Friday, December 29, 2006

...and to All a Good Night

It doesn't seem right to just end the year without saying something, well... you know. So, Happy New Year, everyone. Have wonderful weekends and safe travels, and I'll see you back here Tuesday.

Accounting Firm Mergers

An article on AccountingWEB says Sarbanes-Oxley is spurring a merger of accounting firms. The increasing workload is pushing smaller firms to merge as a way to bulk up their staffs, and thus their capabilities.

“Local and regional firms are getting more opportunities than they probably ever could have dreamed of. Big Four resources are stretched to the max, so smaller clients are either leaving the Big Four on their own or the Big Four are resigning engagement, because they don’t have the resources to serve them without charging higher prices. For the local firms picking this up, it’s right in their strike zone. We’re seeing it from coast to coast,” Jonathan Hamilton told AccountingWEB. Hamilton is the editor of the accounting newsletter Public Accounting Report.

You've seen this all before, but it's a good snapshot of a trend that keeps on going.

California Accounting Firms Merge [AccountingWEB]

More on Women Leaders

The Baltimore firm KAWG&F (Katz Abosch Windesheim Gershman & Friedman) is profiled in the Baltimore Examiner for the unusually large proportion of women on its staff. The firm's certainly doing better than the Big Four: Of 104 employees, 73 are female, as are 10 of the firm's 26 shareholders. This is a quick, interesting article.

Local accounting firm breaks its own glass ceiling [Baltimore Examiner]

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lessons of the Rich and Famous

Sometimes you just have to leave your desk and go talk to your boss - or make a presentation to a client - or even (Lord help you) talk to the media. So, what happens if somehow you put your foot in touch mouth? In today's Wall Street Journal, Jeff Zaslow talks about ways to dig yourself out of whatever hole you happen to have landed in. Turns out you really can learn from the likes of Mel Gibson, Donald Rumsfeld and Judith Regan.

Fox TV executives and book publisher Judith Regan thought America would see nothing wrong with their O.J. project.

"All of us have audiences -- our bosses, colleagues, students, families, vendors, in-laws," says Mr. Levick. "You can't violate the trust with your audience." As Ms. Friedman asks: "Who is that family member, friend, co-worker? What will they put up with? What will offend each of them?"

If you misread the temperature of your "audience," you must apologize, even if you're late doing so. Crisis managers mention Oprah Winfrey. At first, she defended Mr. Frey after news broke that he'd fabricated parts of his book. After her initial efforts offended her audience, she admitted she had made a mistake.

Mistakes Were Made: What to Take Away From the High-Profile Blunders of 2006 [WSJ - $]

Deloitte Leads in Percentage of Women Executives

Deloitte & Touche has a greater percentage of women partners, principals and directors than its Big Four competitors - 19.3 percent, compared to 16.8 percent at KPMG, 15.8 percent at PricewaterhouseCoopers and 13.5 percent at Ernst & Young - according to a survey by Public Accounting Report. The firm has led the Big Four every since the survey was begun in 1997.

I suppose its progress, but it's still less than 20 percent.

Deloitte Leads Big Four Accounting Firms in Percentage of Women Partners, Principals and Directors [Deloitte]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Trials of The Tax Executive

It's not new for tax executives to feel underappreciated. Few people get into the down-and-dirty details of a company's numbers like they do, but they get pigeonholed in the eyes of corporate leadership. Worry about the effective tax rate and leave the rest to us, and all that. Never mind that, say, SALT expertise can lead to all sorts of savings if it's used to help locate stores in areas where tax credits apply. And that's just one example.

Hudson Financial Solutions and CFO Research Services have published Building a Better Tax Function, which recommends a better-defined relationship - and closer collaboration - between finance and tax. It suggests companies hire tax professionals with more broad-based experience. As James Peter Rubin writes this morning on

(...these are) the kind of people who have the experience and skills necessary to participate in business planning. "Recruiting and fostering tax personnel with sophisticated tax technical skills - and a broad perspective on business issues - is high on the tax function agenda, according to those we interviewed," the report says.

It makes sense that people who can put their tax work into the broader context of the business would be seen as more valuable. It's also another reason that tax professionals need good communications skills: to know how to write, to speak, to present ideas.

Broad View Helps Tax Executives [JITM]

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tomorrow Fer Sure

So, I've fallen into the blown-it-with-the-best-of-intentions category. Here I was, coming back into the office after the long weekend, intent on posting today and... I didn't. I can't even say I was snowed with e-mails, though I did spend much of the day wrestling with an e-mail broadcast - and lost.

Anyway, I'll be back again tomorrow with posts. Retailers, I notice from this afternoon's Wall Street Journal Online, are cutting prices some more to try and get one last surge of revenue in between Christmas and the end of the year. Best I keep out of the stores unless I lost my contest of willpower with whichever flat-screen TV is out there, waiting for me to bring it home...

I hope everyone had a good holiday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rising Along With Others

It's one of those uncomfortable realities of work that not all of us our superstars. (I know: How cheerful and holiday-spirited of me to point that out today.) But I don't mean that as a slam on anyone - including me, a 20-year writer who has yet to win a Pulitzer. I mean that in any company there are talented professionals who do good work, and also a smaller number of people who writer Emma Johnson describes as being the ones named as team leaders, picked for plumb projects and hanging out in the vice president's office. When the circumstances are right, these can be good folks to ally yourself with. On, Emma examines how to go about this:

In an ideal world, professionals can attach themselves to flourishing peers, learn from their strengths, contribute to their successful projects, and develop relationships with those who might one day be able to help them get ahead.

However, don't get the idea you can simply ride somebody else's coattails. It makes no sense to "just coast to success based on the success of another," says Doug Rickart, a division director for Robert Half Finance and Accounting in Minneapolis. "It becomes quite obvious you're spending time with someone just to get yourself noticed. That's meaningless."

Meanwhile, over at CareerJournal is a piece by Kayleen Schaefer on handling peers who are trying dump their work on you. (Another uncomfortable reality is that a lot of people who think they are superstars, aren't.).

When your peer asks if you will do his work, he is in charge of the situation and setting the agenda. And as soon as you answer the question, you lose. If you say yes, you're stuck with your peer's work. If you say no, you feel bad. The key is to pose your own question: Why are you asking me to do your work?

How to Catch a Rising Star - and Not Get Burned [JITM]
Stopping a Bossy Peer From Dumping on You [WSJ via CareerJournal]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

PWC Returns to Nashville

PricewaterhouseCoopers is restablishing its presence in Nashville to focus on the region's health care companies. The Tennessean says:
By February, PricewaterhouseCoopers plans to set up shop in space in the Brentwood-Cool Springs area to house a local staff of about 20 people, Sheidy said.

That includes people transferring from other locations, new hires and some staff who continued to work from their Nashville-area homes after the firm closed its office here in 2001.

Earlier this week, Chicago-based BDO Seidman announced plans to set up shop in the city.

PricewaterhouseCoopers to return to Nashville area [The Tennessean]

Finding the Hiring Manager

Job candidates complain a lot about the wall that's often erected between them and a company's hiring manager. If you're responding to a blind ad - where the manager's identity, and maybe even the company's identity, is hidden - how can you get in touch with the actual right person? The key is to use as many identifying details as you can find in the ad as clues, to figure out the company doing the hiring. Once you've done that, you may have to reach out to your extended network to determine who is responsible for screening job applicants - or making the final hiring decision. Myra Thomas gives some pointers on

Finding the Manager Behind the Ad [JITM]

More Online Education in California

Next year, the California CPA Education Foundation plans to triple the number of webcasts it hosts for those seeking to renew their state credentials. James Rubin's piece on details their coverage, but points out that you shouldn't always stick too closely to your desktop. He cites Robert Half's Susan Afan as saying conferences and other live events have advantages: "When you go to a conference or similar event, it gives you the opportunity to network," she told him.

More Online Options for California CPA Credits [JITM]

Blatant Self-Promotion #1 has been ranked the #3 niche job site by (yes, there really is a site that ranks employment Web sites, and people like me read them.) The #2 site is our companion, eFinancialCareers, and the niche leader is, an IT site published by our new parent company. The full listings are here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BDO Seidman Moves Into Nashville

Chicago-based BDO Seidman is opening an office in Nashville, its second in Tennessee and one of more than 30 around the U.S., in addition to alliance offices. The Nashville Business Journal says the firm has leased 7,000 square feet of office space downtown. The firm said "the time is right" to establish a presence in the city.

Michael Musick, a partner in the firm, will be the practice leader, according to the Nashville City Paper. The downtown office will open next month.

BDO Seidman announces entry into Nashville [Nashville Business Journal]
National accounting firm to open Nashville location [Nashville City Paper]

Wake Forest Rocks (the Exam)

Wake Forest University says the performance of its accounting graduates ranks first in the 2005 CPA exam, according to the most recent scores from the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. It's the holidays. Let's allow them a little hype. Here's a press release.

Wake Forest accounting graduates rank first in nation on CPA exam [WFU]

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No Response to Your Application? A Reality Check

Over on, Bob Rosner has a slightly cynical review of why you may be getting interviews, but no job offers. (Should I be surprised his take is a tad tough? The name of his column is "Working Wounded" after all.) Well, I've always been once of those sensitive guys, so maybe I just picked up on his tough, clear-eyed, and completely accurate observations.

Rosner's column is a good reality check. The job you've applied for may have been filled, an unscrupulous headhunter may be using fake job ads to build his resume database, or the company you've applied to may just be disorganized or rude. Take two minutes to read this.

Working Wounded: Why Can't You Get Hired? []

Speaking of Reality

This being a blog and all, I'd love to get any tips, story ideas, rumors, comments, criticisms (be gentle) or what have you. Post your comments to any story, or send an e-mail to mfeffer at

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sign of the Times

The tighter the job market, the more companies want to stay on good terms with their former employees. The Associated Press ran a piece on this today:

Departed employees are courted with official employee alumni networks that offer electronic directories of former colleagues, job listings, continuing education, even discounted group insurance. Microsoft's alumni group rented the entire Seattle Aquarium for its after-the-holidays party last year. Accenture toasted its alumni with drinks and appetizers at New York's Museum of Natural History.

Alumni from Big Four firms gather online and off, I'm told by, among other people, a former Peat Marwick CPA who gets testy when he's not treated "right" by folks at successor firm KPMG.

Companies court former employees [AP via N.Y. Daily News]

Friday, December 15, 2006

Answers on Massachusetts Exam Eligibility

Beginning in January, CPA candidates in Massachusetts will be able to sit for the CPA exam after completing 120 hours of college-level education, instead of the 150 hours that has been required to this point. The Massachusetts Society of CPAs is quite pleased with the change, which it hopes will encourage more prospective accountants to enter the field. (Yes, you still have to complete a total of 150 hours of course work to practice, but you can at least get the exams done first.)

The MSCPA has posted a series of FAQs about the change, and certification in general, on its Web site. Also, for some background on jobs in the Boston area, see the article we published in November.

CPA Exam Regulation FAQs [MSCPA]
Experience in Demand for Boston CPAs [JITM]

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Accounting Fraud Doesn't Pay

Former Enron chief executive and novice federal convict Jeffrey Skilling has a lot of time now to ponder what happens when what goes around comes around. Of all the press coverage yesterday about Skilling's reporting to jail, the tidbit I like best is this:

Inmates at the prison have access to exercise facilities including a basketball court, running track and a pingpong table. Like most inmates, Skilling is likely to be required to work in prison labor jobs such as food service, plumbing and painting, where he would earn 12 to 40 cents an hour.

That's a far cry from what Skilling earned at the helm of Enron -- more than $151.7 million from 1999 to 2001, the time span of the indictment.

So not only are multiple felonies bad for your career, they wreak havoc on your compensation too. One can only wonder what all the old Andersen hands have to say - and if you are one, please feel free to comment.

Ex-Enron CEO Skilling Reports to Prison [AP via Chicago Tribune]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reznick Group To Open Los Angeles Office

Scott Farb, CPA, has joined Reznick Group and will lead the firm's expansion into Los Angeles as a managing principal. He'll also be responsible for growing the firm's commercial real estate practice. He'll hire between 20 and 25 new employees from the L.A. area initially, then grow the office "in the coming years." The office is in Century City, at 1888 Century Park East, Suite 1625, Los Angeles CA 90067.

Previously, Farb was principal in charge of Gumbiner Savett Inc.'s national real estate group. Before that he headed the national real estate practice at Rothstein Kass, and was a senior partner at Kenneth Leventhal & Company (and was partner in charge of its entrepreneurial services group before the firm's 1995 merger with Ernst & Young). He received his bachelor's degree from Hofstra University, is a member of the Urban Land Institute and serves on the board of the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).

Coincidentally, we posted a story on the employment landscape for CPAs in California last week. It's here.

Reznick Group Announces Its Expansion Into Los Angeles; Scott Farb, CPA Joins Firm [Reznick Group]
Accounting, Finance Professionals Sought in California [JITM]

Feeling Good - 117.2 Good

Could it be all the talk about wars for talent and too many jobs chasing too few candidates is making accountants and financial pros feel good? The Hudson Employment Index for accounting and finance professionals - which measures worker confidence in the employment market - spiked in November to a high for the year - 117.2, 10 points up from October. The survey also found 77 percent of accounting and finance workers are happy at their jobs, up from 72 percent in October.

A red flag, though: While 58 percent had a favorable view of their finances in November, the percentage reporting their finances were getting worse rose from 34 to 37 percent.

The index results from a survey of 9,000 U.S. workers conducted by the recruiting and staffing firm Hudson, a division of the Hudson Highland Group. It's one of those measures that can be a useful indicators of how people in the real world view employment trends. If you like numbers, dig in here.

Worker Confidence Increased Significantly in November [Hudson Employment Index]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What is Balance Anyway?

I'm not sure, but I'm wondering whether the pendulum is going to swing soon in discussions about work-life balance. The notion of improving balance is a cornerstone of recruiting in many accounting firms - at least the larger ones. Many smaller firms seem to regard it as one of those issues big concerns can afford to worry about while they make sure the bills get paid. The Wall Street Journal's Jared Sandberg points out that former GE chief Jack Welch wrote in his book Winning that "the work-life policies in the company brochure are mainly for recruiting purposes… People who publicly struggle with work-life balance problems...get pigeonholed as ambivalent, entitled, uncommitted or incompetent - or all of the above."

Sandberg writes about work-life balance in today's Cubicle Culture column in the Journal. He says that today, cell phones, BlackBerries and the like haven't so much extended the work day so much as they stirred work and home life into "a stew that often satisfies neither quarter." He then goes on to say that (a) the notion of completely separate work and home lives is a product of the 1950s and 60s, (b) people spend less of their life working now than they have in the past and (c) for many people work-life balance is really about blending work and home life through the course of the day. One financial consultant:

...sees farmers working long hours in the same way her great-grandparents did; they milked cows at 5 a.m. and fixed tools after supper. "They didn't see it as a work-home balance, it was just all the stuff you did," she says. "With technology, we have to relearn those skills that our great-grandparents already had."

One of the folks commenting on the story had this to say:

Pager, take home laptops, cell phones and the rest are oddly comforting. Before that all came along I used to login at all times of the day and night to make sure systems were up and tasks were getting completed. Now I login only when the pager or my boss goes off.

Good story, with a lot of food for thought.

Back to the Future:Mixing Work, HomeIs a Very Old Dilemma [WSJ - $]

The Essay You've Always Wanted to Write

Journyx - which provides time-tracking and project accounting products - will award a $500 scholarship to the U.S. graduate student who writes the best essay on… time tracking.

Interested students should contribute an essay of 1,000 words or less on one of the following two topics:

* Persuade someone who doesn't want to track his time on a per-product per-activity basis why it is in his best interests to do so.

* Describe a real situation that you've encountered where project oriented time tracking has made a positive difference in the world.

Don’t be intimidated. You've got until June 1, 2007 to come up with your entry. Details are here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Last Week's Poll: The Disconnect

More than 60 percent of's users apply for jobs they're either over or underqualified for, according to the poll we ran last week. Only 38.8 percent said they apply for jobs that are a good fit. To drill down, about 21 percent said they apply for positions they're overqualified for. What really got my attention was this: 40.3 percent apply for jobs they know they're not a match for - they figure they can learn the job after they've been hired.

Well. I wonder how many can't figure out why they don't get responses to their resumes. Not many employers are interested in providing lots of on-the-job training if they can find a qualified candidate for a job. And if your credentials are way out of sync with a job's requirements, odds are managers and HR folks are simply going to think you're goofy for applying.

Dona Dezube wrote about this for JITM in August:

Before you reply, digest the job description and make sure you have the required experience and education, suggests Timothy Wujcik, chairman of Chase Winters Worldwide, a Chicago recruitment firm. He estimates about 10 percent of the candidates who e-mail their replies to Internet job postings don't do that. "We were looking for an individual with compensation of $450,000 and we received a resume from a candidate who was a messenger," Wujcik recalls as an example. "There was no correlation whatsoever between this job and his job as a messenger."

Tips for Responding to Online Ads [JITM]

Ready to Move Up?

How promotable are you? Or, more important, how promotable does your company think you are? ClearRock, a Massachusetts coaching and outplacing company surveyed 100 companies and found most of them think their middle managers are qualified to move up. A solid third, though, thought they were unqualified:

"At best, most companies rate their middle managers as being in the middle of the pack and sorely in need of the strategic thinking and leadership skills that will help raise them to the next level." said Greg Gostanian, a ClearRock managing partner.

Strategic thinking and leadership skills ranked as the top one and two skills companies believe that middle managers need to develop. Communication, developing direct reports and motivating people followed.

Where do you get these skills? The Louisville Courier-Journal says 25 percent of the companies are providing more coaching than they were two years ago, but another 25 percent are providing less.

One-quarter of companies are providing more coaching and management development than two years ago while another quarter are giving less management preparation. Instead, companies are spending more time developing employees who are early in their careers, according to Stevens.

Many middle managers viewed as not promotable [Louisville Courier-Journal]

Food for Thought on Wall Street

If you believe Wall Street's health is a barometer of the overall economy's, you'd best take a deep breath and read today's Financial News article on the plans investment banks have to cut jobs and make contingency plans for a possible market slowdown in the second half of 2007.

Most banks cut between 1% and 5% of their staff each year as part of performance reviews. In the past few years the cuts have been at the lower end of this range, as banks struggle to keep up with high volumes of business.

The head of one investment bank in London said: “We are applying greater economic discipline to our costs this year than for several years. We can only afford to pay our best staff competitively if we don’t waste money on those who do not deliver. For the past few years, the industry has been growing rapidly. While next year looks like it will remain strong for investment banking, there are concerns over the interest rate environment, trading profits and levels of leverage.”

One big US bank recently held an offsite meeting for its senior directors, where one of the sessions was called “Preparing for the Downturn”.

Earlier this year, the Securities Industry Association (now the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) estimated Wall Street's profits could drop 22 percent next year, and a number of investment banks have been tightening their belts lately through cost-containment programs or job reductions. All food for thought.

Banks get tough on performance [Financial News]

Friday, December 08, 2006

Doings in California

The job market for accountants and other financial professionals remains strong in California.

In Los Angeles, a robust 10 percent of CFOs expected to add staff while three percent anticipated cutting jobs. The net seven-percent rise was one point higher than the previous quarter's figure, and three points above the national average. In San Francisco, seven percent of the executives said they would probably add personnel. Three percent expected to reduce staff. The increase was one point higher than the forecast for the third quarter of 2006.

Net increases in San Diego and Sacramento were three and two points respectively - below the national average but still strong.

James Rubin takes a look for

Accounting, Finance Professionals Sought in California [JITM]

Work-Life Balance in Action

MSNBC profiles CPA Allen Sheffield, who stepped off the partnership track of Coopers & Lybrand so he could spend more time working with a local youth ministry. He went to work in Kmart's auditing department - he loves accounting, but the long hours at Coopers didn't allow much time for ministry work. Then he worked full-time in the ministry until his former colleagues called:

In the summer of 2005, partner Mark Matthews asked if Sheffield wanted to meet for lunch to discuss the possibility of him coming back to the firm.

“I laughed at him,” he recounted, because he had already tried and failed to get the kind of flexible schedule he needed. “Mark told me things had changed.”

Sheffield decided to check it out, calling former co-workers and managers at the company to make sure they had indeed changed their ways when it came to work and family initiatives, and after discussing it with his wife, Paula, came up with a schedule that would fit his many obligations and proposed it to the managers at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Be sure to read the comments that go along with article (they're here). Folks have posted good and helpful thoughts.

Chase your dream job, but keep your day job [MSNBC]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Struggling for GAAP Talent

"As businesses are becoming global, it becomes more difficult and complex within a company to structure the accounting function and skill sets. It's difficult to find personnel throughout the world familiar with local standards and U.S. GAAP."

So said Marsha Hunt, vice president and corporate controller at diesel engine manufacturer Cummins, during a discussion at the FEI's New York conference on current financial reporting issues. Writer Carol Lippert Gray was there, and reported on Hunt's remarks for

The Need for GAAP Knowledge Overseas [JITM]

Off-Topic Post #2

At five o'clock last night, I'm walking through Grand Central Station when there's a jingle of bells and music begins to play. I stop in the middle of the concourse - which, if you've never been there, is this high, open, echoing space - and watch as a cascade of lights begin to fall along the walls. It a nightly holiday show, and it's quite lovely.

I took the picture below with my cell phone, from the top of the stairs by Park Avenue. The quality's not great, but to give you an idea of the scale, the series of horizontal white lights toward the lower left are the train schedules, which stand about 10 or 12 feet off the main floor. To see a larger version, click on the picture.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Finance: It's More Than Just Numbers

Accounting managers, tax directors, CFOs - I've heard all of them say that communication is important if you're going to get ahead. James Rubin spoke at length with Petter Wendel, chief financial officer of the investment firm Greystone & Co., about why that is.

You've got to work with people to pull together numbers and get financial statements out. Communicating what needs to be done is important. Secondly, a lot of the information we create in the accounting department is used by people who are not accounting types. Finding a way to communicate that information so it's useful is also important.

Communicating is Vital - Even in Finance [JITM]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Radical Retention Strategies

The single most impressive corporate campus I've ever visited is that of Best Buy, the retailing giant based outside of Minneapolis. When BusinessWeek describes the place as "ultramodern," it's not saying half of it. There are coffee shops, multimedia presentations playing in the walls, dry cleaning services, child care on sight, and an energy like you feel in top-end shopping centers.

Now Best Buy is in the midst of experimenting with a "results-only work environment," or ROWE. As BusinessWeek describes it:

Hence workers pulling into the company's amenity-packed headquarters at 2 p.m. aren't considered late. Nor are those pulling out at 2 p.m. seen as leaving early. There are no schedules. No mandatory meetings. No impression-management hustles. Work is no longer a place where you go, but something you do. It's O.K. to take conference calls while you hunt, collaborate from your lakeside cabin, or log on after dinner so you can spend the afternoon with your kid.

... arguably no big business has smashed the clock quite so resolutely as Best Buy. The official policy for this post-face-time, location-agnostic way of working is that people are free to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long as they get their work done. "This is like TiVo for your work," says the program's co-founder, Jody Thompson. By the end of 2007, all 4,000 staffers working at corporate will be on ROWE. Starting in February, the new work environment will become an official part of Best Buy's recruiting pitch as well as its orientation for new hires. And the company plans to take its clockless campaign to its stores - a high-stakes challenge that no company has tried before in a retail environment.

The article goes onto to discuss how other companies have approached Best Buy to learn more about the strategy, with an eye toward adopting it themselves. For good reason:

Best Buy notes that productivity is up an average 35% in departments that have switched to ROWE. Employee engagement, which measures employee satisfaction and is often a barometer for retention, is way up too, according to the Gallup Organization, which audits corporate cultures.

I bring all this up because not only does Best Buy employ accountants, auditors and tax professionals (though there's no word on whether those departments are involved in ROWE just yet), but because the challenges the program addresses are the same as those faced by any number of accounting and auditing firms struggling to hang on to their people: Long hours, high stress, no life.

Best Buy smashes the clock [BusinessWeek via MSNBC]

Cool Under Fire

MassMutual and Harris Interactive conducted a survey to see if they could draw correlations between job descriptions and how nervous people are about potential disabilities, ie: the financial impact of, say, getting hit by a truck. Turns out accountants are pretty sanguine about such things. Just 27 percent would worry they'd never be able to work again in the wake of a disability, the survey found. This earns them the designation "Cool Cucumber." Advertising and marketing professionals are the ones most anxious about the impact. They get the tag "Nervous Nellies."

Can you just imagine the meeting where they came up with this?

Nervous Nellies and Cool Cucumbers [MassMutual]

Monday, December 04, 2006

Last Week's Poll

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and last week most of our users said they'll travel at some point between now and the end of the year. Their destination? Either a vacation spot or to wherever their family happens to be. Less than a quarter of those answering the poll on said they'll be working over the holidays. But more than 25 percent - 28.2 percent, to be exact - said they'll be job-hunting.

Do you plan to use the quiet of the holidays to plan or make a job move? Let us know. Add your comment by clicking on the link below.

Tax Departments Still Need Staff

KPMG released the summary of its 2006 Tax Department Survey, which includes this:

…attracting and keeping the right people - and enough of them - appears to be of widespread interest. Many executives report making headway in increasing the head count they now need for a more demanding environment. However, as more
organizations implement and plan an increase in full-time equivalents (FTEs) from the existing talent pool, the potential for people shortages seem clear.

In other words, tax departments still need accountants, and the need is widespread enough to continue the talent shortage a lot of tax directors have complained about in recent years. The survey also says "Staffing shortages are also cited as a significant issue in the struggle for fuller reporting in less time.

The report's 55 pages long and I'm just reading it now. I suspect there might be some more posts about it coming soon. Meantime, if you want to read it yourself, it's available in pdf format at the link below.

2006 Tax Department Survey [KPMG - pdf]

Recruiters and

Workforce Management profiles the networking site and how recruiters use it to connect with candidates. "LinkedIn is actively courting the headhunting set with new services. But new potential competitors are emerging and it remains to be seen whether business-focused networking sites will become central to most recruiters," writes Ed Frauenheim.

For those of you who haven't used it, LinkedIn is a networking site that's designed to connect people for business reasons. I've used it to find sources for articles, to re-connect with old colleagues, or sometimes just to browse around one industry group or another to see who's there. It doesn't replace old-fashioned networking methods like, say, coffee, but it can be a handy tool. And, I find, more and more people are using it from a variety of industries.

It’s hard to gauge exactly what percentage of recruiters have profiles on LinkedIn, given imprecise numbers for the profession. A few years ago, industry publication Recruiter Magazine Online estimated there were 200,000 internal, contract and human resources recruiting professionals working full time for corporations throughout North America, as well as more than 100,000 retained and contingency-based recruiters working at some 25,000 firms.

LinkedIn’s attractiveness to this population has a lot to do with not touting its recruiting role to most users. (Co-founder Konstantin) Guericke and four colleagues started LinkedIn three years ago with a vision of making money from professionals such as recruiters, attorneys and management consultants, who could benefit from a network of high-powered people by pitching their services or snaring job candidates.

The average LinkedIn member, however, would come to the site and use it for free to keep track of colleagues, arrange deals and otherwise make business connections. So far, the plan seems to be working.

LinkedIn’s membership doubled in the past year, and revenue at the site is growing at twice the rate of membership growth, Guericke says. The privately held company, which employs about 70 people, became profitable earlier this year.

Company Profile: Recruiters Get LinkedIn in Search of Job Candidates []

Off-Topic Post #1

When you start a blog, everyone tells you to make it "personal." You know, include little tidbits about things that are interesting even if they're not necessarily related to your main topic. I don't want to muddy the waters too much, but sometimes I come across something that's just too good not to share.

So: For anyone coming to New York this holiday season - or sometime else - try out the Comfort Diner at 214 E 45th St, New York. Truly amazing milk shakes, and I want to publicly thank whoever came up with the idea of a pulled pork and cheese casadeia.

Here's a link with more information from Google.