The greatest asset any tax and accounting firm has is its people, but too often, firms see their staff as expendable resources, a self-fulfilling prophecy when they come and go through a revolving door. With finding and retaining good staff being a hot topic in our profession, this approach almost ensures it’s going to be an issue that won’t go away.
Instead, treat your team right and invest in them; you’ll retain your talent and build a better firm. Here are three ways to do that.
#1: Invest in Education
There is an anecdote about two partners at a firm talking about training. The first partner is worried that they will spend a lot of money training their staff, and then those staff will leave the firm. The other partner replies, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
One of the best ways to invest in your staff is to provide plentiful education and training. With continual changes in tax law and technology evolving further everyday, setting up an education and training plan for each of your team members will give them the tools they need to excel. In turn, the firm will better serve its clients.
The plan can be a mix of online webinars covering the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other tax issues offered through Intuit® ProConnect™, as well as in-house training and sending your team to QuickBooks® Connect, state CPA society conferences, Thriveal Deeper Weekend and other training. When it comes time to grow, the more you invest in your team’s education, the better position your firm will be in to retain staff and attract new team members.
#2: Invest in Self Care
Tax season generally puts everyone through the meat grinder, and soon after the April filing deadline, everyone is ready for a break. However, beyond just taking vacations, it’s important for your firm to promote and practice self care.
Regardless of the kind of programs you come up with, make sure your team is held accountable to take care of themselves. Whether it’s a book club, having a step competition or providing money to each team member to practice self care, providing this benefit can help you stay on track.
One way our firm is doing this is using a service called Zestful. Each team member gets a debit card loaded with $50 each month to use at a collection of places that will allow them to provide self care. They can go get a massage, enjoy a nice meal, have a date night with a significant other or save the funds for a weekend away. We have our team report back each month on how they practiced self care that month. By making this investment, we are able to show we care about more than just getting work done.
#3: Invest in Technology
You’ve got to provide the team the best possible technology, hardware and software to be more efficient and effective in their work. For example, we invested in our team by adding some cloud-based technology solutions for certain client work that allows them to automate processes and spend more time advising clients. Giving your team the proper hardware is also important, whether they work in the office or are fully remote. Making sure they have the right setup allows them to be more productive. At our firm, the entire team is remote, so we provide laptops, multiple monitors and whatever else they need to be successful. We also give them $200 every year to spend on technology as they wish.
Investing in our team shows we care. We support them, and they are able to do their best work, which benefits our firm by being able to grow and serve our clients. It also helps ensure we retain our team and attract new team members as we grow. Finding and retaining talent is always a big issue cited by firms. Make an investment and plan for the future.