DOI: 10.2308/horizons-2022-124 ISSN:

Socializing Remote Newcomers in Public Accounting: Challenges and Best Practices from the Perspective of Experienced Big 4 Professionals

Charles D. Bailey, Derek W. Dalton, Nancy L. Harp, Thomas J. Phillips
  • Accounting


Accounting firms increasingly provide remote or hybrid work options to attract qualified professionals, but they must also effectively socialize new employees to develop and retain them. This study explores the effect of remote work on newcomer socialization. Rather than surveying remote newcomers who have less understanding of what “successful” socialization means, we ask 122 experienced Big 4 professionals about the impact of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic on socialization. Respondents report that every aspect of socialization is impacted by remote work. Although participants perceive that newcomers are able to learn technical skills (e.g., how to complete work tasks) remotely, they are less able to learn about firm expectations (e.g., client interactions). Participants believe remote newcomers are less able to form bonds with coworkers and clients and are less committed to their firm. Best practices for remote socialization are discussed (e.g., virtual audit rooms) to assist accounting firms.