The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that there are almost 20 million people who are available for part-time work. These 20 million people have chosen to work part-time for non-economic reasons. For CPA firms struggling with finding good talent, this presents a large untapped asset and a valuable recruitment and retention tool.
There is often a preconceived notion that part-time workers are less engaged in their work, but the opposite is usually true. The inherent flexibility of a part-time worker lends itself to higher engagement and satisfaction because the employee is able to meet the obligations driving them to choose a part-time structure.
In a study on “What Drives Happiness in CPA Firms” conducted by the CPA Consultants Alliance, it found that the number one contributing factor to happiness at work in a CPA firm was flexibility in their work schedule.
The accounting profession lends itself well to part-time workers. Most firms have traditionally explored this during tax season by hiring temporary, part-time workers to help them get through tax season. We have even seen an increase in the number of part-time partners in accounting firms. However, there are more permanent opportunities for leveraging part-time workers year round.
One concept building momentum is job sharing. Job sharing is an arrangement where two workers split the duties of a single position. This works really well when there is a clear delineation of duties and responsibilities. Basic accounting and bookkeeping work would lend itself well to this as would tax work.
Job sharing isn’t as simple as hiring two part-time workers. It takes communication, creativity and planning. Workers must have some overlap time so that this can occur. Furthermore, the firm must provide clear direction, responsibilities and deadlines for work.
As with all employees, you will still need to invest into developing part-time workers and keeping them trained technically. If you are struggling to find and keep good talent, part-time workers present an entirely new untapped market. If you would like assistance with this, please call us.