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Now’s The Time To Show Clients What You’re Made Of: “Autograph Your Work With Quality” Is The Battle Cry At P&M


Reprinted with permission from Inside Public Accounting

Busy season encouragements are part of the repertoire for many MPs who are asking staff to work harder, be more responsive to clients, and generally put a good face on the firm during stressful workdays.

For Gordon Krater, MP of Southfield, Mich.-based Plante & Moran (FY09 net revenue of $302 million), it’s also a good time to remind the more than 1,500 professionals in the firm that doing things right is as important as being efficient and profitable.

In a letter to the firm, Krater took the opportunity to remind the staff about doing the right thing for the right reasons – one of the key values that helps define who the firm is.

“During these difficult economic times, we’ve put a lot of emphasis on efficiency and profitability. These are good things, but let’s be clear. We’re not interested in trading quality for efficiency and profitability – they aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Krater, who has served as MP since July 2009, continues, “When faced with a choice between profitability on one hand – and our compliance with professional standards – quality – on the other – we’ve always chosen quality. It’s the right thing to do. It’s who we are.”

Krater says that P&M is fortunate to have the value system that makes his message to the staff congruent with the culture and believable. “We walk our talk,” he tells IPA, pointing to a culture that was built by Frank Moran when he started the firm over 85 years ago.

“We like telling people we’re ‘relatively jerk free’ around here,” Krater jokes, pointing out the genuineness of the value of treating people the way they want to be treated. P&M was recently named for the 12th year in a row by Fortune magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in the country.

Krater is concerned about price cutting – a trend that has crept back in to the profession during tough economic times – and its impact on staff retention across many firms. “We [the profession] won’t be able to pay the right salary for the best and brightest if we don’t get the right fees,” he worries.

Krater concludes his letter to the staff with an anonymous quote that he believes captures the essence of his message. “Let’s make every job an excellent self portrait. Here’s to…autographing your work with quality.”

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