In last weeks post I talked about Client Engagement at LiveCA LLP, in this weeks post we’ll look at Employee Involvement. In case you missed last weeks post, LiveCA LLP is a virtual CPA firm. Founded in 2012 when Josh Zweig CPA, CA, LPA and Chad Davis CPA, CMA joined forces and created an online accounting firm out of a love of technology and desire to work from anywhere with an internet connection. As Canada’s first online only accounting firm they provide the same professional services as a traditional brick and mortar firm such as tax, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll and technology services however with an emphasis and focus on systems.
With a team of over 40 employees, from across Canada, ALL working remotely, how do they stay connected?
The answer for LiveCA LLP is Slack, an internal communication platform that keeps everyone informed and connected. Slack is a cloud-based set of team collaboration tools and services. Slack brings the LiveCA LLP team and their conversations together in one place. Discussions can be organized into channels, so there’s a place for every project, team, etc. This is very beneficial as these conversations can be referenced for future purposes. Slack also offers voice and video calling.
In order to build a strong work culture the company has a virtual “water cooler” within Slack. “We post everything under the sun that relates to building relationships with each other, so we have different topic flows, such as one called the water cooler,” Mr. Davis says. “That’s where people can post funny cat videos from YouTube or [comedians] Jon Stewart and John Oliver. We’ll post things about tax and technology and have one-on-one chats. I’d actually argue that the relationship we have with everyone through these instant communication tools is greater than all the relationships I’ve had working in an office. We’re constantly in touch. If I went back into an office for some reason, I’d probably want to Skype the person next to me because it’s so much more convenient.” Chad Davis, CPA, CMA, Partner at LiveCA LLP, quoted in “Accountants work from anywhere . . . except the client’s office”
Another way that Slack keeps the employees of this virtual firm connected and engaged are as part of “After Action Reviews”. With a strong focus on processes LiveCA LLP holds “After Action Reviews” that are live meetings with the entire team on Slack, as described in the article LiveCA – how a practice became totally digital. The take away from the “After Action Review” is for the entire team to learn and build best practices into their systems. As Slack builds a searchable archive of every discussion, decision, and document it is an excellent learning tool for employees. “They are also incredibly valuable for new team members to review to see why we do certain things the way we do.” Chad Davis, CPA, CMA, Partner at LiveCA LLP, quoted in “LiveCA – how a practice became totally digital”
A challenge unique to LiveCA LLP is motivating and managing a large number of employees who all work remotely. “The way we keep track of everything is by using online management tools so at any point in time, anyone can see the status of other people and what they’re working on, as well as notes relating to that job,” Mr. Davis says. “There’s not a lot of follow-up that’s needed because these tools are keeping everybody informed.” Chad Davis, CPA, CMA, Partner at LiveCA LLP, quoted in “Accountants work from anywhere . . . except the client’s office”
According to an article on www.icas.com some of the online management tools that LiveCA finds most useful in operating an online practice includes:
- Slack – for helping team members communicate and cut down on the volume of email
- WorkflowMax – for managing firm recurring jobs, leads and customer information
- ScheduleOnce – for booking in meetings that require pooled availability
- Google Apps – for email, calendar and collaborative documents
- RecruiterBox – to manage incoming resumes and job postings
- Teamwork Desk – for technical helpdesk support (internally and externally)
LiveCA LLP brings the entire team together annually for a week-long retreat.
Lessons for Others
LiveCA LLP has been able to facilitate strong employee engagement by using an enterprise social media platform as Slack.
“The entire team is literally EXPECTED, and not merely allowed, to be involved in making the business the best it can be. Everybody has a voice, everybody is listened to, and every contribution is valued.”Chad Davis, CPA, CMA, Partner at LiveCA LLP, quoted in “LiveCA – how a practice became totally digital”
An innovative approach in the accounting industry for a firm that operates strictly online, and leading the way of future of accountants.
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Jetpackworkflow.com –How to Onboard New Clients & Manage a Remote Team – The Chad Davis Interview
icas.com – LiveCA-how a practice became totally digital
www.theglobeandmail.com – Accountants work from anywhere . . . except the client’s office