Inevitably, as one year draws to a close and another is quickly upon us, December engenders a period of contemplation – reflection on family, health, financial well-being, and goals both achieved and unrealized. We all think we’ve done well, but there is always room for improvement. For those of us leading accounting firms, it is imperative we use this time to consider our two most important assets: our people and our clients. These relationships are the foundation upon which our firms’ successes are built and require consistent attention, recognition, and cultivation.

We can only assume that the people you employ work very hard, often sacrificing time away from loved ones (especially during busier months), and are grateful for the opportunity to utilize their talents in service to the organization. But rarely do we recognize them and the contributions they make to our achievements. Most of our attention is reactively focused. Let’s proactively thank our people for their hard work, client service, and positive attitudes. And not just now, but throughout the coming year.

By now, we all know that it costs us less to keep a client that to have to replace one. Loyal clients are the backbone of every professional services organization. Yet few firms have a process in place to demonstrate appreciation for their unwavering faith in your firm. Requiring others in the organization to partake creates a culture of service. There are many who believe that there is a cost associated with saying, “Thank you.” But often it’s a simple gesture — a phone call, note, or email — that goes the distance in cementing loyalty.    

For your organization to thrive in an increasingly complicated and competitive market, you, as managing partner, must take the time to invest in relationships. If you don’t have the time, you need to make it. This is easily the most important task you have as the firm’s leader. Leadership starts at the top. And gratitude to your two primary constituencies is the simplest top-down demonstration of leadership that requires the least amount of contemplation. Let’s all resolve to do better.

Wishing our valued clients and colleagues Happy Holidays and continued success in the new year from Winding River Consulting!