Wristbands Get Indiana CPA Firm Moving at Tax Time

On any normal day Katie Bailey, audit manager at CPA firm Dauby O'Connor & Zaleski, LLC (DOZ) in Carmel, Indiana, would definitely consider herself an active person. She runs 20-plus miles a week, logs lunch hours in the firm’s on-site fitness center, and plays pick-up basketball and volleyball as time permits. But during tax season it’s a different story. For Bailey, who like most CPAs logs 12- to 13-hour days from January to April, it’s no longer a matter of how much she moves in a given day, but if she moves—at all. Now, that's changing.

Starting this tax season, Bailey and her colleagues at DOZ were planning to log 147,000 “moves,” or approximately 60 miles, by doing everything from talking group walks at lunchtime, to shoveling snow on weekends, to simply ungluing themselves from their laptops for a quick desk stretch on deadline.

That’s because Bailey and her colleagues at DOZ have joined the MOVABLE movement—wearing the Cleveland-based startup’s MOVband wrist-worn activity monitor to track their every move.

Bailey and Dana DeSantis, vice president of marketing for MOVABLE, say MOVABLE’s two-part approach to wellness couldn’t be simpler, easier, or more affordable to use: Participants wear the brightly colored wrist-worn MOVbands activity monitors that measure all movement a person makes—from walking to washing the car. Employees then plug their MOVbands into any computer to sync with MOVABLE’s software, which tracks participants' “moves” or “miles” as part of a motivational MOVchallenge.

It’s all in an effort, DeSantis said, to inspire people to move together.

“The MOVband has made a huge impact on how active we are,” said Bailey, who is also a member of DOZ’s corporate wellness committee. “It’s been a huge eye-opener for people. A lot of times we think we’re moving, but in reality we’ve been stuck at our desk for hours. The MOVband is a very positive, in-your-face reminder that even the simplest movements can make a big difference for your health.”

Bailey said the MOVband was a perfect fit for a mid-sized accounting firm like DOZ, which has 150 employees, that didn’t have the manpower, or the unlimited capital of a huge firm, to invest in or monitor a corporate wellness program.

In fact, Bailey said one of the main reasons DOZ chose MOVband when it was shopping out wellness programs was the fact it was a virtual no-brainer to administer. Participants in the 12-week MOVchallenge simply plug the MOVband into a USB port which logs their activity into a corporate dashboard. It's easy to monitor your progress.

“For me the coolest aspect is the software program. Everyone just plugs in themselves and the dashboard administers the challenge,” Bailey said. The MOVband costs $29.99 per employee and an additional $4.99 per device for the management of a particular group.

By casting a wide fitness net, Bailey said DOZ’s MOVchallenge is truly accessible to all employees, from weekend marathoners to exercise ascetics who consider a shuffle down to Starbucks cardio burn. Even weekend activities like laundry folding and gardening count.

DOZ Tax Senior Kevin Canfield said syncing move totals to the companywide leader board inspires a little “fun and friendly competition” among colleagues for a good cause, while Tax Manager Cassia Kendall said the constant presence of her MOVband makes it nearly impossible not to move.

"With my mind always busy on other things, I never thought I had time to work out or exercise. But now I'm able to see firsthand what activity I've done each day. It’s great motivation,” Kendall said. “If I’ve had a slower day, time to take my dog on a walk or do some house cleaning. If I've done well that day, I treat myself to watching a movie on the couch with no guilt. I love it!"

And if you think a little hard-earned competitive bling, in the form of bright colored “winner wristbands,” might be more motivating to a middle-schooler than a middle-aged professional who spends the day navigating the complexities of the US Tax Code, think again: DOZ’s audit department is already threatening to trounce tax in the next challenge, and Managing Partner Bill Farrington is holding fast to the number one spot in the current MOVchallenge, determined not to be outdone by his overwhelmingly millennial staff.

Additional prizes are also offered to staffers who meet set goals throughout the challenge.

But the real benefit, Bailey said, is watching her colleagues move together to create a healthy lifestyle.

“The MOVband has definitely made an impact on us,” Bailey said. “Whether we are reaching out to others to use the onsite gym, or go for a walk at lunch, or just stepping away from our desks for a few minutes to come back with a set of new eyes. When we look at our MOVbands we are motivated to do something, do anything, active because we know we are doing ourselves a favor by moving.”

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