Leisure Cover Stories

Positive Focus: Mueller Prost

Most people think theirs is an industry dominated by numbers, spreadsheets and deadlines, but at Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors, employee satisfaction ranks high on the list of priorities, too.

The company has four offices—Clayton, St. Charles, and two in California—and it’s in growth mode, says chief administrative officer Gayla Hannon, who adds that it is even considering strategic acquisitions. That means the firm is frequently on the lookout for new talent and innovative ways to retain it. “We hired 33 new people last year, which is significant for a 150-person firm,” Hannon says. The company has been adding both young and experienced professionals in a variety of departments, including tax preparation, accounting and healthcare consulting.

Hannon says the firm creates a healthy work environment by striking a balance between employees’ personal concerns and career demands. “We try to be as flexible and family-oriented as possible,” she notes. “In our field, there are busy times of year, especially tax and audit season. We know that work may need a greater share of your attention sometimes, but you still have to manage both sides of your life.”

To help employees gain that balance, the company offers flexible scheduling, good benefits, and activities that focus on personal development and fun. “Some people start work as early as 6:30 or 7 a.m. so they can leave earlier in the afternoon,” Hannon says. “We also earn Fridays off depending on hours worked and busy times of the year.” Company parties celebrate employees who have gotten married, had a baby, passed the CPA exam or earned other professional designations. A ‘fun committee’ plans enjoyable gatherings, and office games help employees relax and unwind. “Right now we’re playing ‘busy season Battleship,’” Hannon says. “It helps keep the mood light.”

Staffers get two days off per year to volunteer with local charities, and they even can earn help with their housework. “When you work a certain number of hours every two weeks, the company pays for home-cleaning services,” Hannon says. Other benefits include paid parking and financial assistance and paid time off for people taking the CPA exam.

Mueller Prost also believes in creating success by cultivating young talent. A spring internship program attracts a dozen participants a year for real-time work experience and potential future careers with the firm. There’s a ‘young professionals’ group that arranges seminars, charity projects and networking events, and Hannon heads up a two-day leadership program for college students considering careers in the field. She also highlights that five of the firm’s 17 owners are female. “That’s unusual in this business, and we think it says a lot about the company,” she notes.

Mueller Prost’s supportive environment has not gone unnoticed by the outside world. The company frequently makes it onto ‘best places to work’ lists by the St. Louis Business Journal and accounting industry groups. “When you have a positive work culture, you tend to attract good people,” Hannon says.

Pictured: Gayla Hannon and Jess McKinnon of Mueller Prost
Photo: Tim Parker Photography

In business since 1983, Mueller Prost CPAs + Business Advisors offers tax, audit, accounting and business consulting services. Doug Mueller is president, and Michael Prost is managing partner. For more information, visit muellerprost.com.

Cover design by Allie Bronsky | Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

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