In the January 2003 issue, Practical Accountant ran a cover story on mission statements ( . At the time, I thought we were ahead of the curve with regard to many of our readers. That is no longer the case.

It was no more evident when I received a thank-you note from Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein for the Practical Accountant Practice Innovation Award that we sent the firm. Included with the thank-you note was a 3 by 5 inch laminated card that contained SLGG's mission statement, vision, and core values. All three may also be found at

I applaud SLGG's use of such a card, for a number of reasons. One, I am sure every staff member has supply of them to remind them daily how the firm wants to define itself. The card also can be given to clients and potential clients as a means of defining and distinguishing the firm from other accounting firms.

Most important, it represents an implied contract, a promise of the level of service that will be delivered. The SLGG vision talks in part about an endless journey that recognizes a commitment to clients in outstanding service beyond their expectations, and to employees of fulfilling careers and personal satisfaction in a productive and fun family environment. Seven core values are listed and defined including sensitivity, which is defined as a listening, being compassionate, and understanding; and no excuses, which is defined as nothing less than total client satisfaction. Is SLGG setting very high expectations by widely publicizing its mission statement, vision, and core values? Yes, for sure. Does it require SLGG to incorporate its mission statement, vision, and core values into all the operations of the firms? Yes. But the firm understands in the long run that is what is the key to a successful firm-client relationship and a successful firm-staff relationship, and explains why SLGG is so successful and the winner of a Practical Accountant Practice Innovation Award.

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