Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New CFO at Domino's Pizza

Domino's Pizza appointed Wendy A. Beck as executive vice president and chief financial officer. She had been CFO, senior vice president and treasurer of Whataburger Restaurants, a Corpus Christi, Texas-based chain of more than 700 outlets in Texas and 10 other states. She'll be based at the company's headquarters in Ann Arbor. Previously, Beck has worked at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, and home healthcare firm Lincare Holdings. Beck has a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of South Florida, and has been a CPA since 1992. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Women's FoodService Forum.

Here's the full story, from PRNewsire via Yahoo News.

Breaking Through the Wall

The ability to reach a prospective employer directly can be vital to your job-hunting efforts. Your prospects increase dramatically if you can talk to a person, instead of "Human Resources."

Read our story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Moves at Arch Coal

John Drexler is the new chief financial officer of Arch Coal, Inc., a St. Louis-based coal company. John Lorson has been named chief accounting officer. Gregory Szczepan succeeds Lorson as corporate controller.

Here's a story from the St. Louis Business Journal.

Support for Subprime Litigants

Is the market for forensic accountants going to get even tighter thanks to a flood of lawsuits filed over the subprime credit crisis? A whopping 181 subprime mortgage-related cases were filed in federal courts in the first quarter of 2008, a rate that’s close to surpassing the filing rate seen during the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s, says First Navigant Consulting, Inc., Chicago. Someone is going to have to provide the accounting analytics to both sides of those cases, but who?

“These are complex claims,” says Navigant Managing Director Jeff Nielsen. “They generally involve the mortgage origination and securitization process, as well as securities that have been issued that are backed by mortgage collateral, so there’s an over-arching complexity to just the industry and the processes at issue here. With that backdrop, my opinion is that--depending upon where the litigation goes, and if the litigation matures-- the demand for forensic professionals is going to be substantial.”

Expertise is going to be a commodity in hot demand. “It’s not only the hard skills in terms of finance, accounting and economics, but also the deep industry knowledge and the knowledge of these products. Those are the individuals that are going to be best positioned to assist with these issues and shed light and unwind [transactions and deals] in a way that people can understand what are inherently complicated questions,” he says.

But wait. Wouldn’t those be the same people that led the industry down the rosy path and into the quicksand? “You can have extensive knowledge without having been at the center of it when the problematic loans were being made and the securities were being issued,” Nielsen says.

So if you can answer questions such as: was the risk management system adequate, were there strong internal controls in place, and if you can value illiquid securities and cogently discuss related reporting and policy issues, and you have a believable explanation as to why you weren’t part of the problem, the legal profession is going to be anxious to talk to you.

Chicago CPAs and Accountants in Demand

Recruiters and accounting firm insiders report a strong demand for accountants and CPAs in public accounting, the corporate market, and financial services and alternative investment firms in Chicago. "If you're an accountant in the Chicago area, it's a great marketplace," says one of them, Dave Falardeau of 10k Financial Recruiters.

Here's our story.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Older Workers in Demand

The Internal Revenue Service is among the government agencies seeking job candidates over 50. It's among the newest members of the AARP's s National Employer Team. Deborah Russell, director of work-force issues for AARP, says more employers see the value of mature workers - including their lower turnover rates - and are coming to recognize older workers are a viable way of filling talent gaps.

Older workers looking more glamorous to recruiters
[Dow Jones via the Seattle Times]

And, A New Appeal for Older Workers? [eFinancialCareers]

Internal Opportunities

If you like accounting but are tiring of the public side, John Brausch, chair of the board of regents for the Institute of Certified Management Accountants, tells the Hartford Courant there are plenty of opportunities in management accounting.
The attraction: "Accountants in industry are much more concept-based than rules-based," he says. "Those who are certified earn about $10,000 more per year than their peers and, of course, longevity breeds higher salaries."
Despite Job Forecasts, Some Industries Are Looking [Hartford Courant]

Offshoring Grows

Here's a somewhat sobering item from Canada's Financial Post: Some accounting firms in Canada are learning the value of offshoring - from their colleagues in the U.S. Gary Marcus, a partner at the Toronto chartered accounting firm Horwath Orenstein, told the Post, ""We found the U.S. was getting into it very deep, primarily from the processing of U.S. tax returns."
Welcome to the growing world of finance and accounting outsourcing. What started out with billing, invoicing, general bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivables is now including tax preparation, even audit services.

According to NASSCOM, an Indian trade body representing the outsourcing business, high-end accounting work now accounts for 30% to 40% of the market.
Accounting ripe for outsourcing [Financial Post]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not Fading Away

Jon Jacobs wrote a terrific piece for eFinancialCareers:
Candidates imprisoned in the over-50 career ghetto might draw inspiration from an unusual source: the Rolling Stones.
I'll let it speak for itself. Read it here.

On Becoming a CFO

If your aim is to become a CFO, Leslie Stevens-Huffman interviewed two in California about their career paths.
Forget everything you've heard. The road to the CFO's chair doesn't always pass through public accounting firms and big company detours that could leave you stranded, staring at spreadsheets in your cubicle for decades. Here's some advice from two CFOs about how to break into the management game.
Here's her story.

Three Good Reasons to Pay Taxes

Well, what to do with the story of Wesley Snipes, movie star, tax evader, and soon-to-be federal prisoner. A judge yesterday sentenced him to three years in jail for failing to file tax returns - the maximum sentence. I suppose it'd be a career story, if I was blogging about film careers. (Use your jail time wisely to evaluate your next big feature.) It's sure a tax story, if only a little one. Maybe it just confirms that tax accountants have plenty to do. Whatever. If you haven't seen any of the reports - and I don't see how you could have missed them - here's one of the tamer versions. (Google's only showing something like 700 news stories about it.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

CPA to CFO, By Way of Law School

Richard Ramos started as a CPA, went to law school, and now is CFO of Martiz Inc., which provides a variety of services to corporations. CFO magazine has a good case study of an unusual track to the chief financial officer's chair:
…while working on what he calls a KPMG "swat team" for an international client that was acquiring a number of U.S. businesses, a new idea gelled. The work involved interaction with M&A attorneys, and Ramos began to observe that the legal and financial aspects of the projects fit together snugly, like puzzle pieces. How attractive would he be to corporate employers if he added legal training to his accounting background?

Plenty, he figured - enough that his new long-term goal became to one day land a CFO job. All that stood in his way were three years of law school, then practicing law for a few years, then finding a corporate job, then working his way up to CFO.

Fast forward less than six years, and it was mission accomplished — with the help of a shortcut. Not only did Ramos take a most unusual route through law school on his way to a CFO chair, he achieved an even rarer feat: His very first corporate title was CFO.
How he got there is in the story. Worth reading, if you want to be a CFO.

Rare Career Path: CPA, JD, CFO [CFO]

Bonadio & Co. Adds Space for Acquisition

Rochester, N.Y., firm Bonadio & Co. has added space to its nearby Amherst office ahead of a possible acquisition. Buffalo Business First says the firm is eying an unidentified area firm, and has added enough space for up to 15 more people. Philip Mann, a Bonadio managing partner, said the firm wants to grow its nonprofit practice and high-level tax consulting in Amherst.

Rochester CPAs eye Buffalo acquisition [Buffalo Business First]

Gregory Sharer & Stuart Hires New COO

Leslie Pelley, a former business journalist, has joined Gregory Sharer & Stuart PA in St. Petersburg, Fla., as chief operating officer. For the past 25 years, she's worked at manufacturers and non-profits - including the Poynter Institute, the not-for-profit owner of the St. Petersburg Times.

Leslie Pelley joins accounting firm Gregory Sharer as COO [Tampa Bay Business Journal]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For CFOs Fired After Restating, Few Reprieves

When companies fudge their reporting, the employment market as well as the financial market exacts a toll on the CFO, a new academic study found.

CFOs of companies that restate results not only are more likely to be fired, they are also much less likely to find another job as a CFO within four years after termination. That's the gist of a study of 167 restating companies by professors Denton Collins of the University of Memphis, Austin Reitenga of the University of Alabama, and University of Arkansas faculty members Juan Manuel Sanchez and Adi Masli, summarized in CFO Magazine.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is part of the reason. Since Sarbox, just one in six CFOs (17 percent) fired by restating companies found new employment at the CFO level or higher within four years, the professors found. Before Sarbox, that figure was 37 percent. (However, the percentage of fired CFOs who found new work of any kind dipped only slightly after Sarbox, from 54 percent to 47 percent.) The odds of getting re-employed as a CFO at a public company were even lower.

The professors write:
Firms are less willing in the post-Sarbox period to hire a former CFO with a tarnished reputation. This appears to be consistent with the intent of the legislation to increase executive accountability….The reputational effects of being implicated in an accounting misstatement can be potentially devastating to the subsequent career path of the executive.

Restating: The Career Killer [CFO]

Q&A: Krista McMasters of Clifton Gunderson

What does it take to reach the top in public accounting? JobsintheMoney News asked Krista McMasters, who recently became the first woman named to chief executive officer at a Top 25 public accounting firm, to share her best advice for those who want to follow the trail she's blazed at Clifton Gunderson in Milwaukee.

Dona DeZube conducted the interview. Read it here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We're Slipping

Manpower just released a study about the most in-demand fields and accounting and finance has slipped to number nine (it was number five last year).

The Manpower survey of nearly 43,000 employers across 32 countries and territories asked which positions were the most difficult to fill due to lack of available talent.

The results were:

2008 Hot Jobs

1. Skilled Manual Trades
2. Sales Representatives
3. Technicians
4. Engineers
5. Management/Executives
6. Laborers
7. Administrative Assistants/PAs
8. Drivers
9. Accounting & Finance staff
10. IT Staff

What’s behind the drop? “Our anecdotal insight is that other jobs could have become more in demand and edged out accounting,” answers a Manpower spokesperson. “Or, it could be due to the downturn of the economy and financial institutions being impacted.”

Not to worry, though, as long as your occupation makes the list, you’re in good shape. “Accounting and finance staff are still very much in demand because they’re in the Top 10,” she points out.

Play Leapfrog, Not Catchup

A candidate's present compensation can hurt their chances if it's too high, but won't help if it's low. So beware of sticking with the same employer over a string of single-digit annual raises which could eventually leave your pay below the market average.

That's one message of a Wall Street Journal column that explains how employers decide what to offer and explores what it takes to get an above-average package in today's tough market. Although writer Sarah E. Needleman ranges over a number of industries, much of the column's advice can apply to finance.

A few key points:
  • If you're underpaid, you'll probably need to job-hop two or more times to catch up with the market average. That's because a candidate's current compensation is the most important determinant of a new employer's offer. And it gets worse: being cheap labor won't even make you a more attractive candidate, according to Chicago recruiter Rick Slayton, president of Slayton Search Partners.

  • A 10 percent pay boost is currently the upper end of the premium a candidate should expect for making a lateral move. If jumping to a higher level of responsibility, the premium is 15 - 20 percent.

  • Even in today's soft labor market, employers will pay up for people with particular skills that are "in short supply and are critical to a business's bottom line." Those candidates can also obtain perks like flexible schedules and work-from-home arrangements that were once limited to established employees.

  • If you have a unique background, "Make it easy for an employer to spot" by highlighting it in your résumé and cover letter.

  • Because responsibility and title aren't necessarily synonymous, be sure you know the details of a position's responsibilities when evaluating its pay. "You have to make the job bigger through something you bring to the table in order to justify a larger pay package," David Wise, senior consultant at Hay Group, told Needleman.

  • Many employers are more willing to grant a one-time signing bonus than raise their initial salary offer. Sign-on bonus arrangements tied to performance, with a clawback provision if agreed goals aren't met, are increasingly popular.

Tough Times Don't Mean Tough Luck on Salary [WSJ's CareerJournal]

'Fairness Opinion' Expertise Sought in N.Y.

New York and New Jersey CPAs with fairness opinion expertise are in hot demand. Just what's driving the boom, and what skill sets are needed to get into this growing area of accounting?

Here's our story.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Quitting Time?

The busy season's over, which means some people may be about to make their move and jump to another firm. I stumbled across this post by blogger Monica O'Brien today, in which she argues against giving two weeks notice to your current employer before you depart for the new one.
So my suggestion is to shorten the two week notice to about three days. This is ample time to wrap up assignments, which if you are truly a good employee you would have mostly done while on the job hunt anyway. This is enough time to plan a nice lunch with your team, say goodbye to the people you most care about, and not have to explain yourself to the people you probably won’t see again. And above all, this is enough time to avoid the awkwardness that comes when everyone in the room knows you are leaving your current job.
I've got to say, this is lousy advice.

I'd point out giving three days notice is a fine way to alienate the partners in your current firm, who are going to have to scramble rather than plan a transition. If you're leaving clients behind, they'll be less-than-thrilled to be given such short shrift, and that's something they're going to pin on you, more than your old firm. Your employer, after all, isn't the one giving such short notice. I suspect your co-workers may feel left in the lurch if there are projects you were involved in. And if you have an in-house mentor? Something tells me that relationship will be pretty much gone.

I don't argue with Monica's description of how an employee feels once they've made the decision to jump. When you've accepted an offer from a new firm, you want to get on with it. But her discussion is all about her own desires and assumptions, and doesn't really consider how her current employers will react. It's important not to burn your bridges, and leaving too quickly might make you feel relieved in the short term, but it could haunt you over the course of several years.

And ask yourself this: How would your NEW employer feel if someone left them so suddenly? They may look at your actions and say "Hmmmm."

Why Two Weeks Notice May Be Too Much Notice [Twenty Set]

E&Y Shakes Up The Landscape Overseas

Ernst & Young will integrate its 87 national practices in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa into a single unit, which it calls the "EMEIA Area." At the same time, its Far East partners have approved a similar integration of units in 15 countries and territories.

The Financial Times calls the reorganization "the biggest shake-up of the professional services industry since the collapse of Arthur Andersen."
The 3,330 partners in the affected firms must agree on the changes, and votes are scheduled in May following a roadshow by senior executives. E&Y plans fully to merge its 45 European partnerships into a single legal entity – a practice made possible by recent changes in European regulation but still subject to voting by each partnership. Firms elsewhere will be formally combined where laws permit.

Jim Turley, global chairman and chief executive, said: “The moves reflect the increasingly global nature of our borderless business environment, which is changing the expectations of both our clients and our people – and which requires nothing less than a truly global approach.”

The change will also lay down a challenge to rivals PwC, KPMG and Deloitte to step up their own integration efforts or devise alternatives. Although they are global brands, the four are, in fact, networks of largely autonomous national firms, which has sometimes led to patchy quality.
The head of E&Y's UK practice, Mark Otty, has been nominated to be the EMEIA Area managing partner. David Sun and Jim Hassett will be co-managing partners in the Far East Area.

Here's E&Y's press release, and the story from the FT.

Duff & Phelps Moves into D.C.

Duff & Phelps has opened a Washington, D.C., area office by purchasing Dubinsky & Company, a Bethesda, Md., firm specializing in dispute and litigation support, fraud and forensic accounting, valuation and expert services. Bruce Dubinsky, the firm's president, becomes a Duff & Phelps managing director.

The firm says the acquisition complements its existing dispute and legal management business, which Managing Director Dan Peters calls "a growing area." The company said the acquisition provides a platform on which it can build out its services in the Washington area.

Dubinsky & Company has particular expertise in providing expert witness and forensic accounting services for companies in financial services, Duff & Phelps says. Its clients include law firms, corporations and U.S. government agencies.

Here's the press release.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Getting Tough for Everyone Else to Find Work

Accounting and finance workers are getting a bit nervous about the economy, even though there’s no evidence of a hiring slow down in their sector of the job market.

The Mergis Group’s Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index, which measures overall confidence among U.S. accounting and finance workers, recently hit its lowest level since its inception in 2005, according to data that Mergis will put out on Monday.

Fifty-six percent of the just over 400 professionals surveyed believe there were fewer jobs available during the first quarter of 2008, up 15 percentage points from the previous quarter. Only 14% said there were more jobs available, with the remaining 30% thinking the volume of jobs was about the same.

Overall, 66% of accounting and finance workers said the economy is getting weaker (no surprise), and the amount of workers who said they were likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months rose to 35%, up from 28% at the end of 2007.

“Given the volatility within this sector over the last few months, the continued decline of the Accounting and Finance Confidence Index is not surprising. Workers are starting to be concerned with the current economy, but in reality we are seeing a host of positive hiring trends,” said Jack Causa, senior vice president and group executive for The Mergis Group, which is Spherion Corp.’s professional placement subsidiary.

“In our business, we are continuing to see positive growth in this sector, especially for those with hard-to-find skills such as tax, financial reporting, corporate auditing and accounting for derivatives,” said Causa. “This growth, coupled with the U.S. Department of Labor projection that candidates in accounting and finance have the best job prospects of any industry in 2008, suggests that 2009 should be just as robust.”

At some level, accounting and finance professionals know he’s right. A whopping 82% said they were "not likely" to lose their job in the next 12 months. And, if they did decide to move, 58% were “confident” in their ability to find a new job while only 19% were “not confident.”

Of course I'm confident that if you want to find a really great job, it's waiting for you here.

More Hiring Managers Look at Online Networks

Nearly two-third of executives (62 percent) say online networking sites like LinkedIn will become useful in finding candidates in the next three years. (I'd argue they are already, but that's just me.) Thirty five percent say they'll use social networking sites, like MySpace or Facebook, to find candidates in the next three years. This all comes from a survey by Robert Half International.

There's nothing really new in these numbers, but the survey does reinforce a general trend that has online networking becoming more and more of a mainstream recruiting tool. It also reinforces the idea that you should remember potential employers may be looking at the pictures, thoughts and what have you that you post on these sites. Though some people maintain social networking sites should be, in effect, out of bounds when it comes to making work-related decisions, that's not reality.

Here's the whole press release, if you're interested

San Francisco Firm on Fast Track

CPA job seekers on the look-out for firms on the rise take notice. Burr Pilger and Mayer took top honors as California's fastest growing accounting firm in 2007. In a state with firms like Armanino McKenna, Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt, and Novogradac & Co. posting 20 to 30 percent gains - or more - that's no small feat.

Here's our story.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Finding the Top Firms

WebCPA has posted its Top 100 highest U.S. revenue-generating tax and accounting firms.

The Big Four were ranked:

#1 Deloitte & Touche $9.85 billion in net, up 12.33%,
# 2 Ernst & Young $7.56 billion in revenue up 9.74%,
#3 PricewaterhouseCoopers $7.46 billion in revenue up 7.81%,
#4 KPMG $5.36 billion in revenue up 11.58%.

Some smaller firms had outstanding revenue growth, including Burr, Pilger & Mayer, San Francisco, where revenues rose 51.56% and Kearney & Co., Alexandria, Va., where revenues were up 52.25%, according to the 2008 Accounting Today Top 100 Firms list.

The ranking also shows the number of offices the firm has, as well as the number of partners, professionals and total employees.

That led us to wonder if perhaps job seekers could use the ranking as a job-finding homing device by targeting the firms that had the highest percentage change in revenues and the lowest percentage increase in staff.

We ran that theory by Bill Carlino, editorial director for Accountants Media Group and editor-in-chief of Accounting Today, who gently burst our bubble.

When asked if our homing device would work, he answered, in true editorial fashion, “Yes and no.”

As all accountants know, size is relative. “For example, there may be a firm ranked lower down that had a higher percentage increase in revenue,” Carlino pointed out, “but their increase may be measured in thousands of dollars, than if say, KPMG had a much smaller percentage increase in revenue that may in fact be several hundred million dollars.”

Size counts in hiring, too. ”In sheer numbers, the Big Four (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) and the firms just below that (Grant Thornton, BDO, RSM McGladrey) always hire hundreds and even thousands of entry-level people each year,” Carlino said. “So, percentage-wise, that would probably be [your] best bet in landing a job.”

We sought a second opinion from Steve Mayer, the managing partner who presided over the nearly 52% revenue increase at Burr, Pilger & Mayer. About half of his firm’s nearly $16 million in revenue growth was organic, while the rest came through mergers and acquisitions, meaning the firm likely picked up the accounting employees associated with the acquired firms.

Mayer attributes the firm’s success to a commitment to three tenets: offer full services, have fun, be socially committed.

“Every time I interview someone or talk to a new client we talk about those three things,” he says. “We end up getting good people. And, we have low turn-over -- 5%. If you take out the people who leave because they have a baby or move out of the area, it’s less than that.”

In the past three years, he’s started hiring employees from outside accounting, including economists and bankers (who make up for what they don’t know about accounting by what they do know about relationship building).

“We try to hire people who are good, nice and smart, who excelled in whatever job they were in,” Mayer explains. “When you have these different types of people you grow consulting and open windows of opportunity because bankers have contacts that are not the same contacts we have.”

Our conclusion: Job homing device or not, the Top 100 makes interesting reading that’s useful in identifying potential employers.

Roundup of the Week

Our roundup of hires and moves is online. See it here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Merger Perspective

Tzinberg, Goldenberg & Dowdy of Glen Carbon, Ill., mergeed recently with Stone Carlie of Clayton, Mo. Afterwards, Partner Charles Tzinberg was interviewed by the Belleville News-Democrat. It's not ground-breaking, but it's an interesting discussion.

Glen Carbon CPA firm's merger brings opportunities
[Belleville News-Democrat]

Sterling Axes 'Accounting-Related' Jobs

PNC Financial Services is cutting between 325 and 425 jobs from the ranks of Sterling Financial Corp., most of them accounting-related. PNC, which acquired East Petersburg, Pa.-based Sterling less than two weeks ago, said most of the positions duplicate work already done by existing PNC employees. Sterling owns a number of banks in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. PNC purchased Sterling in the wake of a $200 million fraud scheme committed at a former Sterling unit.

PNC will cut up to 425 jobs at Sterling [Lancaster Online]

Call Me Anything I Want

Would you jump to a new firm if it agreed to give you any title you wanted? Like, say, Chief of the Known Accounting Universe? Don't laugh. More companies are dangling "chief" titles as lures to keep current leaders onboard as well as to entice new employees.

Here's our story.

After you've read it, check out this little site to pick your very own title.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Going Out Tonight?

It occurs to me: If you're reading this today, you must be really well-organized. So, if you're in the area of Marshall, Mich., go take advantage of Winston's Pub's (in Schuler's Restaurant) annual tax party. What's a tax party? It's where you don't may sales tax on food or drinks, and dinner's priced at - wait for it - $10.40.

Attention accounting professionals and grieving tax payers [Battle Creek Enquirer]

Forensic Firm Hires on Long Island

Forensic accounting and computer firm Kessler International is adding staff at its office at Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island. Though the firm hasn't specified how many additions it made, it cites "an increasing demand for forensic accounting and computer forensics services locally on Long Island" as the reason for the move. Kessler's staff includes accountants, former state prosecutors, law enforcement agents, attorneys, certified forensic CPA's, certified internal controls auditors, undercover investigators and researchers.

Here's the press release.

Boston Campus Recruiting Steady - For Now

Campus recruiting at Boston-area business schools doesn't appear to be dramatically impacted by the economy's recent turmoil.

Here's our story.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dan McCure Heads Sutherland Global FAO

Dan McCure has become head of Finance & Accounting Outsourcing Services for Sutherland Global Services, a Business Process Outsourcing firm based in Rochester, N.Y. He's responsible for FAO unit's operations as well as developing new services. He joined from Perot Systems, where he headed the Finance and Accounting BPO Services. Before that, he was with Accenture. A CPA, McCue graduated with a degree in accounting from Southeastern Louisiana University. He's based in the Dallas area.

Here's a press release.

Diversity in Michigan

Clayton & McKervey in Southfield, Mich., gets a nice mention in a Crain's Detroit Business story on diversity:
Southfield-based Clayton & McKervey P.C. has seen its diverse staff help grow new business. The accounting firm has built a multilingual staff, with 13 to 15 languages spoken among its 65 employees. And, the firm holds cultural training. About nine to 12 months ago, the firm hired a Russian-born CPA, which ultimately led to a new Russian client. “We have had this happen with Chinese and Mexican clients as well,” said Kevin McKervey, shareholder in charge of international services.
The whole story's pretty interesting.

Companies must set goals for diversity [Detroit Business]

Q&A With Deloitte & Touche Vice Chair

The Chicago Tribune has a brief Q&A with Tom Flanagan, vice chairman of Deloitte & Touche, based in Chicago. Read it here.
Q: Did that marketing education make a difference in your career?

A: When I joined Touche, I immediately started incorporating marketing strategies into my assignments. I focused on how to serve clients better and market to specific industries.
It's a quick read.

Auditing firm executive Tom Flanagan reviews road to success
[Chicago Tribune]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tech-Risk Experts Needed in New York

Considering the nature of business today and the growth of legal and financial reporting requirements, it's not surprising technology risk professionals are needed by many corporations. The demand is especially critical in the New York and New Jersey area, which is good news for some CPAs.

Here's the story.

It's Challenge Time

From Marketing Maven Maria:
JobsintheMoney is giving away a $1,000 American Airlines Gift Card to one lucky winner... and who doesn't need a vacation after tax season?

Test your knowledge and compete against other finance professionals in the JobsintheMoney Accounting Challenge.

You just might win a $1,000 American Airlines Gift Card!
Take the challenge here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Defense Accounting Agency Pressured to Diversify

About 3 percent of the staff of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's Rome, N.Y., are minorities, and that's not sitting well with local leaders.
About seven minority candidates have been offered jobs at the firm since January, company officials said.

But the Rev. Erwin Shepphard said “no real” progress has been made since the last meeting.

“They blame the system. Race is a part of it,” he said. “It is no more than another tactic to hold down the minorities.”

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, security concerns were heightened, and many firms now require security checks, officials said. These can take months because of under-staffed federal offices, officials said.

“The system does not discriminate,” said Roy Higgins, director of the local office at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

But such answers weren’t convincing enough for some applicants.
Leaders: DFAS should hire more minorities [Utica Observer-Dispatch]

Weekly Roundup is Here

Our weekly wrapup of hiring and promotions is online. Read it here.

Negotiating Tips

When you get a job offer, express gratitude but don't be shy – you'll have nothing to lose and much to gain by negotiating details of your package. And don't let a softening economy scare you into calling off a job search or lowballing your salary target. That's the word from Bettina Seidman, a long-time career management coach and outplacement consultant.

Her tips on negotiating a variety of issues beyond base and bonus - including a few you might not have thought of - are in our story here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

An Inside Look at International Assignments

Ever wonder what it’s like to do a temporary overseas assignment? Chicago Business recently ran a feature detailing the experiences of a handful of KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants who took short-term international assignments.

KPMG’s Mark Brusius says he’d traveled a lot before he accepted a temporary posting to Kochi, India, but still worried about all sorts of things. "My concerns were around normal, day-to-day things — food, health care, transportation," he told the paper. He went anyway, figuring "good or bad, it is only three months.”

A KPMG middle manager shares his take on Amsterdam (his family worries about legalized drugs and prostitution), while a PwC senior associate talks about working in Sydney, Australia (her mother worries she’ll like it and stay).

Our conclusion: Parents of accountants worry too much, so don’t listen when they tell you it’s dangerous to work outside the U.S. An overseas assignment is a great career development tool.

How Accountants See Jobs in Non-Profits

Compared to the rest of the people working in the non-profit sector, accounting and finance professionals are more likely to be male, have an MBA and work in middle management.

That's according to a survey from Commongood Careers in Boston, a retained search firm focused on non-profits.

Here's the story.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Debate Goes On in California

More on the measure in California that would ease restrictions on out-of-state CPAs working there.
The (state accounting) board and an association representing the profession want to return to a system of allowing out-of-state accountants to provide many services without notifying the state or paying a fee.

Not so fast, says a consumer advocacy group that closely monitors the accounting board. Considering recent accounting scandals, California consumers need the protections created by the 2004 bill more than ever, the Center for Public Interest Law says.

The center sees the attempt to reverse the law as part of a nationwide push by the accounting profession to loosen oversight that increased after the Enron scandal, which brought down accounting powerhouse Arthur Andersen.
Read all the way to the end and ask yourself: Are you troubled?

Bill targets California's accountant regulations [Sacramento Bee]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Big Four Make the Diversity Top 50

Diversity Inc. is out with its 2008 Top 50 list and all four of the Big Four have made the grade. PricewaterhouseCoopers snagged the number four spot, while Deloitte and Ernst & Young came in 16th and 17th, respectively. KPMG clocked in at number 49.

To make the list, a company has to have at least 1,000 employees and someone in human resources willing to fill out a diversity survey with nearly 200 questions.

While you’re at the Diversity Web site, you might want to check out their specialty lists, including Top 10 company lists for Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, people with disabilities and executive women.

There’s even a Top 10 company list for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) employees, which Deloitte, E&Y and PwC also made, just FYI. None of the Big Four made the Top 10 for African-Americans’ or executive womens’ lists.

Accounting at Lehigh

Lehigh University's accounting program got some good press in BusinessWeek, apparently (I looked for the item, but couldn't find it.) That led the school's newspaper to profile the accounting department. The money paragraphs:
"While 99 percent of all students, regardless of major, find what they're looking for after graduation," said Donna Goldfeder, director of career services; "Lehigh seniors, who major in accounting, usually find jobs for post-graduation before any other major."

Goldfeder said this was because of Lehigh's relationship with recruiters, particularly (from) PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst and Young, Deloitte and KPMG.
Accounting department ranked No. 1 in magazine [Brown and White]

California Firms Leverage Growth

Fast growth has been a common theme among California accounting firms. In Accounting Today's annual survey of the country's largest firms, four in the Golden State were among the 20 fastest growing. Revenues at Burr, Pilger & Mayer, Armanino McKenna, Novogradac & Co. and Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt each rose by at least 23 percent.

Here's our story.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

From College to the Real World: Start Early

When it comes to getting their toes into the waters of the real world, the sooner college students start, the better. Bentley College Sophomore Leadership Program is an example of an effort to facilitate the transition from student to professional, early on:
Mostly designed for students interested in accounting, finance, and information technology, a number of noteworthy employers like the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst &Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG) actively recruit the best and brightest students from all over the country to spend a couple days with them, acquiring leadership skills for success while also networking with firm employees.
Do these programs work?
Many students and recruiters say the difference can be these leadership programs which not only introduce you to a firm, but help you make networking connections that could potentially result in an internship offer at the end of the three days. Of course, not taking part or being accepted into a program does not mean that an internship with that firm isn't possible. However, it is just the little things like this that help you to stand out and get noticed.
Big Four accounting summer leadership programs inevitably pay off for sophomores [The Vanguard]

Weekly Roundup

Our weekly roundup of promotions, hires and moves is only. See it here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Awards for Diverse Accounting Students

The AICPA Foundation plans to provide $400,000 to diverse accounting students. During this academic year, 137 students received awards under the program, says AccountingWEB.

Qualified students must be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate or graduate accounting program for the 2008 – 2009 academic year and intend to pursue the CPA designation upon graduation. Applicants must have a 3.3 overall and cumulative GPA and have successfully completed at least thirty semester hours of college coursework and a minimum of six hours in accounting courses. This scholarship is available only to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who have an ethnic minority background.

Details are here.

Master's Program at Western Washington

Western Washington University's College of Business and Economics and Department of Accounting will unveil a new Master of Professional Accounting program tonight.

Scheduled to begin this fall, the program is designed to help students improve their accounting expertise and develop the skills required for licensure in Washington state. In addition to taking the Graduate Management Admission Test, students must have earned a bachelor's degree with an accounting emphasis and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Applications for the fall semester are due May 1, and can be accessed here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Despite Crunch, Hedge Funds Hire Accountants

Discussion of hedge fund careers usually focuses on portfolio management, where top performers enjoy rock-star status and routinely pull seven- or eight-figure incomes. But funds' need for additional bodies actually is strongest in supporting roles - like accounting.

Here's our story.