Remote, Hybrid Or Office-Based Working: Finding The Right Fit For Accountancy Practices In The UK

Remote and hybrid working models have gained momentum over the past decade, but the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst to accelerate this trend in the UK accountancy practices.

Updated: 5th February 2024

Over the past decade, remote working has been on the rise, and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly accelerated this trend through the necessity to keep businesses running in lockdown and during a socially distanced return to work. In the UK, accountancy practices have been no exception. In fact, many practices have now moved to a remote or hybrid working model since restrictions eased, which has allowed them to remain competitive, attract new talent, and better serve their clients.

Accountancy firms in the UK have been quick to embrace the remote working trend, recognising the benefits of increased flexibility, reduced overheads, and the ability to access a larger talent pool without the usual restrictions of location, transport links and, in some cases, working hours. This has enabled accountants to provide the same high-quality services they would provide in the office, while also offering them greater flexibility and a better work-life balance.

At the same time, hybrid working, where employees work both remotely and, in the office, has also become increasingly popular. This model provides many of the benefits of remote working, while also allowing employees to collaborate and build relationships with colleagues in person. Hybrid working has become particularly popular in accountancy practices, where face-to-face meetings with clients are often still necessary. Typically, industry hybrid working policy is to work two or three days in the office, with the remainder at home - however this does vary depending on the firm.

Many accountancy practices have recognised that the flexibility and increased work-life balance that comes with remote and hybrid working can lead to happier, more productive employees - which often ultimately leads to better client service. In many areas, this has meant a widespread shift of employees out of cities and towards smaller towns and villages. Here they typically benefit from a lower cost of living and a higher quality of life, while still being able to keep their existing job or secure another they may have previously not been able to.

All of this doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to returning to full-time office working again. For existing staff, it can often be beneficial to be around colleagues to work collaboratively, as well as allowing for face-to-face client meetings. For new staff, office working also allows them to train, learn and ask questions to colleagues in a more immediate way than is possible from home. And we shouldn’t forget that many employees prefer the separation in their working day by travelling to work and then switching off from work when they return home.

So, with these three options available, companies and employees need to weigh up the positives and negatives to see what suits them, their staff and their clients best. These could include key considerations, like these:


  1. Greater flexibility with working hours and locations
  2. Access to greater pool of potential staff
  3. No commuting requirements
  4. Removal of office costs
  5. Improved business continuity arrangements
  6. Environmental benefits
  7. Better work-life balance for many staff


  1. No in-person collaboration between staff
  2. Fewer face-to-face client meetings
  3. Harder to train and support new staff day to day


  1. Flexibility with working hours and locations
  2. Collaboration opportunities for staff on working days
  3. Improved work-life balance
  4. Reduction in office costs
  5. Improved business continuity arrangements
  6. Potential access to larger pool of candidates
  7. Better work-life balance for some staff


  1. More administrative requirements on co-ordinating staff attendance and collaboration
  2. More administration on co-ordinating face-to-face client meetings
  3. Some waste in office costs for unused office space and facilities


  1. Greater collaboration between staff
  2. Face-to-face client meetings
  3. Easier training and support for new staff


  1. Less flexibility in working hours and location
  2. Commuting requirements for staff
  3. Office costs remain
  4. Candidate pool restricted to existing opportunities
  5. Environmental impact remains
  6. Existing work-life balance issues remain

To summarise, we’ve seen that remote and hybrid working are becoming increasingly popular in accountancy practices in the UK. Each can provide a range of benefits, from improved work-life balance and productivity, to reduced office costs and a more diverse workforce. Remote working can also help businesses to attract and retain talent, improve employee satisfaction and ultimately lead to a more efficient and sustainable way of working.

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