Coaching areas are a vital element in working at Abacus CPAs LLC—and no, it has nothing to do with sports.
Within the firm, employees take active roles to be more effective at their jobs through participation in any number of coaching areas, which cover anything from marketing and networking to wellness. But it’s the community involvement coaching area implemented three years ago that has really struck a chord with the staff, says Adrienne McCoy, who helped facilitate the process with a 12-person committee in 2013. McCoy says Abacus’s management was unsure what the response among its employees would be to encouraging community involvement. However, staff responses in an annual firm review provide proof to McCoy that helping out the community is paying dividends. “Overwhelmingly, we got people who were wanting to do it and said that was their favorite part about working in the firm,” she says.
Community involvement is not required at Abacus, and the causes the firm chooses to help rest with the employees. An annual survey is distributed to the firm, asking people to select who they’d like to help and how—be it financial support or volunteering. Those responses help determine how the committee’s annual budget is spent. “For the last couple years, we have chosen the top six causes that come back from that survey and we divide our budget that way,” McCoy says.
Children’s charities were the top three last year, with speakers from Child Advocacy Center, CASA of Southwest Missouri and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks coming to Abacus to promote their respective organizations.
Ozarks Food Harvest has been high on the list all three years, with Abacus providing a monetary donation and an evening of volunteering from any staffers (and their spouses) who wish to participate. Volunteering is incentivized, and though having speakers discuss their causes does interrupt the work day, McCoy explains community involvement is proving beneficial to the firm beyond dollars and cents. “The camaraderie that our employees share when they do service together, that’s always been a huge benefit to the firm,” she says.
Time, patience and communication are important parts of incorporating community involvement into part of a company’s focus, McCoy says, with a survey as a simple way to get employees invested. But the actual decisions of who, when and how to help can be time consuming. “I would definitely say have some help,” she says. “Don’t do it all alone.”