“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
It is definitely not the same old workplace where many of us “grew up” in the business world.
At my first job, in the accounting department of a major manufacturing company, we were not allowed to leave our desks except at our specified “break” time. They ran the office much like they did the manufacturing floor.
60Minutes and Vanity Fair conducted a poll in 2016 to explore the modern workplace. It has changed dramatically and is still evolving as we deal with more tech-savvy young workers who have joined our knowledge-based economy. They are demanding more.
Here are the polling questions:
What’s the most important thing to look for in a new job?
What’s the best way to keep an employee motivated?
Which business practice would you most like to bring back?
How much more than their workers should CEOs earn?
Which job perk would be the hardest to explain to your grandfather?
Which industry is the most unethical?
What is the worst thing about your job?
Check out the results here. Maybe you should ask some of these questions to your own accounting firm team. As a firm leader, you need to know all you can about your young workforce.
Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their job.
Many firms have incorporated flexible work arrangements into their menu of offerings to employees. Some have been much slower to adapt.
Here’s an update from a non-profit organization called 1 Million For Work Flexibility. To keep your CPA firm competitive you need to learn all you can about the flexibility options available to talented professionals.
Here are some of the top moments of the year for flexibility listed below.
New Hampshire became the second state to make it legal for workers to request work flexibility. New Hampshire has an aging workforce and demographic. State Senate Bill 416 encourages younger workers to stay in (or move to) New Hampshire and work there so they can enjoy a flexible work arrangement that allows them to care for their growing families as well as their aging parents without worrying about bosses who might fire them for asking for flex. The bill’s sponsor believes that this isn’t just good for working parents and families, but for the overall state economy. New Hampshire follows Vermont with this type of “right to request” legislation, as well as the city of San Francisco.
New York City passed the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which is said to be the first of its kind protection for freelancers. It requires written agreements for the timeline and payment of freelance work, with penalties for employer violations.
More companies, industries, and occupations are now offering flexibility to their employees. These 250 companies are shining examples of work flexibility in action. This list of the top companies with the most flexible job listings since 2013 (the “FlexJobs 250”) is based on an analysis of more than 40,000 companies and their flexible job posting histories in the FlexJobs database between October 1, 2013, and October 1, 2016.
The United State of Women, a summit hosted by the White House, showcased the importance of workplace policies that work for women. The inaugural event, attended by 1 Million for Work Flexibility, highlighted work flexibility and brought together thousands of people who are working to change tomorrow for women.
Work flexibility conversation focused on fathers. It’s long been clear that flexibility is crucial for working mothers, but the issue is much more broad. As part of its mission to demonstrate the far-reaching value of flex, 1 Million for Work Flexibility teamed up with supporters to co-host a special Father’s Day-themed event featuring scholar, international lawyer, foreign policy analyst, and thought-leader Anne-Marie Slaughter. The event focused on how we can shift the work and family narrative to include men and women in both corners, by valuing both care and competition, home and career in a way that benefits us all.
Launched in 2013, the 1 Million for Work Flexibility movement now has more than 100 coalition members including advocacy groups, think tanks, academic institutions, and businesses, as well as thousands of individuals demonstrating the many types of flexible work that are not only leading to happier and healthier workers, but also improving our economy.
Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.
CPA firms and many other companies are seeking talented workers. The competition is especially fierce among accounting firms.
I noticed an Associated Press story in my Sunday newspaper that headlined: Employers spice up benefits, offer help with pets, debt. I have heard from several firms that they have taken a serious look at their benefits in an effort to stay competitive. It seems that Millennials want more choice and customization while Baby Boomers want more certainty (good health and dental coverage).
Many employers are offering programs that monitor for identity theft, help with mortgage payments, assistance with repaying college loans and even unexpected veterinary bills. Many of these “extras” are offered and available but that doesn’t necessarily mean the firm foots the entire bill.
Here’s some information from SHRM:
Employee Benefits Have Exploded
SHRM now tracks 350 fringe benefits
20 years ago it was 60 and 10 years ago it was 219
Most increases have been in larger corporations
Smaller businesses struggle to keep up
Biggest gain was telecommuting – in 1996 it was offered by 20% and it has grown to 60%
Maybe it’s time to review your benefit package. I have found that many firms haven’t kept pace with maternity and paternity leave programs.
I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
I imagine you have read a lot about the U.S. Department of Labor ruling that changed the overtime rules under the FLSA. The new rules go into effect on December 1, 2016.
I also imagine you have already been preparing to deal with this issue inside your accounting firm.
When it comes to converting a salaried individual to hourly status, it’s often a very sensitive area. I have heard and read, over and over again, that many people truly feel like it is a demotion.
I can remember when I first became a salaried employee. I thought I had “made it!” Over my many years of supervisory responsibility, I had numerous individuals plead with me to be put on salary. It has become somewhat of a status symbol in the workplace.
Sharlyn Lauby (HR Bartender) notes, “I know employees will not like this decision. Many organizations don’t like it either. But we have to follow the law.”
There are some firms that just “get it. For several years now I have admired how Lumsden McCormick, in Buffalo, appreciates their people and goes that extra step in developing a culture of inclusiveness and career advancement.
Congratulations to two Lumsden McCormick newlyweds!
Pat & Amanda (Moses) Meyers and Robert & Jillian Torella were married on the same day – September 17!
It’s a little thing, but I bet it made these two couples feel special. Lumsden McCormick also always posts about people passing the CPA exam and other life events. Check out their Facebook page. Be sure to notice the Recruitment Open House post.
What’s your firm doing?
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
Inside most CPA firms, there are three client-facing “jobs,” partner, manager, and staff. Each one has a job to do.
The partner is key to defining the firm vision. The partner brings in new business, keeps current clients from leaving by continually working on the relationship and finds and develops new talent.
The manager manages. Yes, they manage and review the work but a key priority is managing people. They train, coach, mentor, nurture, inspire their subordinates and build career-enhancing relationships that keep talented people at the firm.
The staff does the work. They never have to worry about having enough to do because partners and managers are making sure they are professionally challenged and are assigned to engagements that will enhance their skills. The staff work as a team to help each other make progress.
I hope you do not have partners and managers doing too much work and staffers looking for work.
If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
Each summer (spring, fall, and winter, too), I encourage you to READ. Not just CPA stuff! Read fiction and non-fiction for enjoyment and inspiration.
I am currently reading Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones. Henson had a knack, skill, aptitude, whatever you want to call it for finding and hiring the right people. He also said, “The beauty of nature has been one of the great inspirations in my life.”
So, do three things this weekend – read, take a walk, and…. Lighten-up this weekend and enjoy The Swedish Chef making a banana split.
Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.
“Mentoring is easy and natural; it does not have to be just another dreaded task on your to-do list.” – Rita Keller
Thanks so much to Accounting Today and Sean McCabe for featuring many of my comments in the article, “Molding the Future of the Profession – Mentoring young staff should be a crucial part of the recruiting and retention toolkit of more accounting firms.”
Follow the link to read the entire article. And, thanks to Edi Osborne for all of her great comments in the article.
Here are some bullet point highlights:
Mentoring is just as important as salary and technology.
Mentoring requires an investment of time and money.
It is about attracting and strengthening future leaders for the profession.
Young people will buy into the vision of what it means to be a CPA and stay in the profession longer if they make a solid connection with someone who has already been down that road.
CPAs are great at teaching young people the technical skills but fail to impart knowledge about relationship-building and career-building skills.
Showing and not telling is vital to the mentor-mentee relationship.
Effective mentoring has become a strategic focus for the most progressive and successful firms.
“The future depends on what you do today.” – Gandhi
It’s a new world and if you are not keeping pace, your new hires will notice immediately.
It is also a digital world and online activities and resources are such an important part of your firm. Keep this in mind as you overhaul your orientation process. Orientation has evolved into onboarding and onboarding is a process that can last up to a year or more.
I believe that first impressions STILL make a difference in how you are perceived. I always stress this with students aiming to make accounting their career.
While a prospective employee strives to make a good first impression, the firm is also being viewed with a magnifying glass. Be aware of the first impression your firm is making with prospects. I still hear horror stories of new hires arriving on their first day and it seems like almost a surprise. Their cubicle is not ready, they have no computer, etc.
To move from orientation to onboarding, begin with automating all of the initial paperwork. Most of it can be completed online before the new hire even arrives at the office.
Next, review what a new hire experiences in their first year. How can you make it more enriching? How can you convince the new hire that their career development is a top priority? You are probably doing many of the necessary things to help them succeed but you have not formalized it and communicated it very well.
Young professionals want to know immediately what their career path will look like and what it takes to succeed at the firm.
Share the steps involved for initial training.
Explain the formal CPE they will receive during the first year.
Communicate how the Guide, Coach, Mentor, and Sponsor Program works and what it means to them during the first year.
Provide an explanation of all of the firm’s services.
Explain how they will rotate through working in many types of service areas.
Explain how they will rotate working with a variety of people – partners and managers.
Provide them job descriptions for all levels of staff at the firm.
This is just a beginning list. Determine all of the activities, assignments, and learning experiences that a new hire will experience at your firm. Now is the time to rebrand from orientation to onboarding.
Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.
Maybe you have noticed, recruiting and retaining efforts have become even more intense and complicated.
No longer are recruiting and retaining enough to guarantee that talented professionals will want to come to your firm and remain there to build their professional career.
Tom Hood, President & CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, tells us that in this fast changing world we have moved from an environment of recruit and retain to a strategy of attract and develop.
So, keep this in mind: Recruit and Retain no longer applies, it is now Attract and Develop.
For years, I have been urging you to make your firm a talent magnet. My long-standing advice has evolved from “you should” make your firm a magnet for talent to “you must” make your firm a magnet for talent. Develop your strategy now to create an “I want to work there!” kind of firm.