Our team is full of people who always wanted to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
That’s why we founded Kregel & Company: not just to deliver accounting and tax services, but to improve business owners’ lives by providing opportunity, peace of mind, and inspiration.
This mission is more than a warm and fuzzy section in our employee handbook or a pretty poster we hang in our office. It’s what motivates us to get up in the morning — and what got us excited about applying to be a Certified B Corporation.
What B Corps are all about
Since the beginning, our company has done things differently. While most corporations are designed around a single bottom line (maximizing profit by any means necessary), we believe in the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. That means we focus just as much on taking care of our employees, customers, and the environment as we do on delivering return to our shareholders.
In 2007, a new designation was created for businesses that operate this way: the Certified B Corporation, or B Corp. (Not to be confused with a benefit corporation, a legal status that is one part of certification.) Certified B Corps are “a new type of business that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.”
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
When we first heard about the B Corp certification, our team was inspired to join the movement. It’s one thing to say we value purpose over profit. It’s another to prove it.
The requirements were steep! It’s not as simple as changing your legal designation to a benefit corporation. That’s one of the steps, but Certified B Corps are held to an even higher standard. Companies must demonstrate their impact in five categories — governance, workers, community, environment, and customers — and score at least 80 out of 200 to achieve certification.
We were excited to apply in 2010 and show our dedication to doing business for good. Unfortunately, we missed the mark and didn’t get the score we needed. It was discouraging, but only motivated us more.
Over the next two years, we got more serious about our efforts and took intentional steps to improve our operations in each area:
- Governance: Created a board of advisors to help influence and guide our company in the right direction. (In full transparency, the B Corp analysts commended our advisory board, but said they were looking for more of a formal Board of Directors.)
- Workers: Elevated our compensation, benefits, training, and work environment to make sure our people are taken care of.
- Community: Increased our volunteering, focused on diversity when hiring to make sure our team is a reflection of the communities we serve, and made more of an effort to buy local.
- Environment: Reduced our carbon footprint by recycling more, going paperless, using technology to minimize travel, and buying carbon offsets.
- Customers: Made more of an effort to serve underrepresented customer markets, as well as companies who also have a deeper, socially conscious purpose.
Taking these steps not only felt good, but also made a difference. We achieved our first Certified B Corp designation in 2013! At the time, only about 1,000 companies were certified, so we felt like we were getting in on the ground floor of a really exciting movement.
Doing well, while doing good
Always looking for ways to improve and grow, our team has continued pushing ourselves to the next level so we can maintain our certification and make an even bigger impact.
Working together to give back to our employees and the community has been particularly rewarding. In addition to offering paid sabbaticals to our tenured team members, we’ve gifted each employee money they can use to support budding entrepreneurs with Kiva microloans, put cash in the hands of people suffering from poverty through GiveDirectly, and gotten involved with Girls on the Run to empower young girls. Most recently, we established Kregel Gives to focus our efforts on organizations that are making a tangible, measurable difference in the world.
We’ve always felt our business had a deeper purpose than profit. Now, the B Corp Certification provides an additional layer of accountability that challenges us to do even more and follow through with the promises we make. Our hope is that Kregel & Company will be known not only for doing well, but also for being a force for good.