Working within the cloud accounting industry, I have been able to continue my career as a CPA and stay at home with my tiny human on an everyday basis. It has always been a life goal of mine to be that stay at home, Stepford style, baking in the kitchen type of wife and mother. I worked for eight years in traditional public accounting, achieved my CPA. I just assumed that to achieve my goal of being a stay at home mom, I would have to set aside my CPA career. High Rock Accounting, my amazing clients, and the technology provided by cloud accounting systems have allowed me the flexibility to be able to truly have it all.
A little bit about me: I have worked in the accounting industry now for the last ten years. My husband works for the government, which does not allow for him to have a typical 9-5 Monday through Friday workweek. Currently, we have one tiny human who is just over one year old. We are also getting ready to expect our second little one in only a few months. We both always dreamed of having a family. We also wanted to be home with our littles during the first years of their life.
A typical day for me working on a flexible schedule starts with waking up with my tiny human, reading a book, and getting him ready for the day. My husband currently works 2nd shift, so he takes the lead for the family in the mornings. After breakfast, I generally head into the office between 8:30 and 9 to work with team members and have client meetings. This allows for questions as well as conversations about expectations for deadlines for the day and upcoming week. This time helps me to feel connected with the team, have one-on-ones, and in person, team-building conversations.
I head back home around 11:15 for lunch, and so my husband can head off to work. My tiny human and I read, play, dance, and sing songs before lunch. We also use this time to start a learning unit for the week, such as colors, parts of the body, or letters. We eat lunch together, then it is 1 pm, and it is naptime!
During nap time, it is back to work. Naptime generally runs two and a half to three hours. With cloud accounting software as well as other apps like SLACK and ZOOM, I can schedule meetings with clients from various states and work with my team through coding and questions in real-time.
Once tiny human wakes up from a nap, I generally wrap up what I am working on, at which time I communicate to the teams I will be heading off-line. I can spend the afternoon with my tiny human, playing outside, going to the park, being involved in community activities at the library. This is the time I stay off-line, off my phone, and engage with my family.
Generally, after I put the little down to sleep, I jump back on my computer to wrap up and communication and projects that were started during the day. Does this time happen every day, no. Some days, especially being pregnant these days, I am so tired and need some time for me. Any change in what I am working on, I communicate with the teams and deliver the new plan for completion. Then I take the time I need for me.
With the advancement in technology in the accounting industry, it is entirely possible to feel connected to the team while working a flexible remote schedule. Two things make this type of arrangement successful. The first and most crucial is communication with the teams and my clients. The second item is to follow-up and make an effort to ensure projects or items within those projects are continuing to move forward.
Being open with time, I will be available and communicating a realistic time frame for projects to be completed. Being open with communication as it relates to a flexible schedule with a family takes some vulnerability and realizing that you do not always have to be available. It is okay to take extra time when your little needs that spare time. It is also okay to take time for yourself.
Does a flexible work schedule come with some challenges? Of course, it does. There are days where meeting deadlines have my time focused more on work. I have to spend more of my time on my computer than my little would like. My little generally spends this time reading and plays with his toys more independently. Also, the other way, there are days when I have meetings and the little wants to be in my lap for those meetings. Being open with my clients has allowed me the freedom to have those moments and continue meetings with the little included.
By working for a company that understands and encourages a flexible working arrangement allows me to fulfill a dream while not having to set aside the career I have worked hard to obtain.