Career Content for Accounting Professionals

PODCASTS

107: Mansour Farhat – Saving Accounting Students One YouTube Video At A Time

Professor Mansour Farhat of Youtube fame joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. 34,000 Subscribers & Growing! We usually start at the beginning in the shownotes, but this time we are jumping right to one of the major points. If you haven’t yet found Professor Farhat’s accounting lectures on Youtube and you are an accounting student, or even a recent student, you may be among the minority!  Mansour started his Youtube channel simply as a way to make his lectures in one class available to students at another university where he was teaching as well.  To his surprise though, the channel grew far past just the students in his class and as of this recording he has surpassed 34,000 subscribers to his Youtube channel!  Definitely a testament to how helpful his content is. In Service of Students It’s important to note that all of his material is free… yes, free. There are videos of common courses such as Intermediate Accounting and Auditing, as well as lessons that apply directly to those pursuing the CPA certification.  In total he has over 1,200 videos with accounting course content.  And it’s all free.  It’s simply an additional resource for students that feel they need a different delivery format, or additional instruction, in order to help them better learn the material. Give It A Chance… One of the interesting comments Professor Farhat made during the interview was in response to the final three questions. When we asked him about his ‘biggest mistake’, he went back to one of his early job changes.  He said that he should have given that job more of a chance and stayed longer to see if it could have worked out.  What was interesting to me is that I think we can apply that same philosophy to the study of accounting.  If you are a student and having difficulty with the initial accounting courses, make sure you give the major a chance.  It could be that you simply need to stay a little longer for the concepts to take hold, or it could be that you just need some additional help to learn and retain the material.  This is where Farhat’s Youtube channel comes into play.  Thirty-four thousand other learners have benefited from Mansour’s videos… chances are you will too. To find Farhat content on Youtube, search for “Farhat Accounting” or click here: https://www.youtube.com/user/user10452 Other episodes you may enjoy: CPA Review Course Review, Marshall Pitman To listen to our interview with Professor Mansour Farhat, please click the player below:

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106: Author, World Traveler, Copilot, Neuroscientist, Marketing Strategist, & CPA – Sandi Smith Leyva!

Sandi Smith Leyva from the Plano area joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. We explore how her career path started in accounting and has now ended up with her owning companies focused on marketing technology and training.  We also delve into some of her personal pursuits such as traveling around the world co-piloting a single engine airplane, and also visiting over 100 countries! Started in Industry Sandi mentions this at one point, but it’s a detail that may have escaped us otherwise had she not pointed it out. Sandi started her career in bookkeeping roles for private companies, and then transitioned into a position with Frito-Lay in Dallas as an assistant to their Controller.  Although she became a CPA early in her career, she never worked in public accounting and doesn’t seem to regret it.  There is a lesson in here for all soon-to-be-graduates.  Public accounting can be an excellent way to start a career, but it’s just one path.  There are many opportunities in industry that can get you off to a healthy start as well if you find the right position and still continue to pursue certification. Laid Off – A New Beginning In 1992, Sandi was laid off from her job at that point and took the opportunity to start her own business. With her background in IT and training, she got into the computer training business and eventually into website development.  As of today about half of her business is in digital marketing, with another substantial piece being in professional training.  While lay-offs can obviously be difficult, they also can create opportunities that we otherwise may not explore! “What’s Stopping You?” In the later part of the episode, Sandi mentions that the best piece of advice she ever received was actually more of a concept – the concept of “What’s Stopping You?” Make sure you listen in to the entire episode as this occurs near the end.  I think if we all applied the “What’s Stopping You” concept to our own lives, we would all end up achieving many, many more of our dreams than we realize. I hope you enjoy this episode with Sandi Smith Leyva. To find her online, visit www.accountantsaccelerator.com or www.acceleratorwebsites.com . Other episodes that may interest you:  033: Carolyn Newman, CPA & Owner of Audimation To listen in on this episode, please click on the player below:  

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105: Building a CPA Firm The Right Way – A Discussion with Marcus Dillon CPA

Marcus Dillon of Dillon CPAs in Katy, Texas, was our guest for this week’s episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. Building a Firm For the record… the implication in the title of this podcast is 100% solely something I wrote – not a quote from Marcus. I suspect Marcus would feel like that statement is a little egotistical, which is why it’s not something you would hear him say.   As you will be able to tell from the audio interview, Marcus is a very humble individual.  However, you will also notice from the audio interview that he and his team believe in growing a firm that meets the needs of the specific clients they wish to serve as well as the internal employees.  It’s not a firm that values growth simply for the sake if growing.  Purpose is much more important to Marcus than growth. Analysis To Find The Right Firm Another aspect of this interview that you may find interesting is that although Marcus looked for a firm to acquire by signing up for broker newsletters and other announcements, ultimately he ended up going through his own analysis to locate potential merger targets. And it was successful!  He ended up starting his practice by locating the perfect merger partner and working out an arrangement that worked well for both of them.  Sometimes you simply have to take charge of the process yourself to get the best results. Peace The last thing I wanted to highlight about this episode is simply the peaceful, calm attitude that Marcus had during the recording. I mentioned this to him after the interview (offline), but I wanted to note it here as well.  I was extremely impressed about how well they have managed the growth of their firm, and how they have directed that growth.  They’ve done it in such a way as not to let it overwhelm them.  I’m sure they have some very busy times just like all firms, but they don’t seem to be overly stressed by the growth of their firm.  They truly seem to have a sense of peace, which is very refreshing. Other episodes you may enjoy: 030 with Matt Malcom, or 092 with JAG CPAs To listen in on the audio interview with Marcus Dillon, please click on the player below:

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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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Certifications: Earlier equals easier

Some of our recent podcast episodes have caused me to want to revisit a topic… pursuit of a certification such as the CPA certificate or one of the several other certifications available in the accounting profession. One of the recurring themes we see is that the earlier someone gets their certification (CPA, CIA, CMA, etc) completed, the easier it is for them to complete… not to mention the sooner it starts to pay off in terms of their career advancement and the opportunities that become available. It’s always a challenging thing to fit into an already busy life, but it definitely doesn’t get any easier as time goes on and life becomes even more complex. Work tends to get more involved and generally our family obligations tend to grow as well. So even though it can seem insurmountable to pursue certification after just surviving many years of college education, it truly is the best time to go ahead and get it done. I’m posting this entry as a form of encouragement for anyone that is considering whether to pursue certification now or to put it off for a while. Do it as early as possible. If you can squeeze out the time and in some way buckle down to prepare, it is definitely the best thing to do. It won't be easy and it may not be comfortable, but it doesn’t get any easier with time unfortunately either. Life just never really seems to get less busy. The further you get into your career, the more difficult it becomes to dedicate the time necessary to do well on the exam. If at all possible, get it out of the way early. You will never regret that decision. If you are considering pursuing a certification exam and are unsure where to start, some of these podcasts involving the topic of becoming certified may be helpful: Insights on CPA Review Courses from our Panel of CPAs. Our panel discusses the review course options available in the marketplace as well as some of their tips for successfully preparing for the exam. https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/060/ Belicia Cespedes – Becoming a CPA at 17 years old. Listen to Belicia’s story of how she selected accounting as a career and proceeded to become the youngest person ever to become a CPA. https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/058/ Connie Clark, CPA – From IT to Accounting & The Importance of Mentors. Are you changing careers & joining the accounting profession? Connie shares her career journey with us starting from her initial career in IT, to switching to accounting and passing the CPA exam a little later in life. https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/lifeinaccounting/042/ I hope these stories can help you find your passion to achieve your dreams if certification is one of your goals. Have a great week! There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA WhereAccountantsGo.com  

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Books

“Harlon Blake, CPA: A Challenging Career” by Carl S. Chilton Jr.

Amazon Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/2PHKkTS.,    One of the benefits I have received from hosting the podcast is the opportunity to speak with movers-and-shakers in the accounting profession, and sometimes even living legends.  That was the case when I interviewed Carl S. Chilton Jr., one of the two founders of the successful Rio Grande Valley Texas firm of Long Chilton.  If you haven't yet heard that particular episode, you definitely should look in the archives to listen in on my conversation with Carl.  He was in his 90's at the time of the recording, and I was extremely, extremely honored that he would take the time to speak with us. One of Carl's passions both during his working years and in retirement was writing.  He has written several books, many of which are related to the history of the area of South Texas where he lives.  However, he also wrote an interesting fictional account of the life of a CPA in public practice in a small town firm: "Harlon Blake, CPA: A Challenging Career". I recommend this book not only because I interviewed Carl, but because I think it is a good book for anyone considering accounting as a career.  It applies primarily to public practice, but I think it would be a good exercise in thinking about your career even for those potential accountants that are considering working in industry.  And given that it's told in story form, it's actually a pretty easy read in addition to being entertaining. Check it out on Amazon through this affiliate link: https://amzn.to/2PHKkTS  

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