On Sunday May 31, nearly half the personnel of Briggs, Bunting & Dougherty LLP (BBD), a CPA firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be making the nine-hour drive to Salyersville, Kentucky to begin a community service project that will entail working four full days remodeling homes for the elderly.
The sponsoring organization, the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP), an interdenominational group that serves the needs of children, the elderly, and the disabled in the region, wants volunteers who are "ready to serve and be tired at the end of the day," and the BBD team expects to work hard.
Twenty-two BBD volunteers working in teams of four to six will replace floors, walls, doors, windows, and roofs. They will be hanging dry wall, rebuilding a porch, and constructing a handicapped ramp. "We have different levels of skills, but this is a really enthusiastic, energetic group of people," says Erin T. McClafferty, marketing director. "We are just grateful to be doing well, and we want to give something back."
Michael Boyle, BBD's managing partner, had been thinking about involving the firm in an extended service project for some time. Since coming to BBD five years ago, he has made participation in local service projects part of the staff experience. "It seems that the more you give, the more good things keep coming back to you," he says, "and we have been very fortunate. We have nearly tripled our revenue in the past five years."
Boyle also wanted to do something out of the ordinary, something larger that would get everybody excited. "It's the name of the game," he says, "to get people excited about something. As a firm we try hard not to overburden our people; we want to energize our people, not just add up the hours worked."
Expecting some initial resistance to the idea from his partners, Boyle sold the project in part by telling them that as part of their commitment, anyone who wanted to go to Kentucky would have to agree to get their work done. They would be expected to make an investment in time at the front end and at the back end. Even with this requirement, nearly half the personnel in the mid-sized firm signed up.
"My partners are behind it," Boyle says. The firm will cover the full cost of the trip which will be $350 per person. Volunteers will stay in a group home where they will also have their meals, at a cost of $250 per person. An additional $100 per person will cover project expenses.
"This effort by our firm is really unique," McClafferty says. "I have never heard of any other firm or business dong something like this. But it speaks to how our partners view the world and their responsibility to the broader society. And the fact that so many of us are ready to spend a week together doing all that physical labor tells you that we really enjoy being with one another."
BBD is a mid-sized full service accounting firm located in central Philadelphia that specializes in providing accounting, audit, tax, and business advisory services for investment companies; middle-market businesses; not-for-profit organizations; long-term care organizations; employee benefit plans; and individuals, estates, and trusts located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
The BBD team will be blogging about their experiences while they are in Kentucky and will report back to AccountingWEB when they return.