The Results Are In
Culture is always a work in progress, and there are many areas where Marcum has room to grow. Nonetheless, it meant a lot to me personally to learn that Marcum made it into the top 20 firms in Vault’s annual accounting survey in eight separate categories. The survey of 11,400 accounting professionals ranks firms on culture, employee satisfaction and overall business outlook. We scored in the top 20 in categories including forensic accounting, tax accounting, prestige, audit & assurance accounting, compensation, client interaction, and racial & ethnic diversity. That means many of our employees reported they had a great experience working for Marcum in 2020, despite all of the collective challenges we faced. I owe a great debt to leaders throughout the Firm who did all they could to make sure this happened.
Building and maintaining a strong culture takes an ongoing, intentional effort, even in the best of circumstances. Keeping our culture going strong during the past year of remote work required our leadership team to think in entirely new ways about what makes Marcum’s business culture and work environment different – and how to reinforce those unique factors, no matter where team members happened to be doing their work.
As the business world continues to reopen, employers will have to continue to think in fresh ways about how to design a workplace culture that is relevant to employees. It wasn’t all that long ago that companies showcased their culture with images of fancy on-site cafeterias and work-out facilities – or Google-like perks like desk-side shoulder massages – on their websites and job boards.
That may not work anymore. Just as managers will forever consider whether a potential hire would be self-directed enough to work from home in the post-pandemic world, employees will be looking at potential employers through a similar lens: What would it be like to work for this firm if there is ever another lockdown? A workplace culture needs to be flexible enough to prevail no matter where everyone is working.
So, what should employers be prioritizing in their cultures now? That’s the million-dollar question in an environment where competition for talent is fierce in many industries, particularly in accounting. With irregular school schedules and childcare still posing challenges for working families, workplace flexibility will no doubt be a factor but for entry-level employees, mentoring or professional education may be a bigger draw. At Marcum University, we have a very robust curriculum for professional development and continuing education, as well as trainings for sexual harassment, IT security, antidiscrimination policies and electives on a wide range of topics. Leaders will need to keep their finger on the pulse of what matters to their employees and potential hires to stay ahead of the game.
To make sure future accountants can experience the best of our entrepreneurial culture, we will be hosting our summer internship program in person firm-wide this year, after holding it virtually last year. Fifty-six juniors and seniors from 50 schools will work from 14 Marcum offices for six to eight weeks – and we are all looking forward to their energy. The interns will get hands-on training in the department they’ve chosen, working side by side with staff on client teams.
Ultimately, we view our internships as a pathway to a career at Marcum and a way to connect with talent early in a fiercely competitive field. And we will continue to look for new ways to show anyone who works for us why Marcum is a compelling place to build a career – the kind that continues to make rankings like Vault’s for years to come.
Switching gears slightly, depending on who you ask, the Coronavirus pandemic began in the U.S. between January 20, 2020, when the first case was reported here, and March 13, 2020, when President Trump declared a national emergency. And if you ask me, if last weekend was any indication, I’m going to go out on a limb and declare it over, yes over.
Last weekend in the NY area was just like old times. Tracy and I ate dinner out Saturday night with friends at our favorite neighborhood NYC Italian restaurant and the crowds were greater than pre-pandemic levels. And our trip Sunday morning to brunch on Long Island and back to NYC had just as much traffic as any other Mother’s Day that we could remember. If NY is any indication, people are out and the pandemic is over, although people are unfortunately still getting sick and dying from this dreaded virus.
And if my weekend experience doesn’t convince you, yesterday afternoon the CDC changed its guidance to allow fully vaccinated people to remove their masks while indoors and also not socially distance themselves from others. I’m hoping to announce very shortly that Marcum will embrace the new CDC guidance, assuming it doesn’t violate any local laws.
Sunset on Wednesday marked the end of the month of Ramadan, one of the holiest months for Muslims. That means Thursday was Eid-ul-Fitr, the day that marks the end of the fast. To those of you who observe, Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid)!
So, for the last time, I’m going to use the last line I’ve been using for over a year now:
Stay safe, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together!