Making remote work a reality

Does the idea of working remotely for your accounting firm seem like a bit of a pipe dream? You might want to reclaim the unproductive hours you spend commuting. Or perhaps you know you get more done when working alone away from distractions at the office. Maybe you're just a night owl and do your best work outside of normal office hours.

Making remote work a reality

Whatever the reason, you may be someone who could genuinely benefit from working remotely. The major hurdle, of course, is convincing your boss of that. It may feel helpless now, but if you have a proper plan of attack there is hope of joining the growing number of accountants taking advantage of new technology to be just as productive, if not more so, from outside their office.

Put yourself in their shoes

The first step is to understand your boss' point of view. It's their job to make sure the work gets done on time and to standard. They're worried that working remotely will be distracting, that you will fall behind, and that they won't know where you are on current projects. Your task is to address each of their concerns in a way that both allays their fears and shows them how working remotely benefits the team.

To help you out here are the most common arguments against remote working, and how you can debunk them.

Put the firm first

Concentrate on the benefits to the firm first rather than for yourself. Try discussing with your boss the clear benefits a flexible accounting firm brings. 

Your increased productivity will directly benefit the team, as will your lack of a commute time. If you commute two hours a day, that's two hours you aren't getting things done. Remind your boss that some of that time could be spent at your desk instead. 

Your home may be closer to certain clients than the office. This can make meeting face-to-face with those clients much easier. Remember: the goal here is to make this about increasing the team's productivity as a whole, not just your own. 

Have a plan

How will this arrangement work day-to-day? Show your boss that you've thoroughly thought out how you're going to communicate and collaborate with them and the team, and how you will access your work. Technology designed for accountants such as Karbon lets you manage your tasks from anywhere and gives your boss complete visibility over what you and the rest of the team are working on at any given time. Here's a guide to help you craft a plan for your boss to use technology to manage remote staff—and you can offer to be the guinea pig.

Find out what works best for your boss and how you can make that happen. Demonstrate that this isn't some fly-by-night idea to get out of the office; this is a holistic plan of how you can be even more of an asset to the team.

We don’t expect anyone to spend certain hours in the office or work a certain number of hours. We provide the tools to work from the office, from home or on the road. We build our work around our lives rather than our lives around our work.

Jami Satterthwaite, Nelson & Swaite

Try before they buy

If after all this your boss is still hesitant, ask to try working from home on a trial basis of one or two days a week at first. Treat it as an experiment. This requires less commitment and will be an easier sell.

While broaching the subject of remote working may be daunting at first, having a plan, both in terms of how to convince your boss of its merit and its execution, will dramatically increase your likelihood of success.