Career Content for Accounting Professionals

PODCASTS

113: Forensic Accounting, Litigation Support, & Data Analytics – Rubik Yeriazarian, CPA, CFE, CFF

Rubik Yeriazarian, Principal with Briggs & Veselka in the area of Forensic Accounting & Litigation Support, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. Targeted the area early on… In the beginning of this episode, Rubik recounts the story of how he came to work in forensic accounting in the first place. He came from a family of accountants, and knew he was interested in “tracking money” early on in life.  He considered math as a possible interest initially, but then realized he didn’t enjoy that quite as much as he thought.  However, he had done well in UIL accounting competitions in school so he decided to choose the accounting career path instead.  As he neared the end of college, he had an internship at KPMG where he met some of the individuals in the forensic area and ended up getting the opportunity for a rotation in forensics.  It was there that his career got started in forensic accounting, and obviously it has worked out well for Rubik. Goldilocks career Rubik uses the term “Goldilocks career” when describing the path he took. He first worked at KPMG, and while the experience was beneficial, it was “too big” for him personally.  He then moved on to more of a boutique firm that had 6-8 employees, finding that that organization was “too small” for his preference after a few years.  It was then that he found the opportunity that was “just right”, which is his current role at Briggs & Veselka there in Houston. Skills you need Given his specialty and the length of time he has worked in it, I wanted to make sure we dedicated some time to getting Rubik’s professional opinion on the skills and characteristics that are vital to preparing for a career in this area. Some of the items that he listed as being necessary for success are: Need to be a self-starter Ability to dig in to the data Ability to communicate with non-accounting professionals (this is key!) And of course, strong skills in Excel Other systems skills such as Python and SQL are helpful, but if you have the items listed above, that makes for a strong start in the forensics and litigation support specialties. Please make sure you listen to the audio file as well below. Rubik shares much, much more than we could ever possibly cover in this short summary. Other episodes you may enjoy include: Episode 038 with Billy Petty, and Episode 082 with Fred Olivares

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112: New Year Special – Revisiting Our Conversation With Harriet Helmle, CPA and Founder of SA Youth Literacy

For this first episode of 2019, we revisited one of our early shows – number 10 in fact! Harriet Helmle, a CPA, the Director of Client Relations with Covenant Multi-Family Offices, and the Founder of San Antonio Youth Literacy, had joined us to share the story of her career journey as well as the very inspiring recollection of how SAYL came into existence. Harriet was a joy to interview, and given her commitment to the community as well as her profession, we figured it would be a great story to re-share as everyone is considering their goals for the new year. Harriet founded San Antonio Youth Literacy during a time of great personal difficulty in her own life.  She was going through health issues that had caused her to not be able to work full-time, but through that adversity she found the determination and motivation to start this not-for-profit organization that helps young disadvantaged children learn to read.  Although they started with just one school, they now serve many campuses and include students from very early ages all the way through second grade.  Without the efforts of all their volunteers, these children would lack the reading capabilities to succeed in school and life. If you are considering how you want to impact the community, whether through a similar program or something entirely different, Harriet’s story will be extremely timely and inspiring for you. And if you decide you’d like to learn more about San Antonio Youth Literacy, please visit http://sayl.org/! Happy New Year! Stay tuned next week for our newest episode of Life In Accounting.  There’s more to come…

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111: Announcements for the Holidays & What’s Coming Up Next Year!

In this short episode, I'm taking the opportunity to review some of the publications we've recently launched, and talk a little about upcoming episodes in January. We won't be posting new podcasts during the Christmas and New Year's weeks due the busy-ness of this time of year, plus everyone's uncertain schedules. However, we will be back in full force in January with several new episodes that are currently in production and will be finished up in early January. Look for more interesting guests, as well as a few SPECIAL EDITION episodes as well! (I just love creating suspense) In the meantime, if you haven't yet reviewed all our new publications at Where Accountants Go, make sure you check out these new offerings as well: 49 Tips For A Successful Accounting Career - In this book, available both here on our website and on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions, we cover the absolute best tips we've received from all our podcast episodes, plus a few insights of my own.  If you are looking for an immediate mailout of a paperback copy, please order here on our own website for the fastest delivery. . Hiring For Accounting - This is an electronic-book for employers that comprehensively covers the process for successfully filling accounting roles.  We cover the nuances of interviews, how to properly handle extending an offer, and even how to help ensure a successful start of the new team member. . 7 Key Tips For Optimizing Phone Interviews (Employers) - This short tips sheet is meant for employers that wish to better use the time-saving technique of phone screening, but without missing out on any great candidates!  It's an easy, short 2-page read, so it's sure to have an immediate positive impact on your process. . Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing to listen in each week to our Life In Accounting podcast.  I very sincerely appreciate and am humbled by your continued support. See you in January!   There's more to come... Mark Goldman CPA

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Applying The Proximity Principle To An Entry-Level Accounting Job Search

In my spare time recently I’ve been enjoying listening to a few podcasts, one of which is “The Ken Coleman Show” where Ken shares job search advice with callers looking to land their dream job.  Frequently the “proximity principle” comes up on Ken’s calls, and I’ve found a lot of truth in that concept.  In applying it to my own specific niche, namely accounting careers, I’ve come to the conclusion that this idea could be highly valuable for entry-level and soon-to-be-graduates in our own profession as well. In a nutshell, the “proximity principle” is the idea that in order to land the position you are targeting, you need to put yourself in proximity to those that have the power to get you there. How does that apply specifically to accounting entry-level positions though? I think it comes down to networking… When you are getting ready to graduate, it’s easy to depend on “the system” to get you an entry-level job. And to some extent this makes sense.  However, it doesn’t work for everyone 100% of the time.  Sometimes individual students need to do more.  This usually comes in the form of networking. If you want to ensure that you land the best job for you specifically, try applying the proximity principle to your own situation. Go where the people are that have the power to connect you or hire you.  Where is that?  The people that have the power to hire you in accounting and to recommend you be hired can be found in many places, but the highest probability outside of career fairs is at professional association meetings.  Association meetings such as your local CPA Society, IMA chapter meeting, Internal Auditors Association meeting, or one of many other accounting organization meetings are usually excellent opportunities for you to engage with those individuals influencing the hiring process.  In these situations, you are more likely to be moved to the top of the stack if they are in a position to be hiring, as well as be considered for positions that may not even have been advertised yet.  Either one is very beneficial.  Having met a decision maker in an organization where you may want to work in advance of the interview process goes a long way towards increasing your chances of landing the job. If you are approaching graduation or simply looking for your first internship, don’t leave it to chance as to whether or not you are selected through a career placement office or from an advertisement response. Take your destiny into your own hands by applying the proximity principle to your own job search.  Go where the true decision makers are, and make an effort to get to know them personally.  It takes additional work, but increases your chances dramatically.  At a minimum, you will get experience interacting with other professionals; but more likely though you will find the position that best fits your overall career desires. Until next time, I wish you the best in your career! Mark Goldman CPA  

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The Most Misspelled Word on Professional Resumes

Having worked in the accounting-employment world now for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see thousands of accounting resumes. Some are excellent, and some are still being perfected. However, there is one misspelling that seems to come up over and over again. Before you read on, answer this question… What do you think the most commonly misspelled word on a professional resume these days may be? Perhaps you would guess "their" versus "there"? If you were referring to writing in general that may be the case. People regularly confuse the two in general writing. In fact it's a mistake I frequently catch myself making, although I usually just say it's a typo. J If not there/their, it must be "it's" and "'its" then, right? No, but definitely another good guess. "It's", which is the contracted form of "it is" or "it has", is frequently confused with "its" as well, but there is one flaw in that logic. "It's" and "its" are not words you see frequently on resumes; so although they are commonly misused, they just are not used much in this context. (By the way, for those that are curious, "its" is just the possessive form of "it".) The most commonly misspelled word on professional resumes is <drum roll>... the word "manager", unless of course you really are in charge of something that involves "mangers". People frequently commit the typo that leaves out the middle "a" in "manager", leaving a word that word processing programs still recognize - the word "manger". So even if you use the spell-check function, the mistake doesn't get corrected. You are proudly announcing to the world that you are an "Accounting Manger", "Manger of Finance", "Payroll Manger" or something similar. So now that you know this, what do you do? Re-read your resume of course, and go to the extra step of having a friend read it as well. Often it is difficult for us to see errors such as this when we are the author. However, I guarantee you that the employer reviewing your resume will notice. And they may not find it quite as entertaining. I wish you the best in your career! Mark Goldman CPA

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Resume Advice That’s Truly Novel from Ken Coleman

It’s rare that we come across anything truly new in the world of job search advice, but a few months ago I was referred by a friend to another podcaster’s website - www.kencoleman.com .  This is the website for the popular radio production, “The Ken Coleman Show”, that features Ken Coleman taking calls from individuals looking for their dream job.  Ken is affiliated with the Dave Ramsey organization, and after listening for a few months now, I have to say that he gives exceptional job search advice.  He has a very novel, yet practical approach. One of the extremely unique tools he has for his audience is a free e-book titled, “How To Write The Perfect Resume”. It does require that you enter your email address in order to download the file, but immediately afterwards you get access to the document.  Generally I wouldn’t write about such things in this blog, but I found the information truly too valuable not to want to share. If you are in a situation where your resume doesn’t seem to be doing its job of getting your foot in the door for an interview, and you’ve maybe even had others give you feedback on it, I suggest you visit the website and download his guide. It’s a very short and easy read, but in it Coleman shares some insight on how to build a resume that I’ve honestly never seen before.  It really is unique. If you are in that situation, I hope you find this information beneficial. Visit www.kencoleman.com for the “How To Write The Perfect Resume” guide.  (We have no affiliation and get no benefit from sharing this – it’s purely for the reader’s benefit if needed). I wish you the best in your career! Mark Goldman CPA

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Thanksgiving 2018: Have You Said “Thank You” To Someone That Made A Difference Recently?

Generally I take a break from doing the Where Accountants Go podcast each year at Thanksgiving and simply do a blog post related to the Thanksgiving season. As luck would have it, one of the topics on my mind recently has been having an attitude of gratefulness. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have many mentors in my career that have taught me valuable lessons along the way. Some have been supervisors at work, some have been peers, some have been fellow members in professional associations, and some have simply been friends.  I have much appreciated the insight and advice I’ve received from these individuals over the years. As you can tell from the title of this post though, I have a question for you! Who have you said ‘thank you’ to recently?  Have you let those mentors know what a difference they have made for you in your career, and possibly even in your life?  This is a great time of year to personally let them know what a meaningful impact they have had on your success. Give them a call, or even take them to lunch or for a quick coffee. If you can’t see them in person, write them a 3-4 sentence thank you card.  Or if you feel extremely inspired, take the time to write a more formal lengthy letter.  We don’t receive many thank you letters these days, if any.  I guarantee you will brighten that person’s day, and likely their week or even month by doing so. Obviously we should be grateful at all times during the year… this time of year it’s perhaps just a little easier to remember. And don’t feel like it will be taken for granted by the recipient.  A sincere thank you to someone that cares about you is never unappreciated. Think back. Who has made a difference for you in your career?  Who has invested themselves in your success?  Give that person a sincere thank you.  Both of you will feel better from the experience. Happy Thanksgiving! And as always, I wish you the best in your career. Mark Goldman CPA

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150 Hours or a Masters Degree… I’ve Changed My Mind!

Many, many times over the last several years I’ve been asked this question, “Should I get a Masters degree in order to qualify to take the CPA exam, or just get the additional college credit needed without the Masters?” And for years my answer has been, “It depends.” I’ve always felt like you should get the Masters degree just in case you don’t successfully complete the CPA certification, but that it didn’t actually matter much after becoming a CPA. This is only anecdotal evidence, but after working over 20 years in the accounting employment industry, I had never seen the addition of an MBA to a CPA certification make much difference, either in who got the job or in what their compensation ended up being.  Simply having the CPA certification was substantial enough.  The MBA on top of the certification didn’t seem to make much of a difference.  Therefore, my answer was always “it depends”. However, I’ve recently changed my mind because of changes in the marketplace… As the accounting profession is becoming more and more dependent on technology, and that technology is automating many of the repetitive functions that accountants traditionally performed, there has been much more discussion about the importance of analytical skills.  The more time that passes by, the more imperative it is for an accountant to be able to be a strong advisor, not just a reporter of the information.  This is the reason for reconsidering my position on the question of whether or not to pursue a full Masters degree. Many if not most of the CFO’s I’ve asked over the years have credited their graduate education (Master’s degree) as the initial source of their analytical skills. While I’m sure much of it was developed on the job as well, almost without exception I’ll also hear that they learned much about analysis through their Master’s program at a university.  Since I don’t personally have a Master’s degree due to graduating prior to the 150-hour requirement in Texas, it’s hard for me to identify exactly which portion of the programs may lead specifically to the development of those skills, but it definitely seems to be how many financial professionals start to develop their advanced analytical ability. For this reason, while I still feel like from a job search standpoint I’m not sure the Master’s degree is too beneficial in addition to a CPA certification at the moment, it makes even more sense to go ahead and complete the graduate degree even though it means a few extra college courses. Since 1) it’s possible life could get in the way and you may not complete the CPA exam, and 2) you will learn key analytical skills that will ultimately make you a better advisor and therefore likely take you farther in your career later on, it just makes doubly-more sense to go ahead and put in that extra investment in your education.  As difficult as it is for me to say given the additional money and time that it takes to complete a Master’s degree, it truly does seem like the right investment to make in your future. I hope this article is beneficial to you if you are considering whether or not to pursue the additional hours yourself. Based on the direction of the marketplace, it just seems to make sense to make this additional investment in your future. Also, I would LOVE to hear any additional discussion on the matter – in agreement or not in agreement either way. We all grow through intelligent discussion of such topics. Until next time, I wish you the best in your career endeavors. Mark Goldman CPA

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Accountants: 3 Items to NEVER Drop From Your Resume

There are many resources online on the topic of what to include in your resume, but there aren’t many resources that tell you what to make absolutely sure you always include, or at least never drop, from your resume if you are an accountant no matter how long ago they occurred. The reality is that at least for accounting, there are a few items that employers tend to value no matter when they happened. Three of these items are as follows: Public accounting experience. Regardless of how long ago you worked for a CPA firm, there are some hiring managers that will value that experience many years into the future. The challenge is that for some people going back that far may cause your resume to be too lengthy, depending on the amount of experience you have. One solution is to only go as far back in your employment history as would be workable for a 1-2 page resume, and then list a separate section of "Other Relevant Experience". This technique helps keep your resume to a reasonable length and still allows you to show your public accounting experience even if it was several years prior. . Certifications. If you had a certification (CPA, CMA, CIA, etc) and let it lapse at one point, it is still valuable to list having possessed the certification on your resume for the time period that it was active. You have to be careful and not mislead anyone into believing you still have the certification or that it is still current; however, you can list it as inactive or list it along with the years that you held the certification. For example: "CPA certified 1995-2005". The mere fact that you once held the certification will be a differentiator to some employers. (Please note, keeping the certification active is far more valuable, but nevertheless even having the certification at one point will be positively viewed by many employers.) . Military experience. This is also an item that you should consider leaving on your resume regardless of how long ago it was. Showing that you have served your country in the military, along with the discipline and people skills that you obtain while performing such service, is generally well-respected and valued by employers. If the experience is too far back in your work history to make it practical to list on your resume, consider using the "Other Relevant Experience" section that is described above as a way of fitting it in to your resume without extending past 2 pages. . While keeping your resume to 2 pages or less is a must, there are a few things you can do to fit in critical experience while still following that general rule. Using this ‘exception to the rule’ and always including these 3 items on your resume will serve you well. I wish you the best. Have a great week! There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA

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