Career Growth for Accounting Professionals

PODCASTS

126: Tim Gearty of Becker CPA Review – Exam Advice, Plus The Rest Of The Story!

Tim Gearty, Editor-In-Chief and National Lead Instructor for Becker CPA Review, as well as Managing Partner for Gearty & McIntyre, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, a podcast production of Where Accountants Go. Snow Shoveling Is Hard Work Like most of our episodes, we started off by asking how Tim got into the accounting profession.  And like many guests, it came down to a very practical decision for Tim early in life.  He had experienced other ways of making income as a kid (snow shoveling, a paper route, etc), and realized that many of those required a high amount of physical labor.  That was hard work!  <grin>  So instead, when a family friend suggested he consider accounting as a potential career choice, he felt it would be a more practical way to make a good living. His career started as many do.  He worked for a short while in industry, and then with Peat Marwick Mitchell, a predecessor to KPMG.  After about 3-4 years in public accounting, he decided to take time off for law school. Becoming an Instructor Almost immediately after deciding to pursue law school, he was invited to become a professor due to an emergency need at the university.  He found that he thoroughly enjoyed teaching, and by the time he was finished with law school he found that it wasn’t necessary for him to return to a full-time accounting role at a national firm.  With both his teaching income as well as accounting work that he had picked up along the way, he was actually better off.  Plus, he loved helping others learn, so continuing along the teaching route just made sense. Present Day Tim now spends his professional efforts in three main areas, as managing partner for their accounting firm, providing CPE for Fortune 100 companies, and in his role with Becker of course.  You can tell from the interview that he is extremely passionate about his work, and he definitely enjoys the variety. We couldn’t end the podcast without getting Tim’s insights on passing the CPA exam as well of course.  Make sure you listen all the way to the end.  Tim shares not only some insights into being successful with the exam, but also some of the pitfalls that candidates can encounter these days. If you find value in this episode, please also check out our episode on “How To Pass the Exam” where we interviewed 5 recently certified CPAs on the techniques they used to ensure they passed. Thank you again for joining us.  To listen in on our interview with Tim Gearty, please click on the player below:

read more »

125: Structuring Your Business For Joy – Mariette Martinez

Mariette Martinez, an EA (Enrolled Agent) from the Los Angeles area, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast! Runs In The Family… Mariette’s initial interest in becoming an accountant stemmed from her family legacy of entrepreneurship.  Through constantly being around her family of entrepreneurs, she realized how important becoming knowledgeable in finance and accounting was to a business owner.  Because of this, although none of her family were accountants by trade, she decided to pursue accounting as a career choice at an early age. Building a Career Like many do, Mariette worked for an accounting firm during her time in college and gained wonderful experience.  After college, she was recruited into one of the national accounting firms and continued to grow professionally.  Becoming a mom changed her life though, and she decided to start her own business instead of continue down the corporate path.  She worked hard to build her own accounting practice, and in a very short time had her own team that handled bookkeeping, accounting, and tax work. Building a Life As she reached what many would clearly recognize as “success”, she realized that she didn’t get as much joy out of her day-to-day work as she had hoped.  She had a thriving business and was doing well financially, but it didn’t bring the enjoyment that she had expected.  One weekend when she was really feeling the lack of joy, she decided to take a few days off and decide what to do about the issue.  She made a decision that only very brave individuals are capable of making:  she totally transformed her business.  She went from a traditional accounting practice model, to more of an educational and financial coaching model.  That was back in 2014, and today she can honestly say that she has been able to return to her normal, joyful self.  You’ll be able to tell from her passion and energy in the audio interview – she truly does enjoy her work. If you find value in this episode for yourself, please check out these other related shows:  Sarah Elliott, Dena Jansen, and Robina Bennion. Please listen in on this interview with Mariette Martinez by clicking on the player below:

read more »

124: Perseverance, Determination, & Building a Dream – Lindsay Stevenson CPA

Lindsay Stevenson, a CPA, VP of Finance, and consulting firm owner in South Dakota, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast. Perseverance & Determination We open up the interview with the story of how Lindsay decided to choose accounting as her career path in the first place, and it’s quite an eventful tale.  Lindsay was very open about how early in life she made some bad choices, the consequences of which almost caused her to not pursue a professional career so-to-speak.  However, it was the determination she had to provide a better life for her family that drove her to go back to school and eventually complete her accounting degree. Moving up… Her career developed as many do.  Once she had her degree she started working in public accounting.  She chose the tax side because it required far less travel than audit, and that was better for her family.  She moved up quickly though and did well in public accounting, even though it was a while before she passed the CPA exam.  She did eventually tackle the exam though and became certified.  Not long afterwards, she decided to change directions and go into industry.  She now serves as VP of Finance for a major bank in South Dakota. Changing the Landscape! Late in the program Lindsay shares that she has a brave goal of changing the landscape of the accounting profession for the better.  She has started her consulting practice, Origin Evolution, specifically with this goal in mind.  Her focus is to work with organizations on their culture and how that is lived out in the workplace.  Her firm is still in the early stages of its development, but you can tell she has a true passion for the larger vision that she is working towards. I think you will really, really enjoy this episode.  Lindsay was very open about her story, and it spans such a wide variety of career topics that there is something in there for all of us. Other shows you will enjoy include:  Kimberly Ellison-Taylor and Dena Jansen To listen in on this truly-inspiring episode, please click on the player below:

read more »

More Podcasts »

BLOG

Video Courses, Publications, and More at WhereAccountantsGo.com

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…  

read more »

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: http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/applicants/index.shtml Illinois: https://www.ilboe.org/ New York: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/cpa/cpalic.htm Texas: https://www.tsbpa.texas.gov/examindex.html 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. https://www.imanet.org/cma-certification 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). https://www.cgma.org/becomeacgma.html Certified Bookkeeper CB. is offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. It’s a really great way to distinguish yourself from other bookkeepers. https://www.aipb.org/certification_program.htm 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. https://na.theiia.org/certification/CIA-Certification/Pages/CIA-Certification.aspx Enrolled Agent. The EA is a great designation for serious US tax professionals. It’s administered by the IRS. https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/enrolled-agents/become-an-enrolled-agent Specialized professional certifications: Certified Financial Planner CFPs have knowledge in budgeting, planning for retirement, saving for education, managing taxes and insurance coverage, and investing. https://www.cfp.net/get-certified Personal Financial Specialist.  The AICPA offers a personal financial planning credential which demonstrates your expertise and financial planning insight to prospective clients and employers. https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/credentials.html?tab-1=3#tab-2 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. https://www.cfainstitute.org/ 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. http://www.acfe.com/cfe-credential.aspx 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. https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/credentials.html?tab-1=2#tab-2 Accredited Senior Appraiser. The ASA credential demonstrates expertise in valuation and is offered by the American Society of Appraisers. http://www.appraisers.org/credentials/am-asa Accredited in Business Valuation. The AICPA offers the ABV designation for business valuation professionals. https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/credentials.html Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations™ .The CEIV is offered by the AICPA for professionals involved in fair value measurements. https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/credentials.html?tab-1=5#tab-5 Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited Valuation Analyst. The CVA and AVA credentials are offered by the National Association of Valuation Analysts. https://www.nacva.com/certifications Certified Information Technology Professional. The CITP is offered by the AICPA to information technology consultants and experts. https://www.aicpa.org/membership/join/credentials.html?tab-1=4#tab-4 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. http://www.isaca.org/CERTIFICATION/Pages/default.aspx 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. https://www.imanet.org/csca-credential 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. https://www.narssa.org/ 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. https://acceleratesmallbiz.com/ 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. https://www.profitfirstprofessionals.com/is-profit-first-professionals-right-for-you/ 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). https://certifiedtaxcoach.org/get-certified/ Fundamental Payroll Certification. The American Payroll Association offers the FPC for payroll beginners and service and support professionals in positions requiring payroll knowledge. https://www.americanpayroll.org/education-certification/certification/overview Certified Payroll Professional. The American Payroll Association also offers the CPP, which requires payroll experience, an exam, and a rigorous application process. https://www.americanpayroll.org/education-certification/certification/certified-payroll-professional-(cpp) 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 https://accountantsaccelerator.com/) For podcasts regarding passing certification exams, please visit our podcast page at Where Accountants Go - https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/category/cpa-exam/

read more »

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  https://amzn.to/2CL12cP  (affiliate link) Mark Goldman CPA

read more »

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  

read more »

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

read more »

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

read more »

More Blog Posts »

Books

More Books »