Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

Wilson: Work to Stay Hybrid

Over breakfast, a group of CPAs at last month’s AIPCA Engage conference, discussing remote work, said there was no substitute for in-person work when it comes to training young accountants. Later that day, Jennifer Wilson, a partner with Convergence Coaching, said the objection is off base because training at most firms just isn’t that good.

“We have one of the most inefficient training models I have seen,” Wilson said. Many young accountants are simply dumped in “a cube farm and nobody is with them” other than other young accountants.

The growth of technology, which was allowed a massive expansion of the number of remote works, mean that the work of work is not going back to the prior mix of on-premise/remote workers.

Interns, Wilson agreed, need on-premise experience, but they need good communication and guidance in a blended work environment.

Wilson, said those who believe remote workers are less efficient need to deal with a large amount of evidence that disagrees with that assessment. “There are some studies that show people who work more remotely are more productive,” she said.

Wilson’s firm, which advises CPA firms,  has been remote since it was founded. To make remote work effective, businesses must make sure technology is in place to support those workers. They must also have ground rules for those employees. Some have been stressed by the combination of trying to work at home and deal with remote learning. But Wilson noted that her firm requires its workers to have childcare so they aren’t juggling those needs in more normal times.

Remote employees must also be clear in stating what they need. That includes making sure co-workers know when and how they are accessible and when they are not.

In Microsoft Outlook and Teams, “I have to change my status to show when I cannot be disturbed,” she said.

Employers and co-workers must also respect remote employees. That means avoiding what Wilson refers to as sludge—on-site staff should not joke about remote colleague having it easy or not really working.

“Things that make it sound like we are not committed to remote and blended work,” she said.

And firms must commit to better ways of instructing incoming workers and developing existing staff. “We have to change our way of training and development and skills transfer,” she said.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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