January 20, 2023

The Power of Relationships

The Power of Relationships

The Wall Street Journal just published a piece about the lifelong power of close relationships. If you do only one thing to protect your health, taking the time to develop close personal relationships will improve your longevity most, according to a new study from Harvard researchers.

The findings make sense to me. After all, relationships are at the heart of Marcum’s business. Accounting is not a numbers game; it is a people and service game. From our roots as a single office 20-person firm to our current configuration of 4,000-plus team members and 40 offices, one thing has never changed: We are in the people business. Always have been. Being in the people business is not about size. It’s about service and clients. Those are the reasons we get up in the morning.

It’s also about making sure we’re providing rewarding, fulfilling career paths for our team. Our recent growth spurt has magnified our resolve to keep our team engaged. That was the true pain point of the pandemic for many companies, including ours, and the challenge of our new hybrid work world, and it made our culture even stronger.

One reason we transitioned so smoothly was our longtime focus on providing work-life balance to our teams. Marcum was an early pioneer of flexible work schedules to accommodate talented team members who had to juggle other priorities. In the early days, many of the beneficiaries of this policy were women who were raising young families while building careers. Today, many of those women are senior leaders at our Firm. They are also mentors to newer associates on their way up. And the flexibility is not something just for women anymore.

Not only do our many work-life balance initiatives help us attract the most sought-after talent but they help us hold onto our best people. It’s called busy season for a reason, but we have to work with team members who don’t want to work the hours we did, and we’re big proponents of taking time for vacations. Life is too short to spend all of it in the office. We try to do all we can to support working smarter, not harder, so team members don’t have to choose between serving our clients and living a full life outside of work.

Relationships matter when you’re advising entrepreneurs on the thing nearest and dearest to them—the businesses they’ve founded and grown from the ground up, or the reins they have taken from a parent or grandparent. The work of most middle-market companies is about more than being profitable. Most CEOs want to know that they’re working with advisors who care about them and what they’re building. That is why we are working with the second and third generations for many of our clients.

Speaking of long relationships, some of you who have been following this column since the beginning may be surprised to know that we just marked a milestone. On January 4, we passed the 10-year mark of Thoughts of the Week, and just around the corner—on February 27—we will have published 400 posts.

Sometimes people ask me why we’ve kept it going for so long. My answer is that I still have a lot to say, and I’ve found it to be a great way to keep in touch with many of our firm’s most important stakeholders—our clients, friends, our team, and the communities in which we do our work. Whether you read this column weekly or every once in a while, I truly appreciate your readership and engagement. You are the reason we do what we do, now and always.

Have a great weekend, everyone!