An Accounting Firm Proves You Can’t Just Write Off Culture
When millennials became the largest chunk of the workforce in 2015 (now more than one-in-three), it solidified a steady, yet monumental shift in the workplace. A shift that has nothing to do with age and everything to do with values. While those now nearing retirement view job security and pensions as paramount, today’s younger workers value … well, values above all else.
We’re talking about culture. Corporate culture. The Holy Grail for many companies looking to attract (and retain) top talent, both new and experienced. The challenge facing recruiters is a balancing act of appealing to first-time job seekers who seem drawn more to how a company feels than by how many benefits it might offer, as well as to experienced leaders who bring necessary expertise to the organization and its clients.
By definition, an accounting firm feels stuffy, perhaps even a bit rigid. Spreadsheets and tax returns don’t exactly scream culture. Yet Eide Bailly has managed to cast off the industry’s stereotype to become a highly sought-after employer and community leader. Eide Bailly has succeeded in establishing a culture that attracts skilled professionals of all ages, as well as affirms current leadership for their role in the company’s ongoing success.
Above All, Trust
According to Forbes, corporate culture comes down to how an organization deals with two things: trust and fear, opposite ends of a single spectrum. On the one end, you have a culture of trust where employees are brought into an organization and entrusted with the freedom to put their skills to work for the good of the company and its clients. On the other end, you have businesses slogging ahead crippled by a culture of fear—fear of taking risk, fear of speaking up, fear of failure.
A culture of trust encourages truth-telling. In the accounting profession, truth not only has a way of always prevailing, it’s kind of the only thing that matters. Numbers don’t lie, as the saying goes, so perhaps that’s where Eide Bailly’s culture of trust all started. One hundred years later, that culture of trust continues today and allows for the full realization of Eide Bailly’s dedication to a client experience that is second to none.
Trust permeates the entire client relationship and flows freely in both directions—the client entrusts their advisor with their financial and business goals, just as the advisor trusts their clients enough to speak openly and frankly about the challenges, risks and rewards they may encounter. The firm’s approach to the client relationship involves listening, understanding, connecting and serving … but it all starts with trust.
Emphasis on Growth
A culture firmly rooted in trust naturally opens up opportunities for growth and professional development. It also opens the door for would-be leaders to step up and step out, giving them the chance to make a big impact for the business, their clients and their peers.
Eide Bailly’s strong, steady growth throughout the past century is a testament to how the firm’s culture embraces progress by trusting in its professionals. Staff at this Top 25 CPA firm are promised a different experience, work that is meaningful, opportunities for leadership and the ability to live with purpose instead of simply working for a paycheck.
The culture at Eide Bailly encourages staff to grow both personally and professionally. Early in her career at the firm, Shannon Breuer caught the attention of her managers for leadership potential and was entrusted with heading up the company-wide affordable housing industry group as a senior manager.
“The culture has directly influenced my ability to succeed,” Breuer said. “I’m trusted in my work and have the freedom to make decisions. This trust motivates me to create my own success, because I know I have the support of the firm. I believe the culture makes me a better advisor to clients and teacher to staff. I look forward to going to work every day because I know my contributions matter and affect the overall success of the firm.”
Breuer recognizes that her career trajectory was a direct result of a culture that not only values trust and growth, but also embraces the important role of the mentor—after all, it was the encouragement from those around her that pushed Breuer to strive for a leadership position.
Shauna Shafer’s career has been similarly blessed with many mentors along the way. “You’ll find mentors everywhere,” Shafer said, “because our culture promotes trusting and caring for one another.”
There’s that word trust again.
“My career advisor is someone with the wisdom and life experiences to help me through hard situations, and I have other long-term mentors who are not afraid to have hard conversations that will help me grow. It is truly gratifying to now be able to mentor other staff and continue the tradition that helped me mold my career.”
Family, faith, friends … community is more than a location on a map. Collectively, it’s how we define who we are. Community is our identity. It’s where our loyalties ultimately lie. Vibrant corporate culture like you find at Eide Bailly cannot endure without a strong and visible commitment to that which makes us human.
Eide Bailly recognizes its place within the community and encourages staff to seek out opportunities to give back and express their (non-accounting) passions. The firm gives back to its local communities by supporting existing programs, developing new initiatives, providing direction for youth and offering support in times of need. As a result, Eide Bailly professionals across the country can be found turning their passions into great achievements for the betterment of their surrounding communities.
Without culture, Eide Bailly would not be a Top 25 CPA firm in the nation. Without culture, the firm’s nearly 60,000 clients would look elsewhere for their accounting and business consulting needs. Culture has been the unshakable foundation underpinning 100 years of growth and innovation. Without it, Eide Bailly would be just a name, instead of the symbol for ‘business done right’ that it is today.
In this episode, Art talks to Steve Kwong of Merrill Lynch to discuss financial planning fundamentals, as well as which types of investments are the best bet for 2021.