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10 December 2019 / Accounting Professionals

12 Tips for Improving Employee Morale in Your CPA Firm

10 December 2019 > Accounting Professionals

Talented accountants in today’s fast-paced business arena are snapped up quickly. If they quit one job, most experience only a short break before they find another firm willing to hire them. Turnover in the industry can be high. 

Accounting firms that keep their professionals over the long run have learned how to create a fantastic work environment. The office is more than just a place to work; it’s a haven where they connect with good coworkers, are rewarded for good work, and feel motivated by everyone around them.

If you’re a business owner who struggles with turnover, the problem might be employee morale. Here are a few tried-and-true methods for boosting everyone’s spirits in your CPA firm and keeping your accounting positions fully staffed.

1. Try Bagel Friday 

This is a simple tradition that makes a surprisingly huge difference. Employees love free food, and Bagel Friday not only supplies a free breakfast but also gives people valuable time to connect with their coworkers. A 30-minute eat-and-mingle session can encourage staff to meet new team members, connect better with the ones they know, and most important, get to know you.

2. Bring in Freebies 

Free bagels on Friday is just the tip of an iceberg for creating an enjoyable office space. Here are other freebies you can offer on a regular basis:

  • Soda fountain machine

  • Take-out lunches

  • Coffee, decaf and regular, with K-cups

  • Gym memberships

  • One extra vacation day a year

  • Healthy snacks

  • Subscriptions to continuing education classes

  • Graduate tuition (free or subsidized)

  • Validated parking

  • Birthday gifts 

There’s plenty more you could add to this list. Freebies make employees pleased to go to work, especially if the work is challenging.

3. Install an Office Gym 

If you don’t offer a free gym membership to your workers, consider dedicating a room for exercise and weight equipment. A treadmill, exercise bike, and basic weights are all you need to encourage better health in your office. This is especially effective for the long hours during tax preparation season when people might not otherwise have time to go to the gym.

4. Allow Some Remote Work 

More and more employees are working from home, since it’s easy to communicate over the cloud or email. Why not let your employees do this on occasion? It might not be prudent to let everyone work from home daily, but you could offer a part-time remote-work arrangement to those who have proven they’re independent workers and can work without supervision.

5. Install Ergonomic Furniture 

If your CPAs must pull a 16-hour day now and then, ergonomic furniture can make the ordeal more comfortable and less stressful. Offices today struggle with lost productivity days due to the aches and pains that come from hunching over a computer keyboard day after day.

Ergonomic furniture usually takes the form of adjustable desks and tables that can be customized to the height of the worker. Chairs should be adjustable with lumbar support as well. You could install sit-stand desks to encourage blood-flow during long days.

6. Host Parties and Events 

Holiday parties can be major attractions for employees who want to feel they belong with the company. Such events give them an opportunity to mingle with their friends at work as well as network to further their careers. Free food and drinks are also a huge draw!

7. Nix the Long Hours 

One of the biggest downers for CPAs are the long hours during tax season. You only have a few short months to do taxes for your clients, and this too often results in 16-hour days. 

Cutting back hours whenever possible will make working at your firm much more appealing. For example, you could try outsourcing some of the simpler tax returns to a cloud-based firm and make the workload easier on your CPAs.

You could also reduce work hours during the rest of the year to compensate for the busier time of year.

8. Stop Having So Many Meetings 

Check the number of meetings you have on a given day. How many are crucial? Too many meetings are productivity killers, and if you evaluate them seriously, you may discover you don’t always need all those get-togethers. 

Here are some ideas for reducing the meeting load: 

  • Invite only the people directly affected by the agenda

  • Don’t spend more time than necessary; ideally, it should be 15 minutes or less

  • Prepare a printed agenda and stick to it to keep matters concise and moving forward

  • Eliminate distractions by asking employees to leave phones at their desks

9. Stay Equipped with Adequate Tools 

Encourage employees to do their best by providing the tools they need. Stay up to date with your software subscriptions, offer continuing-education courses, have an assistant or receptionist help with menial tasks, and listen to your employees’ needs. It’s amazing what a group of talented CPAs can accomplish when they’re given what’s critical to succeed.

10. Give Praise Where It’s Due 

Your employees don’t need constant reinforcement about doing a good job, but they should be told at least once a month that you appreciate their labors. When one of your accounting professionals lands a new client, finishes an account well before the deadline, or performs some other notable feat, recognize the person for his or her efforts.

It can be useful to publicly recognize those who are doing an outstanding job. This encourages everyone to strive for that recognition, and it may be all that’s required to spark employee motivation throughout the office.

11. Have Regular Employee Check-Ins 

Although praising individuals who perform well is a great way to motivate employees, don’t neglect the people who are not often recognized. Having regular one-on-one check-ins can ensure everyone has a positive employee experience.

This way, the rank and file don’t become discouraged because they don’t get praised in front of everyone else. In fact, some people aren’t comfortable receiving public praise. They might be more inspired by a quick personal chat that addresses their successes and goals than by public recognition.

12. Make Employees Feel Valued 

The last item on this list may be the most important. The emotional connection a staff feels to their office has a huge bearing on whether or not they’re willing to stick around.

If their customary feelings are trepidation, anxiety, or obligation, you’re not likely to keep them over the long term. Making your employees feel valued and excited to come to work will have a huge impact on morale. 

Here’s a great quote to sum up the importance of a positive employee connection from Simon Sinek, a popular author and public speaker. In his book, Leaders Eat Last, he wrote:   

“A supportive and well-managed work environment is good for one’s health. Those who feel they have more control, who feel empowered to make decisions instead of waiting for approval, suffer less stress. Those only doing as they are told, always forced to follow the rules, are the ones who suffer the most.

“Our feelings of control, stress, and our ability to perform at our best are all directly tied to how safe we feel in our organizations. Feeling unsafe around those we expect to feel safe —those in our {work} tribes —fundamentally violates the laws of nature and how we were designed to live.”

If you keep this thought in mind as you work to stimulate your accounting team, you’ll find they’ll be all too happy to stick with you as long as their circumstances allow.

Let Taxfyle Help Boost Employee Morale 

If your CPAs are feeling utterly downtrodden due to the number of cases they’re handling this tax season, let our experts at Taxfyle remove some of the burden. We can handle much of the clerical work for you, and give your CPAs a well-deserved break. For a free demo of our services, contact us today!

Ralph Carnicer

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