Finding Success at WCG

Posted Saturday, June 26, 2021

We love the interview process. We get to brag about how cool WCG is. We get to ask questions that lead to dialogues, stories and fun conversations. Interviews are serious since so much is at stake, but they are mostly filled with laughter and light-hearted banter. Of course, this is all intentional.

WCG’s leadership believes that we can teach anyone taxes and accounting, and we have. Just like the 17 year old who takes a summer job stocking shelves at a retail store just to one day be running a multi-million dollar company, WCG has similar stories. But we cannot teach… what is either in your DNA or it isn’t… is how to interact with people. Are you open? Receptive? Inquisitive? Can we sit across the table from you for an hour, and enjoy some margs, chips and salsa? No, we don’t need to be besties, but we need to be able to interact around the office without it being awkward or clunky.

Just because you don’t fit into our culture doesn’t mean anything other than that… not a good fit. How many times do you meet another couple, and come home with your significant other, and say, “how the heck do those two make it? I mean… seriously… I could never be married to him / her.” There ya go! There’s a person for all of us, and there is a tribe for all of us. You just need to find your tribe.

Meanwhile during the interview, while we are checking you out, you are also checking us out. Some questions are internal; “I wonder if she leaves wet towels on the floor?” She’s thinking, “I wonder if he clips his toe nails in bed?” Kidding aside, and back to a professional interview process, one of the best questions we routinely get asked is, “What do I need to do to be successful at WCG?”

Great question! Fair question! Let’s dig into that, shall we?

Beyond the Basics

If you ask anyone how you ensure a successful work relationship, they would offer a laundry list of basics. WCG is no different… we would start with-

  • Competency
  • Enthusiastic
  • Hard Working
  • Urgent
  • Flexibility
  • Professionalism
  • Desire to Improve Your Craft
  • Trusting
  • No BS No Drama
  • Thrive on Chaos

Most people would agree this list is a good starting point. But that’s all it is… a starting point. It is not a complete recipe for being successful at WCG. Taking the above list, and adding an understanding of the work WCG does and how we approach our engagements will solidify the path to success. Ok, what the heck does that mean?

Culture, Life and Success at WCG

We recently recorded five podcasts hosted by Jason Watson, Senior Partner alongside Jason Schneider, Managing Partner and Megan Oeltjenbruns, Tax Manager. The one on the left is titled Life and Leadership. Here are the other podcasts in video format (all our podcasts are also video-recorded)-

Life and Leadership at WCG
How to be Successful at WCG
Challenges at WCG
Culture at WCG
Our Ideal Client Relationships

Faceless Engagement

WCG is in the people business who happen to need tax returns and consultation. Done. That is our elevator speech, but it is a critical distinction about who WCG is as a firm, and who we are as members of a team.

Every week we receive calls and emails from recruiters, and while it is not fair, they collectively do not understand some of the clear differences in accounting firms. For example, they will send us the resume of a highly qualified person and they will tag it with, “so and so has Big 4 experience.” WCG still pursues these leads as possible good fits, but we completely blow off the Big 4 experience tagline. Why?

WCG believes there are two general types of engagements… the people engagement and the faceless engagement. The faceless engagement is the big corporate tax return that takes 4 weeks straight to complete. No one person is affected. No one person is helped, or has their life improved by sound tax consultation and advice. And that is OK. That is more than OK, it is absolutely necessary for our world to spin. WCG loves the fact that so many people and firms do the work necessary on these faceless engagements because we choose not to.

The people engagement is about creating authentic relationships where we, WCG, directly affect and change business owners’ lives. We help the face understand their business better. We see the face when they are appreciative of sound counsel. And we get to see success in a very personal way. This is us. This is WCG.

Why do we say all this? It is a huge part of being successful at WCG. If you do not have that innate desire of helping others in a professional capacity (as compared to helping grandma cross a street), then our firm is not for you, and while success might appear from time to time, it will be manufactured and ultimately not sustained.

WCG is in the people business who happen to need tax returns and consultation. It needs to be your elevator speech too, but it must come from your DNA and not a note card. Said in another way, more than 95% of our engagements are B2C and not B2B. Are there transactional relationships that have faces, but the faces aren’t that interested in what we do and how it affects them? Absolutely! Are those engagements workable within the WCG landscape? Absolutely #2!

But here’s the rub; you will get off the phone with the client who is agnostic to taxes and accounting, and your very next call will be with someone who is very interested in our work since it is near and dear. You’ve hear it before, but knowing your audience and taking “taking their temperature” as we like to say is heavy, and contributes massively to your success as a professional.

What Does WCG Sell

If you answer tax returns or financial statements or a deliverable, you’re not wrong… but it’s not the complete answer. WCG sells comfort.

We deliver a tax return, but the deliverable really provides comfort to the client. Comfort to a client is knowing they are compliant. Comfort is knowing the tax liability, and also knowing it is an accurate amount. Comfort is knowing that “taxes” is no longer on the chores list.

The “comfort selling” must the cornerstone to your urgency. To most tax and accounting professionals, taxes are no big deal. To many it is a puzzle that needs a solution… it’s a practical and almost detached approach, and it is perfectly suited to our work. But! The work that WCG does has another human… a face… on the other end, and with that we must embrace the people business aspect to what we do… and what we sell.

Just like doctors who have been rightfully chastised for lousy bedside manners, “Mr. Johnson, you have cancer, you will live 2-3 weeks, talk soon,” CPAs and other accounting people are no different. “Mr. Johnson, you owe a zillion dollars and I know you cannot afford it, talk soon, love, your CPA.”

We sell comfort. We provide a tax return or a financial statement. And along the way in that delivery process, we have empathy and compassion for the human on the receiving end. When fully embraced, the client experience is amazing.

If this doesn’t resonate with you, finding success at WCG will be illusive at best and probable to be missed entirely. Having said that, it is completely understandable and acceptable to have this not resonate. We need hundreds of thousands of professionals in various capacities in this world who do not starve for this type of human interaction. If NASA sold comfort we would have never made it off the ground let alone to the moon.

Gloom and Doom

This brief article is not mean to be a gloom and doom about finding success at WCG. But understanding yourself… and understanding what we need from our amazing team members… and critically assessing the alignment of those two understandings is essential.

WCG is a full service consultation and tax preparation firm, and we look forward to working with you!