Hey Parents! A Flexible Accounting Career is Possible.
February 18, 2022
Looking for a flexible accounting career can be a lot like searching for buried treasure. Sometimes, it can seem totally impossible, especially in an industry notorious for its long, stressful hours. But despite the tough demands, a career in public accounting can be incredibly rewarding, especially if you can find an employer who not only accommodates flexibility, but actually encourages it.
If you’re a parent (or plan to be one someday), or you just enjoy having a life outside of work, we’re here to tell you it’s absolutely possible to find a flexible accounting job.
Here’s how to do it.
The status quo: the demands and challenges in public accounting (especially for women)
The work-life balance struggle isn’t new in the public accounting sector. Working 60-hour, six-day workweeks is the norm for the industry — and Big 4 accountants reportedly work up to 80 hours during the busy season.
It’s no wonder our industry has a turnover rate of more than 25% (over double the national average). Burnout rates are high, and people are quick to leave the field — especially women.
Women make up 58% of the industry yet account for only 23% of equity partners! This isn’t because women aren’t talented or hungry for growth. It comes down to the fact that inflexible schedules often make promotion impossible for women who are also mothers.
There are countless stories of rising star female accountants facing an ultimatum after giving birth: “come back early from maternity leave or don’t come back at all.” Mothers are constantly forced to choose work over their children or suffer a flatlined career.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Working overtime is challenging enough without the added inflexibility of an entire season that’s practically dedicated to overworking accountants. If there’s zero chance of creating a work-life balance, people are bound to leave eventually. By offering more flexibility, accounting firms could prevent the loss of skilled women and parents from the industry.
The good news is that flexible accounting jobs do exist. You just have to know how to find the best accounting jobs for moms (and other people who need some flexibility in their lives).
How to find a flexible accounting career
Finding a flexible accounting career starts by believing one exists. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) settle for inflexibility.
When hunting for a flexible accounting job, start by looking for:
● A diverse team of leaders
● Good reviews online (on places like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, InHerSights, etc.) that specifically mention flexibility or a good work-life balance
● Benefits that include PTO and flexibility
● Smaller teams (versus large corporate environments)
● Competitive benefits
Also, be sure to ask about the company’s client base and work scope. You don’t have to sacrifice the type of work you want to do for flexibility. There are firms with impressive clients that offer their employees flexibility. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other.
When you’re in the interview, try this:
● Don’t be afraid to ask about flexibility and scheduling.
● Look around the office at the current employees. If everyone looks exhausted and burned out, it’s probably not the flexible environment you’re looking for.
● Listen to your gut and read between the lines. For example, if the job post says things like “competitive environment” or “we have a fridge stocked with Red Bull” or “we work hard and play hard,” it’s probably best to skip that application.
Sound like an impossible find? We’d love to tell you how we make it work here.
How eeCPA provides a truly flexible accounting job in Scottsdale, AZ
At eeCPA, we believe in autonomy. Our CPAs are trusted with their own clients and are responsible for their own books. This means you can truly create your own schedule. As long as the client’s needs are being met, your schedule is up to you.
So, if you’re a mom who needs to leave at 2 p.m. to pick the kids up and log back in after dinner — go for it. We’re also big on advancing your skills with tuition reimbursement and plenty of professional development, plus regular one-on-one mentorship from our female founder, Elizabeth Hale.
Having a flexible accounting career is possible. We know that because we offer it here at eeCPA.
If you want a flexible accounting job in Scottsdale, AZ with a firm that believes in having a life outside of work in a supportive and collaborative environment, we’d love to hear from you.
We’re currently looking to add some new, qualified accountants to our in-house Scottsdale accounting team.