Being a great place to work isn’t always about what you give employees – sometimes it’s about what you get from them, and how.

A number of the 2016 Best Accounting Firms to Work For are both building engagement with their employees and capitalizing on their ideas, energy and enthusiasm by turning them

For some firms, it’s specifically about improving that bane of all accountants’ lives: tax season. At Deerfield, Ill.’s Warady & Davis, for instance, some of the firm’s 89 employees participate in post-season focus groups to solicit feedback on what worked and what didn’t; “Problem-solving ideas and solutions are encouraged,” the firm reported. Similarly, at North Bethesda, Md.-based Snyder Cohn, volunteer work groups from among the 66 employees hold annual brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for the upcoming year.

Other firms take that after-action review concept to another level: Volunteers from all levels of James Moore & Co.’s 126 employees participate in the Gainesville,Fla.-based firm’s Team-Oriented Problem Solving, or TOPS Committee to work on process improvement: According to the firm, “They choose a topic and work as a team to redesign, restructure and implement changes.”

Meanwhile, in San Antonio, cross-sections of ATKG’s 29 employees from all levels and sections gather in mini-meetings called Think Tanks to brainstorm about individual problems or challenges, and then advance their solutions to the partner group.

And at Salt Lake City’s Tanner, the firm said, “We have established an Innovation Committee that frequently meets to discuss new ideas, then ensures that the best ideas are implemented. If you have a great idea at Tanner, it will get implemented.” Among the innovations: a new IT security and transaction services offering.

In the end, this is a win-win – firms get to show their employees that they value their opinion and input, while simultaneously developing valuable ideas.

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