Benchmarking for a Better Staff Environment 

by Michael T. French, CPA 

Belfint, Lyons and Shuman is committed to creating and maintaining a high quality work environment for our team. We know that our people, and the way that we treat them, are the key to our firm’s growth and success. One way to ensure we are remaining competitive in terms of staffing, benefits and retention is to regularly benchmark our firm against our peers. For the past several years, we have been participating in an annual benchmarking survey with our firm’s global association. Through state society initiatives and our involvement with various AICPA committees, we have learned more about and will be participating in this year’s AICPA PCPS/CPA.com National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey. We are excited to see what we will learn from this additional benchmarking data source.

Why We Chose to Participate in the MAP Survey

The survey that we complete through our association is a valuable resource, however it’s sample size is fairly small, with only 53 firms participating. The MAP survey is more widely used, with over 500 firms participating, and we are looking forward to seeing how our firm will compare with a much larger pool of data. The MAP survey is very comprehensive and just through gathering our firm’s data, we have been pushed to do a fair amount of researching, and even soul searching. We have learned so much in the data entry process that we are all eager to see how much more insight we will get from the results.
 
To be sure we are getting the most out of our participation, we want to complete the survey as thoroughly and accurately as possible. Our controller and firm administrator are working on the survey together, along with input from our marketing manager, IT director and myself, to ensure we are completing each section with a full-firm perspective. We are confident that the insights we receive from the MAP survey will be a valuable complement to our existing benchmarking data.

How We Plan to Use Our Results

We are particularly interested in the MAP survey’s in-depth data regarding staffing and benefits, technology and niche services. These are three key areas of importance where our firm needs to excel in order to stay in the forefront of our local market. We feel we are doing well in these areas and hope that the survey will affirm that we are progressive and competitive, while also providing ideas for improvement.

We are deeply committed to providing a flexible and rewarding work environment to our staff, and are very interested to see how the data reflects this commitment. We want to be able to show our staff that we are continuously working to provide them with a meaningful career and opportunities for a well-balanced professional and personal life.

In terms of technology, we feel like we are performing well in this area but realize that things are rapidly changing and evolving. We have been strongly considering our firm’s migration to the cloud and are interested in seeing the results from the technology section of the survey to help us plan for this transition.

We also aim to continue growing our firm and expanding our consulting and niche services. We look forward to seeing what other firms are doing outside of traditional accounting services as that will provide us with ideas for growing new service lines and confidence in our existing client offerings.  We look forward to analyzing the results and incorporating the takeaways into our firm’s strategic plan. I would encourage other firms to take advantage of this benchmarking opportunity as well. Though we are new to completing the MAP survey, the value is already clear.

Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, PA is a large firm based in Wilmington, DE with a satellite office in West Chester, PA. Michael T. French, CPA is the managing director. Sign up here before July 15 to participate in the 2016 MAP Survey.



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