Creating a Different Kind of Firm

Stats at a Glance

  • Firm launch: 1989
  • Total employees: 40 F/T
  • Home base: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Firm description: Full-service accounting, audit, and business advisory firm
  • Technology of Choice: BV Back Office (Valuepath plus), Thomson Reuters, BDO Seidman proprietary audit software

 

From its start in 1989, the firm of Mantyla McReynolds wanted to run a ‘different kind of firm.’

“The partners are always tuned in to the firm’s culture and are dedicated to making Mantyla McReynolds a great place to work,” explained Shane Grant, CPA and partner. “We stay involved with our staff and make sure we are doing what we should to maintain a positive, productive work place.”

With a firm of this size (40), it can be difficult to maintain good morale. According to Grant, however, the partners do a pretty good job.

“We understand that people have a life outside of work, so we strive to create a flexible work environment…we encourage staff to go to their kids’ games and try to limit the work week to manageable hours.”

The firm is also dedicated to putting out top quality product for clients, and that includes ensuring a rich service experience every time. “Of course, we make sure that every tax return and financial statement we produce is of the highest quality, but the bigger goal is to partner with our clients and provide sound advice and guidance all year.”

Overall, firm partners are “in it”—that is, integrated into the culture of the firm to maintain a closeness with staff and clients.

Grant explained that this is a key factor in the firm’s long-term success. “It can be easy for partners to get separated from the day-to-day. Staying involved provides the insight required to preserve a positive work environment and maintain satisfied clients.”

 

Putting Staff First

It’s always nice to hear stories about companies that appreciate their employees and work to ensure staff loyalty. Mantyla McReynolds is one of those businesses.

“We understand the value of having an outstanding staff of qualified, client-focused individuals,” Grant explained. “There’s still a shortage of experienced accounting professionals, so when you have great employees, you want to keep them.”

Grant explained that first and foremost, the partners are dedicated to creating a flexible, personal-life-friendly workplace.

“During busy season we try to limit the number of hours our staff puts in per week. We understand that the work needs to get done, but we also understand the value of not burning out our employees. Throughout the year we also make it clear that it’s okay to leave during the day to attend kids’ sporting or other events. Employees know that they can come back later to finish up work if needed.”

Beyond a flexible work environment, partners also try and create an atmosphere of fun. “We throw a Halloween and holiday party every year for staff. We also keep the office stocked with snacks, both healthy [fruit] and unhealthy [candy]. Food can be a great pacifier during the chaos of tax season,” joked Grant.

Led by tech-savvy leaders, the firm is hyper-alert to maintaining a highly efficient office. “You have to keep up with technology to keep staff happy as well. We make sure our employees have the tools required to work productively.”

For example, the firm rotates out computers every three years and all workstations have three monitors. Partners also maintain best-in-class applications to support paper-free, streamlined workflows.

“We run a paperless office. Our staff have access to an integrated high tech system that supports end-to-end digital workflows,” Grant stated. “This eliminates slow and tedious manual data entry tasks.”

 

Communication…The Key to Strong Client Relationships

The success of Mantyla McReynolds hinges on client relationships, which is why partners and staff go the extra mile to guarantee a rich experience for their clients—every time.

“Communication is the key,” explained Grant. “We serve as our clients trusted advisor, which means we are talking to them all year long…not just at tax time. You can’t expect to maintain clients long-term if you don’t’ stay in touch and keep them informed.” At the heart of the firm’s business model is to serve as the clients’ partner—that is, offer ongoing support and coaching to ensure that clients stay on a healthy financial path.

“We help our clients from start to finish. That means being there from the beginning, coaching them on entity selection, tax strategy, and business planning. That also means maintaining the relationship all the way through to succession,” said Grant.

A core service provided by the firm is valuation. To secure the role as trusted business advisor, the firm implemented a service called Valuepath plus (Valuepath), offered by BV BackOffice. Valuepath is a valuation package that offers an initial detailed business valuation and also provides ongoing support to guide clients in building business value over time.

“The Valuepath service keeps us close to clients as we help them understand the drivers of value in their businesses and what needs to be done to continue to drive value up over time. Our goal is to ensure that clients can sell their businesses for top market value when it’s time for succession.” Valuepath is an offering that keeps staff in regular communication with clients.

Mantyla McReynolds is also a big audit firm, which demands ongoing, open communication. “Audits are complex, so we make sure that our clients are always up to date on activity.”

 

The Big Picture

The importance of maintaining a healthy firm culture can not be overstated. A good culture creates a state of content and satisfaction among staff and clients. A negative culture, on the other hand, perpetuates low morale and lack of staff engagement—creating a ripple effect that will most certainly negatively affect clients.

“Firm culture is always on the radar,” said Grant. “We never want our staff or clients to be anything less than satisfied.”

From a flexible work environment to dedicated advisory-based client services, Mantyla McReynolds is a firm that has figured ‘it’ out. Keeping a happy balance among staff means clients are better served. And combined, this all equates to long-term loyalty. It’s a winning formula that other firms may wish to adopt.

 

Kristy is a partner in RootWorks Communications (RootWorks.com) and president of SAS Communications 360 (SAScommunications360.com) — firms dedicated to providing practice management education, branding, marketing, and public relations services to the accounting profession. She is also a professor of English and marketing at University of Phoenix and Cleary University. You can reach her at kristy.short@cpapracticeadvisor.com.

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