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Accountants want flexibility

As technology changes our personal and professional lives, accountants are increasingly turning to more flexible ways of working to maintain a good work/life balance.

According to research from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Global Accounting Network, more than half of qualified accountants look for flexibility when considering new job offers.

Some 55 per cent of accountants want a role that provides flexibility and a stronger work/life balance, marking a significant rise from the 37 per cent figure seen in 2015.

With technology making it easy for employees to work from home, there is no reason why people can’t carry out their role from somewhere other than the office. Similarly, having choice over hours of work can make a positive difference to engagement and potentially boost employee retention.

What’s more, the study learnt that 52 per cent of qualified accountants are influenced by financial reward when looking for a new position, though the motivators differ between qualified and student accountants.

Among those who are qualified, 42 per cent were influenced by a good working environment, whereas financial reward was the most appealing element cited by more than 50 per cent of students.

The research also found that 36 per cent of student accountants said they would be encouraged by a job offering a good working environment. A further 32 per cent said they are looking for training and development, while 32 per cent wanted a challenging workload.

Global Accounting Network founding partner Adrian O’Connor said: “It is to be expected that motivators differ between the student accountant and the qualified accountant demographics.

“Flexible working is arguably more valuable for professionals later in their careers when they are more likely to have caring responsibilities or are just looking to slow the pace. Students, on the other hand, are right to seek out opportunities for development and challenging work to help build their skills and experience for the future.”

Mr O’Connor also explained that it is likely both accounting professionals and employers will be more open-minded about the advantages of working outside of regular office hours. 

He added that good talent is in short supply and businesses must be competitive in order to hire the best available employees, while those who are slow to adopt the new technologies could be in danger of missing out on the best people.​