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The Accounting Profession and SaaS

Interesting article in the Saturday Wall Street Journal called Let's Talk About Palin's Family Challenges by Katty Kay of the BBC and Claire Shipman of ABC News. The catalyst for the story is the media frenzy over Sarah Palin's work-life balance.

The authors say:

This is not a redux of the old Mommy Wars -- that stale, red herring of a debate between "career" moms and their "stay at home" counterparts - it's a new women's movement we call "Womenomics." Thanks to women's fast-growing market value we can finally live and work in a way that wins us time and avoids that agonizing choice of career or kids.


This sounds a lot like what I've been hearing from many CPA firms. The average age of the 400,000+ CPA's in the United States is over 50, and there is a chronic shortage of accountants. Firms have struggled to retain smart, highly successful women who enter the profession out of college but have a hard time staying on once they decide to have a family.

Some numbers from the story:
  • Four out of five women want more flexibility at work and call it a top priority
  • 60% of women want to work part-time
  • Women are 58% of college graduates, and get graduate degrees in greater numbers than men
Here at Intacct, our CPA partners have discovered that the SaaS model supports the idea of Womenomics in the accounting profession, because on-demand accounting systems like Intacct offer tremendous flexibility regarding when and from where you can work. You can work from almost anywhere - all you need is an Internet connection, and you can work any time, because the applications are always up and running. So, for the first time, accountants can fit their work to their lifestyle, which can be particularly enabling for professional women who need to manage work alongside family. To be clear all of this applies to men who need more flexibility too, but today's post is reacting to Womenomics.

Kay and Shipman continue:
Companies, eager to keep women and terrified of the cost of replacing them, are responding. They've discovered that offering work-life balance actually increases productivity. There are accountants who get home at 3 p.m. every day but remain on the fast track. Top New York Law firms have part-time partners who are still players.

Our accounting partners are already seeing how SaaS lets them tap into smart, professional women who want to work but also want work-life balance. It helps accounting firms retain their people, and can even bring stay at home moms back into the profession, helping to offset endemic labor shortages. As the authors of the story say, the point is we now have reasonable options -- it's not all or nothing.


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