road, a trend that fosters productivity as well as work-life balance.

“In today's work-from-anywhere business climate, meeting with long distance team members needs to be as effective as possible,” says Dwayne Bragonier, CPA, CA, CITP, CA*IT. He adds that CPAs must move beyond conference calls and videos to embrace the next generation of telecommuting with accounting apps, cloud technology and even robots.

ROBOTS IN THE OFFICE

“I have been part-robot since May. Instead of legs, I move on gyroscopically stabilized wheels. Instead of a face, I have an iPad screen,” writes Emily Dreyfuss, an editor for the tech magazine Wired.

Dreyfuss uses Double, a robot created by Double Robotics. It teleconferences her into the boardroom, but she also controls it from her computer at home to wheel Double around the office and drop in on impromptu brainstorms and water cooler chats.

Though they don’t use robots, Josh Zweig and Chad Davis have also embraced remote work. Their accounting firm, LiveCA LLP, is completely virtual, using cloud technology to store and manage client accounts. These electronic files are accessible from anywhere, which means that their 29 associates can — and do regularly — work from home.

They conduct meetings via Skype and Google Hangouts. When it comes to updating co-workers on minute-to-minute progress of projects, Slack, a hybrid project management/chat application designed for the workplace, allows LiveCa employees to seamlessly message, call and share active documents in real time.

A WIN-WIN FOR BUSINESS

Whether you’re running your own accounting firm or work in-house for an organization, there are many benefits to telecommuting.

Global Workplace Analytics, a research organization that advocates for telecommuting, found that it can reduce attrition and absences. This may explain why companies such as AT&T and Best Buy report a 30 to 45 per cent gain in productivity from remote workers.

Telecommuting is beneficial for employees too. Softchoice, an IT solutions company, surveyed 1,700 employees across North America and found that:

  • more than 50 per cent already work remotely one or more days a week
  • 75 per cent report that remote work increases personal time
  • 64 per cent believe they’re more productive outside the office

THE FREE-RANGE CPA

If you have a passion for travel that can’t be satisfied by a week or two of vacation, technology can set you free. From New York to Rome and Bangkok, digital nomads easily conduct their business from hotel rooms and co-working spaces.

Your clients can use apps such as Receipt Bank and Hubdoc to take pictures of receipts and other documents, then upload them to an online accounting system. Your clients' financial information is stored in the cloud, so it's secure but accessible from anywhere. These tools not only make it possible for CPAs to become hyper-mobile professionals, but also ensure efficiency.

“We provide these tools to our clients and we've seen drastic improvements in financial transparency, compliance and record-keeping," says Lior Zehtser, co-founder of the online accounting firm ConnectCPA LLP.

Learn more about how technology can boost productivity for you and your firm at this upcoming conference for business and accounting professionals:

AICPA ENGAGE Practitioners Symposium and TECH+ Conference
In-Person or Virtual
Las Vegas, NV | June 12-15, 2017