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Culture: What do your employees want?

16th Jan 2023
Brought to you by
BrightManager logo

Award winning CRM & practice management software

Save content
Have you found this content useful? Use the button above to save it to your profile.

Described as ‘the way we do things around here’, culture is how your company and your people behave. Your business has a culture, whether you’ve created it or not – and the impact of a good or bad culture is huge – on employee recruitment, retention, satisfaction and productivity.

Practice management software is the heart of your practice, so it’s no surprise that it plays a part in your culture. Using technology, you can give your team efficiency, communication, support, empowerment – and the tools to do your best job. 

We look at six elements of the workplace that employees want as part of their culture.  

 1. To feel respected and heard 

In September 2021, MIT Sloan Management Review published research using Glassdoor data, analysing 1.4 million employee reviews. The research focused on large, US-based, cross-industry organisations.  

Donald and Charles Sull reported: “The single best predictor of a company’s culture score is whether employees feel respected at work. Respect stands head and shoulders above other cultural elements in terms of its importance.” When mapping which industries made their people feel respected, professional management services came out on top. 

Respect comes from daily courtesy, equality and taking everyone’s perspectives seriously – and lies at the heart of creating a diverse and inclusive culture.  

Talk to your employees – and genuinely listen  

The best way to see how good your culture is, is by looking at your staff turnover – and by asking them. Forbes reports that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. 

Being a good listener is one of the easiest ways to build a positive culture. Listen to employees, and make sure they feel their voices are heard and valued” - How To Build A Positive Company Culture, Forbes 

2. A shared vision and sense of purpose 

Having a mission and values for your company is pretty important, but not if they just sit in a drawer or on the wall. Make tangible connections between the mission and values of your business and the work your people do, day in and day out.  

Ask yourself – What are you all working towards? What shared beliefs drive you all forward? How do certain actions and behaviours support your values? How does your business give your people a better life and future? And how does your business make the world a better place? Increasingly, people are looking for purpose – at work, but also as global citizens. 

Volunteering and charity activities through work are a great way for you all to spend time together doing something good for the community. At Bright, we have a dedicated committee made up of people from all areas of the business who decide on causes and plan ESG activities. We recently raised money competing in a dragon boat race in Warwick.  

dragon boat race in Warwick

Your mission and values form the foundation to your brand and marketing – both for attracting new clients and employees – but unless you stick to them like a limpet, they’re just words. 

3. Communication and efficiency 

How your team communicates with each other and your clients is an underestimated factor in business culture. Likewise, how jobs are completed and managed as they move through the practice. In summary, an employee’s day-to-day life. If your team is working from different places, access to information – and each other – is even more crucial.  

 Sharing jobs and clients

AccountancyManager gives everyone in your practice their own task list which is generated from client accounting dates and deadlines – and your own target dates. You can break tasks down, providing checklist guidelines for each job, and set up internal checks for seniors to review and sign off work. It’s efficient, consistent and gives staff clear priorities. 

You just put in the client details and all the jobs are created. What more could you ask for?” - Zia Tahir, Spherical Accountants 

Communication-wise, the majority of simple questions, like: ‘where are you with this job?’ ‘have we received this from the client yet?’ and ‘what is this client’s [insert any client info]? – can be answered by checking AccountancyManager. And you can add notes to tasks and assign them to colleagues and you can add notes directly to clients.  

Having a chilled or important chat 

Whether you’re in the office or working in different places, it’s important to manage the channels of communication depending on the information being conveyed. That way, nothing will be missed and you won’t be using 101 different channels to speak to each other. 

You might use Zoom for calls, instant messaging for casual conversations, email for important announcements and AccountancyManager for anything client-related – especially if you want to keep a record against the client’s file or jobs. 

Sharing ideas and concerns 

Make sure you have a way for your people to get things off their chests. They should already feel comfortable speaking to their manager, but often this isn’t enough. Actively encourage new ideas by creating a dedicated space – a regular meeting or messaging channel.  

For general (rather than personal) concerns, you can create an anonymous online form. That’s how we do it internally at AccountancyManager. 

4. Freedom and flexibility 

HR Review reports that 64% of UK employees are willing to go above and beyond for their company when they believe they have a good work-life balance. Only 25% with a poor work-life balance would do the same.   

People always say, ‘oh, unlimited holiday - people just take the piss’. But none of my guys take more than 30 days a year, because they feel invested in the business.” - Johann Goree, JGBC 

Freedom of thought, freedom from the office, freedom from time-consuming, repetitive tasks… all the things you desired when you set up your practice are the same things your people desire now. Using cloud-based, automation technology releases everyone from the chains of boring work and the filing cabinet - so everyone can enjoy more time with clients, creative thinking and picking the kids up from school. 

AccountancyManager was a Godsend for our clients when everyone had to start working from home. Including Anna Nikolovska. “All of us have children at home and work at different times, but because everything is in AccountancyManager, everyone can just jump in and know where they need to start. If we didn't use AccountancyManager, we would be sending thousands of emails to each other and emails can be missed.” 

5. Empowerment and progression 

As accountants and bookkeepers, qualifications and career progression will always be a key driver of staff satisfaction, recruitment and retention. Rachel at StriveX understands this and rewards it, more than most. “We give employees a £500 pay increase for each exam passed – rather than only rewarding qualifications. We also put people on apprenticeship schemes wherever possible and pay a much higher rate than standard.” 

AccountancyManager allows you to mentor rather than micromanage. New and junior accounting staff can take on more responsibility with carefully templated tasks and emails. And the onboarding process is so straightforward, non-accounting staff can take care of it. 

“AccountancyManager is very, very good at flagging urgent versus important.” says Rachel. “There's a really cool traffic light system to tell the guys, ‘this is the work that's available to start,’ ‘this is the work that's not available to start – you need to chase’. And: ‘out of the work that you can start, this is how close you are to your deadlines.’” 

“We've found this really helps staff to maintain positive wellbeing. They feel in control of their tasks and motivated and supported by us, but they also get that empowerment of being able to do things themselves.” 

6. Diversity, inclusion and mental health 

In 2023, every business needs to be working on building a more diverse and inclusive culture that respects and understands both physical and mental health.  

A workplace that’s made up of people from different races, ages, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations and identities is one that will reflect your clientbase better and give you a richer pool of perspectives. It’s when these perspectives are given value and weight that your business is truly inclusive. 

Diversity matters to Gen Z, especially, reports Deloitte, not just isolated to race and gender but also related to identity and orientation. Companies that can better represent the spectrum of differences in their external branding/marketing are much more likely to diversify their talent pipelines. 

How you approach mental health and stress is another crucial string to your culture bow. Being able to tell your employer that you need time off or a different schedule because of mental health struggles makes a huge difference to those that face these challenges. 

When your practice uses practice management software, you can see every staff member’s current and upcoming tasks at a glance. If one of your team is struggling with their workload or needs time off, you can instantly identify the biggest issues and/or reallocate work.  

Make AccountancyManager part of your culture 

Thousands of practices use automation technology to make life easier for their staff – where everything is interconnected and in one place. So much so, they see AccountancyManager as part of their team.