We’re celebrating the end of Busy Season by speaking to different firms and discussing the importance of Busy Season as well as what they’re doing to celebrate another year in the books.
Today, we feature Murphy Murphy & Murphy, a firm located in Cypress, California whose mission is to provide the best in professional services to each of their clients with an authentic personal approach. We spoke to Kristi Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer, who tells us what sets their firm apart and what every first year should know to have a successful career in public accounting.
1. How did Murphy, Murphy & Murphy keep its staff energized and motivated during Busy Season?
There were 5 different types of events and activities we did for our staff during Busy Season this year.
The first was a kickoff meeting in January where we get all of the staff together and fired up, focusing on the same vision, values, and expectations so we start busy season as a united front.
Secondly, every Thursday, we have a pod (a group consisting of a partner, executive team, administration, and managers) that is responsible for hosting a catered lunch. We have 4 pods here, so each pod organizes a theme for food and games. We do this for all 16 weeks of tax season where anything goes, from Mardi Gras to mechanical bulls, outdoor jousting, and dressing up in wig and costume. It creates a fun way to break up the long days ahead.
Third, since we are an Irish firm, we have a gigantic St. Patrick’s Day party where we shut our office down at 3:17pm. We celebrate over green beer and food at a local bar that is complete with a DJ. It’s also a great way to acknowledge the fact that we’re at the midway point and have some much needed team bonding and blow off steam.
Fourth, we have something called $50 Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, whoever is still here at 10pm (which is 90% of the firm), we set up games where all the partners and staff get to play and take a much needed mental break.
Lastly, we had a huge end of tax season party on Tuesday, April 18th at a restaurant that had a DJ, open bar, food, and the winner of our annual tax season t-shirt designing contest. Beginning in March, we encourage our staff to design t-shirts that everyone will have to wear to this party. The partners then vote once all the submissions are in. Last year, the design that won played on the Most Interesting Man in the World, with a tagline that read, “I don’t always do my taxes, but when I do, I go to Murphy, Murphy & Murphy.”
2. Why do you think it’s important to keep staff morale up during this time?
Any firm can do taxes and service clients, but what’s more difficult is reflecting the firm’s culture within tax season. Here, we’re all about balance. For our people who are working 60 hours a week during this time, it’s important that we acknowledge the human side of this job. It’s not just about taking care of our clients and pushing files out; it’s about making sure we put our employees first before any dollar we make or any client we serve.
Simply put, we make sure our people are happy so that they continue to love their job here and continue to do excellent work for us. In turn, when they’re happy, clients are happy as well. So we try to be as flexible as possible. We understand people have families and lives outside of the firm during this time, so we encourage them to take the time they need to spend with them and try to incorporate them as much as possible. It’s our way of saying thanks for letting us steal their mom, dad, or spouse for 3.5 months. The partners and everyone at our firm believes this. There are no barriers or bureaucracies.
We also believe it’s important to show our employees how much we appreciate them and their work. So to continue to keep staff morale up, we do an appreciation week during the last week of tax season. Each day is themed differently, such as mustaches with rootbeer floats, or playing music in the office all day with playlists put together by everyone in the firm. Our clients are used to these festivities and love it, which we are grateful for because our clients are as much of our culture as our staff is.
3. What did Murphy, Murphy & Murphy do differently between last year and this year to better prepare for Busy Season?
Every year, we have a big internship program where we bring in interns from Fullerton, Biola, Long Beach, Dominguez Hills, etc. This year, we brought in 33 interns, which is the most we’ve ever done. In addition to this extra help, we really honed in on our systems and procedures, which helped a ton with productivity and pushing all these files out all the time. We love our interns who keep our culture young and fun and they also get our firm out to the community.
4. What is your best piece of advice for current/future accountants to prepare for Busy Season?
Go in with an open mind, learn as much as you can, and be as involved as you can. Participate in the firm’s culture by showing more than just your technical skills; become part of the firm family. Because the field of accounting can be arduous at times, you’ll need to bring your outgoing personality that is especially beneficial when it comes to working with clients. If you can think on your feet, hold a conversation, and do these things well, your work will shine through. This isn’t only true for Busy Season, but for the rest of your career no matter where it takes you.
5. Anything else you’d like to share?
Our culture sets us apart. Our interns say “we thought we wanted to do audit because college pushes this, but once we see what individual tax and public accounting looks like, the interaction to speak to clients and learn something different every single day changes our minds.” So remember to always keep an open mind because one size does not fit all. And if you’re unsure of what you want to focus on, try a little bit of everything.