Your CPA Firm: Storefront or Kitchen Table?

When you began your firm, chances are you had an office you went to early in the morning. You probably dressed professionally and sat at a desk all day, then went home later in the evening. For three months out of every year, you probably lived there more than at your own home.

For a number of reasons, many firms are becoming more relaxed. One reason is the ease and popularity of cloud computing. It allows CPAs to operate from anywhere with an internet connection. Another big reason is that flexibility is one of the most appealing perks for attracting — and retaining — top industry talent. The goal used to be climbing the corporate ladder to the spacious corner office. Now it’s more appealing to have no office.

Certainly, the trend is moving more in the direction of telecommuting, but there are benefits to keeping a commercial space as well. A lot of this depends on the type of clientele you serve, if you have a mature practice, and if you want to get walk-in tax work.

Firms who like walk-in traffic will definitely benefit from being situated in a storefront with visible signage. Other firms might find that their appointment-only business is better suited to an office building with a waiting area and plenty of space for associates to see clients.

Interestingly, CPAs note a work-life balance as both the reason for and against having a separate office. While there is the convenience and flexibility of having a home office, some CPAs say they felt always available for work and had a hard time keeping it from taking over their home lives. In addition, some have even said clients would take the liberty of stopping by at odd hours because they didn’t see a boundary.

Clients’ perception also made a difference to some CPAs who chose to rent commercial space, because they believed clients would think they couldn’t afford to have an office anywhere other than their own basement. Some firms have begun to expand remotely while still maintaining a physical presence. Working remotely gives you the flexibility to make your office anywhere — it might even encourage you to take a vacation once in a while. 

Has your firm taken any steps in that direction, or do you still have a commercial space? To read more, see the article from Accounting Today.