The Most Misunderstood Phrase In Accounting

November 19, 2019

Andrew Finnorn | Staff Accountant | Published by Crow Shields Bailey

Throughout the recruitment process, you will hear firms speak of their dedication to a work-life balance. They are referring to the ability to balance the demanding work load of public accounting and life outside the office. It is used as a way to overcome the common belief that public accountants work 24/7. The most important thing to understand is that this challenge must first be overcome at the employee level, then assisted by the firm. This can be accomplished by answering three easy questions.

What are you balancing? The things that you value evolve as you progress through life. When you first enter the workforce as a young adult, time with friends and participating in hobbies are often your main focus. As changes happen, such as marriage or having children, you will find that your priorities and interest will also change. Discovering what is important to you is the first step in creating your ideal work-life balance.

When is the deadline? You will learn very quickly in public accounting that everything revolves around deadlines. There is always another deadline waiting around the corner, and understanding the workload is a key to success. Once you understand the “work” ahead, it allows you to build a schedule that can tackle the sometimes overwhelming workload, and allows for “life.” The anxiety that is felt with approaching deadlines can be mitigated by attacking the work load early. The more work that can be completed on the front end allows you to maintain your desired work-life balance.

Does this firm understand me? With the diversity of the workforce, firms must have an understanding of what is important to each employee. As addressed with the first question, each individual will have different priorities in life. You should search for a firm that aligns with your values. This requires getting to know the firm beyond an interview, and not getting caught up in a recruiting pitch. Current employees and their experiences can often give you an insight into the firm’s values. Look for an opportunity during recruiting events to interview the employees.

As a result of the public’s perception of accountants working 80-hour weeks, the work-life balance has become a point of emphasis for recruitment platforms. Is a work-life balance truly accomplished at the firm level? Yes, they play an important role, but they are only part of the equation. Your understanding of the balancing act and the ability to schedule ahead will allow for the ideal work-life balance in your career.



CSB Awarded Best Company To Work For By Business Alabama

July 29, 2019

Deborah FisherFirm Administrator | Published by Crow Shields Bailey PC

At CSB, our team is our most valuable asset and one of our top priorities is to recruit and retain the best and the brightest. We make sure that team members have a clearly defined career path, mentors to help them reach their goals, opportunities for excellent training, and we have some fun along the way as well.

Because of our “team first” mentality, we were thrilled and honored to discover that the sentiment is mutual when we were named one of Business Alabama Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For. This award is based, in part, on surveys that our team members completed about what it’s like to work here and their satisfaction level with features like benefits, compensation, flexibility, working environment, and more.

We believe that communication is the key to reaching this level of employee satisfaction. We haven’t always been in this position. Just like many other “Boomers” in management, we came up with ideas in meetings that we thought were great and many times, to our dismay, we were not even close to hitting the mark. That’s when we realized that maybe, just maybe, we should actually ask team members what would make CSB a great place to work.

We took great pride in having an “open door policy” but sometimes that simply meant listening to suggestions. If you don’t take action, then what’s the point?  We began to really listen to team members’ ideas and started taking action. As a result, for the last eight years or so, our team is responsible for many changes such as our dress code (we now have a Dress for Your Day policy), recruiting (our team plans and executes events), community service (we vote on our main charity each year), compensation (our team is responsible for various changes to our compensation structure), time off policy (we ditched traditional “vacation and sick leave” and replaced with PTO), two extra holidays came from team recommendations, and the list goes on.

In summary, if you are putting forth the effort to hire and retain the best and the brightest – let them show you what they can do. We firmly believe that the change in our mindset to move from just listening to listening AND taking action is one of the reasons that we have been named one of the best companies to work for in Alabama. And for that, we are truly grateful.




Retaining Employees Through Internal Recruiting

May 30, 2019

Abby Roveda, CPA | Senior Accountant | Published by Crow Shields Bailey

Retaining good employees is a challenge that businesses in all industries face—especially public accounting. As companies, we invest a lot of time and resources into the recruiting process so we can find the right employees to join our teams. However, recruiting our employees should not stop at their hire dates. As business owners and managers, we need to continue to spend our time and resources making our company the place that employees want to work as they grow and develop as professionals. There are a few key ways we have implemented an “internal recruiting” initiative at our firm that may work for your business as well.

Provide Leadership Opportunities

If you are hiring team members with the idea that they will one day advance to the top of your company or division, you should start training them on how to be leaders from day one. This not only gives them the skills needed to run the business successfully and manage their peers but lets them know you’re invested in them for the long term and have confidence in their abilities. Create committees that are in charge of certain events or functions within your company; get team members involved in organizations outside of the office; organize gatherings that stir up useful conversation about current events or industry specific topics. When you notice that they have knowledge about a unique skill or topic, encourage them to share it with their peers through a presentation or organized training.

Adapt Roles as Goals Change

The goals and career aspirations of your employees are constantly evolving. Create a mentorship program where employees have the opportunity to talk about their changing goals and aspirations frequently and an environment where they aren’t afraid to ask to try something new. A lot of turnover could be prevented by being adaptive to your employees’ requests. Practical examples of this include: giving them projects outside of their specialty, allowing them to play an active role in management decisions regarding policies that are important to them, or helping them get onto the board of an organization that matches their skills or interests. Adapting as your employees progress in their careers prevents them from feeling limited by their position within your company and shows them that new opportunities are available right where they are.

‘All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy’

The easiest way to create a place where people want to work is to have fun. We aren’t telling you to throw productivity out the window, but don’t underestimate the power that happy hours, firm outings, and friendly competition can have over employee satisfaction. Creating fun doesn’t have to be a grand production or event that takes a lot of the time and resources of your HR staff. It can be as simple as sending around a link for a trivia quiz and giving out prizes for the highest score or as easy as renting out space at a restaurant to watch a Mardi Gras parade. Our team loves an opportunity to compete whether in cook offs, office pools for sporting events, charity races, or golfing for a good cause.

Create a Culture of ‘Yes’

Are your employees coming to you with suggestions or requests often? If they aren’t, either everything is perfect and you’re doing a great job or they may have assumed the answer would be ‘No.’ That is not to say that there aren’t a lot of times that the answer has to be ‘no’ but, you should embrace every opportunity to say ‘yes’ even if it is inconvenient and might require some extra costs. Saying ‘yes’ is the key to success of all of the concepts we have already discussed above. The time and money that goes into saying ‘yes’ to making changes, granting requests, and supplying opportunities for your team to bond are part of your investment in employee retainage.

Getting Started

The best way to implement an ‘internal recruiting’ initiative of your own is to start talking to your employees. That’s the easiest way to find out what their goals are, what leadership opportunities make sense for them, and how they like to have fun. From there, all you have to do is start saying ‘yes.’