As a profession, accounting has a reputation for long hours and burnout. Part of this is because the work is cyclical and deadline-driven. But this is also because U.S. accounting practices took root in the violence of colonization and enslavement. Moreover, our current systems of taxation, philanthropy, and nonprofitization continue to hold back progress and reinforce top-down control and wealth hoarding. As people who profit within these systems, we make time as a team to agree on commitments that respond to, though in no way repair, this reality. We believe that there is value in using financial information to make decisions. As gatekeepers of specialized knowledge, we believe in making it accessible and sharing the language that opens doors, grant coffers, and pathways to wealth for those who have been excluded.
We state our values to clarify our priorities, shape our questions, and underpin our decisions. These values allow us the space and presence to do quality work. They remind us of our highest intentions and invite us into the discipline of accountability.
We care about our collective goals and individual wellness. We do work that reflects our care. We communicate with transparency that demonstrates and fosters trust, and we welcome transparency from our clients and each other. We plan, assess, and problem-solve in collaboration, because every person has a different relationship to systems of finance—relationships that involve personal or professional histories, accessibility, issues of equity, and individual interests.
Partnership is multidirectional, and we choose clients who exemplify that. Our ability to live up to these values is partially dependent on how our clients engage with us. We try to clearly communicate our expectations and timelines, and we need clients to do the same. It’s important to us to minimize working from a place of urgency. Good work takes time.
We will never be in a position to call ourselves accountable. Communities decide whether or not we are living in accountable relationship with them. We value opportunities to choose solidarity: we prioritize clients who do meaningful advocacy and provide support services—and who are led by the people closest to those issues. We work with, support, and refer out to BIPOC-owned businesses. We pay real rent. We welcome suggestions here on funds to include in our giving budget each year. We learn what we can from equity trainings and anti-racist texts, but we know that we learn the most as individuals from personal relationships and QT/BIPOC leadership in our lives. We meet as a team quarterly to follow up on ongoing commitments and build more capacity for equity work. These commitments are stated not to demonstrate “goodness” but to establish a baseline of community engagement as a business.
We believe we cannot honor the first two values without this one. We are closed on Fridays. We take vacations. We don’t rest just to be more productive. Out of deep respect for ourselves and our clients, we pay close attention to capacity. Sometimes, that means saying “no.” We encourage our clients to do the same. Exhaustion is neither sustainable nor ethical; we protect our time, energy, and joy so that we can offer and receive more meaningful “yesses.” We hold the tension between deadlines as reality and slowness as a valuable practice. We strive to structure roles and compensate our team not only to support our collective capacity for work but to deepen individual capacity for personal hopes, healing, and fun.
In the process of developing this values statement, our team learned from statements by Work in Progress, API Chaya, Fleur Larsen Facilitation, and the Nap Ministry.