One key factor to firm culture that many firms inadvertently overlook is the firm’s purpose. In a recent webinar with CPA Practice Advisor, MiddletonRaines+Zapata Managing Partner discussed how a firm’s purpose contributes to the overall culture. Titled “A Purposeful Firm,” the webinar touched on how a firm’s technology strategy can support the firm’s purpose.
Don’t confuse having a “mission statement” with having a “purpose.” According to Middleton, your mission statement is what you do. Your purpose, on the other hand, is why you do it. It’s important to understand your mission, but your purpose is what sets your firm’s culture apart.
Create a Technology Strategy that Supports Your Purpose
Establishing a clear firm culture depends not just on defining why you do what you do, but also on communicating your purpose and providing the tools needed to achieve it. That’s where your firm’s technology strategy comes into play. A few examples mentioned in the webinar:
- Route sheets. It’s unlikely that your firm’s purpose involves spending time looking for paper or trying to figure out the status of a project. These challenges get in the way of you achieving your purpose. Electronic workflow tools, like CCH Axcess Workstream, can make this seamless.
- Paperless deliverables. Printing and delivering hard copies is not just inefficient but it can be insecure as well. Paperless processes help firms run more efficiently and improve the client experience in the process.
- Remote work. Geography doesn’t have to get in the way of your firm’s purpose. Offering opportunities for remote work is a popular way to improve morale, even if you don’t allow full-time remote working.
- For multi-office firms and firms with remote workers, using cloud-based software ensures that all of your staff have the same employee experience, no matter where they are located.
Challenge the Status Quo
Defining, communicating and achieving your firm’s purpose often involves taking a risk. Challenging the status quo is necessary so you don’t get stuck in the “Same as Last Year” mentality. You’ll never improve your firm’s culture if you assume that everything you’ve done in the past is fine. As you define your firm’s purpose, consider how your technology strategy can help you improve the client and staff experience. Remember, when your employees have a sense of purpose, it shows up in their work. And that’s good for your clients, your staff and your firm.