Chuck McLane: Accounting for CBIZ Growth

Strengthening nonprofits relationships and employee development

Chuck-McLaneA strong focus of CBIZ’s Phoenix office is its not-for-profit practice. In fact, shares lead managing director Chuck McLane, “some of our success here has led to similar approaches in other CBIZ offices.” His office’s approach includes identifying the not-for-profit organizations in the Valley that have a meaningful purpose and are able to attract to their boards the leadership that makes up the top leaders across the Valley. “When we serve these organizations, we get a chance to interact with these business leaders and showcase our talents in the areas of accounting, financial reporting and tax services,” he says, noting the benefit to the company that may follow with opportunities to provide services to these business leaders for both their business and personal needs. However, the decision to purposely target this niche was based on recognizing there were a large number of sophisticated and complex nonprofits that were largely being ignored.

In addition to serving the nonprofits directly as clients, CBIZ employees participate on the not-for-profit committees of industry organizations American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, not only as members but as instructors and presenters at seminars.

Other focus specialties of the Phoenix office are construction and real estate, employee benefit plans, and high-net-worth individuals. But McLane points to an important corollary result of the office’s work with not-for-profit organizations: “It provides our people a sense of giving back to the community and a sense of fulfillment when they see our clients [be] successful.”

Characterizing the Arizona marketplace as very competitive for talent, McLane says involvement with the universities is important “so we can continue to recruit the best people.” He sits on Arizona State University’s professional advisory board for its accounting program and has been working with Grand Canyon University to help it grow its accounting program, while other members of his team sit on the advisory boards for Northern Arizona University’s and University of Arizona’s accounting programs.

To attract and retain talent, McLane says CBIZ tries to provide employees with an appropriate work-life balance and allow a more flexible approach to how they get their work done. There are also programs that help employees develop and advance professionally. McLane is part of the faculty of CBIZ’s Emerging Managing Director Academy, helping take senior managers to a senior director role, and works with managers in the Tomorrow’s Rainmaker program to further their skills in the area of business development.

In working with his team, McLane says, “The important thing about engaging and inspiring others is being a good listener — really hear what people have to say and are looking for in what makes them feel successful.” Finding out what makes people feel successful, and then developing policies, programs and procedures around that so they feel successful when they come to work every day is a strong motivating factor, he explains.

Hand in hand with being a good listener is being available, and McLane maintains an open-door policy. “Anyone can talk to any managing director at any time,” he says. The only exception is when the managing director is on the phone.

Also important in facilitating communication are the office’s standard monthly meetings. These help raise awareness among everyone on the team regarding issues being encountered in the course of serving clients, and can provide McLane information to pass along to corporate personnel involved in the development of training programs. “Being an instructor and part of the development team on training programs allows me to take observations and suggestions from our people in Phoenix and get them implemented on a national basis.”

In the Not-for-Profit Space

  • The not-for-profit practice of CBIZ’s Phoenix office has grown over that past several years, according to lead managing director Chuck McLane, and he sees it continuing to grow. The mix of types of organizations fluctuates, with the growth area now in the areas of healthcare and social services.
  • “Our job [with not-for-profit organizations] is to make sure they’re spending in accordance with the designated purpose,” McLane says, explaining there could be donor guidance restrictions and contractual arrangements. “We assist with tax reporting and financial reporting, and the organizations use those documents to attract donors.”
  • In corresponding work with large donors, McLane explains, “We devise their tax planning and strategies on how to make the donation and the timing of the donations to maximize their tax benefits.”
  • CBIZ also serves a consultative role for nonprofits moving into the increasingly popular space of social return on investment, looking at the future implications of new programs.

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