Career Content for Accounting Professionals

PODCASTS

110: Yaeger CPA Review Owner: Phil Yaeger!

Phil Yaeger of Yaeger CPA Review is our guest for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go! Changing the Industry One of the themes that comes out early in the interview, and then continues throughout, is that Phil definitely feels that instructors should be able to capture and hold the participant’s attention. From the observations he makes early on about his initial accounting courses, to the quality requirements he later set for his own CPA review course, you can tell that keeping the students engaged so that they can better learn the material is of high importance for Phil. Blueprint Another important take-away from this interview is how important the AICPA blueprint is to successfully preparing for the exam. Phil explains it much better than I can here, but suffice it to say that his feeling is that it’s not enough simply to see the blueprint, you need to have an understanding of what’s important for you to learn from that blueprint.  His CPA review course is structured such that you have both the blueprint itself, as well as an explanation of what you must be sure you learn on each part. A Story of Business Success Even if you aren’t preparing to take the CPA exam, you will enjoy this episode if you enjoy hearing about success. Phil mentions it for a few moments near the end, but his four decades in the business have definitely been successful and afforded him opportunities to be involved supporting the community and to meet celebrities along the way that otherwise he would not have been able to.  He’s worked diligently to make a difference in thousands of accountants’ lives, and therefore he’s been able to enjoy some of the rewards that come with helping so many. Other episodes that you may enjoy include: Professor Mansour Farhat & How To Pass The CPA Exam To listen to our interview with Phil Yaeger, please click on the player below:

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109: VP of Global Tax & Treasury – Chris Rosas of Rackspace

Chris Rosas, the Vice President of Global Tax & Treasury with Rackspace, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. A Different Path One unique fact about Chris’s career path is that he started in an industry position, and then later moved into public accounting, before moving back into industry in his position now with Rackspace. It’s not unusual to see individuals do internships in industry, but typically the next step isn’t public accounting.  This path worked very well for Chris though.  As you’ll hear in the audio interview, there was much to learn still when he did move to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, but it was definitely a move worth making.  That experience helped him to gain knowledge that he uses in his position to this day at Rackspace. International Tax Another interesting facet of Chris’s career is that he actually started in international tax. It’s extremely rare to start in the international side of tax, but the opportunity was available and he took advantage of it.  It’s turned out to be a very interesting and challenging career for Chris.  He also gets into the discussion of how there is cross-over in his roles in both global tax and treasury at Rackspace.  For many, the connection may not be apparent, but Chris explains how the two roles actually work well together in a global organization. Hard Work and Humility This has come up in a few of our recent episodes, so I wanted to highlight it here since it came up in our conversation with Chris as well. Chris mentions that although he was well on his way with his career when he joined PwC, he had to be humble because there was much he had not learned yet and it became apparent when he joined the global accounting firm. He also discusses how when he was with Clear Channel, he would go to his supervisor’s office at the end of the day and make sure there wasn’t anything else that they needed help with. This additional effort not only helped him gain favor I’m sure, but also got him additional experience on interesting projects that otherwise he would not have been exposed to.  Both a strong work ethic and humility were keys to Chris’s early success. This episode is another one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Other episodes that may interest you: 027: Janice Flynn – Global Corporate Controller for Rackspace and 103: Transitioning from Public to Industry in Tax – Audra Fahey, VP of Tax with NuStar Energy Please listen to the audio by clicking on the player below:

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108: From the GAO to Successful Entrepreneur – Libby King CPA

Libby King of Libby King & Associates in Austin, Texas, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. If you’ve ever daydreamed about how you could use your industry accounting background to service clients in a self-employment or contractor capacity, this episode is for you. US GAO One of the interesting parts of this discussion for me personally was actually Libby’s first job out of college. She worked as an Auditor with the United States General Accounting Office.  I had always wondered what a position with the GAO may be like, and Libby shared some of her experiences with us on the show.  There are way to many details to share in the show-notes here, but suffice it to say that one of the organizations they audited was so large that anything under $80 million dollars was considered an immaterial item with regards to the audit.  Truly an amazing experience I’m sure. Her Eureka Moment When asked about how she decided to start her business, Libby said it truly was a “eureka moment”. She was in a position where she was providing value, but she always seemed to feel like she was treated as an overhead item, and that feeling didn’t sit well with her.  It was at this point that she decided to put her prior governmental experience to use and go into business for herself servicing small start-up businesses, including those in the governmental contracting space. Where They Are Today As of the time of this interview, Libby King & Associates has grown to about 15 team members comprised of transactional support professionals as well as management consulting experts. They service clients in the “2 to 10” space as Libby says… two to ten years in business, and two to ten million in revenues.  In reality they service clients outside of these parameters, but it makes it easier to have a guideline for what makes an ideal client for the firm as they continue to grow. Another important factor in the success of their business is a mastery of cost accounting. Cost accounting is highly important when doing business with the government, so it is an area that the team at Libby King & Associates has developed as a core strength.  Ironically it wasn’t Libby’s favorite subject in school, but she’s learned to work around that for the good of the customer.  <smiley face> Other podcasts you may enjoy include Matt Malcom’s episode and the interview with Marcus Dillon. Please listen in on this interview with Libby King by clicking on the player below:  

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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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Life In Accounting at 60,000 Downloads & Still Growing. Thank you!!

Given the 'short' week with the Labor Day holiday, I wanted to take the opportunity to save you a little time :) and instead of producing an interview-style show, simply say thank you so much for listening to the show and sharing it amongst your friends.  I truly am honored and humbled that you choose to share your time with us each week and tune in to the Life In Accounting podcast. In case you would like to know more about recent happenings and what is coming down the road for both our podcast and our website, please continue reading for some exciting announcements... Life In Accounting at 60,000 downloads! As of the writing of this post, our Life in Accounting podcast has blown past the 60,000 download mark in the less-than-two-years that we have been producing shows.  I have no idea what to say other than thank you.  I had no idea the show would catch the interest of so many people in such a short amount of time. I frequently get comments on how interesting the guests have been, and once again all I can say is thank you to the guests as well.  If it were not for our guests that share so freely of both their time and their stories, we wouldn't have a show to begin with. In fact, if you are just now finding our show and aren't aware of what I'm referring to, make sure you check out some of these recent interviews... Josh LeBlanc, Partner at Edgar Kiker & Cross - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/095/ . John Garrett, the “Recovering CPA” and a podcaster himself - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/094/ . Steve Goodman of Goodman Financial, a highly respected financial advisory firm - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/093/ . Partners at JAG CPAs in Houston, Texas – a young, thriving accounting practice - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/092/ . Bob Alonzo, former Analyst with the FBI - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/089/ . A Book! Another exciting announcement I wanted to share is the pending arrival of my first book!  As of the time I'm writing this, we are awaiting the arrival of the "proof" copy, and then the final version will be posted on Amazon, this site, and likely a few others.  I don't want to go into too many details as of yet just in case a deadline moves, but I will share that if you enjoy the podcasts, you will enjoy the book.  In many ways it's a collection of the best tidbits of the podcast.  More information to come of course... Website Changes at www.WhereAccountantsGo.com Another change you see soon - in about 2 months - is a redirection of the home website to be filled with more rich content geared towards assisting accountants in their careers.  We will be adding a section, as well as deepening a few other sections.  It's all focused on making the site itself a better resource for accountants looking to grow. Thank you again Thank you again, so much, for listening to our show and sharing it amongst your friends.  We enjoy producing it, and it humbles me to know that so many out their enjoy listening to it. I hope you have a wonderful week. Stay tuned... there's more to come!  

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Resume Absolutes for Recent Grads

While your resume may not be absolutely the most important part of your job search strategy, it does heavily influence whether or not you have an opportunity to get in front of the right people in order to find the right opportunity.  Therefore, it pays dividends to take a little extra effort when preparing this very important document. If you are a recent graduate, or are about to be, then there are a few specific tips that may be helpful to you in preparing your resume: Avoid empty phrases. Although you truly are a "hard-working, goal-oriented team-player", those descriptors don't carry much weight unless you back them up with examples. Yet it’s so easy to include those phrases on your resume when you lack several years of experience! Try to be more specific when describing your abilities and use phrases that you can back up with examples. Work History – possibly 2 sections. If you are like many recent graduates, you likely have some work experience that is related to your chosen career as well as some non-related experience. Consider dividing your experience into two sections - "Accounting Work Experience" and "Other Experience". By listing the accounting experience on top, the reader will focus on that first. Focus on career-related experience. You also have likely worked less in your chosen career field than outside your field up to this point in your working life. Provide the most detail on your career-related work versus your non-career related employment. By providing more details in these areas, it causes the reader to focus more attention on that experience. Plans for certification. If you plan to pursue a certification then list that intent on your resume, but only if you are serious. Be prepared to discuss how you will achieve the certification. If the employer is looking for someone to grow with the company, this will likely make a difference. Listing of classes – not necessary. Providing a list of the courses you took isn't necessary unless they specifically pertain to the job for which you are applying. Listing your tax and business law classes on your resume doesn't help when applying for a cost analyst position, just as listing your cost accounting course doesn't apply to tax positions. Plus, it takes up valuable real estate on your resume that could be devoted to relevant material. Listing courses is fine, but only do it if it helps your case. Email addresses. Use a professional sounding email address. Nicknames may be cute, but the hiring manager or HR department may not possess the same sense of humor! GPA. Simple... if over a 3.0, it's OK to list it on the resume. If not, it doesn't help. (Unless of course your university gives you different guidelines) 1 page is plenty. Unless you have substantial experience in the field you are targeting, your resume should only be one page. If you find that difficult then you are likely listing too much detail, possibly in your non-related work history, details of classes taken, or in the organizations / awards sections. Let a friend proofread... your resume. Once you have revised your resume a couple times, it's difficult to be unbiased. Let a friend read it in order to make sure it makes sense to them and doesn't contain any errors that you may have overlooked. I hope these tips are beneficial to you. Sometimes it’s easy to look at a document so many times that you start to miss some of the details.  Your resume is no different.  Getting a second opinion helps. See you next week! There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA Where Accountants Go

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