November/December 2019

Page 12

WHAT GIFT GIVING MEANS FOR CPAs By KATHLEEN HOFFELDER

NJCPA CONTENT EDITOR

CPAs by nature like to help people — whether it’s saving money, finding a more efficient way to organize billing or simply offering some business advice. For most accounting professionals, donating one’s time to helping a worthy cause, participating in a kickball or softball game, or spending a few hours packing some food items is just another part of their day — and it provides a welcome break from their daily routine. 10

Getting professionals of all ages to participate in charity events has become a lot easier. Firm or corporate charity events are increasingly more fun and engaging for staff of all ages. And it’s a great way to get to know even one’s own coworkers on another level as well as meet other accounting professionals who have the same interests as them. Indeed, philanthropy not only helps supply food or other external relief to those in need, it helps professionals build their network and enhance their company’s image while doing a good deed for the community — a win-win for all. FIRMS GIVING BACK How CPA firms give back is as unique as their culture. Some prefer large philanthropic donations and promotion, while others favor the personal touch, such as giving to a local sports club or town shelter. Some consider their gift giving to be more of a team project to fulfill certain objectives and others include whole groups of staff, if not the entire office. Withum, for one, has an innovative approach to selecting charities. Its class of incoming staff accountants, dubbed its Empower Group, go through six weeks of onboarding and choose a charity for the year. After researching nonprofit organizations and presenting their favorites, it was decided that in 2019 all firm-wide fundrais-

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019 | NEW JERSEY CPA

ing efforts would go towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation ( JDRF). According to Matt Bilio, interactive marketing manager at Withum, “they far exceeded our expectations, and in a tight race ultimately selected JDRF after one of our new team members shared his personal history and struggles with diabetes.” As he explains, “the intent is for our Empower Group to become the ‘face’ of this program — we want them to help come up with some inventive fundraising ideas that will shift away from the ‘jeans day’ concept, and to continue to keep our team members engaged and motivated to donate throughout the year.” Their goal is to raise $30,000 for JDRF before the end of 2019. Others also work to get a lot of employees on board. In August, Mazars USA LLP completed its fifth annual Days of Service campaign, where employees devoted a full day to assist local service organizations. More than 500 employees and partners spent the day at more than 30 community and nonprofit programs in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Chicago. This ranged from partnering with the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island and preparing a meal for the families staying at the House to helping animals at the National Greyhound Adoption Program in Pennsylvania.