As auditors, we often get to see our clients from a unique perspective. Through financial statements, we tell their story, and if we come to visit them in person, the hours we spend with them often reveals even more about how their particular organization works.
As David experienced recently, one affordable housing company’s inspirational response to crisis made his visit unforgettable.
Something Seems Off . . .
Right away, David could tell something had happened. The atmosphere in the office was heavy and silent. When he asked how things were going early in the audit, the explanation caught him by surprise.
One of their residents had passed away earlier that week. During the time David was auditing, another resident passed away, and still another was later rushed to the hospital; the prognosis wasn’t optimistic.
The person who was working with David said that their staff cares deeply for their residents. She said each resident is treated like family members who both grieve and celebrate together. As professionals, they have learned to anticipate seasons of mourning and learn how to empathize without being overwhelmed by the reality of death.
From the Eyes of an Auditor
David was amazed by how the people around him continued to work diligently, yet feel and express such genuine concern for the people they serve. He said he began to see these office managers, maintenance workers, and other personnel in a different light — as people who aren’t just concerned about their career but serve a larger purpose.
He saw strength in their ability to adopt new family members and commit to loving them for as long as they’re residents. They create communities and are committed to that calling.
Lessons in Leadership
Finally, as the leader of a CPA firm, David saw that how this affordable housing company responded to crises demonstrated their integrity as a team. More than what they said, their actions — their genuine compassion — helped build the relationship David had with them.
He can use this deeper understanding of their challenges to better serve them as an auditor. Their communication will improve because they know each other better.
Because of the client’s openness and integrity, David left that day inspired and challenged, and we hope this story strikes the same chord in you.