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Much of becoming a workplace of choice involves keeping up with other accounting firms, but standing out from the crowd is also important – working to create unique experiences for employees that they’ll never forget and that will bind them to a firm far more strongly than compensation.

The 2018 Best Firms to Work For understand this better than anyone else, so for the last installment of this year’s “20 Days to a Better Firm,” we’ve picked a selection of interesting perks, unusual activities and unique programs that help create the sort of bonds and warm memories that help build long-term relationships.

To be sure, the goal here is not to inspire imitation (unless it’s about the puppies – every workplace needs more puppies), but rather to fire firms’ imaginations and get them thinking of the sort of unique activities they could put in place:

  • The international exchange program started by Washington’s Berntson Porter & Co.: “This year we piloted an exchange program with an affiliated firm and sent an employee to London to help with audit work there. We will also be hosting an employee from their firm to help with tax work here at our office.”
  • The annual paper airplane contest at Gordon Advisors in Michigan.
  • The financial advisor that California’s Wheeler Accountants keeps on contract to meet with employees to help establish retirement goals and plans.
  • The professional axe-throwing excursion that Pennsylvania’s GMS Surgent took its staff on.
  • The Starfish Fund at PSK in Texas, a “pay it forward” program funded by staff to help other staff in monetary need.
  • The life-sized Jenga game at Michigan’s Hungerford Nichols CPAs.
  • The video newsletter at Washington’s Sweeney Conrad.
  • The leadership library at Wilson Toellner in Missouri, with business and leadership books that are available to all team members.
  • The $500 clothing allowance that Iowa’s McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith gives new hires accepting their first ever full-time job with the firm.
  • The cupcake wars at KRS CPAs in Paramus, N.J.
  • Well-behaved pets are allowed in the office every day at Georgia’s Wilson Lewis.
  • The puppies at Indiana’s mAccounting: “One of our directors has a relationship with the Indiana Canine Assistance Network and has a service puppy in the office several times a week. Other well-trained mPuppies make appearances on a regular basis!”
  • And the puppies at Virginia’s Kearney & Co, which hosted a puppy party in partnership with a local animal shelter that brought in adoption-ready pups.
  • To say nothing of the tax-season “De-Stress with Doggies Day” at North Carolina’s Davidson, Holland, Whitesell & Co., which partnered with the local Humane Society.
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