Sometimes I catch myself wondering what it was like to be an accountant in the days of green-bar paper and ten keys, before they were replaced with computers and excel. Back when mobile phones came in bags and mail was only delivered by the post office. When work papers were actually paper and notebooks required ink-pens.
I believe technological advances have afforded our profession so many “modern day luxuries” like making cash flow statements so much easier, improving our accuracy, saving us time and money, and making us better equipped to serve our clients. But perhaps the greatest luxury of all is the flexibility. Why is flexibility so much bigger than preparing a cash flow statement with a pencil, ten key, and green bar you say? Because life happens, and it happens all day every day regardless of your age, your title, whether you are single or married, have eight kids, or no kids. Life still happens.
The number one perk throughout my career at HORNE has always been flexibility. It was the number one perk for me when I was an associate before I passed the CPA exam. I would often work through lunch and take off at noon on Fridays to study. Prior to having kids, it was the number one perk for me in the summer time, spending one or two afternoons each week on the lake with friends. It was the number one perk for me when I was a supervisor and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It allowed me to stay with her some during the day and work remotely. It is the number one perk for me now as a mother, enabling me to be present when it is most important for my children. So there really isn’t a time in my career when flexibility was more or less important. However, what flexibility looks like for me has changed over the years as I enter different phases of life. This is why flexibility is not and cannot be a policy.
Life really happens so fast, and there are so many important professional and personal moments for us to experience. I think it important that we are present in the moment for all of them. Flexibility is the only way we can do that effectively, it is the only way we can be a daughter, a mother, a friend, a grandparent, a co-worker, and trusted source of advice. It is the only way we can make sure we are present for as many of life’s moments as possible, even if when and how we do that varies from one person to another. It will also vary for each of us individually as we pass through different phases in life. Flexibility is as unique our finger print and will evolve and change over time. Another reason why flexibility is not and cannot be a policy.
For a very long time, our profession has almost required us to choose between those moments and experiences, almost requiring us to put our career before our family, or making some choose to leave the profession altogether because they were not willing to make that sacrifice. Now I believe that we have the luxury of both worlds, we can be present for both and be really good at both, too. And that is why I believe flexibility is the greatest luxury of them all.
About the Author
Ashley McAdams, CPA, is a partner at HORNE who is leading change on her banking team and throughout our firm. She is a dreamer, who sees obstacles as infinite opportunities to be better. She is currently championing a feedback experiment in the firm to assess advisory teams for team members.