More Accounting Tomorrow Posts

Making complex tax information stick: Introducing the Monkey Dance

April 11, 2011

How many firms regularly share information with staff in an attempt to educate? And I’m not just talking about professional staff—but all staff.

In our firm, we put a lot of emphasize on firm-wide education. It pays to have everyone, from admin to CPAs, know what’s going on. Knowledge is power. Of course, tax information doesn’t always “stick;" it’s complex and, well, sometimes a tad boring. You have to be inventive if your staff is going to retain this information. Introducing the Monkey Dance…

Recently a principal in our firm came out of his office making monkey sounds. That’s right, “oou-oou”s and “ah-ah’s.” He had just completed research on whether the Kiddie tax rules applied to a specific client situation. While explaining his findings, he proceeded to entice the staff by dancing around like a monkey—the Monkey Dance.

The client spotlighted had just finished school and was currently working in the jungles of South America studying monkeys (you see the association). In the end, after an educational (and entertaining) explanation, our staff had a clear understanding of Kiddie tax rules and why they did not apply to this client.

Make learning fun and it sticks—which is my key point. How do you make education fun for your staff? I would love to hear more examples.

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at


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