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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Therapeutic Accounting: Time Off


Most of the partners recently attended an offsite retreat for three days and three evenings at the Carmel Valley Ranch. In the past we’ve had annual retreats, but about five years ago we decided not to continue with them (I can’t remember why we stopped). Most of the partners had their significant other join us at the retreat, and we made sure that they had plenty to do during the time that the partners attended the business portions of the retreat.

The goal of the retreat was to have the partners and all significant others spend some quality time together. The purpose was to make us take some time off from our regular routines. We have, of course, regular partner meetings at the office and occasionally have a partner dinner at the office. This was quite different.
Since our firm’s culture has always included “caring,” it was time to revitalize some of the personal relationships we had developed in the past while welcoming the new additions to our “family.” We believe that the “significant others” add tremendous value in ensuring the success of our firm.

While the primary purpose of the having the retreat held “outside the office” was to allow some bonding time away from the office, we also dealt with some limited “business issues” that were not technical. During the period discussing business issues, we set some time aside for the partners to explore how we function as a team.

One of the speakers talked about understanding how each partner views various situations from their own perspective and may not understand the different perspectives of others. They gave us a brief personality test that was intended to allow us to see how we might look at the same situation differently.
It gave us a way to try to recognize each other’s DNA in order to understand the different points of view and delivery methods that we all have. The purpose of the session was to allow us a glimpse of the challenges that may be ahead of us as we continue to expand and add even more personalities to the equation.

At the retreat, there were many team building events to help build connections between all of us. This included a scavenger hunt (broken down into several teams) and a cooking contest (such as you would see on “Iron Chef”) which were broken down into four teams and not allowing significant others to be on the same team as each of the partners. We got a chance to go to a winery, then visit and have dinner at Tehama Golf Club in the Carmel valley. There was also a lot of pampering (massages, facials, etc.), food, wine and fun during our long weekend.

Some would say that we took “time off” from work. I would say it was “time off” with a twist. Everyone enjoyed themselves and had an opportunity to learn more about themselves and others; it helped us continue to improve our “caring.” The retreat was a great event for all. I look forward to future events like this one.

Therapeutic Accounting®
Harvey Bookstein has more than 40 years of public accounting experience, and he specializes in estate planning, charitable giving, and dealing with financial issues relating to children, divorce and successions planning for businesses/wealth from one generation to the next. When dealing with these issues, Harvey developed a method he has registered as Therapeutic Accounting®. Harvey’s approach is to not only look at a particular business, financial or personal issue—but to look at the specific issue as part of the “big picture.”

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