Friday, May 30, 2008

Psst! Want to Know what S&P CFOs Earn?

The economy may have been turning down, but that didn’t stop S&P 500 firms from increasing chief financial officer (CFO) compensation last year.

Median CFO pay was up 5.2% from 2006 to 2007 for those employed at least two years, according to a study released today by Equilar, a Redwood Shores, California executive compensation benchmarking firm.

Total compensation, including base salary, discretionary bonuses, non-equity incentive plan payouts, the grant date value of stock and option awards and other compensation totaled $2,894,275 in 2007, up from $2,752,027 for the same group of executives in 2006.

That figure includes:

$525,000 in median base salary (up 9.1%);
$576,880 in median aggregate bonus (down 3.4%);
$1,523,810 in total equity awards (up 8.2%) and
$63,152 in other compensation (up 9.1%).

Looking ahead, CFOs at the S&P 500 are due to receive $1,061,198 in median accumulated pension benefits (up 17.7%, but only 67% of CFOs have those) and $779,388 in median deferred compensation (up 21.3%).

Curiously, a similar, although not directly comparable, study of CEO compensation Equilar conducted in April found median pay for CEOs was up only 1.3% from 2006 to 2007. “The fact that median CFO compensation appears to be rising faster than median CEO compensation may indicate increased prominence for CFOs in the executive suite,” the release says.

How much do CFOs at other firms earn? says median CFO total compensation was $515,225. Robert Half Accounting’s 2008 Salary Guide, which measures salary rather than total compensation, says typical salary at companies with $500 million or more in sales ranged from $257,500 to $370,500 in 2008. Meanwhile, CFOs at the smallest firms, those with sales of $50 million of less, earned a salary of $91,000 to $122,250 on average, Robert Half estimates.

What's Ahead?

Equilar Research Manager Alexander Cwirko-Godycki says two trends playing out at the end of 2007 could influence CFO salaries this year. First, bonuses were down. If markets stay where they are or get worse, bonuses will continue to fall, he says. Second, those drops in bonuses were offset by an increase in equity compensation.

Seeing last-quarter dips in business lead to lowered bonuses will please shareholders interested in seeing pay tied to performance. Meanwhile equity compensation encourages CFOs to focus on longer-term performance, he points out.

Number of New CPAs Soars in Bay State

The number of people that have passed the Massachusetts CPA exam rose by more than 66 percent in 2007, according to the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. The jump comes in the wake of changes to state regulations.

The story's here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Marcum & Kliegman Joins With Forensic Specialist

New York-area CPA firm Marcum & Kliegman LLP said it merged with RosenfarbWinters LLC, a local firm specializing in forensic accounting and business consulting. The company also stresses that it's in hiring mode, and looks to grow from approximately 500 employees to more than 1,000 within three years. “There is absolutely no shortage of available positions at M&K,” Managing Partner Jeffrey M. Weiner said in a press release.

Although it wasn't in the announcement, WebCPA reports that the combined firm will operate under the name M&K Rosenfarb. It will include M&K's present offices in New York City and Long Island, and Rosenfarb's offices in Tinton Falls and Roseland, N.J., and New York City. Practices include tax, audit, litigation support, investment services, forensic accounting, business consulting, valuation, litigation, dispute consulting, divorce accounting, expert testimony, fraud investigation, and government services.

Here is M&K's press release.

Fraud Conference in Boston

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners' conference in Boston will include a career fair with government agencies and private employers on-hand. The conference will be held July 13 - 18 at the Hynes Convention Center. Details are at

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Who's Thinking IFRS and Who's Not?

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) may be the wave of the future, but U.S. companies say that swell is still pretty far from the shore, which is fortunate because they don't have many surfers ready to ride that curl.

A recent survey from Deloitte asked U.S. corporate financial professionals if their firms would use IFRS along with or instead of GAAP, if given the choice by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About a third of the financial professional said they'd consider adopting IFRS, if they could, 10% said they didn't know enough about it, 18% were undecided and 42% wouldn't use it if they could.

Companies may not want to adopt IFRS, but clearly, those surveyed think others may do so. Half the financial professionals predicted at least a quarter of U.S. firms would be using IFRS within the next seven years.

"The industries with the most interest in adopting IFRSs were financial services, health services, and consumer and industrial products," Deloitte says. "This is not surprising: because many competitors in these industries are non-U.S. companies [and] U.S. companies in these industries may be more inclined to consider adopting IFRSs because some of them may fear being at a competitive disadvantage."

Not surprisingly, the companies said they don't have the personnel to make a conversion to IFRS. "Of those companies considering IFRSs," Deloitte says, "64 percent say they lack skilled resources in their U.S. operations while 34 percent believe they lack skilled resources in their non-U.S. operations. These results indicate that more training in IFRSs is required."

It also won't surprise anyone to hear that Deloitte has "thousands of IFRS-experienced professionals" in its global network. It also has an IFRS Resource Library on its Web site, and an IFRS University Consortium to help schools add IFRS materials to their accounting courses.

If all the IFRS discussion has you thinking maybe you need to pick up some expertise, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has its own Web site dedicated to IFRS knowledge, including a backgrounder, self-study courses, workbooks and a list of reasons why GAAP continues to be the "gold standard" of accounting in the U.S. and around the world.

New Site for Diverse Tax Professionals

A new Web site,, has launched as a place "where students and professionals can view job openings, participate in forums, read case studies, watch video commentary from successful minority tax professionals and more." Check it out here.

Calif. Firm Joins J.H. Cohn

Good Swartz Brown and Berns of Woodland Hills, Calif., is combining with New Jersey firm J.H. Cohn. Eventually, the firms will operate under J.H. Cohn's name. GSBB Managing Partner Scott M. Sachs told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal he doesn't expect much to change at his firm day-to-day, though he does expect both the firm and its employees to enjoy added rewards. GSBB has about 125 people on its staff, while J.H. Cohn has about 1,000.

Good Swartz Joining With East Coast Firm [San Fernando Valley Business Journal]

Accountants Dodge Wall Street Layoffs

CPAs in New York and New Jersey often face the unenviable task of delivering bad news to a company's management. The region's financial services firms, after all, are in the midst of contraction, hit by the credit crunch, the sub-prime blowout and a variety of regulatory pressures. While being the bearer of bad tidings certainly takes a toll, accountants in the financial world are by and large being spared one thing: layoff notices.

Here's the story.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Meet The Singing CPA

There was a time when accountants were unfairly stereotyped as boring people. Although those days are thankfully gone, we still get a charge whenever we hear of a CPA who turns the old chestnut on its head by moonlighting as a performing artist.

A year ago this time, auditor-playwright James Rasheed's accounting-themed drama, "Professional Skepticism," caught our fancy. This time it's Steven Zelin, "The Singing CPA."

That's the title of Zelin's third music CD, released last month on Zelin's own label. Covering the release party, The Trusted Professional, the newspaper of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, wrote:

Zelin was a CPA at a Big Four firm for eight years before he caught the songwriting bug. But he hasn't left the profession behind – he sings about it all the time…

The newspaper observed that the release party in a Manhattan book store marked a change of pace from Zelin's tradition of performing solo inside a post office on April 15, "to entertain last-minute taxpayers."

Most Zelin compositions are funny send-ups of well-known pop songs, with different lyrics that focus on accounting. There is "My CPA," to the tune of "YMCA" by the Village People; and "A Charitable Contribution (Makes the Tax Bill Go Down)," based on "A Spoonful of Sugar…" from the Julie Andrews film, Mary Poppins.

Tax Song Trilogy [The Trusted Professional]

When To Work With a Recruiter

When it comes to working with search firms, "when and if" are just as important as "how."

Here's our story.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Workplace Bullies

Is someone repeatedly giving you a hard time at work when you didn't do anything to deserve it?

If you answer "yes," then you may be a victim of "workplace bullying." For some coping tips from psychologists who specialize in this niche, read our story.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hard Data on CFO Compensation

The industry with the fastest pace of salary increases for CFOs and other financial executives is: …. advertising.

Advertising? You heard right.

That's one finding of an annual compensation study released earlier this month by the Financial Executives Research Foundation, the research arm of Financial Executives International (FEI). Among more than 1,900 respondents – nearly half of whom were CFOs – those in advertising reported an 8 percent average salary increase. Metals came in second, at 7.5 percent. Across all industries, the average salary increase was 4.75 percent.

"While the current economic conditions and market turmoil are likely to impact the C-Suite this year, our results show that the salaries of the overall financial professional group are still up," said Michael P. Cangemi, president of both the foundation and its parent, FEI.

CFOs of public companies reported a median base salary range of $226,000 - $250,000, while their counterparts at private companies reported a median range of $176,000 - $200,000. Public company CFOs also fared better at bonus time: most received bonuses between 21 – 70 percent of base, while the range for private company CFOs was somewhat lower at 11 percent – 60 percent.

FEI Study: Financial Executives' Salaries Up 5 Percent [Press release]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Firm's Formula For Success

San Francisco-based Novogradac & Co. has grown to be the 51st largest CPA firm in the U.S. by focusing its seven practices on two areas: affordable housing and community development. And unlike most firms of comparable size that expand by acquiring other firms, Novogradac has relied entirely on organic growth since inception in 1998.

Here's our story.

AICPA to Offer New Forensics Designation

A new accounting credential, the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) designation, will be launched by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants this fall. The CFF will cover bankruptcy and insolvency, computer forensics, economic damages, family law, fraud investigation, litigation support, stakeholder disputes and valuations.

To earn the designation, a CPA will need five years accounting experience, plus continuing education and specific business experience.

The CFF will be the AICPA’s fourth designation, joining the Accredited in Business Valuation (CPA/ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CPA/CITP) and Personal Financial Specialist (CPA/PFS).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Merger in Birmingham

In Birmingham, Ala., Schauer Taylor PC will join Warren, Averett, Kimbrough & Marino LLC. The transaction takes place June

Birmingham accounting firm will merge forces with Warren, Averett [Birmingham News]

Friday, May 16, 2008

Things Go Better Offshore?

Coca-Cola is thinking of sending some accounting and other back-office jobs to India from centers in Florida, Dallas and Toronto. A spokesman acknowledged discussions about offshoring are underway, but said no decisions have been reached.

Coca-Cola may outsource some Brandon jobs to India [St. Petersburg Times]

Priorities At MIT Sloan

Yvonne Abraham has an interesting story to tell about MIT's Sloan School of Management. Apparently, last December the school's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Club e-mailed an invitation to everyone in the school for an end-of-semester party. In return, one of the world's future business leaders wrote:
"I don't care what you do among yourselves," one student fired back. "But I feel [sick] when you are trying to promote it . . . You may not know that but in Russia, beating gays is encouraged by vast majority of people because they insult society and nature."

In closing, the student used an antigay epithet and warned club members that if they ever dared to contact him again, "I swear you won't be able to study at Sloan for some time because you will spend it at the resuscitation department."
The school investigated, the student was deemed to be not a threat and he apologized. The school reiterated its commitment to tolerance.

But here's where it gets good: There was a long discussion among members of the class of 2008 about… Brand. How the incident impacted the school's brand. How people unhappy with the situation harmed the school's brand by talking to the media. Etc.
After a news story appeared May 5, a Sloan student sent out a group e-mail saying: "I really wonder who benefits from speaking to the press . . . One thing is sure - no one in our community benefits from causing damage to our school brand."
Fascinating reading.

Misguided loyalties [Boston Globe]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ranks of Fed Accoutants too Thin?

The federal government may be left vulnerable to mission failure as 60 percent of its workforce approaches retirement age over the next 10 years, including its most experienced and skilled financial managers.

That’s the take-home message from an Association of Government Accountants' study, 21st Century Financial Managers: A New Mix of Skills and Educational Levels.

Among the group's recommendations to improve the capacity and capability of the federal financial management workforce:
  • Require professional and administrative federal financial managers to attend continuing professional education programs;
  • Urge the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to include basic federal accounting questions on the CPA examination, along with existing questions relating to state and local government accounting. Including these would encourage colleges and universities to include a "Federal Accounting 101" course in their curriculum, the group says.

BDO Expands into Vegas and Austin

BDO Seidman, LLP, Chicago, will open new offices in Las Vegas and Austin, Texas, giving the firm offices in 37 cities around the country. William P. Powell will serve as the firm’s assurance business line leader in Las Vegas and Kevin Hubbard will serve as the assurance business line leader in Austin.

BDO National Director of Human Resources Sandi Guy says the firm is hiring accounting professionals at all levels for the new offices.

“We see a lot of growth in the Las Vegas market,” she says, “If someone is a senior manager or audit manager with a great background, we’d entertain them because we’re trying to grow that practice. We’re physically new to the area, so we also need someone who can get in there and develop that business.”

There are nine positions open in Austin, Texas, serving clients that have, until now, been serviced out of the company’s Houston office. “We’re looking to grow the tax practice a little sooner there than in Vegas, although if you have tax experience they will eventually open tax practice there, too, so send in your resume,” Guy urges.

You can send your resume to the company via its web site.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Accounting Information as Political Currency

Can accounting influence politics? It may have in the 2004 Congressional races, according to a new study from MIT and Harvard.

Corporations who donated at least $10,000 to closely watched U.S. Congressional races in 2004 were more likely to understate their earnings in the second and third quarters of that year, says a study from Harvard Business School's Karthik Ramanna and MIT colleague Sugata Roychowdhury.

Ramanna, who studies issues seen at the intersection of accounting, economics, and politics, says “downward earnings management” can be a type of in-kind political contribution. Companies do it to avoid regulatory scrutiny or to influence voters – think oil company profits at a time of rising consumer fuel prices.

“Such downward earnings management…seems to have been motivated by the desire of contributing firms to not taint preferred candidates with association to the political red flag of 2004—outsourcing—as well as to ensure future benefits and avoid future costs in regulatory matters,” Ramanna explains.

Feeling intellectual about accounting today? Explore the topic further in a Harvard Business School Working Knowledge feature about Ramanna and Roychowdhury’s work.

The (Non) Impact of Diversity Efforts

I'd like to say I'm surprised by this, but I'm not:

People of color, including African-Americans, Asians and Latinas, feel less included in the accounting firm work environment than do whites, according to a survey by Catalyst Research of 1,424 respondents. They are more likely to perceive low expectations from their managers and double standards regarding performance evaluation.

Women of color in particular are more likely than either white women or men of color to experience lack of high-visibility assignments and lack of professional development opportunities. Women of color are also least likely of all groups to be satisfied with business development opportunities and access to clients and client service engagements.

Here's WebCPA's story.

Amper Politziner Merging with Pa. Firm

Goldenberg Rosenthal, the Philadelphia area's second-largest locally owned accounting firm, will merge with Amper Politziner & Mattia, based in Edison, N.J. Says the Philadelphia Business Journal:

The firms said the merger will create a top 25 accounting firm with 84 partners and 600 total employees and annual revenue of $113 million. The combined firm will take the Amper Politziner name.
Here's the story.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Canadian Firms Seek Tax Accountants

Toronto-based recruiters are seeing plenty of openings there for accountants, and premium salaries for those with experience in taxation, auditing or International Financial Reporting Standards. A Canadian government tax ruling on income trusts caught industry by surprise and is spurring demand for tax accountants. On the other hand, the pace of salary increases for most accountants in Canada is starting to level off.

Here's our story.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Optimizing the Yin and Yang

Do gender stereotypes accurately forecast career preferences and job performance? To the extent that they do, can candidates escape being boxed in by their gender?

A Wall Street Journal survey of corporate recuriters who visit M.B.A. schools suggests the answer is "yes" to both.
…Recruiters in the survey emphatically praised female graduates as insightful, conscientious and collegial, and they consistently described men as results-driven leaders with superior quantitative-analysis skills. "Sadly, my general observation is that many gender stereotypes still apply," a survey respondent commented. "Female M.B.A.s have a bias to nurturing and team building and male M.B.A.s to a more analytically driven focus on success and independence. My advice is that both should develop more well-rounded skills.
The good news is, such perceptions provide a clear career-upgrade road map for both men and women. Female candidates can practice being just a little bolder and more self-promoting, and fight perceptions that they're mathematically challenged. And recruiters quoted in the survey story indicated many male candidates would do well to be more humble during interviews, and work on their listening skills, both on the job and while interviewing. "Some guys take themselves out of the running in job interviews by coming on a little too strong," observed a hiring manager for Chicago-based Tribune Publishing, who took part in the survey.

Those insights and others are detailed in a WSJ CareerJournal story originally published in 2005, but reprinted this year.

Men Do Numbers,Women Do Strategy [CareerJournal]

Friday, May 09, 2008

SOX Compliance Workload Shrinking

It's hardly news that corporate America becomes more adept at SOX compliance with each passing year. Still, a recent survey report from Financial Executives International fleshes out the trend with several interesting statistics. They show that internal and external person-hours and total audit fees continued to decline last year, even as auditors hiked their fee rates 5 percent on average.

Among last year's compliance workload and cost figures:

- Companies reported requiring an average of 11,100 people hours internally to comply with Section 404 in 2007, representing a decrease of 8.6 percent from the previous year.

- Companies reported requiring an average of 1,244 external people hours to comply with Section 404 in 2007, representing a decrease of 13.7 percent from the prior year of compliance.

- Auditor attestation fees paid by accelerated filers in 2007 constituted 23.7 percent of the accelerated filer's total annual audit fees and averaged $846,000, representing a 5.4 percent decrease from 2006.

Summarizing the findings, Michael P. Cangemi, the organization's president and chief executive, said:
As companies continue to find efficiencies in complying with Section 404 and make compliance part of a routine practice, we have seen a continued decline in costs. While 404 auditor costs also declined 5.4 percent as the auditor scope of work narrowed, these costs were offset by a reported 5 percent increase in the average hourly audit rate charged by auditors.

FEI Survey: Average 2007 SOX Compliance Cost $1.7 Million [Press release]

Tips for Surviving a Recession

Although the U.S. jobless rate declined last month, it's still important to work toward recession-proofing your career. Here's a list of tips from Alexis de Bretteville, CEO of the Americas at Michael Page International, a leading global recruiting firm. We've mentioned just about all of these ideas before, but it's advice worth repeating.

1. Strengthen your network. Contact former employers, bosses and colleagues, and stay connected.

2. Consider a career move. A downturn is a good time to go back to school or to change careers.

3. Go abroad. Broaden your horizons and find a recruiting firm that can help you search overseas as well as stateside.

4. Review your online presence. Leverage online organizations such as LinkedIn. Consider developing your own website, search for any "digital dirt" on you that comes up in Web searches, and do all you can to correct it.

5. Practice interviewing.

6. Enhance your professional development. Take a course in your field, read that book that has been collecting dust on your desk

7. Join industry associations and networking groups. You'll meet contacts, it looks great on your resume and will broaden your industry perspective.

8. Update your resume. Make sure both its content and design are current.

9. Publish yourself: Write a book, write and distribute a print or e-newsletter, start a blog, or all of the above!

10. Relax… A recession is out of your control. Take these steps and then do your best to remain confident about your prospects.

How is a Career Like an Investment Portfolio?

Jon Jacobs writes:
"Career path." That's a phrase often spoken by HR staffers eager to show young employees that management is meeting their need for professional growth. Does the phrase mean anything - or is it simply hot air?

The question never occurred to me before I joined JobsintheMoney just over a year ago. Like many of you, perhaps, all of my career moves were driven by opportunism, more a string of chance events than a consciously planned "path." On the other hand, a widely cited body of research has documented that careers, like investment portfolios, benefit from a coherent planning process that includes written goals, timetables and periodic monitoring.
Read his column.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Accounting Degrees Climb Dramatically

More than 64,000 students graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting during the 2006-2007 school year, reports the AICPA. That's the highest number in the 36 years since the association began keeping count. It also represents a 19 percent increase from 2003-2004, which was the last time the AICPA conducted its survey on accounting graduates.

The number of students in accounting programs is also higher: The 203,000 students enrolled during the year was also a 19 percent increase from 2004.

It's an indication the industry's efforts to increase the pipeline of new accountants are paying off, and a sign that indeed the current imbalance between demand and supply may eventually get itself resolved.

The AICPA's press release is here (in pdf format).

New Lucas Group Accounting Executive in Tampa

Search firm Lucas Group has appointed Shawn McKinstrie as managing partner for its accounting and finance division in Tampa. Previously, he'd worked at Robert Half International. He'll be involved with national as well as local clients.

Here's a press release.

Insurer Eyes Move, with Jobs, to Tennessee

Michigan-based National Life Insurance Co. is considering moving a division to Tennessee, and maybe bringing 450 to 500 jobs with it. According to the Tennessean, the idea is in the early stages though company officials have visited the Nashville area and met with local officials. The jobs involved would include accounting, back office, and other functions.

Insurer may move 500 jobs to state [The Tennessean]

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Top 10 Employers for Asian Americans

Diversity Inc.’s Top 10 Firms for Asian-Americans is out and some of the biggest names in accounting made the cut.

Deloitte came in at number four among the 352 companies that participated in the magazine's competition this year. Deloitte’s workforce is 20 percent Asian and 27 percent of its new hires were Asian, as is 9.5 percent of its board. Deloitte also made the Top 10 for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered employees and people with disabilities.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was number six. Nearly 15 percent of its workforce is Asian, nearly 18 percent of new hires were Asian, as are 9 percent of its top 10 percent of earners.

Accenture took the number eight slot, with 14 percent of its managers being Asian and 15 percent of its U.S. management promotions going to Asians.

Finally, Ernst & Young was ranked number nine after reporting that 16 percent of its U.S. employees were Asian, as were 20 percent of new hires.

L.I. Firm Adds Staffing Unit

Long Island's Marcum & Kliegman is getting into the recruiting business, seeking to spin off the experience it's gained in hiring for its own needs into a business that can make multiple millions a year on its own. Its new unit, M&K Executive Search, expects revenue of $1 million during its first 12 months in operation, says Long Island Business News. Working with Marcum & Kliegman accounting clients, the firm has posted jobs in New York, Massachusetts, Florida and California, and is working to expand its reach.

Accounting firm launches staffing arm [Long Island Business News]

N.Y./N.J. Firms Bulk Up Offerings Through Associations

A number of CPA firms in the New York/New Jersey area are joining together in alliances that allow them to access expertise they might not ordinarily have. These non-profit associations illustrate a new tactic in facing today's shortage of accountants.

Here's our story.

Truth in Advertising

We've said it before, but it seems worth saying again: Always tell the truth on your resume.

Job hunters should be forgiven for feeling like they are criminals before they even get to the interview. But increasingly, employers are looking to protect their reputations and deflect any liability if they unwittingly hire a crook or a fraudster. So job offers routinely come with a big string attached—passing a background screen.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recruiters thought they had bagged a terrific job candidate until a check found he hadn't attended the college where he said he had earned his undergraduate degree.

"We gave him a chance to provide documentation," said Jennifer Allyn, a human resources manager for the accounting giant. "He said he was in some dispute with the school and concocted a whole story that made no sense."

The company rescinded the offer.

Honesty always best policy when writing up your resume [Chicago Tribune]

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spanish Ability Aids California CPAs

California's fast-growing Latino population is pumping up demand for Spanish bilingual CPAs in the state. One Latina CPA in Los Angeles reports that new clients "sometimes pick me out of the phone book," correctly inferring from her name that she speaks Spanish.

Here's our story.

Three Mississippi Firms Join BKD

BKD, LLP, Springfield, Missouri, is acquiring three Jackson, Mississippi accounting firms: Smith, Turner & Reeves, P.A.; Johnson, Bruce & Host, PLLC and Shearer, Taylor & Co., P.A. Together, the firms have $10 million in annual revenues and 70 staffers, including 12 partners.

Peder Johnson, managing member of Johnson Bruce & Host and Jon Turner, managing partner of Smith, Turner & Reeves, will be co-partners in charge of the BKD Mississippi practice, after the merger, which is effective June 1st.

The combination creates the second largest CPA & advisory firm in Jackson and the third largest in Mississippi, BKD says.

BKD has $318 million in net revenues, 1.900 employees including 230 partners and 27 offices. It's the largest U.S. member of Praxity, AISBL, a global alliance of independent firms.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Goldman Sachs is moving its fund accounting jobs out of the Cayman Islands for other locations around the world. Here are the details.

Green Accountants Wanted

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to curb greenhouse gases in California includes 211 additions to the state's payroll - accountants among them. The jobs seem to be low-level - calls them "accounting technicians" - but it's a story worth keeping an eye on if you're on the West Coast and are looking for opportunities in what's certain to be a growing sector.

Here's the item from SFGate.

Good Times for Mississippi Accounting Grads

Accounting students in Mississippi are riding strong job market, with the slowing economy presenting few bumps. Mark Wilder, dean of the University of Mississippi's Patterson School of Accountancy, told the Mississippi Business Journal:
"While we have received some feedback that the economic slowdown will translate into fewer future jobs, we haven't seen much evidence of that to date," he said. "The recruiting process has changed on our campus over the past few years in that there is a strong focus on hiring students to do internships during the spring semester of their senior year. These students typically receive full-time job offers at the end of the internship."
Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi report similar conditions.
"This year really looks good," said Rusty Anderson, director of Career Services (at USM). "So many industries want them (accounting grads), including banks and healthcare - that's part of the demand. About one-fourth will go to work in firms, 35% to 30% will work in other industries in accounting related jobs and others will use the degree to go into other fields."
The whole story's here, via

Friday, May 02, 2008

'Authenticity' Serves Women Executives Well

Women who rise to the upper levels of business follow the same recipe for success as men as they combine vision, intellect, guts and hard work with their ability to influence others. They also add another ingredient: authenticity.

Read Dona DeZube's story.

Another Mommy Track

Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal sees a new trend for women taking time off to have children: "The rise of the mommy 'SWAT team.'"

The acronym, for "smart women with available time," is one mother's label for all-mom teams assembled quickly through networking and staffing firms to handle crash projects. Employers get lots of voltage, cheap, while the women get a skills update and a taste of the professional challenges they miss.

The story: Smart, accomplished professional women take time off from work to have children, but still want to keep their skills fresh. So, they band together, forming teams as necessary to tackle assignments across a range of business specialties.

Skilled workers taking temp projects isn't new, of course. What's different about these teams is that they're available on short notice because the women are usually at home; they tend to work cheap because their main motive is to keep their skills fresh; and they're often extraordinarily well-qualified, having left the work force voluntarily when their careers were on the ascent.

Here's the full article.

Duff & Phelps Launches Tax Advisory Service

Duff & Phelps launched a Strategic Tax Advisory Services practice, which will be co-led by new Managing Directors Joseph Schmidt and Catherine Hunter. Says the firm:
The Strategic Tax Advisory Services practice provides advice on procurement processes related to capital investments captured within a company's supply chain. The new practice consists of a multidisciplinary team focused on optimizing the net present value of capital investments through property tax savings, business incentives, sales and use tax credits and reductions in federal and state income tax. In addition to ensuring appropriate assessments are made, these services help companies mitigate tax audit exposure, improve compliance with Sarbanes Oxley and enhance stakeholder value.
Schmidt will be in the firm's Atlanta office, joining from Deloitte Tax LLP, where he was tax director and a member of the National and Multistate Restructuring practice. Hunter joins the firm's Dallas office from Kells Group, where she was a Founding Partner. Previously, she'd worked at A.T. Kearney.

Here's the announcement.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Vaden Joins up With Dcosimo in Nashville

Nashville-based entertainment and sports accountant Mike Vaden, CPA, has created a new business management practice with regional accounting and business advisory firm Joseph Decosimo and Company, PLLC.

Decosimo/Vaden will target entertainment and high-net-worth clients by offering royalty accounting, concert tour accounting, tax planning and compliance, investment analysis, catalog valuation and financial management.

Vaden will be principal and director of Decosimo/Vaden. He brings along 10 employees, including Tax Director-Entertainment Services Jennifer Lane and Business Management Tax Supervisor Vicki Bracey, who are serving clients out of the firm's new Nashville office located at Roundabout Plaza. Decosimo's team from the firm's Brentwood location, led by principals Flynn Doyle, Ken Lowery and Ronald Williams, will work from new Music Row offices. The combined practices will have approximately 25 professionals and staff.

Decosimo ranks among the Top 100 CPA firms in the nation, with more than 250 professionals and staff with offices in Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.; Atlanta and Dalton, Ga.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Grand Cayman. It's associated with MooreStephens International Limited, which has approximately 600 offices in 93 countries.

Back Office Jobs for Hyatt

A new shared services center in Moore, Okla., for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts plans to hire 100 full-time employees between now and the rest of the year.
The company expects eventually to employ 300 people (at the center), with a total annual payroll of more than $6 million, "Probably in two to three years,” said Jim Melvin, vice president, Hyatt Shared Service Center.
Here's a story from the Oklahoman.

Back Office Securities Jobs in Boston

Securities firms in Boston are looking for accountants (and others) to work in operational and back office roles. As Jonathan Berr writes on eFinancialCareers:

Finding candidates, though, isn't always easy. They require specialized sets of skills such as international tax and accounting, notes Alex Cook, head of the asset management practice at Conley & Co. in Boston. "Trying to find international tax experience along with the other skill sets you are looking for can really be a tough proposition," he tells eFinancialCareers News. Such jobs pay between $300,000 and $500,000 for candidates with 10 to 15 years experience, he says.


Lower-level jobs also are available. Ryan Sutton, a regional vice president at Robert Half International, sees strong demand for credit analysts, product accountants, hedge fund accountants, and portfolio accountants. “We're seeing strong demand for back office (people) in Boston," Sutton says. "They are still hiring accounting and finance specialists, especially in the specialized space.… As demand increases, and since quantities of applicants are still tight, salaries are still increasing."

Stu Coleman, the general manager of the Winter, Wyman Companies' Financial Contracting New England group, has plenty of temporary-to-permanent positions at the entry level, including fund accounting jobs which pay between $18 and $22 per hour. Permanent jobs in the area pay $38,000 to $42,000 per year. Available compliance and reporting jobs pay $25 to $45 per hour on a temporary basis and $50,000 to $90,000 on a permanent basis.

Though the pay may seem low compared with other jobs, they aren't dead ends, Coleman says. "(Companies) are allowing people to use this as an entrance to the organization," he explains.

Here's the full story.