Cool Culture Counts

The What, Why, and How of Company Culture

I was the typical CPA. A complete introvert that thought all I could ever do is keep my head down and prepare tax returns. How can a CPA possibly be cool and have a cool culture? Should those two words even exist in the same sentence, CPA and cool? Then it happened. A moment that I finally realized that we deserve a cool culture. How are we really so different than Apple or Zappos?

Yeah, we just have to work a little harder at it.  But if they can do it, why not us? Why can’t we have fun at work and be collaborative? Truth is, we can.  As the managing partner of a CPA firm, I have made it my mission to show you how, from real life experience. That’s right, not just tell you all the great concepts, but also to give the #MRZCULTure blueprint and give you actionable steps to take in your own firm.

What Shapes a Company Culture?

We are the coolest firm around! It has been a great four years and with the support of an incredible team and partners that believe in the importance of culture, we have done it! After being voted Houston’s #1 Place to Work, being referred to as the Google of accounting firms, and recognized as the fastest-growing CPA firm in the US by IPA in 2015, we want everyone to know what it means to have a cool culture! Five areas we will cover in our session:

  • Place – Culture needs a great place. A place where people want to be and want to come to for work. This is not just about the physical building but can also encompass aesthetics, the temperature, the colors of the walls, the technology in place, and the collaborative environment. The place matters.
  • People – Great culture demands great people. Not good people, not okay people or the wrong people. Great people. People that share the values, vision and purpose of the organization and have a great attitude and appetite for change and innovation.
  • Passion – This is the buzz or the electricity that runs throughout the organization. The life, the energy. Something that everyone plugs into and gets energized from. It radiates from the leadership and is motivational. Passion can be seen in the purpose of the organization and in the delivery of the products and services of the organization.
  • Purpose – Purpose encompasses a clear purpose of why the organization exists, a clear vision of where the organization is going and the values that guide the decisions and direction of the organization. Firms need a plan and a guiding set of principles. What is your purpose?
  • Practices – The 4 keys above are meaningless without practices that support them. These are the action items and the processes and procedures that we put in place to emphasize and support the values we want to reflect.

Effecting Cultural Change

I can’t wait to share the experiences, successes, failures and fun we’ve had building the #MRZCULTure! Here are a few points we will cover:

  • What is Culture? No, not just the definition, but what does it really mean? We are going to cover that. Learning what culture is is key to having a great culture.
  • Is Culture Important? It is the MOST important element of an organization. It starts at the top. Do you need ammo to convince partners? I will arm you with an arsenal of reasons why this has to be a focus of your firm.
  • Unlimited PTO? Yes! We will cover this in depth. Need a policy or want more ideas on how to implement? We will provide actual documents and information that you can take back with you to your firm and develop your own program. It works and can work for you.
  • Culture Marketing. What does it mean to market your culture? Is it necessary and how do we do that? This could be just as important as marketing your firm to potential clients. Answers will be provided!
  • How Do We Make It Cool? That is the million-dollar question. This is the fun part, sharing all of the things we do to make our culture cool. This won’t just be concepts, you will take away best practices and things we do that our team thinks are cool.
  • This is a key component to culture and tells your team just how cool you are. Sure, efficiency and other metrics matter but have you considered what effect tech has on your culture and how it can change your culture? It matters.
  • 3 Things to Start Doing. Walk away with 3 things you need to start doing right now to affect your culture and make it cool.
  • 3 Things to STOP Doing. Yes, that’s right. You’ve gotta stop this stuff!

Staff level to managing partner, come get the ideas and answers to having a cool culture!

To meet Wesley Middleton and learn more about how Cool Culture Counts join us at this years CCH Connections: User Conference 2017.


Wesley Middleton

Managing Partner, MiddletonRaines+Zapata

All stories by: Wesley Middleton

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