Rick Telberg

What Two in Three CPAs Call ‘Great!’

But are you cut out for it?

June 16, 2008
by Rick Telberg/At Large

The dog may be barking in the yard, the kids screaming upstairs and the spouse bugging you. But, what the heck, you’re working from home and the odds are you love it.

Two-thirds of CPAs who work from home — running full-time practices, side businesses or handling overflow from their office day jobs — classify the experience as “great!”

Just the same, they’re also quick to warn that not everyone is cut out to conduct business in the bosom of their families. Most of the tales that work-at-home CPAs reveal in a new CPA Trendlines study could serve as scripts for happy TV situation-comedies, but some also have the makings of high drama.

“I get to see my family a lot and my clients enjoy coming to see me,” beams W. Dale Keown, who runs a practice out of his home in Mauldin, S.C. Talk about the setting for a happy television show: “My wife works with me and we don’t have to leave our home to fight traffic to go to an office.” And, “my overhead is less.”

Herbert V. Morrison, an at-home sole practitioner in Farmington Hills, Mich., also describes a work-life that could be fodder for an “I Love Lucy 2008” TV series: “No commuting, cut down on my gas bill, can wear anything, no overhead expense and I can work late at home without feeling guilty because I’m on time for dinner every night. My wife loves that.”

Like anything that you want to be good at and enjoy, dabbling is not recommended for at-home workers. CPAs who work the most hours at home, also tend to rate the experience more favorably.

More than 80 percent of those working at least 35 hours per week at home rate their experience as “great.” By comparison, slightly more than half of those who worked five to 10 weekly hours at home, rated their experience as “great.”

Douglas Berry, a principal with the SVA Consulting affiliate of the super-regional firm Suby, Von Haden & Associates, who occasionally brings work home, gives his experience only an “OK” rating. Rather than a situation comedy, Douglas sees some high-drama elements: “Working at home can be more stressful than at the office, due to increased distractions and fewer resources nearby — including co-workers and technology support.”

Gerald Mayerhoff, who runs a practice at his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home, counts not having to commute and being able to see the kids when they return from school among his blessings. The negatives for him include too many distractions and “the spouse peeking too much at what I'm doing and giving opinions, such as ‘why are you working on that client?’”

COMMENTS: Rants, raves, idle thoughts or questions? Contact Rick Telberg or watch him.

Copyright © 2008 CPA Trendlines/BSG LLC. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. First published by the AICPA.

About Rick Telberg

Rick Telberg is editor at large/director of online content.

Go to the News Center Now

Disclaimer: Any views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the AICPA or CPA2Biz. Official AICPA positions are determined through certain specific committee procedures, due process and deliberation.