ClearPath Accountants: Transparent financials

By Lea Hart

Victor Amaya, CPA, a partner at ClearPath Accountants, says the firm works to give employees a sense of ownership.
Victor Amaya, CPA, a partner at ClearPath Accountants, says the firm works to give employees a sense of ownership. (Photo by Barry Gutierrez/AP Images)

Transparency and ownership are the bywords at Denver-area firm ClearPath Accountants.

At weekly staff meetings, employees go over the firm's financials: revenue, expenses, invoices, and collections. This serves two purposes, said Victor Amaya, CPA, a partner at the 12-employee firm. It gives employees a sense of ownership and greater insight into how a small business functions. Then they're better-equipped to work with ClearPath's many small-business-owner clients.

"Clients expect us to help them with consulting," Amaya said. "We use our business as a training tool."

Employees with at least two years' tenure join the firm's profit sharing plan, which motivates them to become more involved in the running of the firm, Amaya said. "It gets everyone on board with decisions about expenses" ranging from how much the firm will spend on travel to how elaborate the holiday party will be, he said. This, too, gives them greater insight into their clients' thought processes about weighing the costs and benefits of certain decisions.

"We want our staff to know what running a business feels like," Amaya said.

The Tuesday meetings underscore another facet of ClearPath's culture: learning. Each employee is required to present on something he or she has learned, whether that's an insight about a client or a timesaving software hack.

"It creates a more efficient workforce," Amaya said, as it fosters a mindset of sharing information rather than "hoarding" it. "We encourage people to 'teach their current position away' while learning a new one," he said. "It encourages them to pursue new opportunities, share knowledge, and create personal growth. We want to build leaders."

Amaya works with Sara Williams, a senior accountant with ClearPath.
Amaya works with Sara Williams, a senior accountant with ClearPath. (Photo by Barry Gutierrez/AP Images)

Meet six more employers that have radically rethought the ways they relate to their CPAs:

  • A flat hierarchy with no job titles and no partners aids recruiting for an S.C. firm.
  • Letting employees set their own hours pays dividends for a Honolulu firm’s retention.
  • A $1,000 vacation stipend spurs an Arizona firm’s staff to unplug—and recharge.
  • Training all managers in coaching creates a culture of listening at a California firm.
  • Cross-training gives employees of an Arizona firm new expertise.
  • A team-oriented culture keeps morale high at SoulCycle.

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