We hear a lot about company culture and the impact it can have on the many aspects of an accounting firm’s success. When the time comes, many say they want a culture that is ‘growth’ oriented or ‘entrepreneurial spirited.’ Achieving these goals is sometimes easier said than done. There are many variables that impact company culture. Here are the areas where we see the most impact.
We all know hiring is important, and we have all heard stories of companies that hire for ‘culture fit,’ but what does this mean? Hiring for a culture fit means matching candidates to your values and identifying people that will succeed in your environment. In an accounting firm, your people are your product. Building and maintaining the culture you want means finding and keeping the people that will thrive in your environment, respect the culture you’ve established, and help the firm grow.
Training is critical to building a culture. While many accounting firms do a lot of CPE for technical training, they often overlook the soft-skills training that makes individuals successful leaders. Many of your people may be technically proficient, but if they aren’t trained in non-technical areas, they will never reach their full potential or the proper levels of success. Firms should be training in non-technical areas like client service, management skills, business development and marketing, and leadership. Once your people have the right technical foundation, focus your training in these areas to further promote your firm’s culture.
The common element among companies with an attractive and distinctive culture is accountability. Accountability is a key success indicator between high performing and low performing companies. It is also one of the hardest things for many accounting firms to tackle because it requires conflict. If you want to forge a successful company culture, you need to ensure people do what they are supposed to do, the way it is supposed to be done. For example, if you want to build a culture where everyone contributes to growth, you have to expect it, set goals, measure against it, and then hold people accountable if they don’t contribute. Making exceptions or dismissing missed goals only teaches your people that the goals don’t matter. This concept holds true for all aspects of your business, from management and leadership to client service.
While creating a culture is often a top-down initiative, it evolves and flows from all angles. Your accounting firm is a living, breathing organism of clients and people. The culture of your company is dependent on many, not one. If you are struggling to identify or enforce an attractive and successful culture, contact one of our growth coaches today.