Career Growth for Accounting Professionals

Audit and Tax Associates / Managers / Senior Managers – Dallas, Texas

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Tax Supervisor or Senior/Permanent Part-Time or Full-Time – Round Rock, Texas

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Accounts Receivable- Manufacturing or Construction – San Antonio, Texas

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Tax Senior – San Antonio, Texas

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Tax Manager – smaller local firm – San Antonio, Texas

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PODCASTS

148: From Intern to President – Anoop Mehta CPA

Anoop Mehta, CPA and President of Science Systems and Applications Incorporated, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast. Thank you Mr. Miller… As with many of our guests, Anoop became interested in accounting at an early age.  He had many influencers, including his father, but one influencer made a greater impact than you may imagine.  For many accountants, the interest in accounting starts in a high school class.  Anoop’s story is similar, except that he had an extremely dedicated high school accounting instructor.  His teacher, Mr. Miller, not only provided the basic bookkeeping class that many high schools make available, he also allowed students to sign up for a second year of accounting under an independent study program where they could learn about accounting in even more depth.  It was through Mr. Miller’s efforts that Anoop was able to delve deeper into accounting at a much earlier age than normal. Moving up to President This early start in accounting coupled with the influence of his father, also an accountant, solidified his interest in the field.  While completing his education, Anoop took a part-time intern position with one of his father’s clients as their 2nd overall employee.  It was a small business that was just moving out of the owner’s basement into their first office.  By the time he graduated, the company had grown to 20 employees and Anoop was running the office.  Fast forward to today, and through many years of hard work and good fortune the company has grown to over 1000 employees, and Anoop has served as their President since 2015.  The job that started as a part-time internship for a fledgling organization has grown into what many would consider to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The importance of getting involved One of the themes throughout this episode was personal growth.  When Anoop joined SSAI, he was employee number two, and they now have over 1000 employees.  The skills that it takes to grow with an organization at that pace, and to eventually lead it as well, are not all learned in college.  Outside supplemental growth opportunities are necessary in order to keep your interpersonal skills up to par.  For Anoop, many of those external growth opportunities came from being involved with professional organizations such as the CPA Society.  He’s also been active on other non-profit boards, but he definitely attributes some of his growth to his involvement at the Maryland Association of CPAs.  Giving back to the profession by serving in the association is important to him, and it has benefited him personally as well. Other episodes on similar topics that you may enjoy would include:  Paula Gold-Williams and Byron Patrick. For more information on the publication mentioned in this episode, click here. To listen in on this interview with Anoop Mehta, please use the player below:

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146: Building a Virtual CFO Business – Robin Thieme

Robin Thieme, CPA and owner of KBS CFO in Maryland, joined us for this episode of Life In Accounting, the Where Accountants Go podcast to discuss her career and building a virtual CFO practice. Always interested in tech Robin starts the interview by sharing with us that she has always, and she means always, been interested in how technology can make life better.  From the time when she was a little girl and played “future house” with her friend, she imagined all the technological advances (translation: gadgets) that may be invented later on to make our lives easier.  It’s no surprise that as she got into her accounting career, she was naturally drawn to learning about how technology could be integrated into accounting processes. Getting the experience Even with the interest in technology, Robin’s career started in a “typical” fashion.  She worked a while in public accounting, and then moved into industry where she gained a lot of the experience she now uses to serve as CFO for several organizations.  Eventually she decided she wanted more control over her time for family reasons, and she started her own virtual CFO practice.  It wasn’t long after that she hired her first team member, and now that team has grown to 12 people in total – including both domestic and international employees. The truth about remote work Since remote work flexibility is such a large discussion in the marketplace today, I took the opportunity to ask Robin about the realities of working remotely, both as a consultant and as an employee.  There are definitely many benefits, but there are also some trade-offs that she mentions as well.  Make sure you listen to the audio interview if remote work is something you are considering either with your employer or as a contractor.  It’s always good to be informed about how something really works by someone that has actually done it before. If you enjoy hearing Robin’s story, make sure you check out these episodes as well:  Joseph Rugger and Carrie Bradshaw. For our publication highlighted in this episode, “Hiring for Accounting: A Comprehensive Guide to Filling Accounting-Related Positions”, please click here. To listen in on this podcast with Robin Thieme, please click on the player below:

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BLOG

How To Stand Out At A School Career Fair

When speaking with an accounting club recently, the topic of how to stand out at a school career fair as a quality applicant came up.  In this particular discussion, we were talking about a very unique career fair where everyone there would be an accounting major.  Although it was unique in that respect, it wasn’t all that unique overall in that it happens at universities all across the nation.  The schools work hard to provide career opportunities for the students, and to provide a quality experience for the employers as well.  However, it becomes difficult to stand out as an individual when everyone there has similar education and has been given similar guidelines for how to present themselves. So how do you stand out in a group where everyone has the exact same educational background as you do?  The answer is that it takes some effort, but it definitely isn’t impossible.  Below are some key tips for making sure the employers you meet will remember you: Follow the rules, but be creative. Some schools have guidelines for what your resume should look like.  You definitely need to follow the university’s rules, but look for small ways to be a little unique.  Perhaps you can try adding a border to your resume or using non-traditional paper stock.  Or if paper resumes aren’t being used, perhaps you should have a business card with your contact information on it.  Or if many students are using cards, perhaps a colored card would be unique.  Or even a vertically printed card or something with a unique shape.  Find some way to make your ‘leave-behind’ memorable.  It doesn’t have to be crazy, just something that will catch their attention. Add some color. If you anticipate the career fair to be a sea of black suits, another way to stand out is to add a little bit of color.  You still want to portray a professional image of course, but adding a little color to your wardrobe makes a dramatic difference when everyone else is wearing the typical dark suit.  Don’t go overboard, but something as simple as a coat pocket handkerchief for guys, or a colored accessory for ladies, can help you to stand out a little.  Obviously you still need to make a good impression through your conversation as well, but if you do, the slight visual difference will help you be more memorable. Relate personally to the recruiter. When you speak with the company representatives, you definitely will end up talking about your experience, education, and career desires.  However, it shouldn’t end at that.  If you want to be memorable, ask them something about their own careers or what they appreciate about their role.  And then most importantly, find some way to relate to what they talk about.  If you can find some commonality in the few minutes that you have, it will make you more memorable later on as they consider who they want to talk to further. Research if possible.  If you know in advance which employers will be attending, and which ones you are most interested in, do some advance research on their recent news or other items that may be important to them.  Many job seekers and students walk up to an employer's table at a career fair prepared to talk about themselves, but most don't come prepared to have a conversation about what may be important in the employer's world.  If you know just a few key facts about recent news or happenings with the employer or in their industry, that is a great way to be remembered as the type of knowledgeable candidate that they will likely want to get to know better. Smile. Yes!  And lastly smile.  As crazy as it sounds, sometimes simply looking friendly will distinguish you from the other attendees.  Not that everyone else isn’t friendly, but so many are nervous that it affects their facial expressions.  If you remember to breathe, relax, and smile as you approach the employer, it will lighten the mood and make for a better experience for you both. These tips are relatively simple, but sometimes can be forgotten as we are trying to make sure we follow the guidelines set forth by the organizers of a career fair.  There again, always make sure you are following the rules as specified by the individuals in charge.  However, if you can find a way to professionally stand out, it’s likely to benefit you as the employers decide who they will contact later about an opportunity. As always, I wish you the best in your career. Mark Goldman CPA (For additional thoughts on preparing yourself for a successful accounting career, check out our book titled "49 Tips For A Successful Accounting Career" either here on our website or on Amazon)

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My Career Is Stalled. What Now?

If you have ever had this feeling, it can be depressing.  Maybe you have been in the same role for years, or maybe you are looking for something new and you can’t seem to break out of the box where the market wants to place you.  No matter how you have come to this place, it can be frustrating and seem even slightly hopeless if you’re not careful.  How do you break out of the feeling of being ‘stalled’ professionally and get your career back on track? Below are some actions to consider as you look to get your career moving back in the direction you desire: What have you learned recently? Doing a little more to learn new skills or keep up-to-date is a great way to take your professional destiny into your own hands.  The more you know, the more valuable you become, and the more opportunities you will have. Who have you helped recently? If you feel that you’ve been overlooked for promotion or by potential new employers, think about proactively offering assistance.  It could be for a non-profit, but offering to assist internally within your own company is just as beneficial if not even more so.  Being the individual that is always there to lend a helping hand is a great way to get noticed the next time an opportunity arises. Who have you met recently? If you are doing everything you can within your network, then it’s time to expand your network!  Who have you met recently that you didn’t know a few months ago?  What have you done to get outside of your normal routine and meet new people?  Sometimes if you feel you are being taken for granted by those you know, then it’s time to go meet someone that hasn’t experienced all your strengths yet.  Meeting new people in your profession is a great way to be referred to a new opportunity and get your career back on track. Do you know where you want to go? This may be obvious, but sometimes we want to escape something so badly that we don’t focus on what we want in the long-run.  We get so focused on what we don’t like, that we forget to consider what we truly want.  If you find this happening to you, take some time out to think about what an ideal situation would be long-term.  If you can visualize that the right situation would be, you are more likely to recognize the opportunity when it comes up, or maybe even attract the right opportunity to you. If you read the above items and realize that you haven’t fully engaged on one or more, then there is definitely something you can do to better your situation.  For most people there will be some action you can take, and for the minority of individuals that don’t see an area to work on, I would suggest reconsidering the list.  For most of us, there is always more we can learn, more we can help, or more we can do to expand our network. Until next time, as always, I wish you the best in your career! Mark Goldman CPA PS:  For additional career tools, visit our Courses section or check out our book "49 Tips For A Successful Accounting Career"  

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How Do I Ask For A Raise?

How to approach your boss for a raise is quandary that has existed since practically the beginning of time.  You are hired to do a job, and over time you become better at it.  You either start to take on more or simply become more valuable due to your increased ability to get things done.  This is excellent if your boss proactively recognizes your increased value with increased compensation, but what do you do if this isn’t the case?  What if you start to feel like your increased value to the organization isn’t being recognized, either intentionally or unintentionally?  How do you attempt to bring up the matter? If you find yourself in this situation, there are key items to remember as you try to navigate what can be a very touchy conversation for some professionals. Consider the company status. It could be that you have simply been overlooked, or it could be that while you are doing an excellent job, other things aren’t so excellent at the organization.  If the company seems to be struggling financially or otherwise, be prepared for a possible delay.  It may make sense to postpone the conversation, or it may still be warranted.  That is a judgement call.  However, even if you do decide to go ahead an ask for an increase, be patient with how long it takes to get an answer.  Sometimes it’s still appropriate to ask, but the company’s status definitely plays a part in the end result. Your boss’ mood. If possible, wait for a time when things are going well for your boss both professionally and personally.  Try to avoid times when another employee issue may be overshadowing the situation.  Also, try to avoid times when your boss is somehow stressed at a personal level as well.  With most people, the better a mood they are in, the more open they are to ideas – particularly if it involves going to bat for getting you a pay raise. Make sure your performance is stellar. If you always hit homeruns, but had an off-day recently, it’s best to put off the raise discussion for a while until recent mishaps have been forgotten.  Shouldn’t it matter that you are always stellar?  Yes, it should; however, your case will be stronger if the most recent items on your boss’ mind are your successes rather than one untimely failure.  Waiting until a time when no one is able to do anything other than sing your praises puts you in a much better situation to get the increase you want. Provide a rationale for why it’s warranted. It’s important to be able to state logically why you deserve a raise.  If your sole argument is that you feel you deserve one, or have been employed for a specific period of time, that may not be enough.  Make sure to have additional talking points such as specific achievements or other ways in which you have made a positive difference for the organization recently.  Employment longevity is good, but it may not be enough depending on other factors at the company. Don’t get upset by a “no”. Sometimes you are doing an excellent job, and everything else seems good timing-wise, but for some reason a raise just can’t be approved.  Perhaps it is a company-wide freeze, or perhaps there is more going on than you realize.  While this may seem crazy, to be turned down for a raise due to uncontrollable circumstances and when your boss knows you certainly deserve one can be a good position to be in!  If your boss believes you deserve more and they are unable to give it to you at the time, they will remember it later and potentially reward you even more once they are able.  Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged by a temporary “no”.  Frequently “no” is really just “not now”, and patience will pay off. I hope these tips will be helpful to you the next time you contemplate asking for a compensation increase at work.  As with most things, timing is vitally important.  With a little preplanning, awareness, and patience, you are much more likely to get what you are striving for. As always, I wish you the best in your career. Mark Goldman CPA

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What If I Don’t Get An Internship?

In the current employment market, at least in the accounting profession, one of the most dependable ways to successfully enter the workforce is through internship programs in both public accounting and in industry.  With unemployment being at record lows, and with succession being a major concern for many firms, getting an internship is much easier than in years past.  And they pay much better as well! But what do you do if you aren’t able to get an internship during your years as a student?  Perhaps it’s because you didn’t realize those opportunities were available, or perhaps you had to make another life choice that precluded you from being able to pursue an internship.  Or maybe it was simply that you didn’t find the right internship and the window of opportunity closed with you on the outside.  What do you do then? The internship path is definitely the best route to go if you want to test out different career paths, as well as in order to get pre-graduation offers, but it isn’t the only route.  If you find yourself nearing graduation, or post-internship season, without having secured your post-graduation job, there are many actions that you can take: Part-time work. In the “old days”, the word internship meant unpaid work.  What we call an “internship” today was what many older accountants would have simply referred to as a part-time job.  If you can’t find a traditional “internship”, then look at small or mid-size companies for meaningful part-time work within your field.  Accounting experience is accounting experience.  Whether it is officially labeled as an “internship” or not really doesn’t matter much. People you know. There is an old saying that when you are unemployed, then your full-time job is to find a job.  This can be applied here as well.  If you are part-time unemployed, then your part-time job is to find part-time work.  Get busy contacting former classmates and anyone else that you may know with contacts in your profession.  In a tight labor market, it doesn’t take long to find work if you publicize the fact that you are looking.  The trap that many individuals fall into though is that they only reactively look for opportunity – they wait for it to become visible to them.  They don’t proactively seek it out.  Being pro-active is a key to success in both the internship process and when looking on your own. People you don’t know… yet. Another activity that makes sense when you are seeking work, whether full-time or part-time, is to be active in organizations.  Generally it’s best to be active in organizations related to your profession, but even general business or civic organizations can be beneficial.  If you don’t know the people you need to know, then go on an expedition to find them.  Don’t wait for them to find you. Target smaller organizations. While many large organizations have formal internship programs and therefore actively seek out interns, smaller organizations don’t necessarily have a formal program because they only have one or two entry-level slots available.  If you find yourself needing, or even wanting, to look for opportunity outside of the large employer base, then directly approach smaller or mid-size companies where you may want to work.  Yes, there may be less opportunities available, but the competition is also lower.  Sometimes you can find the best match by taking this approach. Coming up to graduation without having had an internship experience isn’t ideal, but it also isn’t something that you can’t recover from.  If for some reason you find yourself in this situation, it just means that you have to work a little harder to chart your own path.  For many people, this actually can lead to a much better fit. As always, I wish you the best in your career. Mark Goldman CPA

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Essential Skills for a CPA?

Last month I had the privilege of hearing Barry Melancon speak on the topic of the future of the CPA certification at the Texas Society of CPAs Annual Meeting.  Mr. Melancon serves as CEO for AICPA, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, and has been with the organization since 1995. I’ve heard similar discussions before, but never in this much depth.  Mr. Melancon is obviously a subject matter expert on the topic of essential skills for a CPA, not only due to his position but also due to being a CPA and CGMA himself. While I knew the talk would involve a discussion of how technology is changing the practice of accounting, the more interesting part of the conversation was about what truly should be defined as essential knowledge for a CPA.  Mr. Melancon made interesting and compelling points about previous concerns in the profession years ago regarding changes to the certification process, and how now those issues seem trivial.  A few of those previous concerns were whether or not a basic calculator should be allowed, and how we felt it important that an examinee could memorize the wording of an unqualified audit report.  Fast forward to today, and we know those items are trivial, but at the time they seemed major.  It will be interesting to see how we view the changes that are being contemplated now, fifteen or twenty years in the future. The attendees at the annual meeting broke out for table discussions after the presentation.  A major point of discussion at our table was exactly how to define the essential skills, and how “essential” that definition truly is when making these changes.  If an accounting degree won’t necessarily be required to become a CPA, then exactly what knowledge will be prerequisite for passing the exam?  We all know that technology and analysis need to be better represented in the core knowledge of a CPA, and we also know that business gets ever more complex as time goes on; however, there must be a certain minimum skill set for professionals holding the CPA designation.  There is definitely some foundational knowledge that every CPA should be expected to have, such as how to correctly debit or credit an account, but where do you draw the line between was is essential for all CPAs, and what only applies to some specialties within the field? My purpose for me writing this article is to ask the following question: What do you consider to be essential knowledge for a CPA? If you are reading this on social media, please comment where you found it so we can continue the discussion.  Or if you came directly to our site, please email me at [email protected]  I’d love to hear your feedback. So what do you feel someone should definitely have to know to become a CPA…?

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100K Downloads And Growing!

As of this last week, our Life In Accounting podcast hosted at www.WhereAccountantsGo.com 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. https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/podcast/060/ 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. https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/podcast/097/ 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.  https://www.whereaccountantsgo.com/podcast/116/ 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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Books

“49 Tips For Working With A HEADHUNTER” – by Mark Goldman CPA

Our newest book, a paperback available on Amazon or for immediate delivery right here on our website, is “49 Tips For Working With A Headhunter”. In this book, we cover both sides of the equation – the employer side and the job seeker side.  We considered writing the two separately, but since many professionals eventually sit on both sides of the desk, it was better to include all the information for you in one place. If you are a job seeker or may be one in the future, the content in this book will help you know how to best interact with those in the “headhunting” profession so that you get optimal results.  There are many things you can do to make the process smoother on your end based on how the headhunter has to engage with the employers they represent.  This book covers those points.  In a nutshell, it helps you understand the expectations on their side of the desk so that you can better position yourself for the best career match. If you are an employer, the content in this book will help ensure that you get the best results when engaging a headhunter to fill a key position on your team as well.  Many employers may feel that it’s as simple as sending the headhunter a job description, and then waiting for the resumes to pour in.  While that certainly is one way to approach a search, there are many refinements that can be made that will greatly increase the employer’s level of satisfaction with the results.  This book gives you behind-the-scenes insights into how the headhunting process really works, so that you know what the headhunter needs in order to best service you as a customer. Since most of us eventually end up sitting on both sides of the desk, becoming a job seeker and an employer multiple times each in our professional lives, all the points in this book will benefit anyone looking to continue to build on their professional knowledge and further their career. To order your copy of "49 Tips For Working With A Headhunter", please visit Amazon or click below for faster delivery: Quantity Personal copy - $21.99 USD This book + "49 Tips For A Successful Accounting Career" - $34.99 USD This book + "Hiring For Accounting" ebook - $68.99 USD

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“Hiring For Accounting: A Comprehensive Guide to Filling Accounting-Related Positions” (ebook) by Mark Goldman CPA

This guide comprehensively outlines all the key factors and steps to consider when filling an accounting role. From screening, to the nuances of an effective interview, to managing expectations, to securing an accepted offer, this comprehensive guide is meant to walk you through the process to a successful hire. Even for employers that frequently fill accounting positions, this guide will give you additional valuable insight into the perceptions of the job seeker regarding hiring processes.  A strong thorough screening process is important, but having insight into how the job seeker perceives the process and reacts to it can be equally important. "Hiring for Accounting: A Comprehensive Guide to Filling Accounting-Related Positions" is a 45-page electronic book (e-book) written by Mark Goldman, a CPA and employment consultant with over 25 years in the industry.  It's meant to make your hiring processes easier, more productive, and end with better long-term results. (To order, use the Paypal button below - NO Paypal account is needed.  E-book is emailed to email address used when purchased.  Copyright 2018 Mark Goldman.  Note:  We reserve the right to limit purchases to only end-user employers.) Options Ebook only - $49.00 USD This ebook + "49 Tips For Working With A Headhunter" paperback - $69.00 USD Ebook, paperback listed above, plus 1 Hour Employer Consulting - $149.00 USD

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