How To Align Your Accounting Firm's Core Values With Your Staff
Each firm, regardless of size or how long it has been operating, has a culture. Some firms have a reputation for the pace by which they operate. Others are known for being highly professional, while some may be known for high degree of collaboration amongst staff.
Your organization's culture influences how work is done and may even determine how clients see you, whether it arose spontaneously or as a result of ongoing refining. Yet, few firm leaders have actively tried to shape their firm’s culture. Why is that necessary? Well, because a defined firm culture and staff who are aligned with its values makes for a prosperous firm.
What is firm culture?
The culture of your company is the collection of values and practices that determine how your staff interacts. It is the driving force behind all of your workers' actions, guiding them toward a common goal and set of values.
What are the benefits of having a strong firm culture?
Research consistently shows that the best-performing teams are those with the highest level of cohesiveness. Top-performing teams prioritize the broad picture tasks at hand over personal status and infighting. Your firm’s ability to handle difficult tasks, particularly during busy periods of the year like tax and extension seasons, is made better by having staff who each fit into the culture.
How can I shape my firm’s culture?
Shaping your firm’s culture doesn’t come overnight as an overhaul. It’s a dedicated, long-term process that takes time, yet the benefits are tremendous. Hiring staff that don’t fit into the culture leads to workflow issues, increased stress, and a less harmonious work environment. Here’s how you can shape your firm’s culture so that your staff is aligned to your firm’s values:
- It starts at the top. Your firm’s culture is a reflection of yourself. How you present your self your your staff and clients, how you handle your work, how you balance your personal and professional lives, are all a reflection of your firm’s culture. For that reason, you should be mindful of how you present yourself while at the office (or virtually, if your firm operates remote). Is the way you present yourself in-line with your ideal firm culture? If the answer to that question is yes, and you believe your partners and staff are a reflection of your firm’s values, then congratulations. However if you find yourself wondering if there are areas for improvement, that’s OK. Taking the time to act the part can help begin shaping your firm’s culture toward the direction you want.
- Hire the right people. One of the biggest mistakes hiring managers make is filling job vacancies with applicants, not candidates. Anyone can be an applicant for a job, however they may not be the right candidate for the position. A good job candidate goes beyond their resume. To find the right candidate, you need to ask the right questions during the interview. When presented with questions like, “What will you bring to the firm?” or “What are your strengths?” applicants may provide you with a lot of similar, cliche responses. That’s because these surface level questions are not only ones applicants prepare for, but they don’t dig deep enough to separate individuals from those who will and won’t fit in with your culture. Just because someone’s resume stands out, and they are qualified for the job does not mean they will fit in with the culture, which risks potential turnover and workflow gaps. By asking applicants during the interview questions about how they handle stress, what is their ideal work environment, and asking them how they would handle situations that reflect working within your firm’s culture, you can gain a better understanding of if they are qualified candidates for the position and will fit in with the culture.
- Show gratitude. Simultaneously, promote positive behavior by assuring staff that their efforts are valued. Celebrate acts that are consistent with the firm's goal. Some firms provide certificates and gift cards to employees that collaborate, save the day, or go above and beyond the call of duty. Others host extravagant awards ceremonies attended by every member of the management team to demonstrate top-down support for recognizing employees who demonstrate business values. Financial productivity incentives and bonuses for certification can also be used to honor role models.
Let Taxfyle help
Finding ways to improve your staff’s ability to make more meaningful connections with clients can be challenging. Especially when they’re on the verge of burnout from excess work and stress.
Luckily, there’s a solution to alleviating workflow issues without increasing your firm’s overhead costs. With Taxfyle, you can outsource your excess work to our network of licensed and verified accountants across the country.
By outsourcing domestically with Taxfyle, you can augment your firm and begin making more value-added connections with your clients because your staff and partners have more time freed up.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Outsource today to give your firm the boost it needs.