Making your accounting practice a great place to work

Sep 12, 2021 | Tips

Providing meaningful employment to professionals and servicing client’s needs – while also maintaining a profitable practice – are prominent aims.

But there’s more to running an accounting practice than just ticking boxes for the sake of it. You also need to be providing meaningful staff experiences and fostering a positive culture.

You should also be concerned with setting up the right tools and equipment to help make your firm a great place to work.

Why make your firm a great place to work?

If your bottom line is sound and your clients’ needs are adequately addressed, why would you spend resources and energy making your firm a more attractive place to work?

Retaining and attracting the best staff

This is an easy one – you spend incredible amounts of time, money, and energy in hiring staff. To maintain low levels of staff turnover and high levels of job satisfaction, you need to exert a bit of energy and purpose.

Increasing output

A positive work culture with flexible working models and efficient top-grade tools and daily practices will inevitably have the effect of increasing output.

Exceeding client needs

This increased staff satisfaction will trickle down to a desire for staff to excel in their work and thus increase client satisfaction and outcomes.

Increasing life satisfaction

Happiness within one’s life in general should be an aim within itself, we are all humans with lives, families, aspirations, and emotions. This is particularly salient in regard to people’s mental health and wellbeing in a post-COVID-19 world.

As Jessica Morris, APS & Reckon’s GM of People & Culture, says on our own approach:

“We’re not just interested in what you know, but also who you are, where you’re from, what you love and where you want to go.”

Fostering a great corporate culture

More than just a corporate buzzword, meaningful culture building is an important element of a well-run, managed, and future focused firm.

“Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything for better or worse,” says Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker.

Your management style, company values, social rituals, and manner of feedback and reward will all affect the culture of your firm – whether positive or negative.

Your attentiveness to corporate culture (or lack thereof) will impact:

  • staff retention and output
  • your firm’s strategic direction
  • how you approach client services
  • the reputation of your firm, both in the market and as an employer
  • the willingness of staff to provide feedback and be involved in your firm’s direction
  • how well your communication lines operate.

For more on how you can create a fantastic business culture, we have further tips for you here.

Attractive and productive new ways to work

It’s no secret that WFH, hybrid working models, and location-independent employment structures are now the name of the game.

The pandemic had the effect of rapidly escalating, and often mandating, that we work differently, outside of a five day in-office model.

It’s now incumbent on firms to be the architects of new, productive, and more attractive working structures. Not only has flexibility and hybridity become sought after and often demanded by employees, it also has been seen to increase, not decrease, productivity.

This is a win/win for firms and staff, so even when restrictions relax, you should be offering modern and attractive work models into the future.

As for us here at APS & Reckon, how did we embrace hybrid working?

“The COVID-19 pandemic created massive upheaval in the health systems and economies of Australia,” says Jessica Morris.

“But it also created a huge opportunity for employees to prove how productive they can be in any environment. That’s why all employees now have the option to work from home for three days a week with flexible working hours.”

Better yet, you can also take advantage of this flexibility by hiring the best person for the job, who may very well live on the other side of the country.

The right tools and workflows

Yet there’s more to a great place to work than culture, incentives, and models of employment. It also hinges on the quality and effectiveness of your tools and workflows.

You may have a flexible mode of working and a welcoming culture that breeds staff retention, but there’s nothing that will repel a new employee or fatigue a long service staff member faster than inefficient workflows, frustrating practices or inadequate tools.

Ensuring that your chosen communication channels are approachable, centralised, and easily understood is also of great importance.

Spend time surveying your staff and interrogating rusted-on working practices and software solutions.

  • Can you reduce steps in a common workflow?
  • Is there a better and more efficient tool out there?
  • Are staff commonly frustrated by an outmoded or inefficient practice?
  • How tight and approachable are your communication channels between all levels of staff and clients?

By tightening your ship and responding to these shortcomings, you’ll have happier and more productive employees. You’ll also save money and have more time to focus on increasing client satisfaction and business outcomes.

So, before you dismiss the value of creating a multifaceted strategy for attending to your practice’s attractiveness and culture, think on the tangible aspects of staff retention, market image, client satisfaction and the excellence of your firm’s business outcomes.

Reckon is officially a Great Place to Work-Certified™ company! Check out our current job openings here: https://jobs.reckon.com/.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.

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