Career Growth for Accounting Professionals


133: Coaching for CPA Candidates & Accountants Looking For Career Growth – Erin Daiber from Well Balanced Accountants

Erin Daiber, founder of Well Balanced Accountants, a coaching business specifically serving the accounting profession, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast. Anything But Accounting This episode started with a little surprise.  Erin told the story of her early decisions that led her to want to become an accountant in the first place.  Interestingly enough, her earliest career decision was that she wanted to become anything OTHER THAN and accountant!  However, it was a very influential professor in an undergraduate course that told her she would make a good accountant, and that she had a natural talent for it, that convinced her to pursue accounting as a profession. Coaching is Important During the first few years of Erin’s accounting career, she realized how important good managers and mentors were to an individual’s development both in her own experience as well as through what she was seeing in the workplace.  Some managers were exceptional, and some not so much.  Through this experience, she decided to hire a coach to help with decisions about her own career, and eventually decided to pursue the same career path herself – that of a coach.  After just a short time in the coaching business, she niched her business down further to specifically service those in her own profession… accounting.  Now Well Balanced Accountants coaches individuals both looking to pass the CPA exam, as well as those looking to advance in their accounting careers. CPA Exam Coaching CPA exam coaching is only about half of what Well Balanced Accountants does, but we focused quite a bit on that service due to how important it is in the career of an accountant.  Erin offers both online coaching programs, as well as one-on-one solutions.  Most of their clients have struggled with the exam in the past and realize that they need to do something differently, and that is where Erin’s service comes in.  It’s not a review course, and they don’t identify or partner with any one review course (although a review course is a great idea!!).  Instead, they provide the motivation, accountability, and strategy that many examinees need in order to get through the exam successfully. If you have struggled to pass the exam, or perhaps want to make sure you don’t struggle too much and get it out of the way quickly, make sure you check out their services at  (and yes, if you mention “Where Accountants Go” and use their services, Erin will help to financially support our show – they appreciate the referrals) I think you will enjoy this episode.  Erin provides much needed services, and she thoroughly enjoys her career. Until next time, have a great week!  There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA

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132: Mixing Accounting, Technology, and Tattoos – Byron Patrick CPA

Byron Patrick, a CPA whose career has been built in technology, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. Learning Accounting through Monopoly! Byron’s was initially influenced to pursue accounting as a profession like many of us were – by taking a high school level accounting course.   He also tells the story of one of his earliest memories regarding accounting – playing a game of Monopoly and actually creating financial statements as a part of the game.  Through this experience, as well as becoming involved with Future Business Leaders of America, he realized he had a definite interest in the profession. Becoming the IT guy Byron’s career was just starting in the late 1990’s when computer systems were becoming more than just a single machine that was used for basic computations.  Systems were being connected and integrated, and he had a natural talent for being able to troubleshoot office computer issues as well as understand how to structure those early networks.  As he got more and more involved in systems work, it left less time for the core audit work that he had initially been hired for.  Through a transition to a new firm, and that firm recognizing both his talent and their need, he became the full-time IT Director at a regional CPA practice. The Early Cloud Byron’s interest in systems led him to co-found a business called Simplified Innovations where they focused on installing systems in other accounting firms.  Over an 8-year period, they grew the business to be servicing over 650 end users with only four internal staff members.  The infrastructure they built to do this was a predecessor to what we refer to as the cloud in today’s terminology. Botkeeper and The Future After a great run with his own firm, he decided to sell his interest to his partner and move on to new challenges.  Most recently, Byron has joined botkeeper, a fast-growing accounting technology company that just received additional funding from the Google organization.  One of the items you need to make sure you listen closely for in the audio interview is our discussion of what the future accountant looks like from a day-to-day perspective.  Our profession definitely isn’t going away by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, we are becoming more and more important as businesses need individuals not to just prepare the numbers, but to help interpret them as well.   We are becoming more of the translators, or advisors, that we all strive to be in the first place, as opposed to having to handle the more mundane duties such as data entry and other similar tasks.  It is a great and exciting time to be in the profession. And if that wasn’t enough, we also get into a short discussion of Byron’s CPA tattoo…  that was a first for the show! If you enjoy this episode, make sure you also check out:  Jody Padar and Donny Shimamoto To listen in, please click on the player below:

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131: A Few Thoughts on Taking The CPA Exam – Mark Goldman

Becoming a CPA has had a tremendous positive effect on my life and career, both in jobs within the core accounting profession as well as in roles where I didn’t even see a number most days, but rather was working more in support of the profession in people-serving positions.  However, no matter what the position or role was, in all cases being a CPA has been beneficial. I recorded this episode for two reasons.  The most practical reason was that we had scheduling issues with a few of the upcoming guests that left a small window where we wouldn’t have an episode.  However, I think that was truly an opportunity being presented to me to record an episode on this particular topic that’s been on my heart recently. About a month ago I was asked to speak at a university event, and as I pondered what would be an appropriate topic for someone with my background to speak on, the subject of becoming a CPA became the clear choice.  I’ve seen it make a huge difference in my own life, and at the same time I’ve seen the struggles and sacrifices that others have went through in order to pass.  It truly is a major endeavor, but it’s one that pays off for the rest of your career.  After delivering that speech, I found that I still needed to talk about a few more aspects of pursuing the exam and the sacrifices that it takes for most individuals to pass, and this episode came into being. If you are yourself working on becoming a CPA, I hope you find just a little inspiration in this episode to keep on plugging along.  You truly can do it. If you are already a CPA and passed long ago, I think you will find some truth in the thoughts I share. And if you aren’t sure whether or not you want to pursue your CPA certification, or are considering whether or not it’s really worth the effort, PLEASE listen to this episode before you make your decision.  In fact, feel free to reach out to me personally and let’s talk about the decision.  It truly is a career-changing move, and although it’s not for everyone, for most it is a course of action that they are forever happy they chose. Other episodes you may want to check out if you are pursuing the CPA certification include: 107: Mansour Farhat – Saving Accounting Students One YouTube Video At A Time 097: How to Pass the CPA Exam – Tips from Newly Certified CPAs! 060 – Insights on CPA Review Courses from our Panel of CPAs Thank you again for being a part of the Where Accountants Go community.  We just recently passed 100,000 downloads of the podcast, and I am so thankful for all our audience members.  Couldn’t have passed that milestone without you! Have a great week!  There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA  

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100K Downloads And Growing!

As of this last week, our Life In Accounting podcast hosted at has surpassed 100,000 downloads since launching two-and-a-half years ago.  It’s amazing to see that number, and very humbling honestly.  We have had extraordinary guests over these 120+ episodes, and continue to be honored that so many successful accounting professionals accept the invitation to come on the show. It would be inappropriate, and truly impossible, to name just a few “favorite” guests.  They all have been exceptional.  However, we have had some unique conglomerate episodes that are worth mentioning as they involved multiple guests at the same time sharing their viewpoints with us. By far our most favorite multi-guest shows have been: CPA Review Course Panel Discussion – We brought in 4 recently certified CPAs to discuss which review courses they used, and how they prepared for the exam overall. How To Pass The Exam – In a similar fashion, but with more general exam guidance, we interviewed 5 CPAs that had just recently passed to talk about their strategy and study habits in order to give both advice and motivation to those looking to do the same. Internship Success – Five managers joined us to talk about what they look for in interns, and how their internship programs work in order to help future interns in accounting everywhere be more successful. This truly was a wonderful show. If you haven’t yet heard these episodes, please check them out at the links above or through your favorite podcast app. And to our current audience, thank you so, so, so much for helping us reach this goal!  It’s been an incredibly fun 2 years, and we are looking forward to bringing you even more great stories of everyday heroes in our fantastic profession as we continue on. Until next time, have a great week!  There’s more to come… Mark Goldman CPA

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Video Courses, Publications, and More at

We’ve been adding more career and employer resources recently on the Where Accountants Go website, and with our podcast being delayed for one week due to scheduling issues, I figured it would be a good time to publicize some of the recent additions! If you are looking to build your career… How To ACE The Phone Interview – a free 2-page impactful set of tips to help you with this sometimes difficult part of the interview process 49 Tips For A Successful Accounting Career – Our first book targeted at helping you advance your career from the entry-level point into management and beyond. Available on Amazon or our own site for immediate shipping. - If you are an employer and need to improve on your hiring processes… Hiring For Accounting – Our 45 page e-book-style comprehensive guide for filling accounting positions Hiring Checklist for Small Businesses – A 2-page checklist meant for small and mid-size businesses looking to fill a key accounting role 7 Key Tips for Optimizing Phone Interviews – Another 2-page list of tips for helping employers benefit from the advantages of phone interviews, but without the pitfalls that sometimes are inherent in this type of screening - We also now have online video courses… Resumes That Work – a workshop-style video that not only tells you, but shows you, how to improve your resume format Interviewing to Win – to help you polish your interviewing skills Networking – to help job seekers meet the people they need to meet Advertising Accounting Positions (employers) – to help you better attract the talent you need - Or if nothing appeals to you from our publications and video courses, and you want to support the production efforts for our weekly podcast, we also now have a “Donate” option on the top menu.  We much prefer you choose a publication that is helpful to you, but wanted to provide this as an option as well. Make sure to check back next week as we get back to our regular production schedule!  We have some amazing podcast guests lined up. See you soon!  There’s more to come…  

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34 Professional Certifications You Can Get in Accounting, Tax, Audit, and More (Guest Blog)

(Reposted with permission from Accountant’s Accelerator, a division of Sandra L. Leyva, Inc.) While the Certified Public Accountant will always be the Holy Grail of certifications in our profession, there is no shortage of additional certifications you can reach for. This blog post is my attempt to list them all in one place so you can choose wisely about the best way to spend your study time. Certifications help to assure clients of a level of expertise achieved in a certain area. They build credibility, some more than others of course. They also provide accountants with a structure approach to building expertise in a particular area. There are many categories of certifications, and for this article, we’ll focus on two major categories: certifications that demonstrate core technical accounting, audit, or tax expertise, and certifications that demonstrate specialized knowledge in accounting, tax, and finance. General certifications for technical accounting knowledge Certified Public Accountant. We simply have to start with the CPA. The CPA is not only a certification with a grueling exam, college hours, experience, ethics, and a stringent application process, it’s in effect a state license too. Each state in the US has rules on how a CPA can maintain their license to practice with the state’s governing body. Each CPA firm also requires a firm license along with peer review requirements. California: Illinois: New York: Texas: I’m guessing there are about half a million CPAs in the U.S.  Outside the U.S., there are equivalent designations. For example, in Canada, CPA stands for Chartered Professional Accountant, and in the UK and Australia, it’s CA: Chartered Accountant. Certified Management Accountant. The CMA is a certification most often earned by professional working in industry or government. It’s administered by the Institute of Management Accountants, who has more than 100,000 members worldwide. Chartered Global Management Accountant CGMA. is a management accounting designation with more than 150,000 designees worldwide. It can be earned through the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Certified Bookkeeper CB. is offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. It’s a really great way to distinguish yourself from other bookkeepers. Certified Internal Auditor. The Institute of Internal Auditors is well known for its Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification, but it also has several other certifications for auditors to earn: CGAP – Certified Government Auditing Professional, CFSA – Certified Financial Services Auditor, CCSA – Certification in Control Self-Assessment, CRMA – Certification in Risk Management Assurance, QIAL – Qualification in Internal Audit Leadership, and BEAC – Certifications for Environmental, Health, and Safety Auditors. Enrolled Agent. The EA is a great designation for serious US tax professionals. It’s administered by the IRS. Specialized professional certifications: Certified Financial Planner CFPs have knowledge in budgeting, planning for retirement, saving for education, managing taxes and insurance coverage, and investing. Personal Financial Specialist.  The AICPA offers a personal financial planning credential which demonstrates your expertise and financial planning insight to prospective clients and employers. Chartered Financial Analyst. The CFA credential is held by over 150,000 professionals around the world. The charter gives a strong understanding of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. Certified Fraud Examiner. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, with nearly 850,000 members, offers the CFE, a credential that demonstrates expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence. Certified in Financial Forensics. The AICPA offers the CFF which measures forensic accounting skills in bankruptcy, insolvency and reorganization; computer forensic analysis; economic damages calculations; fraud prevention; and valuations. Accredited Senior Appraiser. The ASA credential demonstrates expertise in valuation and is offered by the American Society of Appraisers. Accredited in Business Valuation. The AICPA offers the ABV designation for business valuation professionals. Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations™ .The CEIV is offered by the AICPA for professionals involved in fair value measurements. Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited Valuation Analyst. The CVA and AVA credentials are offered by the National Association of Valuation Analysts. Certified Information Technology Professional. The CITP is offered by the AICPA to information technology consultants and experts. Certified Information Systems Auditor. ISACA (which now only goes by the acronym that previously stood for Information Systems Audit and Control Association) offers the CISA as well as several other certifications: Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), and Cybersecurity Nexus – CSX Certificate and CSXP Certification. Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis. Once you’re a CMA, you can reach for the specialty designation, CSCA, Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis. Registered Social Security Analyst. The RSSA is offered by the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts for professionals who help clients optimize their social security benefits and retirement cash flow. Certified Business Profit Consultant. The CBPC is offered by my company (Sandra L. Leyva, Inc.). It provides basic training and tools in four advisory areas: revenue growth, cash flow, profitability, and pricing, and it’s designed for the small firm owner who wants to take the first step to adding a service line beyond compliance work to their business. Certified Profit First Professional. The Profit First Professionals organization offers the CPFC. It’s training and a methodology that you license to use with your clients. Certified Tax Coach. Certified Tax Coach, LLC, a non-profit organization, provides training and certification to become a CTC. There is a a licensing requirement which includes active licensure as a CPA, EA, or attorney in good standing. Two more certifications you can get after CTC include Certified Tax Planner (3 years active practice as a planner and tax planning experience requirement) and Certified Tax Strategist (3 years active practice as a planner and tax planning experience requirement). Fundamental Payroll Certification. The American Payroll Association offers the FPC for payroll beginners and service and support professionals in positions requiring payroll knowledge. Certified Payroll Professional. The American Payroll Association also offers the CPP, which requires payroll experience, an exam, and a rigorous application process. As you can see, it would be quite ambitious to earn all 34 designations. The hardest part is to choose the ones that you feel will give you the skills you need as well as a satisfying career. (For more information on Accountant’s Accelerator, please visit For podcasts regarding passing certification exams, please visit our podcast page at Where Accountants Go -

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Book Review: The 2-Hour Job Search (Author Steve Dalton)

The title of this book caught my interest: “The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job FASTER”.  I’m always interested in good job search advice that I can pass on to friends in the accounting profession that are looking for a better situation.  The mention of technology to expedite the search was intriguing since so many times it hinders more than helps in a typical job search.  This book definitely had some interesting points. Narrowing Your Efforts While the author gets into great depth regarding the process he’s developed for job hunting, the basic premise regarding the use of technology in your job search is to help you narrow down what activities will be most fruitful. While many job seekers may first think of job boards when they think of using tech in their search, the author is more focused on determining who is best to speak with at organizations where you may want to work.  Through his process, you use technology to research good targets for your search, and then approach them the old fashion way – through multiple forms of direct contact.  Being a proponent myself of being more ‘active’ in your job search than merely applying to jobs online, his process makes a lot of sense to me.  Job seekers that are willing to be more targeted in their efforts and take the initiative to reach out on their own generally end up with the best opportunities.  That has long been the case. 2 Hours? In all fairness to potential job seekers that would read the book, I’m not 100% sure about the “2 hour” estimate. However, the author mentions several times throughout the book that there are many rabbit holes that you could find yourself going down that would eat up your time, and that it’s important to avoid those unnecessary efforts.  I think if you have the self-control to only follow what the author prescribes, and avoid doing more in-depth research on items that are unlikely to be fruitful, then the 2-hour estimate may be workable.  It all comes down to following the process with self-control. Taking Control of Your Destiny Overall, what I like about “The 2-Hour Job Search” is the premise that if you are willing to take control of your own job-search destiny by doing a little more work on the search than is typical, you will end up with better results.  So often we find ourselves taking a job because it is the one being offered… not necessarily the best one available in the marketplace for us.  If we spent a little more time on the front end of the search consciously targeting appropriate opportunities that match our long-term goals, we would likely be happier with the results as our careers progress. For more information on this book or to order it, visit: The 2-Hour Job Search  (affiliate link) 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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