Working Hours for Accountants

Posted by: Patricia Barlow Post Date: 29th September 2016

Many people assume accountants work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and are based within accounting firms. While this is true in lots of cases, there is actually a far broader range of options open to accountants than you might think.

Here, we answer some of the most common questions about working hours for accountants.

How many hours a week do accountants work?

Working hours for accountants

Accountants can work in a huge variety of roles, and could be based at an accounting firm, work within an organisation in any industry, or be self-employed. This means that technically, accountants can work any number of hours per week. But let’s take a look at the average working hours of members of some the most popular professional bodies.

According to a recent survey, accounting and finance professionals spend slightly less time at work than average, at 44 hours per week compared with 44.6 hours for the general workforce.

78% of qualified AAT members who took the 2017 Annual Member Survey work full time with the remainder working in more flexible, part time roles.

CIMA accountants work an average of 43 hours per week. However, this is affected by level of qualification and experience; only 44% of part-qualified CIMA professionals work more than 40 hours per week, compared with 61% of qualified CIMA Associates.

The size of the organisation you work in also makes a difference; 63% of CIMA qualified accountants in organisations with more than 10,000 employees work more than 40 hours, compared with 57% in medium organisations, and 52% in small businesses.

While ACCA qualified accountants work 44 hours per week on average, this differs by sector. Professionals in the corporate sector and financial services work the longest hours, on average 45 hours each week. Members in the not-for-profit and public sectors, on the other hand, work an average of only 42 hours per week.

Do accountants work weekends?

Many accounting jobs are 9 to 5 by contract. However, those who are eager to gain experience, make a good impression in a new role, or excel in their current role, might choose dedicate extra time to their responsibilities at weekends.

For certain types of role, especially when working with one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting companies, it is generally accepted that you will need to go above and beyond when it comes to working hours.

Accounting audit firms normally have a ‘busy season’ between January and April, which are likely to involve some extra input at weekends.

Do accountants work from home?

Where you work depends on the kind of role you take on. Those working in industry are likely to be based at the premises of their employer, working closely with the finance, management and operations teams.

Those in practice will spend time at their firm’s offices, but may also make frequent visits to clients. With some firms, this could even mean international travel.

Some accountants decide to work on a self-employed basis, often from their own homes. This is a popular choice among bookkeepers, who can offer their services to local businesses.

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Can accountants work part time?

While seniority is associated with longer working hours, 24% of ACA Chartered Accountants benefit from flexible working patterns.

29% of ACCA accountants are offered flexible working hours, and 34% of ACCA members rate this as one of their top three most valued benefits.

For AAT members, the availability of flexible working hours differs by industry. 53% of those working in public sector roles benefit from flexi-time, compared with 25% in private sector accounting firms.

You can also find out how much accountants earn by professional body.

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