Breaking from the Norms
Apr 18 8:59 AM

Breaking from the Norms

Apr 18 8:59 AM
Apr 18 8:59 AM

Local Firm Striving For No Surprise Busy Season with Reduced Overtime

What happened to this?

Working immense overtime has always been the demand of the public accounting industry.  Top CPAs graduate from college and find themselves inundated with offers that include signing bonuses and a glamorous firm, important titles and dreams of partnership.  The reality quickly becomes a huge imbalance between work and life. This imbalance leads to dissatisfaction, heavy turnover, and a revolving door of accountants at public accounting firms.  Most firms now have a practice of hiring a huge number of intern candidates in order to have just a few of these accountants still employed at the 1-2 year mark. Why would a firm spend so much money on signing bonuses, new hire training and integration when such a high percentage of these human resources will depart in such a short amount of time?  The answer is simple, they are doing it wrong.  The old accounting firm mantra of work your employees to death does not work.  The industry demands that go with tax filing deadlines are driving this - and the reality is, those demands are always going to be there.  However, rethinking how we view our people and our clients, and innovating how we deliver services has allowed The BaCo Group to complete shatter the norms of our industry.

In the accounting profession, human resources are the bread and butter of being able to serve clients.  We cannot serve a client well without a strong team at all levels, thus we need to constantly be developing the new accountants so that they can grow and fill the senior, manager and partner roles in the future.  At BaCo, we do a number of things differently than our competitors, but the most important is that we hire candidates that have the right skill set. We focus on making the firm a great place to work so that we don’t experience this heavy turnover that other firms have accepted as reality.  The most important element in being able to retain an accountant at a public accounting firm is creating a balance - managing hours and expectations so that work and life are balanced. This matters for a number of reasons - first, the people we have trained stay at the firm, which saves real dollars and reduces disruption for our clients.  Second, massive turnover has an emotional cost that creates stress in the workplace. Minimizing this in the workplace leads to greater satisfaction among teams and that in turn creates loyalty. In a nutshell, we treat our employees well and commit to them, and they feel a commitment and passion to our firm as a result.

The deadlines will always loom, but changing the way we work to enable us to protect our people has been the ongoing goal.  Working with clients to plan ahead and getting involved in the books all year instead of just at year end makes a huge difference in shifting time demands for employees.  Innovations that streamline processes and create efficiencies - both in how our clients capture and record data, and in how we process information once it gets to us, also make a difference in enabling us to manage workflow.  The old plan of picking up a stack of our clients papers the week of the deadline and becoming familiar at that time with their business is simply something we will not do - if we aren’t involved on a more continuous basis, we do not accept the company as a client.  

The bottom line...breaking free of the ‘norms’ of our profession has made us better - better service providers to our clients, better employers to our employees, and has resulted in a stronger and more loyal workforce.  

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