Local small business named one of best

Published 4:52 pm Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has named the Hoover accounting firm of Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith as one of the top 15 small workplaces in the country.

Managing partner Don Murphy said the company’s goal is to allow employees to have lives outside of work.

“One of our goals is to create a work environment where people enjoy coming to work,” Murphy said. “You probably spend more time at work than you do at home. Turnover can be very costly. We want to keep good employees and create an environment where they can enjoy personal fulfillment and professional fulfillment.”

The Wall Street Journal cited the firm’s willingness to accommodate workers’ life changes by allowing employees to work remotely if their spouses have jobs in other cities or states and work fewer hours for personal reasons, and allowing workers to attend family or school events during the workday.

The company also has other perks, such as a professional valet on staff to run personal errands for employees, a dry-cleaning service that comes by the office to pick up clothes and sitters to watch children when needed.

Turnover at Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith has been 2 to 3 percent annually for the past five years.

Murphy said the firm is able to allow employees such perks because every case is considered on an individual basis.

“Everybody has unique needs and situations, and we look at each one on a case-by-case basis and see if there’s any way we can make it work,” Murphy said. “We’ve been that way from the beginning. That’s something that’s been important to us from the beginning.”

The Wall Street Journal worked with Winning Workplaces, an Evanston, Ill. non-profit, to identify the top 15 workplaces. Barfield, Murphy, Shank and Smith is the only one located in Alabama.