Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Millennials’ Desired Workplace Benefits

From a recent AICPA survey:

  • Nearly two-thirds of young adult job seekers have student loan debt, with an average of $33,332.
  • Millennials with loan debt value more help with repayment over all other employee benefits.
  • AICPA Employee Benefits Report offers guidance on understanding and utilizing benefits.

When asked to choose the top three benefits that would most help them achieve their financial goals, young adult job seekers top two choices focused on the traditional benefits of health insurance and paid time off. Interestingly, student loan forgiveness was the third most cited option.

Young Adult Job Seekers

Benefit

Chosen in Top 3 by:

 Health Insurance

54%

 Paid Time Off

45%

 Student Loan Forgiveness

41%

 Working Remotely

38%

 401(k) Retirement Fund Match

36%

 Tuition Reimbursement

25%

 Pension

15%

 Paid Parental Leave

13%

The full results of the survey conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the AICPA, along with further analysis, are available in a free Employee Benefits Report on the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website.

  • All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.
  • Calvin Coolidge

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Finding the Best Person for the Job

“We need constant change, technological innovation capability, and high productivity to survive in the fiercely competitive environment.” – Joe Kaeser

Firms merge, people leave, people retire and a new firm administrator (Practice Manager) is needed. The role is a very critical one for an accounting firm. The person in this role can make all the difference in how the firm moves into the future, how staff turnover is reduced, how training is developed and presented and how the owner group operates.

If you are a Practice Manager, Office Manager, Firm Administrator or COO here are the characteristics and actions that will make you successful. If you are searching for a new person to fill this role in your firm, use these attributes in your hiring decision.

18 Attributes of an Effective Practice Manager, Firm Administrator or COO

  1. Technical knowledge of the area being managed.  They learn the area, hone skills and stay on top of technological developments.  It earns respect from subordinates and peers.
  2.  Cheerleader.  They are adept at motivating all people.
  3.  Educated to help deal with peers and colleagues.  They have a solid educational background (many firms require a bachelor’s degree now) and continue learning through seminars, webinars, trade journals, newsletters, online research, and reading Rita Keller’s Blog.
  4.  Innate managerial mentality.  This includes being alert, dependable and willing to carry out a commitment.
  5.  Team player.  Grandstanders are not allowed.  He/She solves problems in other departments, as well as in administration because the objective should be collectively beneficial.
  6.  Ability to anticipate potential problems.  He/She is painfully aware of Murphy’s Law (If anything can go wrong, it will).  Contingency planning is a key tool for practice managers.
  7.  A natural sense of fairness and integrity and emotionally well balanced.  Natural is the keyword.  If he/she has to consult a manual to know what’s fair, frustration will be constant.  Also, immature managers can hurt the employees and the firm they represent.
  8.  Courageous, resolute, strong convictions and socially conscious.  He/She works with management and staff with an overall goal of quality client service.   They often deal with egotistical personalities and partners unwilling to “let go.”
  9.  A good follower, not resentful of instructions or constructive criticism.  Anyone secure enough to demonstrate mature leadership will understand the reasons for recognizing the proper chain of command.  Observing protocol demonstrates respect for the system.
  10.  Have initiative and be creative, imaginative and resourceful.  Preventing problems is the most sublime form of problem-solving.  Successful practice managers act without being told to do so.
  11. Energetic.  The practice manager sets the pace.  Most work 2,300 hours or more per year (that number includes PTO, holidays, CPE, etc., working the hours required to get things done.
  12. Reliable, even temperament.  You can’t constantly change your personality.  Nothing goes right all the time, and if you care, you’re going to get upset once in a while.  You don’t have to be apologetic for losing your cool when provoked.
  13. Competitive, unafraid of conflict.  A competitive person is not afraid to set standards never before attained, nor is he or she afraid to fail.  Such a person realizes there can be growth in failure if there is learning.  In managing conflicts, the effective practice manager must know how to come out on top or graciously back off.
  14. Positive.  A positive attitude is a catalyst for creativity.
  15.  Excellent communication skills.  A successful practice manager should be able to write clearly and crisply, speak articulately and succinctly and listen intently.
  16.  Logical, capable of making decisions.  Managers must make tough decisions without fear of making a mistake.   Procrastination could be worse than the decision made.
  17.  Appreciation of technology and social media.  Successful practice managers see technology and social media as tremendous resources and continually lead the firm to advance in these areas.
  18.  Organized, self-disciplined.  Orderly thinking results in orderly living and managing.
  • Most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower.
  • Robert McKee

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Orientation and Onboarding

“People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” – Jim Collins

While the CPAs have been busy serving clients in tax season, I hope your practice manager or HR manager has used the time to make sure your firm’s hiring practices are in line with current trends. I believe that onboarding, in public accounting, can take up to a full year.

Here is a link to a blog I wrote in 2016 about how orientation and onboarding have changed in recent years.

Here is a link to a good article via Journal of Accountancy on the same topic.

Share this blog post with your HR professionals.

  • If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.
  • Red Adair

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Ghosting

“Our feet are planted in the real world, but we dance with angels and ghosts.” – John Cameron Mitchell

Maybe your firm has done it. I know a lot of firms where it happens. Someone interviews with the firm for an accounting position. You interview them and end with the normal “We’ll get back to you” comment. But no one does get back with them. You have made the decision to hire another candidate but you don’t get back with every one you interviewed to let them know. Someone dropped the ball.

Maybe payback can be expected. Applicants and employees are now ghosting their employers in greater numbers. Per USA Today:

Workers are ‘ghosting‘ interviews, blowing off work in a strong job market. … A growing number are “ghosting” their jobs: blowing off scheduled job interviews, accepting offers but not showing up the first day and even vanishing from existing positions – all without giving notice.

I have heard some amazing stories from firms. Many of the cases are people in administrative positions. They report for the first day and then never show up again. One firm even told me a new admin person left at lunch on the first day and never came back. It sounds amusing (when you are not involved) but it is not that unusual any longer.

Here’s a great article via Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady.

Make sure your firm has systems in place to facilitate the interview and selection process so no one feels ghosted.

  • Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.
  • Stephen King

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

The Hiring Challenge

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

I was reading an article via the Journal of Accountancy titled, Small firm spotlight: How I recruit and hire new accountants. Cheryl Meyer interviewed Kenneth Cerini, the managing partner at Cerini & Associates.

I could certainly relate to much of what Mr. Cerini divulged.

Recruiting and hiring is an art, not a science. When you are hiring people, you can’t cram a square peg into a round hole. We’ve brought people in from bigger accounting firms and realize they are not the right fit overall. We have much smaller clients, and our clients need more handholding. That’s why I love interns. I’d rather invest more money in the training and be able to bring on people at a younger level and help them grow within our atmosphere. You learn a tremendous amount during your first two to three years in public accounting.

At my firm, we found that hiring a 5-year person from a big four firm was not a very smart move. We had many small business owners and our 5-year people were so much more knowledgeable on many types of situations. It seemed to us that a 5-year person working at one of the big national accounting firms just did a one-year person’s duties five times.

However, that being said, firms are often very successful in training smart people no matter what their background. Often it is the training programs that need attention and, of course, the experienced new hire’s attitude is key.

  • Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
  • Helen Keller

Monday, November 5th, 2018

2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey Results Summary

CoverLast week, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC released their 2018 Anytime, Anywhere Work™ Survey.

Today’s talent wants to integrate work and life. As a result, leaders must continually find ways to innovate workplace flexibility.

The goal of the survey is to collect data on CPA firm adoption of flexible work programs and the experiences firms have had with these initiatives.

Firm leaders need to thoughtfully contemplate how enhancing a more flexible workplace can be a huge benefit to the future of the firm.

Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly tell us, “On Accountingfly, we see incredible talent response to remote accounting jobs, which receive at least 8 times the number of applicants than in-office positions. The demand for remote careers in accounting is clear, and it’s such an obvious solution to the talent issues facing CPA firms.”

Download the survey summary here.

  • Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Individualized Employee Engagement Improves Culture

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” – Chinese Proverb

As you know, I am always reading and attempting to keep current on a wide variety of trends in the are of employment, employee engagement and workplace culture.

I came across a very interesting article on the Modern Healthcare site titled, Individualized Approach to Employee Engagement Improves Culture.

A recently hired graduate nurse asked Bon Secours Mercy Health if she could join the labor and delivery team.

But when the organization used its psychometric evaluation tool that analyzed her likes and dislikes, stress-induced behaviors, critical thinking skills, and other characteristics, it revealed that she was hardwired more like an emergency nurse. 

They are using big data to actually make the workplace more humanizing, rather than fitting all people into a specific slot.

Managers receive data that helps them tune their leadership style to a particular employee and help them acclimate.

“How do you build culture not only within your organization but across contiguous geographies? Communication is key,” notes Jim Dunn, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health.

“Focusing on change management and the transition process is where human resource executives can add the most value, he added.”

There are more interesting trends in this article. The way you hire and acclimate people may be moving to a completely new level soon.

  • It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
  • Steve Jobs

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Beware of Helicopter Parents

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.” – Peter De Vries

Fall recruiting season is fast approaching. Your recruiting team will be on college campuses for job fairs, networking events and interviews. Beware of helicopter moms. They have been spotted roaming the halls of accounting job fairs gathering intel for their student.

Over the last several years, I have heard more and more stories about helicopter parents (almost always Moms) getting involved in the job search and actual hiring of their children by accounting firms. I know, many of you will say this is unbelievable! It’s not. It happens.

It probably begins when their younger teenager gets their first job. Maybe that first job is a fast food chain or a summer job at the local pool. Moms are protective and they check things out.

Here’s a great, short story from Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady. You’ll love the title of her post: Dear Moms, Do You Want Your 35-Year-Old Living in Your Basement? Because This Is How You Get That.

Check out this amusing video in one of my previous posts.

  • Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.
  • Pearl S. Buck

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Asking For Salary History Might Be Illegal

“You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.” – Arte Nathan

If you are the typical CPA firm, you are doing a lot of interviewing of potential new hires on a regular basis. Be sure the people in your firm involved in interviewing know what to ask and what not to ask.

Per an article by Suzanne Lucas @RealEvilHRLady:

Many states and cities have made it illegal to ask a candidate for salary history, making basing their current offer on a previous salary difficult (but not impossible). Keep in mind, none of these laws prevent employers from asking what salary someone is looking for. A person who currently earns $50,000 is most likely going to say she is looking for a lower salary than someone who currently earns $80,000. The best way is for companies to state a salary range up front: “This job pays between $75-$85,000. Does that work for you?”

Here’s a link to her full article on the Inc. website.

  • When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.
  • Simon Sinek

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

The Threat From Artificial Intelligence & More

“It’s beauty that captures your attention; personality that captures your heart.” – Oscar Wilde

I receive a newsletter from a long-time business friend, Norm Bobay of  HireMAX. Check them out if you have a need to use DISC for your firm.

This month’s newsletter has two articles that I think will be of interest to you – CPA firm citizens.

The first explains the threat many are feeling because of AI replacing their jobs. The second article – Leaders Excel With These Different Leadership Styles – is also insightful.

The leadership styles are:

  • Action-Oriented
  • Transformative
  • Encouraging
  • Empowerment
  • Reflective
  • Idealistic

Follow the link to the article and read more about these styles.

  • The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
  • Ernest Hemingway