2nd Place Winner, Best Places to Work 2009:
McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.
by Kent Darr
Bob McGowen isn't about to make anyone walk the plank during tax season. But after the returns are mailed April 15, watch out.
| Left to right: Tom Pflanz, John Schmidt, |
Mike Brinker, Dan Schwarz, Dave Hurst &
Bob McGowen. Front: Joni Tonnemacher and Kathi Koenig. Not pictured: Jim Smith &
McGowen is a managing partner of McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith P.C., an accounting and business advisory firm with a sense of what keeps its 62 employees happy.
When tax season ended this year, McGowen
decided that a pirate-themed party would be a good way to unwind and
demonstrate that the profession isn't all stuffed shirts, wingtips and
patent leather briefcases.
That is an image McGowen - a self-professed old-school, nose-to-the-grindstone type - wants to shatter. And he's done a pretty good job of it.
McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith is a repeat winner of the Business
Record's Best Places to Work competition, indicating that he has
managed to blend the interests of young workers into a corporate
culture that has developed over the company's 63 years.
Eight of 10 partners have been with the firm more than 25 years. And McGowen hopes that younger workers view the company as a place where they can finish their careers.
In 2007, the firm launched a Lifetime Learning Program as a commitment
that its members will receive the best possible continuing professional
education and training.
Just as important, it also recognizes that younger workers, in
particular, have a philosophy that the good life means more than a job
that leaves little time for home and family.
"Flexibility is important to our people," McGowen said. "Our industry for many years was pretty inflexible. In the last 10 years, especially, we have really changed that tone."
The firm also maintains an open-door policy that allows all employees,
not just the partners, to know what is happening with the company and
In addition, the firm sponsors special occasions, such as a day when
sundaes are the order of the day, and company-wide picnics and trips to
the Iowa State Fair; and all birthdays are a cause for celebration.
Workers are allowed to take a day off each year to work with a charity
of their choice. They can establish their own work schedules, even to
the point of taking time off during tax season, all providing the work
The firm's crew is "empowered to work and talk and be involved with our
clients," McGowen said. "They have an opportunity to see how the
business works and be able to develop that at an early level."
It's all part of a package that makes McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith "feel like a nice close-knit place to work," he said.
This article taken from the Business Record online, May 7, 2009.