How this can cause a chain reaction of companies offering competing remote options

In what could be a game-changer in the accounting, tax, auditing and consulting industry, PwC has announced that approximately 40,000 professionals in the United States will work virtually out of the office. White collar workers in general could live anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Until this policy change, PwC planned to offer a hybrid working model in which staff would be in the office a few days a week, starting November 1. Yolanda Seals-Coffield, deputy head of personnel at PwC, said of the change of mind: “We have learned a lot during the pandemic, and working virtually, as we think about the evolution of flexibility, is an upcoming one. natural step. ” She added emphatically, “If you’re an employee in good standing, customer service, and want to work virtually, you can, period. “

There is a catch. If an auditor or tax accountant decides to relocate from New York, for example, and move to a less expensive location, the person will experience a pay cut to match the current pay levels where they currently reside. Likewise, Facebook, Twitter, Google and other companies have instituted location-based compensation based on a person’s place of residence. Other businesses are location independent, like Zillow, the big online real estate market.

This is standard procedure, said Yolanda Seals-Coffield. This is not a change in approach because “The way I look at compensation is that our strategy on it doesn’t change, which means we pay our people based on where they live”, and “You are going to earn the same as other similar employees in your geographic area earn, whether you are virtual or not.

It is expected that once employees in contact with customers respond within two weeks as to whether or not they wish to choose this option, they will be required to come to the office on occasion, such as business meetings. team, in-person conversations with clients, and other important events. Employees won’t need to be in the office more than three times a month.

This is where things can change dramatically. The remaining members of the big four accounting firms Deloitte, E&Y and KPMG, as well as a significant number of mid-sized and smaller accounting, tax, management consulting and auditing firms may need to quickly assess their office work models.

We are in the midst of the “big resignation” and companies are waging a talent war to attract and retain key personnel. A fully remote approach to working outside of the office is the big weapon. Workers in this industry who dread going to the office three hours a day, have fallen in love with the independence associated with independent functioning at home, have developed a comfortable routine, and experienced a better and more balanced lifestyle can choose from. to leave the ship and join PwC.

PwC’s decision to work remotely will prove to be a very effective recruiting, hiring and retention program. It will siphon off the best and brightest of competing companies. The rivals will have little choice but to reconsider their work strategy. If they start losing key players, they’ll need to immediately set up a ranged option to deter further defections. We can easily predict a domino effect. One accounting firm after another may be forced to change its policies to gain the favor of current employees and to entice people to join their team.

It is likely that this will happen sector after sector. As leaders pivot towards a distributed workforce, competitors will be forced to act accordingly. After nearly two years of working remotely, it will be extremely difficult to lure people out of their homes to work more than nine to five hours under the watchful eye of a middle supervisor for five days a week.

To add insult to injury, they’ll revert to a three-hour round-trip door-to-door ride through heavy, congested traffic or via overcrowded public transport buses and trains with strangers breathing, sneezing and coughing. in a tightly closed space with poor air circulation.

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