Do you think public accounting (US tax firms) could implement a 4-day work week? 🤔

May 1, 2023

It's a question I've been asked a few times this year. There are several factors to consider before answering yes or no, and the final answer will probably always be nuanced.

First, I think it's important to assess whether a 4-day working week is feasible for the nature of the work performed by accountants in general.

US tax firms typically have strict deadlines (like now!) and heavy workloads, which means people have to work longer hours or work on weekends during peak periods. The deadline-oriented nature could make it challenging to reduce the workweek to 4 days while still meeting client needs/filing deadlines.

Secondly, there would be financial implications for a firm doing so. If the same amount of work needs to be done in fewer days, it may require hiring additional staff - a big struggle when hiring US tax professionals is as tough as it is! That said, if they could do it, it would be a majorly attractive element for any job hunter.

What about the impact on employees? While a 4-day workweek may be appealing to many in practice, others may prefer a traditional 5-day workweek or may simply find it challenging to complete their work within the (even) tighter schedule. Rolling out a 4-day workweek in a way that supports employee well-being (i.e. the reason you're doing it in the first place) could be tough.

I think it requires careful consideration around the setup of each specific US tax firm. I know a couple of firms where they really control the amount of work they take on, so the employees have a good work-life balance. They may well be able to roll it out, but not all firms by any stretch.

What are your thoughts? �

- Alistair Marriott