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Newsminders®

Opportunity for Growth

The Opportunity for Growth element of the Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being is dependent on fulfilling the needs of learning and accomplishment. In this Framework, “learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge and skills in the workplace” and accomplishment provides a “sense of competence that reduces stress, anxiety, and self-doubt.”1 

Learning and accomplishment are well-supported when employers offer appropriate training, share well-timed and relevant feedback, and identify “clear, equitable pathways for career advancement.”1 Bookminders understands that, through proper training, staff are assured that leadership cares about their success and is willing to make the investment to support it. In an anonymous, third-party survey, our employee feedback placed Bookminders in the top 1% of Accounting/Bookkeeping firms for both providing formal training and for “enabling employees to work at their full potential.”2

Eliciting feedback is crucial for both employee and company growth. Through risk-free opportunities to share mutual feedback, employees are able to capitalize on their strengths and mitigate weaknesses, while employers receive insight into the perceived effectiveness of tools and resources. Bookminders provides multiple avenues for individual and group feedback internally and through an external, third-party managed platform. In our bi-annual internal staff survey, 100% of employees report they receive timely and useful feedback from their manager, are provided with the resources to easily get answers to questions, and feel their manager is understanding of mistakes and helps to course correct.3

The last strategy to support the Opportunity for Growth element is the provision of fair and accessible advancement opportunities. Remote work can expand these prospects among individuals for whom the traditional, full-time in-office structure is not ideal.

Bookminders was founded with a remote-first mentality in 1991, well before work-from-home was recognized as a business norm. Our platform, resources, and tools have been structured to  enable employees to capitalize on advancement opportunities offered within their client portfolio, through special teams and projects, and through the ascension to senior and management roles. In fact, 100% of our employees feel they are provided with opportunities to grow their client portfolio, if they so choose.3 Staff feedback has placed Bookminders in the top 1% of Accounting/Bookkeeping firms for both “supporting professional development” and “employee motivation to give their best.” 2

Discover how Melanie, Vanessa and Karen have each leveraged their Opportunities for Growth with Bookminders. In our next Wellness installment, we’ll explore Connection and Community.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2023). Workplace Mental Health & Well-being: Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being – Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/workplace-well-being/index.html
  2. Bookminders Culture Badges and Statistics Awarded by Energage Top Workplaces Survey. https://bookminders.com/top-workplaces-awards/ (2022)
  3. Bookminders Bi-Annual Employee Survey Results (2021)

Mattering at Work

Dignity and Meaning are crucial to Mattering at Work

Meaning and dignity are central to the Mattering at Work element of the Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being. In this component, dignity refers to the “sense of being respected and valued” while meaning is defined as “the broader purpose and significance of one’s work” 1

The Framework further identifies four strategies an employer can use to cultivate dignity and meaning in their workplace.

These strategies include compensating fairly for work completed, communicating and including workers in decision making, building a culture of recognition and thanks, and reinforcing how an individual’s work supports the organization’s mission.

Bookminders’ unique compensation structure ensures that our accountants are rewarded for accuracy and efficiency, and it  places the power to scale their wages and workload in their hands. In fact, 100% of our employees report they have the opportunity to change the size and structure of their client portfolio to increase compensation.2 Additionally, in an anonymous, third-party survey, Bookminders placed in the top 1% of Accounting/Bookkeeping firms for fair compensation.3

Internal communications within bookminders is appropriate and effective, as confirmed by 100% of our staff. 2 Through transparent, timely information, our leadership ensures that staff know how the work they are doing furthers our business objectives. Furthermore, 100% of our employees report that Bookminders considers the well-being of all employees when making company decisions. 2

Finally, ensuring staff feel seen, heard, and valued is core to the Bookminders culture. 100% of our staff report the work they do is appreciated by their manager and clients, that their manager listens and effectively responds to their concerns, has realistic expectations of them, and is committed to helping them succeed. 2  When benchmarked against other Accounting/Bookkeeping firms, our employee feedback placed bookminders in the top 1% for ensuring that staff are well-informed and diverse points of view are encouraged.Perhaps our success in these areas is the reason  Bookminders ranks in the top 1% of Accounting/Bookkeeping firms in terms of providing meaningful work. 3

Read why Erica and Bob feel that their work at Bookminders has led to an increased sense of significance and value. Next week we’ll examine how learning and accomplishment create an Opportunity for Growth.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2023). Workplace Mental Health & Well-being: Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being – Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/workplace-well-being/index.html
  2. Bookminders Bi-Annual Employee Survey Results (2021)
  3. Bookminders Culture Badges and Statistics Awarded by Energage Top Workplaces Survey. https://bookminders.com/top-workplaces-awards/ (2022)

Work-Life Harmony

Work Life Harmony

The Surgeon General identifies flexibility and autonomy as integral to successfully providing the Framework’s element of Work-Life Harmony. As referenced in this Framework, flexibility is the “ability of workers to work when and where is best for them” and autonomy is the degree to which an employee has “control over when, where, and how they do their work.”1

Our staff have always benefited from an employee-centric culture built on the concepts of flexibility and work-life balance. In fact, 96% of our employees identify flexibility as the top benefit of working at Bookminders and 95% report they are comfortable adjusting their workload both up and down to best fit their life.

Through our core value of supported autonomy, Bookminders sets employees up for success. Staff have extensive control over their work and access to crucial support, resources, and guidance. 100% of our employees report they are appreciated by their manager and clients, 99% report they are provided with the tools to be successful and 100% agree they are able to easily get answers when questions arise.2

Bookminders believes that providing support is foundational to an employee having the ability to exercise their autonomy. While delivering our services does require staff to adhere to certain work methodologies and security policies, our employees are otherwise free to determine how, when, and where they work and what clients they add to their portfolio. Bookminders’ staff are treated like the professionals they are, knowing they are trusted and valued by their manager, coworkers, and clients.

Read Lisa’s story about Creating Harmony with Bookminders and stay tuned for the next Newsminders Wellness installment, Mattering at Work.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2023). Workplace Mental Health & Well-being: Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being – Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/workplace-well-being/index.html
  2. Bookminders Bi-Annual Employee Survey Results (2021)

    Building a Culture that Prioritizes Employee Wellness

    Over the past several years workers have reassessed what they value most from their employer while at the same time companies have examined how best to attract and retain employees. On both counts, initiatives that buoy mental and physical wellness have received renewed investment and emphasis. In fact, 62% of workers polled listed access to employee wellness benefits as a deciding factor when applying for a new job.”1

    In the accounting industry, where work requiring long hours and inflexible schedules seems unavoidable, successfully pairing work and wellness can be particularly elusive.

    Despite the difficulties in obtaining this balance, firms must craft an environment where employee wellness is both possible and actively supported. Their very ability to continue operating depends on it.

    A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that “More than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their jobs in the past two years, a 17% decline, and the dwindling number of college students coming into the field can’t fill the gap.”2 Stress, long hours, and inflexible scheduling are among the top causes for accountants calling it quits.

    This isn’t a new phenomenon. Year after year, the Journal of Accountancy has identified finding and retaining talent as one of the top issues facing the industry.3 Firms that prioritize employee wellness have the best chance at closing the talent gap.

    Identifying the components that lead to wellness are key to crafting a culture that enables it. The 2022 Surgeon General’s Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being Report names five essential qualities that, when centered on providing the employee with a proper voice, are meant to provide a foundation for employee wellness. The Framework’s five elements are: Opportunity for Growth, Mattering at Work, Work-Life Harmony, Connection & Community, and Protection from Harm.4 These foundational concepts are already quite familiar to Bookminders’ employees as they are also core components of our company culture!

    Over the next several Newsminders installments, we’ll share how Bookminders’ values align with each of these wellness components. Through this knowledge share, we hope to provide potential applicants with greater insight into our culture while assisting our audit partners in examining how they can prioritize wellness at their firms.

    Check back for the next installment in this series: Work-Life Harmony

    Sources:

    1. Meister, J. (2021, December 20). The Future of Work: Offering Employee Well-Being Benefits can Stem The Great Resignation. Forbes. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2021/12/16/the-future-of-work-offering-employee-well-being-benefits-can-stem-the-great-resignation/?sh=43bee10e5a1f
    2. McCullough, B. (2022, December 28). Why so Many Accountants are Quitting. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-so-many-accountants-are-quitting-11672236016
    3. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2023). Workplace Mental Health & Well-being: Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being – Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/priorities/workplace-well-being/index.html
    4. Journal of Accountancy Issues – Magazine Archives. Journal of Accountancy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/issues/

    Bookminders Awarded 2022 Best of King of Prussia Award

    Bookminders is pleased to announce that we have been named a 2022 Best of King of Prussia honoree in the Bookkeeping Service category by the King of Prussia Award Program.

    Adapted from the 2022 Best of King of Prussia Award program press release:

    Each year, the King of Prussia Award Program identifies “companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category”. Best of King of Prussia honorees “enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community. These exceptional companies help make the King of Prussia area a great place to live, work and play.”

    Read the full press release here.

    Bookminders Philadelphia, currently led by Lisa Wentz, Director of Operations for Philadelphia and South Jersey, opened in 2006. Thank you to Lisa and our entire Bookminders Philadelphia team for continually providing excellent service to our clients. Well done!

    Studio 512: Outsourced Accounting with Bookminders

    Our team was back in the studio with Co-Host Rosie Newberry this past week. CEO Jessica Minkus and Director of Business Development Pamela Falkner Hartigan explored what makes outsourced accounting so attractive and what clients can expect when onboarding with Bookminders.

    Visit Studio 512’s website or review the segment highlights:

    Rosie asked why businesses and nonprofits choose to outsource accounting rather than hiring internally: Jessica explained that when factoring in the costs of salary and benefits, training, employee turnover, and limited access to expertise, outsourced accounting is often the stronger choice. “Leadership doesn’t have to manage the HR responsibilities of hiring an employee. They should get redundancy and an entire company of experts, not just one or two people. And, depending on the outsourced firm, there may be hosting as well meaning they take responsibility for security of the financial information.”

    Pam described how Bookminders’ holistic approach to analyzing and building out client services has placed Bookminders above other outsourcing options: “At the very start of onboarding, we review each client’s process for efficiencies, design the accounting system, and manage it from start to finish.” She details the array of professionals that each client has access to: “They’ll have an onboarding accountant, an ongoing accountant, and a client relations manager all of whom are supported by the operations and management team.”

    Jessica notes that Bookminders’ Quality Assurance department, led and staffed by senior staff, ensures that financials are accurate and complete. “We also continually review the file for process improvements to ensure that all clients receive a consistent, high-level of service. Not only do we manage clients’ financial info, we provide a secure, cloud-based platform so they can access their information from anywhere.”

    Lastly, Rosie asked Pam what a prospective client can expect when they reach out to Bookminders: “They’ll talk to a member of our business development team. The conversation will be around whether a partnership would be mutually beneficial. If not, we often are able to refer them elsewhere.” If a client does move on to the next step, “Bookminders bills volumetrically. We will look at their activity and accounting needs to prepare the best possible estimate for our service, which is usually within a 10% variance.” After moving forward, the BD team facilitates a smooth handoff to the operations team. “That starts at the initial client meeting, throughout onboarding and even after.”

    Outsourced accounting firms like Bookminders provide affordable access to many experts.

    Studio 512: Why Nonprofits Partner with Bookminders

    Bookminders CEO Jessica Minkus and Director of Business Development Pamela Falkner Hartigan joined Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to discuss why nonprofit organizations choose to partner with Bookminders.

    Visit Studio 512’s website or review the segment highlights:

    Jessica spoke to some of the challenges nonprofits face such as the limited funds for operations personnel and general administration: “Even if organizations can get this type of funding, it’s typically not enough to afford an experienced, nonprofit accountant. There could be a lot of turnover in the position.” Jessica explained that this turnover and the need to wear multiple hats results in many staff being in the accounting system which can result in inconsistent and inaccurate financials.


    Pam described another challenge in the sector, fiscal visibility: “[Nonprofits must] report back to funders how the money is being used. The effort required to track multiple funding sources is a large ask. The funders really want to know how the money is being spent, especially when there are restrictions around that. In addition, [nonprofits] must report back to their board and their program managers.”


    Rosie asked what makes Bookminders so attractive to nonprofits. Jessica explained that Bookminders’ accountants typically have 10-15 years of experience prior to joining the company. Further, “the quality of our staff is just something that nonprofits can’t afford for full-time or even part-time. In addition, we train a second person on the account so there’s that redundancy.”

    Pam noted that Bookminders staff “build in another layer to the internal controls and the separation of duties” which the limited staff, typical of many nonprofits, can lack.


    Jessica reviewed how Bookminders helps nonprofits meet the various tracking requirements: “In real time, we are tracking all of their programs, administrative, and fundraising financial activities. At the same time, we are also tracking their use of with and without donor restricted funds.”


    Pam explained why accountants are eager to refer their nonprofit clients to Bookminders: “It’s definitely the quality of service! It doesn’t matter which staff is assigned to the account, the quality of service is going to be the same [because we are] accurate, consistent, and organized.” Pam further explains that the year-end package sent to the auditor “makes the audit start process so much easier and their time more productive.”


    The segment concluded with Jessica describing the company’s nonprofit experience: “Bookminders has been working with nonprofits for over 30 years, half of our clients are nonprofit clients. About 25% of our referrals come from existing and previous clients. When executive directors or board treasurers move from one organization to another, they often bring us in [at the new org].”

    Bookminders tracks programs, financial activities and un- and restricted donor funds

    Bookminders Receives Multiple Honors in the 2022 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Top Workplaces Awards

    Jessica Minkus named Top Leader at 2022 Top Workplaces Awards Show

    September 26, 2022: Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaBookminders has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Top Workplaces. The company ranked 2nd overall out of 70 organizations honored in the small company category. Additionally, CEO Jessica Minkus was presented with the Leadership Award as the top executive in the division. Recognition for these awards is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures several culture drivers that are critical to organizational success including alignment, execution, and engagement.

    Bookminders’ performance resulted in the award of every culture badge available through this assessment. The company further achieved a rank of Top 5% for all badges indicating employees have the highest regard for the company’s leaders, direction, work-life balance, and management support.

    “Earning a Top Workplaces award is a badge of honor for companies, especially because it comes authentically from their employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “That’s something to be proud of. In today’s market, leaders must ensure they’re allowing employees to have a voice and be heard. That’s paramount. Top Workplaces do this, and it pays dividends.”

    Tim Grant, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette business writer presented this year’s Top Leaders awards stating “these leaders possess key leadership qualities valued by their employees such as effective communication, goal setting, and strategic planning. They also focus on relationship building and are an inspiration to everyone around them.”

    Jessica Minkus, Bookminders Chief Executive Office and 2022 Top Workplaces Top Leader Award Winner

    Celebrated by employees for enlarging the company’s flexible work environment and employee-centric culture, Jessica was praised for her approachability, mentorship, and prioritization of employee well-being and success. “Jessica has an innate ability to maximize a person’s potential,” said Rhonda Stariha, Senior Accountant. Office Manager, Jenna Kelly identified how Jessica’s mentorship and leadership style has amplified the supportive attitude throughout the company, “every single person is here to help each other, because of Jessica….it has sprinkled down into everyone else.” “She’s just fun to work for,” exclaims Jeanine Finn, Senior Accountant. 

    “Bookminders is proud to have offered a remote-first work environment since 1991,” states Bookminders CEO, Jessica Minkus. “Our work culture is one where the employee experience and their need for flexibility is at the forefront of decision making and one of our top priorities. Staff appreciate the structured autonomy which supports their delivery of timely and accurate outsourced accounting services to our clients. Work-life balance is and will always be the rule here, not the exception!”

    Check out the Post-Gazette’s interactive Top Workplace guide.

    Bookminders Management Team with CEO Jessica Minkus and Founder Thomas Joseph
    Pictured Left to Right: Client Relations Managers Lisa Wentz, Anne Marie Wiegmann, and Mary Susan Anderson; Business Operations Manager, Jennifer Whitmore; Pittsburgh Business Development Manager, Melanie Rutan; Director of Training and Development, Maria Holtz; Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Minkus; Bookminders Founder, Thomas Joseph; Director of Business Development, Pamela Falkner-Hartigan; Quality Assurance Manager, Kathy Bacik-Bonetti; Office Manager, Jenna Kelly.

    Studio 512: Bookminders is where Work-Life Balance is the Rule, not the Exception

    Bookminders’ Chief Executive Officer Jessica Minkus sat down with NBC-KXAN Studio 512’s Rosie Newberry to discuss how and why our company has built an employee-centered remote-first team.

    Visit Studio 512’s website or review the segment highlights:

    Jessica recounted how the company was founded on a culture of remote-work and flexibility in 1991 and has continued to remain centered around these principles: “Putting the employee and their need for flexibility first is still the top priority today. We provide a supportive, non-competitive environment where we all are dedicated to each other’s success and providing an excellent product.”

    Rosie and Jessica discussed how prioritizing flexibility and remote work provide support without micromanagement: “Our staff primarily work from their private home-office. Outside of the dedicated weekly client meetings with their clients, when they work is up to them,” says Minkus. “Our employees are professionals, they know the deadline they need to meet and the quality expectations. They don’t need permission to do whatever else they need or want to do throughout the day. “

    “One of the features that makes remote-first possible is our secure, cloud-based environment…We’ve been perfecting this for decades and will continue to refine it to make the platform as efficient and accessible as possible.”

    Referencing the results of Bookminders’ most recent blind, biannual employee survey, Jessica reports, “100% of our employees reported feeling supported and listened to by management with the vast majority citing flexibility as the top benefit of Bookminders. Our team knows they have the autonomy to schedule their work around their life, not the other way around.”

    When asked to further describe Bookminders staff, Jessica reviewed the general background of employees and their motivation for joining the team: “All of our staff have a degree in accounting or finance and a minimum of 5 years’ experience, but the majority have about 10-15 years…Our primarily female workforce has worked in public accounting – they’ve been CFOs, controllers, or accounting managers. In addition to accounting expertise, they have great customer service skills and the confidence to be a trusted resource for our clients.”

    “They come to us because they value work-life balance, they need optimal flexibility but want to be professionally engaged and challenged. Here, they can grow and develop even though they choose to work part-time. We’re also extremely supportive of life changes. It’s really easy for staff to throttle work up or down. 100% of our employees report that they are satisfied with their job, which leads to fantastic employee retention. Right now, half of our staff have been with us for 5 years or more and 25% over 10, and we even have a handful that have been here for more than 20 years.”

    Bookminders provides a supportive non-competitive environment with optimal work-life balance

    Bookminders Appears on KXAN Studio 512

    Bookminders’ Director of Business Development, Pamela Hartigan, joined NBC-KXAN Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to talk about the company and the choice to enter the Austin market.

    Visit Studio 512’s website or review the segment highlights:

    When asked to describe Bookminders and our services, Pam replied, “Bookminders is an outsourced accounting service. We employ degreed accountants with a minimum of five years of expertise to do the work. We provide complete service where we do everything for clients including paying bills, preparing invoices, reconciling balance sheet accounts at month-end, and providing detailed reports. We also send a complete comprehensive package to the client’s CPA so they can do the taxes/audit. We fully resource all of our locations. There’s at least one Client Relations Manager for every office whom both staff and clients can connect with. Our internal operations and IT staff ensure Bookminder’s Cloud-based environment operates smoothly with practically no downtime.”

    Pam detailed Bookminders’ client mix and emphasized that our nonprofit clients have complex accounting needs: “These firms do not want to manage the accounting process or the human resources involved with staff. With Bookminders, they receive a streamlined accounting process, financial controls, and quality assurance at a cost savings of hiring a part to a full-time employee. Clients are able to focus on growth while having access to highly skilled professionals.”

    Rosie asked Pam how Bookminders finds its clients, to which Pam explained, “we don’t – our clients find us! Bookminders doesn’t solicit work, we make connections with CPA firms and they refer us to their clients. It’s a great partnership because we do not do taxes or audits, but the work that we do for our clients streamlines that process for the CPAs that do. By maintaining the highest standards and excellent service quality, we also get lots of referrals from our existing clients.”

    When asked how Bookminders selected Austin as the latest office location, Pam stated: “This is Bookminders’ fifth office. We started out in Pittsburgh over 30 years ago and have grown organically since. Austin is frequently compared to Pittsburgh. There are many similarities between the two cities that made it seem like our services would be a natural fit here. Like Pittsburgh, Austin has tons of nonprofits, tech startups, and small to medium-sized businesses. Austin is known to be a friendly city that welcomed newcomers, which is the type of place we’ve always chosen for our offices. We felt confident that we could help small businesses and nonprofits in this area with the same excellent track records that we’ve established in our other markets.”

    Clients are able to focus on growth while having access to highly skilled professionals.