The rise of flexible working in accounting

Accounting is built on structure in many ways, but with the rise of technology such as cloud software this is now changing, at least in terms of working arrangements. Flexible working is becoming increasingly common for the finance and accounting industry, with professionals able to work remotely and in different hours more easily. So how might flexibility affect your accounting joband what can you do to make it work for you?

Technology giving accounting more options for working arrangements

According to a recent survey from Xero, 40 per cent of accountants claim that technology has enabled their working day to become more flexible, and three quarters claim flexibility can make them more effective in their work. This shift towards flexibility makes sense considering the workloads of accounting professionals are not always standard 9 to 5 commitments. Depending on the time of year there can be both lulls and surges in the work available. Hudson Business Accountants and Advisors' Founder Della Hudson says that there are several benefits for businesses that enable their accountants to negotiate flexible arrangements.

"Using technology, especially cloud based, allows us to be more flexible over time and place of working. This means that we get to recruit some really high calibre team members who want time with their family or to take more holidays because their kids have grown up. Whatever the reason we find that looking after our team helps them to look after our clients," she said.

With a past study from the New Zealand Ministry of Women's Affairs finding the number of female accountants dropping off after the age of 45, this shift towards flexibility may also help to balance the compositions of the finance workforce.

Successfully managing flexible working

If you're an accountant wondering whether flexible working is a good option, it's important that you know how to manage the arrangement well. Successful flexibility is about moving away from the focus on hours worked and instead trying to make the most of your time. Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, says that the key to a good flexible arrangement is to make full use of the technology and resources available.

"It may be more difficult to allow that level of flexibility for staff in customer-facing roles, and working patterns would need to be thought out carefully, but it is not impossible," he said.

"Flexibility takes many different forms, and if you can manage the workload and maintain high levels of customer service, flexibility can work very well."

Talk to executive recruitment specialists Durno to find out about the flexible accounting jobs available in New Zealand right now.

Alex Harrison