The offices for the accounting firm KPMG LLP stand in Los Angeles
Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

As firms across the accounting profession compete for talent, KPMG has upped the ante on the summer perks it offers its 30,000 U.S. employees.

Among the rewards the Big Four firm is offering staff are $500 gift cards, a barbecue package from Omaha Steaks, summer office parties, and the opportunity to leave at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

KPMG has been offering the summer program for approximately 10 years, according to Margaret Teegan, a managing director in the firm’s human resources department.

“KPMG is a professional services firm, and our people are our greatest asset,” she told Accounting Today. “We focus very keenly on making sure we recognize and reward them for their hard work and their contributions to the firm. This year in June we announced how we were going to be celebrating summer. For the last 10 years or so, we’ve sent a summer gift. This year it’s an Omaha Steaks package that they get to order from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and they can order it when the time is right for them.”

Employees can ship the barbecue package containing the meat and seasonings anywhere they want. “It’s really designed around celebrating with their families and friends,” said Teegan. “We look at our people as more than just who they come to work with. We recognize it takes their families and friends to help them be successful, so our gifts are always designed around something that can be shared.”

Employees have gone from ice cream to steak this year.

“Last year KPMG gave out a big package of ice cream, along with all the toppings to make sundaes, which was a very big hit, and this year it’s Omaha Steaks for a barbecue package,” said Teegan.

KPMG is also giving a $500 bonus to each of its employees. “We have a bonus program called Encore,” Teggan explained. “That’s how we distributed this award, through our Encore system, which is one point equals one dollar. We gave a 500-point Encore award to recognize and say thank you to all of our people. We grossed that up, so it cost about $750 per person, but they were netting a $500 bonus.”

KPMG is also letting employees celebrate at office parties this season. “We have summer office parties around the country, and the local office managing partners get to decide when and how they want to bring the team together and celebrate,” said Teegan. “There are often large outdoor parties, or people go to parks. Some groups invite families to come to the zoo or they go to the ballpark. Throughout the summer, we’re focused on thanking and recognizing them for their hard work.”

The firm is also providing a paid time-off program to encourage employees to take vacations and extend their holiday weekends. Weekend “jumpstarts” enable employees to leave work at 3 p.m. on Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“We have one of the most robust time-off programs in the industry,” said Teegan. “We remind people to be sure they schedule their time off for their vacations and strongly encourage them to use the jumpstart hours.”

The firm finds the perks help boost employee morale, retention and recruitment. “Part of it is we want to give them things to share with their friends and family,” said Teegan. “We get hundreds of thank-you notes throughout the year thanking KPMG for the gifts. Sometimes we get them from the children of our employees. Little children will say, ‘My mom works at the best place in the world.” Just based on the feedback that we get from people and the gratitude and thanks, I would say it definitely is a very big morale booster, which is why the firm has continued to invest in this for so many years.”

The program has evolved from a year-end holiday program to a summertime morale boost. “We’ve been giving out gifts to our employees for more than 15 years,” said Teegan. “We used to do it at holiday time, and then about 10 years ago we switched to a summer timeframe and made it more thematic about celebrating summer. At holiday time we already have holiday parties and large town hall gatherings where we bring our people together and pep rallies to remind people of all the success and accomplishment. Spreading it out to two times a year we find is actually a better approach because it’s happening multiple times throughout the year.”

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