Most people don't put "accountant" and "party animal" together. But according to a release from global accounting association BKR International, accounting firms lead the way in morale-boosting events.
BKR International found that pizza days or themed dress days topped the list during busy season. Some firms brought in a chair massage therapist. These events can even turn into a beloved annual tradition; this is definitely a time to think out of the box. For example, the firm of Matson and Isom has a mascot "turtle." The partner who sends the last return out the door gets to keep it in his or her office until next year; it's signed by past winners.
Bland & Associates, P.C. shows itself to be anything but "bland." At the end of March it holds a bowling event to celebrate the end of the March 15 corporate tax deadline. Its Cheers for a Cause on April 11 includes a happy hour with microbrews and also supports the Angels Among Us charity. April 15 is Olympics day, an employee party held at Dave & Buster's.
Meanwhile, Davidson, Holland, Whitesell & Co., PLLC knows that its employees may have different ideas of what constitutes a fun day. Its employee appreciation day takes place at a golf resort where staff get a choice of 18 free holes of golf or spa treatment.
Things are never dull at Welch LLP, where the firm offers free food and jeans and jerseys days during busy season, along with chair massages and a big breakfast. At the end of the season, everyone goes out for a day of laser tag, bowling and bumper cars. Later on comes karaoke night!
Some firms also understand that the long hours employees work during the year can take a toll on families who have to take up the slack on the home front. So events may include families as well. For example, Louis Plung & Company, LLP hosts an employee party in a private room at a local restaurant. Spouses and significant others join employees for free drinks and buffet.
Let's Make it Good, Clean Fun
Of course, any event that mixes business and pleasure holds the potential for problems. Various party-oriented sites have provided advice on how to behave at an office party so you have no regrets the next day. Topping everyone's list is not overdoing the alcohol intake, leading to inappropriate talk and behavior.
There are more subtle guidelines as well. Parties are a good time to meet with senior managers and partners you normally never have an opportunity to talk with. By all means talk to them, but keep in brief, just a few minutes. It's a party, not a presentation. For their part, the senior staff and partners should come on time, stay until the end, and mingle extensively.
The bottom line: when firms organize and approach these business/social events and initiatives as chances to reduce stress and improve morale—thus increasing productivity—management, staff and clients are all the winners.