(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Saturday day care, informal basketball games, casual days and lots of food are a few of the ways local accounting firms cater to their staff during the busy tax season.
Crowe Horwath has been offering its staff free onsite Saturday child care for many years. The child care workers facilitate a variety of activities for the kids throughout the day, including arts and crafts, group games and special guests, such as firefighters, who come in and talk to the kids.
“I think our kids have been coming three years, and the thing I’ve appreciated is the stability,” said Ed Meyette, partner at Crowe Horwath. “There has been a pretty good lack of turnover. Most of the daycare workers are there from when we started going. I’ve appreciated that.”
Meyette said his kids have made friends with the other children over the years. They also enjoy the chance to have lunch with their dad in his office, and his wife has some time to herself on Saturdays.
Crowe Horwath also provides food options for staff so they don’t have to leave the office or bring lunch or dinner from home. Typically, dinner is ordered in at least one night a week, and on Saturdays a light breakfast of donuts or bagels is often available. The firm also stocks a snack cart, which interns wheel around the office.
“I hope it helps a lot. In my experience — and again, as a partner looking back — I felt over the years that it was little things that certainly helped get us through the busy season. I think it does help provide a little bit of a boost in morale when you have some of these things.
“I think it helps the morale at home too,” he added, specifically regarding the child care.
Plante Moran also provides onsite child care during tax season.
“What the kids seem to like is it’s kind of cool coming with mom or dad to work and getting to hang out and making friends over time,” said Rich Antonini, partner at Plante Moran.
“My kids are older now, but I remember for years my girls would come in and they got to know the other kids over time and … became friends, even though they went to different schools and lived in different districts. So it’s kind of a nice thing.”
In addition to Saturday child care, Antonini said the firm does other things to help staff get through tax season with some balance of work and play. The firm has had an ice cream Saturday, popcorn Friday, a chili cook-off and other food-related “days” for staff to enjoy.
Plante Moran also rents out an elementary school gym one night per week for informal co-ed basketball games, which draw about 15-20 players on average. A bowling night is planned for later this month.
“We try to do as many things as we can,” Antonini said. “We care about our staff and each other, and we want to have fun knowing that we are working extra hard this year.”
Both Antonini and Meyette believe all the little things boost morale and make everyone feel appreciated.
“These things, we think about them as extras, but really I think it’s something that we have to do as a firm when we have the commitment level that folks are making this time of year,” Meyette said. “Sometimes when you are in my position and you’ve been doing it for almost 20 years, it sort of comes easier. You know you’re going to get through it because you’ve gotten through it 100 times before, but for our younger folks who maybe don’t have as much of a history with it, tax season can be much more daunting and intimidating, so it’s almost that this isn’t an extra thing but it’s a necessary way to help our folks through the busy season.”