Untraditional Firm/Company Holiday Traditions 

Most of us expect the day after tax season or the few days following an important audit deadline to be a bit laid back around accounting firms and companies—it’s time to come to work in jeans and go out to a long lunch.

Let’s face it – the accounting profession isn’t necessarily known for doing something out of the norm when it comes to making merriment. That’s why the holiday season is a great time to break out of the box and celebrate in untraditional and unusual ways.

Edge surveyed a few accounting firms and companies to find out what they felt was different about their holiday seasons. Here are their responses:

Nina M Chmura, CPA, manager, and Justin O’Horo, CPA.CITP, senior manager, WithumSmith+Brown:
At WithumSmith+Brown, we have the Withum Week of Caring the just before Thanksgiving, where each person in the firm volunteers a minimum of 4 hours to a cause. Here’s a YouTube video of last year’s effort.

Eric Majchrzak, shareholder and chief marketing officer, BeachFleischman:
BeachFleischman holds its holiday party in January after all of the typical year-end holiday activity is over so that employees can enjoy a party that is not specific to any certain holiday. In addition, we invite employees and family members to meet at the office for pizza and to allow the small children to decorate the lobby Christmas tree. Since only the small children participate in decorating, the lower part of the tree is decorated and the rest of the tree is left without decorations.

Joshua W. Partlow, CPA, partner, Johnson Lambert LLP:
Rather than a holiday party during the hustle and bustle of the season, we allow our staff to enjoy time with friends and family in December. In January, we typically have a weekend ski trip in Stowe, Vermont, with employees and spouses as a way to recharge at the spa or with a day of skiing before busy season hits in full force. We are looking to potentially mix this up moving forward to make sure we are meeting the needs of various interests.

Emily Burns Perryman, APR, Integrated Media & Digital Strategy supervisor, Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C.:
We adopt families during the holidays to help them with needs they have during the cold winter months here in Western New York.

Trisha N. Nomura, CPA, partner, PKF Pacific Hawaii LLP:
We always do some sort of holiday community service project and support different organizations each year. In the past, we decorated miniature Christmas trees for patients at a children’s hospital and provided holiday decorations for homeless families transitioning into their first home. We share the photos from our project at our holiday party since all of our spouses and significant others are also there.

We also hold firm elections and announce the winners at our holiday party. Each year, the staff comes up with the categories and organize the voting.  Last year, they did a superhero theme, for example, “Batman and Robin” for Best Duo.

We also ask our employees for a “wish list” of items and use that to purchase door prizes for our staff. Each employee receives tickets when they check in and will place them into the bags for the prizes they would like to win.  Prizes have included gift certificates to popular restaurants, an Amazon Kindle, one year of Netflix, an iPad, and a Tiffany necklace.

Katie Tolin, director of Practice Growth, Rea & Associates, Inc.:
Our Cambridge (Ohio) office does a unique take on a gift exchange. Everyone draws the name of a coworker then goes and buys a toy that reminds them of that person. At their holiday party, they open the toys and have a good time laughing at the reason behind why the toy was selected. At the end of the party, the toys are gathered up and donated to Toys for Tots. This allows them the sense of buying for one another, but ultimately helps those that need it most.

Jimmy J. Williams, CPA/PFS, CFP®, president and founder, Compass Capital Management, LLC:
Our firm sponsors a No-Attendance Required Christmas Party to benefit the Choose to Give (C2G) organization. The purpose of the “no attendance” provision is to allow clients to send or drop by their unwrapped gift or dollar donation that benefits the needy children in our area. Our firm then matches, usually in toys or children’s clothing, the total dollar value of gifts received from our ‘guests’ to the Christmas Party. We deliver the gifts to the local C2G Office and receive a great blessing by helping those in our community.
Another unusual tradition our firm initiated was renting the local movie theatre for our clients and inviting them to a private screening of the current year’s most popular family Christmas movie. We provide drinks and popcorn to all attendees, as well as small gift from the firm to start their holiday season! It has always been a big hit with clients and serves as a method of them referring and introducing people to our firm in a non-business setting.

And our last entry … about Halloween: Rachael K. Sarson, CPA, senior staff accountant, Craighead, Lange and Hough, P.C.
We do a Halloween costume contest and an ugly sweater contest! Each one wins a trophy!

What are some of your untraditional holiday traditions? Send us an email youngcpanetwork@aicpa.org to let us know and we’ll contact you back to run them in a future Edge article.


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