Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Your Responsibility Quotient?

Sometimes, decisions about who you will and won’t work for help you sort out just how strongly you feel about an issue. I’m not a big fan of the war on terror and would have preferred that we spend those billions on universal pre-school for American children. Yet when an editor offered me a very profitable assignment writing a feature for one of Halliburton’s in-house magazines, I snapped the assignment right up. I could have sent the fee over to the Fresh Air Fund for children, but I used it to pay my health insurance tab instead.

If you’ve never run across a similar scenario, give it time. It’s the nature of life that if you’re a public accountant vehemently against abortion, your firm will land the audit work for the National Abortion Rights Action League and give the assignment to your team. When that happens, will you suck it up and do the audit, or beg off the assignment?

Do you consider corporate social responsibility when you job hunt? Check a company’s carbon footprint or charitable donations? Is it enough to know that your employer would give you two weeks off every spring so you can travel with your church to support an orphanage in Kenya, or do you actively look for a company that provides relief to African orphans?

Two recent surveys got me thinking about all this: The first, from KPMG, asked college students what their primary consideration was in choosing an employer and 57.4 percent said career opportunities. A scant 9 percent rated employer’s reputation as their top consideration.

The second survey, from Robert Half Management Resources, asked chief financial officers to rank the importance of corporate social responsibility programs. About 30 percent said they were “very important,” 25 percent said they were “not at all important,” and the rest were somewhere in the middle.

Can we conclude that most companies don’t care much about charity or volunteerism and that applicants don’t really care, as long as the job they’re offered has solid growth potential?

I suspect that for most of us, finding a socially responsible employer, or the decision to stay with an employer that moves in a direction we don’t like, is similar to choosing between a hybrid and a regular car. If the price is right, we’ll go with the hybrid, but if the price difference is large enough, fiscal consideration will outweigh good intentions every time.

Just who would you work for? It’s easy to say you’d hit the Add sender to blocked senders list if the Devil emailed after seeing your resume at JobsintheMoney, but it’s not always that obvious - or that easy.

Ethics Trouble Ahead

According to Sox First, a survey by the Ethics Resource Center found ethical misconduct has risen to the point of pre-Enron levels.
During the past 12 months, more than half the employees surveyed said they had seen ethical misconduct of some kind. And more than two in five didn't report what they had observed as one in eight experienced some sort of retaliation.

The findings are in the Ethics Resource Center's 2007 National Business Ethics Survey. Polling a total of 3452 employees in the business, government and non-profit sectors, the survey found that 23 per cent of employees observed conflicts of interest, 21 per cent witnessed abusive or intimidating behavior and 20 per cent witnessed lying.
Those aren't insignificant findings, and they make it more likely you'll bump up against some kind of ethical dilemma in the course of your work. Since being forewarned is being forearmed, you might want to take a look at this item by Dona DeZube about handling ethical questions when you're confronted with them.

Ethics danger signals [SOX First]
What to do With Ethical Questions [JITM]

It's Not About Balance - It's About Reality

Notoriously long hours, detail-oriented work, and considerable face time are parts and parcels of the CPA's working life. For accounting firms, changing this kind of culture may be even more important than money in the quest for new hires.

Given the stereotype of the overworked number-cruncher, it's no surprise posts for CPAs are wanting for candidates. Even without the pressured working conditions, other, often more lucrative opportunities are luring accountants away from the CPA fold. According to the 2007 CPA Examination Summit white paper from the National Association of Black Accountants, the wider financial world is drawing more young people of all backgrounds out of accounting. Better salary offers play a part, as does the perception getting the MBA is easier than earning CPA licensure.

Read the full story.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Audit Opportunities Expand As Private Companies 'Go Bright'

Sarbanes-Oxley is creating jobs for internal control and audit professionals within companies not formally subject to the five-year-old law.

Initially, SOX drove many public companies to "go dark" - buy up nearly all their shares in order to exempt themselves from the law's costly requirements. Now, accounting and finance experts are noting the opposite phenomenon: A significant minority of non-public companies are voluntarily choosing to comply with key provisions of SOX - a trend that could be called "going bright."

Read the full story.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Online Interviewing Help

If you keep thinking you're doing something wrong in your job search, here's an interesting site: NextJob101. Basically, it's a series of video tutorials in interviewing skills, a blog, and a forum, all created by recruiter Vicki Herrod. It costs $30 for a three-month membership, which doesn't strike me as unreasonable if you're looking for ways to polish your performance.

Here's a press release.

'Responsibility' Reporting Poised to Widen?

Corporations and investors are increasingly adopting environmental, social and governance measures of performance, alongside the usual financial ones. That means expanded career opportunities for internal auditors, management consultants and other professionals who can apply a new generation of non-financial reporting tools. The activities of finance departments and external auditors will be affected as well. But it's going to happen slowly.

Read the full story.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Then There's THIS Juggling Act...

I'm not sure whether to be amused, bemused, exasperated or glum about the comments to this post by Sara Schaefer Munoz on The Wall Street Journal's blog the Juggle.
OK Juggle readers, let’s hear it. How do you handle the competing demands of work, chores and children — and still make time for sex? Have you been successful in carving out time for yourselves as a couple, or is this something that has fallen by the wayside?
The comments range from the resigned to the pragmatic, with some cynicism thrown in. If you work long days (tax time's coming), you may want to read about a slice of juggling home and office that is more whispered about than actually discussed.

Juggling Career, Kids and a Sex Life
[WSJ - $]

About Agencies

Chris Russell posts an e-mail complaining about agencies who list positions on job boards, and his reply. The exchange makes points about agencies that job-seekers don't always like to hear, including:
Don't apply for jobs for which you are not qualified. I realize there are some job seekers who are down on their luck right now. But the worst thing you can do is blame somebody else. Make your own luck. Do something unique to stand out. If there is a job you want, go get it. Prove to the company that you are the RIGHT person for the job.
I hate employment agencies [Secrets of the Job Hunt]

N.Y. Area Accountants Feel Wall Street's Pain

With record write-downs reported at large banks and investment firms, many of which are headquartered in the tri-state region, it's not surprising that hiring is slowing down. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut accountants needn't rush to these firms looking for a golden opportunity, at least not in the short-term.

Read the full story.

Monday, November 26, 2007

On the Road Again

A new Web site by the Texas Society of CPAs explores accounting careers. It's called Destination CPA, and it's snazzy - just as a site aimed at high school and college students should be. Fortunately, Willie Nelson wasn't invited along for the ride. With it, the Texans join the AICPA in talking to kids in their own language.

New student-focused web site provides info on becoming a CPA [AccountingWeb]

More Than Numbers

Joey A. Bermudez, chief executive of Chinatrust Commercial Bank, Philipines, gave a speech to a group of newly certified accountants in Manila recently. It's an interesting speech, observations that can be useful to the newly
Whatever occupation you get into, be not afraid to re-invent yourself. For many years, the accounting profession struggled to remake itself after waking up to the fact that the world had changed and that our long-held notions of fair reporting had to keep up with the evolving business realities. One does not need to be thrust into a life-threatening situation before re-inventing himself; he only needs to be excited by the new role that he will assume. The best financial controller who worked for me was not even a CPA. He was not even an accountant by profession. He was an engineer. But he totally transformed himself into a financial controller because he saw in that role a lot of thrills and joys that many who went to accounting school could not see.
Quo vadis, young CPA? []

One Part Inspiration and 9 Parts Silk Screen

Okay, this is absolutely off-topic, because I just don't see accountants getting hired this way. But sometimes you come across something that can only be called "pluck."
Straight up, no bones about it, no way to dispute it, if they can read People WILL Read What's On Your Shirt!

Put something about yourself on your shirt and not only will they read it they will strain to see it. They will position themselves for a better look. Stand in line at a fast food joint and at any given moment someone will be checking it out. I'm telling you people can't help it.

With a brief description of your skills and what you're looking for (a cover letter basically) on your shirt you will be getting interviewed constantly in the minds of people who read it! If they happen to know of something that might be a match it will occur to them to say something!
Damn I Need A Job

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More on Video Resumes

Louise Fletcher at Blue Sky Resumes writes about her experience creating a multimedia resume template for use with some of her clients. It sounds cool - except no one wanted it. Of video resumes she says:
They are simply a slower and more inconvenient way of screening candidates - and unless you're talented on camera (which is irrelevant for 99.9999% of all jobs) you might damage your chances of getting the job.
Video Resumes Are Not the Answer [Blue Sky Resumes]

Getting Credit When Credit is Due

You're doing all the work and someone else is taking all the credit. It's not only unfair, but it may affect your career. Handling the situation requires tact, diplomacy and a plan.

Read the Full Story.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How Clothes Make the Accountant

In California, most accounting firms favor business casual attire. Staples of twentieth century office life - like ties and jackets for men or hosiery for women – are largely passe. So, what do the well-dressed accountants wear? Pay attention if you want to look the part.

You think this stuff doesn't matter? Read the story here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It Just Looks Like I'm Late...

I'm a big fan of being on time. It amazes me how often people show up late for meetings - even if they've only got to walk down the hall. Of course, if it's your boss showing up late - well, he's the boss. But if you're the one who's late, you're probably mistaken to think "just a few minutes doesn't matter," or "we always start our meetings late anyway." I've never known anyone who looks bad by being on time.

This article in The Wall Street Journal looks at people who are habitually late, though it doesn't offer many tips on how to change. But the comments that go along with the story make for interesting reading.

I'm Not Really Late, I'm Just Indulging In Magical Thinking
[WSJ - $]

The IRS Man Behind the Bonds Indictment

How often do you a see a long feature article on an IRS Special Agent? The New York Times had one on Sunday, profiling Jeff Novitzky, who's investigative work has led to the indictment of San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Among government officials and antidoping authorities, Mr. Novitzky is heralded as a pioneer. They credit him with helping to change how the illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs is prosecuted. They describe him as a tenacious and methodical investigator whose work has always held up in court.

>>A Harvest of Trash and Turmoil for an Agent Fighting Steroids [NY Times]

Friday, November 16, 2007


Don't forget you can ask questions, give answers, or just generally say how you feel about work in JobsintheMoney's forums. You can reach them here. Yes, you have to register but that's about keeping spammers away.

How to Change Careers

Here's another story from our sister site Dice that, although it's written for tech folks, has some good pointers for anybody who'se considering as switch out of accounting.
"No matter what field you're in, the jobs all require the same behaviors, tools and disciplines," says Ford Myers, president of Career Potential LLC in Haverford, Pa. "The key is identifying the ones that you're good at and finding where you might be able to use those same skills."
This means that you should start by thinking about jobs where your accounting skills could be useful. Maybe it's managing a non-profit, for example. Or maybe you want to build on your accounting background by getting an MBA. If you like managing people, maybe general business management is the way to go. Whatever you do, to change careers to going to require the motivation to reeducate yourself, and the patience and perseverance to keep at it during the time it takes to navigate the transition.

Changing Careers for Fun and Profit [Dice]

What to do With Ethical Questions

If you stay in finance and accounting long enough, someone is going to ask you to fudge something. What should you do? First, clarify the situation, then refuse to act unethically and seek input from outside sources and people further up the chain of command.

"It's very important at the moment you're asked to do something unethical that you voice your concerns," says Kathleen Downs, division director for Robert Half International in Orlando. "You have to explain why you're uncomfortable and how you feel about it, so you can gauge whether you perhaps misunderstood what you were asked to do."

Read the full story.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Network Your Way to the Top

"I can find my next job all by myself" is one myth that needs to be exploded, say search experts. The old conventional wisdom, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," is alive and well. So get out of your chair, into some social and professional events, and nurture your network.

Read the full story.

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

For any resume, a key to success is length - or lack of it. It's critical to understand not only how a resume is reviewed, but what its length says about your professionalism.

Most human resources departments are understaffed and overworked. When a company posts an opening, it's often mere hours before HR is inundated with resumes. Most get a cursory pass, lasting between 10 to 30 seconds. Yet, it's at this stage that a resume deemed too long or too crowded will almost certainly be rejected.

So, what's the appropriate length? Does your resume have to fit onto one page? Are two pages acceptable? What if you're an executive with 25 years of relevant experience? Can you use three pages then?

When considering these questions, remember this: The goal of a resume is to help you get an interview. While there are always exceptions, the majority of candidates applying to a company cold should adhere to the general tenets that define effective resumes. These are the guidelines most HR staffers are familiar with, and while few hard and fast rules govern the world of resume writing, following this general advice can improve your chances of creating a great resume.

Read the full story.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why We'll Always Need Tax Accountants

Today's Wall Street Journal has a story illustrating why tax accountants are in such demand. For those following the world of state taxes, it probably comes as no surprise that Illinois and Wal-Mart are locked in a dispute over the retailer's strategy of shifting revenues to a subsidiary based overseas, even though the unit's purpose is to receive money from stores in the Prairie State. It also mentions the state's dispute with McDonald's over a Delaware unit that owns restaurants in the Virgin Islands, and Minnesota's challenge of Burlington Northern Santa Fe's paying interest to Delaware subsidiaries doing business in Canada.

If you never considered the amount of state tax revenue big retailers are on the hook for, consider the lengths to which they'll go to, er, mitigate them.

It's a hugely complex issue, with the resolution often involving discussions between corporate and state tax departments, attorneys and specialists on the ground. You don't see many articles about it in the general business press.

Why Wal-Mart Set Up Shop in Italy [WSJ - $]

Pausing on Video Resumes

Even before you get to the legal issues involved in video resumes, I've never been a big fan of them. As a professional, I don't want to have to create one. As a manager, I hate the idea of having to watch a bunch of them any time I hire someone. (The legal issues, by the way, involve discrimination. Since employers aren't allowed to ask a candidate about race, sex, etc., they don't want to have the answers about race, sex, etc., presented to them via a video.) Besides that, I don't want to see how you do in a canned, rehearsed presentation. I want to see how you react to my questions, interact with other people, and in general get a sense of how we'd get along every day.

Still, video resumes are kind of like the moles in whack-a-mole. The idea keeps coming up, usually in some kind of magazine feature article. (Or, of course, there's this.)

Anyway, it seems the "career video" CareerTV is getting out of video resumes. According to the recruiting site, the company said there's not enough interest from employers.

careertv to abandon video resumes [Cheezhead]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blurred Lines

Penelope Trunk observes:
One of the most shocking turns in today’s workplace is that it used to be that young people went to the Peace Corps to grow. Now people go to big accounting firms because they are leading the way in retaining young workers, by infusing work with meaning. You get a mentor, you get rotating responsibilities, and you get opportunities to volunteer, on company time. A study by Deloitte found that volunteer opportunities attract a stronger candidate pool in the business sector. And Ernst & Young rewards high performers with a Social Responsibility Fellowship.
She was writing about how the desire of more people to have their jobs mean something is impacting the workplace - making non-profits more business-like, and businesses more socially conscious.

Not long ago, Dona DeZube wrote a piece for us on transitioning into the non-profit world. You can read it here.

Lines blur between non-profit and for-profit workplaces []
Move to a Non-Profit with Open Eyes [JobsintheMoney]

Successful Job Hunts Begin with a Plan

Even today, when the demand for candidates among accounting firms is approaching mythic status, you should consider the job market a buyer’s market, where employers come first. A job search shouldn't be about your search and the job you want. Rather, it should zoom right in with solutions to challenges employers face, recognizing their needs and reflecting their priorities. Targeting your search from this angle will make you stand out as the more competitive candidate, a sophisticated resource who understands how the modern job market operates.

Read the full story.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gonna Party Like a Slowdown's Comin' On

It's not even Thanksgiving yet and the grinch is about. Apparently, fewer companies are planning on some type of holiday celebration this year. Search firm Battalia Winston says 85 percent of the companies it surveyed plan a party this season, nine percent less than last year, and the third lowest percentage in the 19 years its been asking the question. (The low point was during a recession in 1991.) Some 70 percent - 15 percent fewer than last year will be serving alcohol. Is there a link between more subdued company parties and economic worries? Battalia Winston Chief Executive Dale Winston thinks so. "Throughout the years, we've learned that the percentage of company parties is directly linked to the health of the economy. This year more businesses are opting for afternoon affairs and less alcohol than in 2006," he said.

Would You Ask for a Raise?

Our most recent poll on JobsintheMoney asked whether you'd ask for a raise in the next six months. The results were:

  • Yes - 55 percent
  • No reason to - 10 percent
  • Not in this economy! - 12 percent
  • Not sure - 23 percent
Now, we're asking about how comfortable you are taking a risk in managing your career. See the poll and vote on JobsintheMoney.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another Way Patience Pays Off

While accountants are used to helping clients solve difficult problems, they're often less adept at resolving issues within their own firms. Reserved by nature, they tend to shy away from conflict and let situations fester. What they may not realize is the ability to resolve disagreements can be a great tool in developing their careers.

Here's our full story.

The Drama Continues

Colleges think the need for accountants is going to continue for some time:
Investment banking is still very popular with students and companies, but accounting, one of the most in-demand fields, doesn't have a glamorous image. "We can't get enough students to major in it," (Maria Stein, director of career services at Northeastern University in Boston) said. "It's a great career with a lot of opportunities. It's much more dynamic than students think."

In accounting, "Good quality candidates are very hard to find. Companies definitely want talented people," said Bill Driscoll, New England district president for the staffing firm Robert Half International.

Salaries and demand are rising in accounting and finance, Driscoll said. The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley legislation mandating greater financial accountability from public companies continues to drive demand for accountants.
Jobs await prospective accountants, engineers [Boston Globe]

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More on Social Networks

Yesterday, I wrote a little bit social networks and finance folks tend to view them as being for fun, not business. I have to admit, their feelings confirmed a prejudice of mine, even though I'm hesitant to apply it to JobsintheMoney's users. I'm an old online guy (well, 47) and I've watched people use their computers for fun and business for a long time - since even before there was a Web.

See, there used to be dis thing called COMPuserve, and you could CHAT vith people, and send pictoores, and rant about politics in dere forums, and people spent HOURS on dis thing, usually late at night… Vhere's my inhaler…?

Sorry. Sometimes when I talk about things like CompuServe, my niece and nephew look at me the way I used to look at my grandfather.

Anyway, by coincidence I posted a story on our sister site Dice yesterday about using social networks as part of career management. Dice is a site for technical folks, so that's what the focus is on, but I think much of the article could apply to accountants and finance folks. If nothing else, it gives you a good idea of what sites are focused on business use (that would be LinkedIn), and what sites aren't really doing much of anything (which would be Friendster.) Don wrote:
There are fewer people on LinkedIn than other social networks, but they're the right people. This well-crafted site is designed solely to help you make professional connections. It's so serious that until recently you couldn't even post a photo of yourself. Submit your resume and skills, state your intentions (looking to hire, looking to be hired, looking for freelance work, etc.), import your address book to find colleagues who are already there - and start making connections.

Does it work? Some say it does. Janet Ryan, chief of advertising at, another social networking site, says she landed her job when the company's founder searched LinkedIn for a specialist to set up revenue operations just before the product launched. "By checking our mutual connections she was able to do a full reference check before we ever met, and I did the same on my end as well," Ryan recalls. "When we met in person it was like talking with an old friend, and we started working together immediately."

LinkedIn's search tools help find people like you, people who might need you, people you might need, and people who share your skills. The site also has a useful Q&A feature that lets you make your presence known by asking contacts specific career-related questions (and answering them, too). All this is free, and it's worth an hour of your time to get familiar with its look and feel.
Social networks basically repackage standard online tools in ways that help people connect. They give people a place to show off their knowledge to like-minded people - which can also be done by commenting on blogs, participating in forums, or creating a personal Web site that acts as an online resume. How valuable these strategies are varies by the industry you work in and, I think, by how comfortable you are in using them. What the networks give you is an environment where people want to connect.

Make a Social Network Work For You [Dice]

Success with Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews can be trying. There are no visual cues from the interviewer, no body language to read and, in some cases, you've got to answer questions posed by a panel of voices over conference lines or speaker phones. Here's some tips on engaging successfully - long-distance or local.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How to Leapfrog the Pay Scale

It's no secret that experienced accountants and finance professionals are in short supply, and that shortage of talent is pushing up CPA salaries at all levels. Getting regular annual raises in low-double-digit percentages must be a satisfying feeling. But if you make strategic use of outside offers, you may be able to boost your pay as much as 25 percent at a pop. Better yet, you may get the opportunity do so repeatedly as your career develops.

Read the full story here.

What Goes On Behind The Mirror

I spent the last two days in a dark room in mid-town Manhattan, watching people use JobsintheMoney. This was one of those see-through mirror set-ups, where a bunch of us from the product and marketing teams could observe people give the site a try. Throughout the session, they kept up a running commentary about what they liked, and what they didn't. Back in the dark room, there was a lot of sighing and note-taking.

A couple of things struck me: First, there's a big difference in attitudes among age groups about their careers. It seems the older people get, the more inclined they are to wait for an internal promotion rather than actively look for a new job. Younger people - meaning those below 35 - viewed switching jobs as what you do when the time comes for a new challenge or more money. And those who are in their mid twenties have a healthy sense that their job better stay interesting, or they're going to start looking.

Everyone understands the importance of connections, it seemed. In other words, they get the value of networking, even if they call it something else. People talk about "staying in touch" more than "networking," and few of these folks belonged to formal business or professional groups. They send e-mails instead. And, even among younger people, sites like Facebook or MySpace were all about fun. No one expressed much interest in using them to find a new job.

These are the highlights, and I'm still sifting through my notes. There's more to come. But if you have any thoughts about how you manage your career or look for a job - and how we can help you - please post a comment or send me an e-mail. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

About Balance

Francine McKenna has a fascinating post on Re: The Auditors about the personality traits of accountants and an alternative view of work-life balance, which - as she notes - is all the rage as a discussion nowadays. I keep trying to summarize it, but I can't do it justice. She get it all rolling with this:
And I don't much like the focus the Big 4 have these days on work-life-family balance and diversity. Not because I am against work, life or family or diversity, but because I think the job is one you choose and the rest is something that you implicitly agree to adjust in order to fit in and do the job well. If I wanted to be off during the summer, I would have been a teacher. If I wanted my team to not miss me when I'm out and clients to be able to live without me when I'm away, I would have become an assembly line worker, able to turn off my job when the whistle blows. If I wanted everyone I work with to know about, respect and celebrate my personal, sexual, and lifestyle choices I would have become a nun.
That alone will get some people hopping. But before you hop, read the whole post here.

Soy Conservative [Re: The Auditors]

Advisory Services Staff Up With CPAs

Small and mid-sized CPA firms in the New York metro area are branching out into business consulting, giving rise to a new category of professional opportunities for accountants.

Read the full story.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Career Planning 101

What's career planning? Scot Herrick at CubeRules says:

Career planning is really about a simple formula, given to me by one of my previous managers:

Performance + Skills = Opportunity

Performance means that no matter what the job, performance counts. This is consistent across many good managers that I’ve had the privilege of working for in my career. Performance, to potential managers of your skills, means that you will go into a position and be successful, regardless of the position.

Skills means that you have the necessary prerequisites to be able to perform in the position.

If you have skills and no performance, you are a person with potential. If you have performance, but not the right skills for a new position, you won’t be given the opportunity.

In short, a person can only control their performance on the job and the skills they acquire.

Scot's point is that there are many things in your work you can't control: your manager, the job market, your company's performance - and I'd add even more things, like the economy, the demand for your skills (which might high right now, but...) and the joys and pressures of life in general. So, it's important to pay attention to doing the best you can with the aspects that are under your control.

Career Planning: Dynamic Duo Drives Opportunities [Cube Rules]

Reality Check

One of the things you've got to like about Penelope Trunk is her forthrightness. This post on her Web site is from July, but that doesn't make it any less valuable. It's about the struggles of stay-at-home fathers, told from the point of view of a woman who's married to one.

I know that there are a lot of stay-at-home dads. But while it may seem like there are a lot who are happy, I think it’s really just that every single one of the happy ones is blogging.
Flexwork, alternative work arrangements and what have you are such huge topics of discussion nowadays. But sometimes, there are unintended consequences.

My own marriage and the myth of the stay-at-home dad [Penelope Trunk]

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Accounting Workers' Confidence Slides

Accounting and finance workers' confidence appears to be swinging downward more steeply than among the U.S. adult population as a whole, new surveys show.

Here's the full story.

Policies Meet Reality

If you worry about ethics for all the wrong reasons - like, say, you're concerned someone might be looking over your shoulder - reality is, unfortunately, on your side. Because it seems that while companies have been diligent in creating ethics policies, few of them actually follow up to make sure it's being observed, at least in the UK.

In a survey conducted by CFO Europe Research Services and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, 90 percent of companies reported having a written ethics policy.

Writes WebCPA:
The survey also found that the top-performing companies were likely to report they had an excellent ethical climate. However, when the survey asked about whether companies and their boards had practices and procedures in place to monitor whether they were adhering to their code of ethics and processes to provide such assurances, the results were disappointing.

Strategic responsibility for ethics resides a step above the CFO, with the chairman or CEO, but CFOs are more likely to be the day-to-day guardians. Moxey believes that CFOs should help fulfill this role. "I think it's something that CFOs should be very actively involved in," he said. "CFOs are the natural keepers of the corporate conscience. They are the natural people to be spearheading a company's approach to whether it's living up to its values or complying with its rules."
Ethics Policies Often Not Monitored [WebCPA]