How Top Accounting Firms Are Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic
This week, along with releasing our new Accounting 50 Rankings, Vault published new profiles of the top accounting firms. In addition to employee feedback from our annual accounting survey, these profiles include information from firms on how they’re responding to the coronavirus pandemic with new initiatives such as remote-work policies, virtual interview policies, and internship and full-time hiring policies. Below is how some of our top-ranked accounting firms are responding to the pandemic, in their own words.
The health and safety of our people and communities is our top priority, as we all do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. All BDO USA offices will be closed until further notice. While we will be working from home, our already-flexible work environment enables us to make this transition seamlessly, and we have the technology in place to continue to provide the same excellent level of service our clients are accustomed to.
We launched an internal COVID-19 Resource Site to house our emails, videos, and communication. We want employees to feel informed even though we don’t have all/many of the answers and are taking this day by day. The purpose of this online site is to provide timely information to employees through helpful resources, including links to relevant sites and vendors such as Joyable, and reduce multiple blasts throughout the day/week by updating this site regularly, as we receive feedback from employees, and through an online form. We also created an external COVID-19 Resource Center to provide clients and friends of the Firm with up to date information and guidance through articles, webinars and more —so far we’ve had 500+ individuals register for each webinar. The webinars are conducted by our partner experts on topics such as relief programs, tax incentives, HR and helping companies reorganize financially, etc.
As of March 16, 2020, most employees are working remotely to protect everyone’s health and safety. We have slowed down recruiting efforts as we determine any change in requirements based on the coronavirus’ impact on our clients. Many recruiting efforts, however, are continuing via web-based technologies. Employers and candidates alike are showing resilience and flexibility in these unprecedented times and we look forward to meeting future team members virtually.
Freed Maxick was quick to respond with a remote workforce during the COVID19 pandemic. Our technology allowed us to keep in contact with each other and our clients without issue. We routinely held virtual meetings, “Town Halls,” and Skype calls with specific departments, service lines, and firmwide. Our teams participated in virtual “happy hours” and breakfast meetings to share their experiences of working from home and just to find out how everyone was doing on a personal level. We had open “Parent Chats” for those who wanted to share best practices and ideas for working at home with children in the house or just to vent with coworkers facing the same challenges! Regular discussion topics on our Intranet were posted weekly so employees could respond by sharing photos of their new remote work spaces, their children, their pets, etc. related to the topic. This brought a much-needed lighter side to our days! The HR Team and Performance Advisors checked in with our employees daily to make sure they had everything they needed and their questions and concerns were addressed. Regular communications from the Managing Director and Leadership also provided relevant updates for everyone. A consistent message of “Family First” provided reassurance and flexibility to address personal lives, issues, and responsibilities as we moved through these unprecedented times. We announced a “MAX Flex” program allowing employees to start and stop their workday depending on what worked best for them. For example, parents could log on from 7 to 11, then take a break for a few hours and log back on after the kids were in bed. The firm also provided additional paid time off so employees could unplug and take care of themselves.
Friedman LLP closely monitor’s COVID-19 developments in order to ensure the health and wellness of our employees. We have transitioned to a fully remote, work from home model across all of our locations. As new updates are available, we will continue to evaluate our internal processes.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Grassi executed its business preparedness plan and maintained business continuity at the height of busy season. The firm’s advanced technology capabilities and existing work-from-home policies allowed for an easy transition to a remote work environment for all employees and interns. The firm has continued to identify top talent in our industry despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to conduct web-based and remote interviews to expedite the hiring process at this time.
Our firm is complying with recent mandates for on-site workforce limitations due to COVID-19. We have transitioned to a fully remote workforce for the time being, with the exception of certain critical IT and operations personnel.
Our top priority is the health and well-being of our people, clients, communities, and candidates interested in opportunities at Moss Adams. We are closely monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic utilizing updated information and guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and various other sources. As part of our response to the evolving circumstances, Moss Adams is currently undertaking a remote work strategy for all office locations, and our interviews and recruiting events have shifted to a virtual platform. We’re committed to making the experience of our candidates both positive and safe as we continue to navigate through this situation.
Plante Moran assembled a COVID-19 task force of leaders across the firm to monitor, address, and mitigate risks presented by the virus, and we intend to strictly adhere to all guidance presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other trusted public health officials. Before states began enacting stay-in-place mandates, the firm closed its domestic and international offices, and pivoted to working remotely to protect its staff and clients. It’s only been two weeks at this point, but we’ve communicated with our staff daily regarding resources to help them—personally and professionally.
On a recruiting front, we’re working to fill a number of key, critical positions for the firm. Interviews are occurring virtually through Zoom or Skype, and feedback from candidates and staff alike has been positive. From a campus perspective, we’re staying engaged by partnering with schools to do virtual presentations.
As developments related to the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak change so has Rehmann’s response plan. At the core of every decision, the health and well-being of our associates, clients, and communities has been our utmost priority. Rehmann has always valued flexibility and mobility. As a result, we had the necessary tools in place to proactively reduce our offices to only essential staff by March 18th, five days before Stay at Home orders were issued in Ohio and Michigan. Additional steps we continue to take are based on guidance from local, state and federal health officials. We want to be sure we are doing what is in the best interests of our associates, our clients and our families. With ongoing uncertainty around the spread and possible impact of COVID-19 we feel it’s best to be vigilant rather than take the chance of putting people at risk. Undoubtedly, our Put People First value has never been more relevant than it is right now. Change and uncertainty can be difficult, but this has also been an opportunity for us at Rehmann to pull together as one team more than ever. When we work together, we can accomplish great things!
COVID-19 has presented the world with an unprecedented challenge. From the beginning of the pandemic, we acted quickly to put in place new programs, and widely promote existing programs that can help our people through these challenging times. A few of those include: (1) We provided each employee the opportunity to submit weekly per-diem charges to help them help their local communities by ordering take-out or delivery from local restaurants and/or for groceries, (2) We made telehealth services available, (3) We increased certain benefits for health services incurred, (4) We continued to support our people’s mental health and wellbeing through our Employee Assistance Program, (5) We created online play lists to support health and wellness for our people while they’re working remotely, (6) We created guidance around working remotely and managing remote teams, and (7) We created a coronavirus resource center to equip our people to communicate with clients.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has caused serious concern among our team members as well as our clients, and Schellman takes this situation very seriously. Schellman has placed the highest priority on the welfare of all team members, while providing continued and uninterrupted services to our clients. We have implemented temporary restrictions on travel and on-site fieldwork for our service delivery teams through June 30th, 2020. We continue to communicate with our respective accreditation bodies for the services we offer and have made accommodations for remote work within the requirements of our professional standards. We continue to developing and deploy thought leadership content and sharing best practices with our clients though our blog site so that they are well educated on the best way to meet their compliance objectives and obligations.
In our efforts to promote and practice social distancing, all large office gatherings, learning and development activities, and community service and volunteer activities at Schellman have been moved to virtual platforms or deferred until a later time. To keep all team members informed and up to date, Schellman is communicating at the enterprise level by posting documents and updates. Schellman has expanded its biweekly All Hands Call to a weekly meeting, and all members of the firm join to hear critical business and COVID updates.
At Sikich, the safety and well-being of our colleagues and clients are the top priority. Our people are equipped with digital collaboration and communication tools, allowing them to serve clients remotely when needed. We are encouraging remote work for all employees when possible during the coronavirus outbreak. Until further notice, we are onboarding all of our new hires remotely, and setting them up for success at home, and are excited to welcome them back to the office when it is safe to do so.
While working remotely was not new to most Withum employees, the technology and resources that Withum already had in place has allowed most, if not all, employees the opportunity to work from home throughout the duration of this global crisis.