Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Richter LLP was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
- As part of the company's health benefits plan, Richter LLP employees receive $1,000 to be distributed to a health spending account or a health and well-being account, which can be used to subsidize various wellness-related activities such as sports classes, painting, pottery and photography
- Richter LLP provides maternity leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, to 100% of salary for up to 13 weeks
- Along with supporting a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year, Richter LLP manages the Richter Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Program to provide employees with opportunities to volunteer their expertise to social enterprises
Jeans, tech savvy and a family feel at Richter
It's a small thing, but also a tad revolutionary. The sober-suited accounting/consulting world isn't known for being cool, but recently 93-year-old Montreal company Richter LLP decided to allow jeans at work.
"We gear ourselves to what people want in today's environment," says Scott Binns, a partner at one of Canada's top 10 business advisory firms. "We try to be as progressive as we can and to continually learn about what our talent needs, so we can attract them and retain them. Obviously, we dress to the clients' needs as well, but otherwise it's jeans every day. And while we offer a myriad of perks, our people also benefit from a collaborative work environment and diversity of thought, in a firm that is evolving with today's emerging technologies.''
Richter is innovative in many ways. Binns, who's been with Richter for "19 glorious years" - since he was a graduate student in accounting - is also lead of the firm's emerging technology group.
"In today's world, our younger people come out of university with magnificent ideas, and we want to empower our Richter people and encourage them to bring technology to the firm."
At the same time, Richter offers a welcoming atmosphere. At the annual town hall last year, company staff - 400 of them in Montreal, with another 100 split between Toronto and Chicago - were asked which word first comes to mind for their employer. Most people answered "family," Binns recalls.
"We try to promote the Richter family image, even with students. So, school comes first. You could be working on a file with a tight deadline, but our senior people ensure that if we have someone who is in school, they succeed."
Alexandra Brazeau, a senior auditor who started at Richter five years ago while completing her chartered professional accountant program, notes that she's had a personal performance adviser from the get-go. "I feel super-supported here. The mentors guide us in our careers, and the company allows us to work in the sphere we want to work in."
Esprit de corps is also reinforced by Richter's dedication to charity. The firm and Its foundation gave roughly $1 million last year for non-profits and has a paid annual community volunteer day.
Brazeau is also inspired by the firm's commitment to women employees.
"I had a female mentor who eventually became a partner. That tells me, as a woman, that I can achieve such a thing."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Richter LLP was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- Richter LLP offers generous referral bonuses for employees who successfully recruit a new candidate to the firm, from $250 to $5,000, depending on the position
- Richter LLP lets employees share in business successes through a year-end bonus program and encourages employees to save for the future with RSP contributions
- Employees at Richter LLP enjoy a busy social calendar throughout the year, including Community Day celebration events, an annual summer event, after tax season celebration and departmental socials, to name a few
Richter LLP supports employee growth and innovation
Among her colleagues at Montréal-based Richter LLP, Stephanie Lincourt is sometimes lightheartedly referred to as a "Richter baby," given that she started as a student intern in 2001, worked there part-time while completing her undergraduate degree and then joined the advisory firm full-time after graduating.
She moved up the ranks until - two years ago - she was made a partner in the audit division, specializing in commercial real estate. "It's been a very rewarding, never boring, 18 years," says Lincourt. "If you're seeking challenges or thrive on different experiences, there's lots of opportunity. We encourage personal and professional development."
For Lincourt, that meant joining the Montréal chapter of CREW - Commercial Real Estate Women - and serving a term as president as well as being a member of the board. "It was a tremendous opportunity to learn about the industry itself and that's part of the Richter difference," she says. "We're business professionals, not just auditors."
Christina Howitt, Senior Manager in the Risk, Performance and Technology group at the Toronto office, can attest to that. She arrived from a multinational firm four years ago with a background in IT audits and a mandate to help grow that part of Richter's business.
Howitt has seen her group grow from five to roughly 25 employees and she has enjoyed some significant professional growth and development along the way. "I was hired to do IT audits, but because of the culture at Richter I've been able to work on several different projects to build my skill set," says Howitt. "Currently, I'm working with one of the vice-presidents to build the intelligent automation part of the practice."
Intelligent Automation is an emerging field that allows companies to automate high-volume, repetitive processes. Howitt and her vice-president, David Lachmansingh, work with companies to identify processes that are handled manually but are good candidates for automation. "It was a great opportunity for us to explore and paired well with Richter's commitment to innovation," says Howitt.
Richter has also launched initiatives to promote women in leadership. Two years ago, an advocacy project for female vice presidents was enacted. "They're connected with a partner in a different division to establish objectives and action points and they meet monthly," says Lincourt. "We want to make sure women are fully equipped to advance in their career at Richter."
The firm has also introduced initiatives that recognize the personal challenges facing employees who live and work in Montréal, Toronto and Chicago, where its offices are located. A formal remote work policy was started as a pilot project in two divisions but has now been accepted company-wide. Employees can work remotely at least some of the time to alleviate the stress of commuting and to reduce the demands on parents with young children.
Richter has also established a worklife integration committee to examine ways of alleviating the burdens of dayto-day tasks that can be time-consuming and stress-inducing. The Montréal and Toronto offices have contracts with dry cleaning services to pick up and drop off clothes that need to be spruced up.
"We're looking at other opportunities and we welcome contributions from staff," says Lincourt. "We hope these initiatives entice employees to stay with the firm."
The firm's culture of innovation also extends to its fitness and well-being credits, which apply to standard pursuits such as working out at a gym, aerobics, yoga classes and recreational sport. "We've expanded our reimbursement policy to include art classes and similar activities," says Lincourt. "It was revised to accommodate employees who may not be into sports but find wellbeing in other ways."