12 Effective & Genuine Techniques to Motivate Accountants

Team building has always been an important priority for my firm. Though our employees are all 100% remote, we have had to use a variety of techniques to keep our staff motivated, especially after busy season has ended and vacation breaks are on everyone’s minds.

So to help you continue to motivate your employees post-busy season, we’ve created a comprehensive list of 12 effective & genuine techniques to help motivate your accounting staff.

Tactic #1 – Goal Setting Around Their Wants

Do you know the desires of your employees? Are they interested in becoming a partner? Or would they rather stay a senior and work less so they can spend more time with their family?

Find out what your employees want, and set up a plan that works for them. This will show your interest in helping them grow (professionally and personally) and will help keep them motivated.

Tactic #2 – Implement Flexible Work Arrangements

As with Tactic #1, if your employees start telling you they are looking to work remotely more permanently or want reduced hours, devise a plan within your firm to implement a flexible work arrangement.

Not only will you be showing your employees you care about their ideal work environments, but that you’re open to new ideas to help your firm grow. If you’re struggling with this concept, check out CPA Firm Resources on FlexCPAs.com.

Tactic #3 – Recognize Good Work, Constantly

A pat on the back is nice, every once in a while, but a pat on the back in front of the team with the partner doing the patting means way more. Make it a point to recognize a different team member, each week on something they’ve done or accomplished. The highly sought-after recognition from a partner means way more than a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Not only will this let your employees know you appreciate them, but it will also motivate them to work towards more praise by producing quality work.

Tactic #4 – Create Bite-Sized Goals

If you’ve ever created a to-do list before, chances are the list was 20+ lines, and you knocked off a small chunk of what you’d hoped to accomplish that day. You have to remember your employee likely feels similar when they go into work with a ton of stuff on their plate.

Instead of having an ongoing to-do list, help your staff narrow down what’s important, and focus on that. This effort will increase motivation because a complete to-do list produces a feeling of accomplishment and lets your employees know they’ve gotten done the major tasks that needed to be completed.

Small Wins = Small Smiles = Happy Employees = Happy Company

Tactic #5 – Create Interactive Games to Pump Up Your Team

When was the last time you ran a fun competition in your firm? Or a competitive game between your employees?

At Jetpack Workflow, we all like to be a part of a fun game, so creating this little activity will help get their minds off of their to-do list and more on realizing how much they enjoy their days. A few ideas are to implement Weekly Bingo, mini-golf in the office, who can solve an Excel trick the fastest, the best nickname for the office partners, etc. This creates teamwork, and your accountants will love it!

Tactic #6 – Take Your Accountants Out to Lunch (Individually)

If you’re back in an office, and you see a staff or senior that has been out on audit engagements the past few months, ask them to go out to lunch. During the lunch, learn more about their personal lives, what makes them tick, what they want, and why they‘re happy working at your firm – and what they need to do their best work. Give them a chance to open up to you, and truly listen to what they have to say. It seems simple, but getting to know your employees on a personal level is extremely motivating.

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Tactic #7 – Radiate Positivity

Remember, your staff tends to look and act how they see their seniors and partners look and act. So if you offer “Jeans Day” on Friday, and you’re in a 3-piece suit, your staff won’t feel comfortable coming to work in jeans. The same goes for your attitude. If you are usually cool, calm, and collected, your staff will see this and not feel like they need to walk on eggshells around you. Be the type of person you want your staff to mimic, and you’ll be surprised how much your firm’s culture will change.

Tactic #8 – Have an Open-Door Policy

Alongside expressing empathy, you also want to make sure you’re available to your team members should an issue arise. The best way to showcase an “Open-Door” Policy is every morning, before you start jumping into meetings, walk around the office (or hop on your firm’s chat platform of choice) to say hi to everyone. Make small talk. A couple of minutes with each team member makes them feel noticed. This will give you a good indication of how everyone is doing.

While you make your rounds, if you sense an issue with a team member, ask them to come to your office to talk further about it. This 5-minute walk-around-the-office exercise could prevent potential headaches and allow you to become more proactive before an issue arises.

Tactic #9 – Let Your Accountants Lead

You do not need to be running every single meeting. Letting your staff, seniors, or even your accountants lead meetings will reinforce your confidence in them and keep them engaged. While you may have information to add, it’s likely they can provide the basics to keep the team on track and working towards the right goals.

Allowing someone else to run the meetings also keeps a fresh face at the center of attention. It can be redundant if you’re the only one sharing thoughts and ideas at every meeting. Your coworkers will be excited to hear a new meeting leader each day/week/month.

Tactic #10 – When All Else Fails, Offer Awesome $$$ Incentives

Though most people are not motivated specifically by money, it does help to win a $100 gift card or receive a $1000 bonus once in a while. So if you’re looking at your numbers and can provide an incentive or bonus to your team, do it. It also helps to give them a reason why they deserved it.

If you do not have the funds to throw a huge bonus, offer a happy hour on the firm’s dime or a night out with drinks to get your team to interact and receive free food. Everyone loves an all-expenses-paid happy hour!

Tactic #11 – One-Day Visit to an Amusement Park (or Driving Range)

Yes, I said it. Take your team on rollercoasters and see them smile. After a long busy season or a huge team project that went well, reward the team with a fun day out together. If rollercoasters aren’t your firm’s thing, switch it up and head to the driving range or maybe to the bowling alley to just relax and get to know your teams better.

Again, these kinds of activities tell your employees you appreciate them and give everyone something to look forward to after a job-well-done.

Tactic #12 – Give a Surprise Day Off (or Week Off)

Employees love receiving an email from the managing partner that the office is closing at 3 pm on Friday or is completely closed on Monday. With a few day’s notice, give a surprising day off to your team to celebrate their hard work.

If you want to go even bigger, give an entire week off (the week of the 4th of July is the perfect example). This action will give your staff a nice long break to relax, refresh, and remember how much they like working for your firm.

Each of these 12 tactics keeps your employees at the forefront, reminding them how much you appreciate them, want them to succeed, and support them. When you implement even just a few of these tactics you will see a happier, more motivated team.

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