How to retain talented accounting firm staff outside of salaries

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talented staff

Speaker 1: What sort of things do you put in place to make sure that your team is happy and satisfied with the client, or they feel like they’re growing or progressing or happy? What sort of retention mechanisms or tactics, even, have you put in place? And then obviously, I know Chad, you have some really interesting ones as well in regards to Continuing Ed, even, but we’ll kick it off with Joe in that regard.

Speaker 2: Yeah. It’s definitely a good question, and I think it’s what a lot of firms think about. When you realize how much your team does for you, losing a team member is obviously difficult for the company to try to replace. And then even for motivation amongst the teams, that it’s something we spend a lot of time thinking about. Anxiety is probably a good word for it. Just knowing how valuable they are to the organization. One thing we do is all of our bookkeepers work from home, because that’s kind of where they’ve identified, “This is where I get life. I can be super engaged. I can do work really well if I don’t have to come to the office.” It just makes life so much more complicated. There’s so much more logistics with trying to get to the office every morning.

That’s one thing we’ve said. We’ve got offices here that they could work from, but understanding how your team works is gonna be huge. If you can deliver something no other firm can deliver, it’s obviously gonna help you if there’s just less places that they can find employment. If you’re the best of the best, and if you give them those basic kinds of things that they want, that’s gonna be step one. If you don’t have that, good luck retaining them with culture if you don’t even deliver the basic need. So we start with that.

One thing is this kind of team mentality in our culture. We do a once-a-month meeting where the whole team gets together and we share stories, we walk through some admin. I just think that face-to-face interaction, you just can’t beat it with like a Zoom call or a ghost meeting. Video calls are great. We intermix those. But that monthly face-to-face, [inaudible 00:02:08], give handshake, let them know, “I care about you. I think about you. I want you informed about what’s going on in the business.” I think that’s big. Another one is just that team appreciation in the form of, not so much salaries, not so much benefits, but their voice being heard. Like, “Hey, this is our organization.” I want your feedback. You’re part of this story. That can make someone feel so much pride in their work as, “Yeah, you know I could work at the CPA farm and make double, but I’m gonna have to work 80 hours a week, I’m gonna have to drive in, and I might be a number there.” I’m not gonna compete with a CPA farm on salary, but I sure as heck can deliver this kind of amazing feeling of pride in your work, and feeling appreciated. And that’s kind of my job as a leader, is making sure people feel that, that they feel that they’re contributing, that they feel like they’re making a difference in the world. If you do that, and you’re making people feel appreciated, I don’t think you’re gonna have any trouble retaining.

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