A Perfect Blend of Core Values and Coffee
KRUGGEL LAWTON | ST. JOSEPH, MI

STORY JAKE FREDERICKS | IMAGE HANNAH ZIEGELER

Kruggel Lawton is not your standard accounting firm.

Come tax season, work may not be all fun and games, but Kruggel Lawton tries to keep things light even in the most hectic time of the year. On Fridays during tax season, the firm’s St. Joseph office caters in lunch for everyone, so the team can unwind. And on April 15, when it’s all over, the company hosts a firm-wide Tax Day Party featuring an evening of music, games, food, and celebration for the entire team.

When meeting a Kruggel Lawton employee, one immediately becomes aware that warm, genuine, down-to-earth, and fun personalities are the norm throughout the company. And letting those personalities shine was one of the drivers behind the design that accompanied the company’s July 2018 move to a new location in St. Joseph. Furnished with cushioned conference spaces and a comfortable coffee bar where team members chat with clients, the lobby makes this clear. “The new design was really about just having a more hospitable space,” states Erin Bonin, marketing director. “If someone stops in with a quick question, they can stand by the coffee bar, which is much more welcoming [than being whisked into an office]. I really love being able to say to clients, ‘Stop by anytime and grab a cup of coffee!’”

Since the move, Kruggel Lawton has enjoyed having more room to stretch out and have some fun along the way. The new building features modern glass walls embossed with decals applied to mimic ledger paper, which was used by accountants before technology made it possible to go paperless. Sometimes they are decorated with suctioned Nerf gun ammo, as toy dart guns have gotten quite popular among the team. “Everybody is relaxed and likes to have a good time, and we encourage that,” says Bonin. The firm even recently changed its dress code policy, encouraging employees to “dress for their day,” and tailor work outfits based on whether their schedule calls for meetings with clients or working with teammates.

Along with emblazoning its core values on the walls of its break and training rooms, the company makes a concerted effort to live them out by picking one per year on which to concentrate. Throughout 2018, “respect” was the value of focus, with team members receiving stamped bracelets as reminders. Team members were encouraged to post kudos on cardboard tent boards and Kruggel Lawton’s internal communication platform for team members who showed respect to clients, coworkers, and even neighbors. Especially neighbors—as the new location sits within a real neighborhood, team members went door to door with Kilwins’ treats to introduce themselves, explain how they would impact traffic, and invite them to stop in anytime. The Kruggel Lawton door stands open: stop by for a great cup of coffee plus sound tax, assurance, and accounting advice!

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