You might know us as an Atlanta-based accounting firm, but we recently got word of a national honor worth crowing about. Accounting Today, a leading trade publication, again named PKM one of The Best Accounting Firms to Work for in the U.S. We say “again” because PKM has finished in first or second place in the mid-sized firm category for seven years running – yes that’s seven years in a row.
This year we ranked second in the nation for firms with between 50 and 249 U.S. employees. Coming in behind only one other firm, which is based in the Midwest, makes us the best mid-sized accounting employer east of the Mississippi River.
I believe we often gloss over this as such a significant accomplishment, as it is just our culture and the way we have chosen to do business that continues to have us ranked in the top tier of all firms, but this is quite a milestone. It’s good news for our clients as well, since having strong long-term employees translates to delivering consistently excellent service.
So what do we do differently from others? We pride ourselves on being innovative in the way we approach mentoring, work/life balance, team-building, benefits and advancement. For example:
- When we recruit students from college, we go out of our way to invite them to firm functions so they feel right at home even before they start work.
- We encourage people to ask questions – even tough or embarrassing ones – and receive guidance from others who’s been in their shoes and succeeded.
- Accountability teams group people by department so everyone knows what’s expected and who they can ask for help.
- Our PEAK program lets employees with high potential spend a year with a partner who mentors them and helps prepare them for advancement.
- We have a clear Opportunity Path that people can follow to work their way up the ladder, and be evaluated objectively. People know what they need to do to get ahead – there’s no guesswork involved.
- Employees have the autonomy to work more or less depending on their work load. If they work extra hours one week, they have the ability to work less time another week so that they can recharge.
- We provide healthy snacks so people don’t have to resort to junk food at work.
- We also believe in giving back to the community. Last year, for instance, instead of having an office celebration, we volunteered at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. And most of our employees do some sort of community or nonprofit work, which helps lead to a well-rounded lifestyle.
Our Chief Operating Officer Debbie Sessions, HR Director Christie Bell and the firm’s partners deserve a lot of the credit. They lead at times and get out of the way at times, allowing our sensationally talented core of employees to shine and do what they do best.
By the way, Accounting Today also invited Debbie to speak at its Annual Growth + Profitability Summit in Boca Raton, Fla. on Nov. 3. That’s the same conference where the awards were announced. She was happy to share lessons that will help other firms as well as the people they employ.
So there’s a lot more to work than work, and we’re glad that an outside, objective organization has again given us a gold star for doing what we do. We appreciate them, but most of all we appreciate our clients and our staff.