Show value, add value, and bring value to your team.

AuthorWalker, April

During the whirlwind of the busy filing season, it is often hard to see the forest for the trees. Due to the need to "get it done" and move the returns out the door, CPAs struggle to take steps to strengthen their team and service offerings. But the opportunity remains. Soon the firm will be able to celebrate the completion of another busy season, and practitioners will have time to reflect on successes and struggles. This is often the best opportunity to change your focus from "completion" to "strategic."

It is easy to lose sight of the internal team when the focus is the client and getting work completed. In today's world, where finding good talent is very difficult, you must focus inwardly to keep your team happy.

Soon after the April 15 deadline passes is a good time to take a step back from this completion mentality and move toward the strategic vision. Review what transpired between Jan. 1 and April 15 from a holistic viewpoint. Most importantly, look inward and think about the firm's future. To help take this first step, it is important to have a tax season debrief and detail the good, the bad, and the ugly of the past busy season. Recommendations on best practices for this debrief can be found in Lagarde and Forbush, "Prepare for Next Tax Season by L ooking in the Rear view Mirror," 51 The Tax Adviser 202 (March 2020).

The present column is the first of a two-part series that will discuss three key areas vital to a firm's health:

* Showing value;

* Adding value; and

* Bringing value.

This month's column focuses on matters of value internal to the firm--leadership, staff, technology, workflow, and process. The second column, in June 2022, will focus on the external facets of value--relationships and interactions with clients.

Show value

Show that you value your team by considering employees' physical and mental health and job satisfaction, among other things. The best way to do this is to focus on them personally. Learn their personal stories and backgrounds. Create an environment where diverse backgrounds are encouraged to thrive. This shows that you value the entirety of the person of those who make up your team. Remember in this remote-working environment, building connection may be more difficult, but it is still very important.

Focus on activities that encompass the whole--the whole department, the whole team, the whole person. Below are a few ideas to show that you value your team by allowing them to be themselves and sharing...

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