Game Plan
Nov 15 4:55 PM

Game Plan

Nov 15 4:55 PM
Nov 15 4:55 PM

As a mom of three teenagers, I have been to at least a million football games, from pee wee to Varsity and everything in between. I have cheered from the stands in games when our team had the clear edge, and have nervously cheered when our team was literally facing the giants. While all that time in the stands has not made me a football coach, I have learned a great deal about the game – about good leadership, facing seemingly insurmountable odds, and having success no matter how big the obstacles

What are the factors that play into great outcomes on the field? In my experience, it boils down to about three very important key factors:

1. Great Players…
To a rookie fan, great football players would probably be defined as the biggest guys, the fastest guys on the field. There is no doubt having raw talent is an important element. All too often the intangible component goes unnoticed – finding a player willing to commit, to do the work, be
there when needed, to be coachable. Recruiting is so important, not just grabbing the same kind of player everyone else wants, but looking for the potential, the longevity of someone who can join the team and grow. Finding someone who can have a vision to make the team better and not just promote themselves is essential to long-term team success.

2. Great Planning
You could put a team full of pro-bowlers on the field, and without a coach, without a game plan – they would fail. Planning for different scenarios, giving each player marching orders, assigning roles – this ‘game planning’ makes all the difference in success and failure. Without a game plan, the game is chaos. Chaos is stressful for the players, and even for the fans.

3. Great Buy-In
Great planning falls flat if the team doesn’t know and understand the plan and believe in possibilities it represents.

In a nutshell, greatness from a team perspective comes from recruiting players with great potential, meticulous planning and getting everyone on board with the plan. So how is a football team like a CPA firm? These elements of success are exactly the same. Recruiting talent is about hiring more than smart people, it is about the intangibles. Finding people that are smart, driven, who want to learn and grow. People who want to be on a team, to play a part and to work hard to contribute. At BaCo, we have learned that the best way to recruit, as an organization, is to
remember who we are – our core values – and stick with them. We strive for excellence in work and personal lives, which means we have balance and our employees have the benefit of not working nearly as much as the industry average during filing seasons. We have added team members skilled in communications that have helped us with delivering this message through all media, so that candidates will know our vision and develop a shared passion for it before they even arrive at our door.

Just like with football, planning is the name of the game. A CPA firm – or any business organization really – must commit time and resources to game planning. Sometimes this feels daunting, so many projects at our feet and taking time to stop and plan can be frustrating and feel wasteful. We have learned unequivocally from many successes and some failures that this step is essential. No matter the team, the number of hours, number of projects – we always fail without a game plan. Planning has been a huge area of focus the last 2-3 years, and remarkably – despite the time investment which has been substantial – we have had four consecutive tax filing deadlines where the work was done at least 4-5 days early. Why does this matter? Last minute filings mean last minute communications with clients, stress for the client and our staff and stress for our systems. Finishing early means we avoid stress, gives us time to handle unexpected last minute issues – and gives us the ability to reward our team with additional days off.

Getting the team on board is important – and candidly at BaCo, hasn’t always been an easy part of the process. Accountants often prefer to get their list and marching orders without much conversation, seemingly creating efficiencies. However, those conversations about ‘what happened this year’ – or ‘watch out for this tricky transaction’ ultimately educate and grow our staff and make our team better and stronger. The buy-in hasn’t always been easy, but history has shown our team that doing it right pays dividends, reduces stress, and produces better outcomes. That is a plan that sells itself.

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