The 5 Keys to Success in Accounting Careers

Man looking at 5 keysTwo ears, one mouth.

By Steven E. Sacks

Young professionals or those who will graduate college in the next few years should understand there are important ingredients to progress in their careers.

MORE: Who’ll Quit Next? | Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement | Performance Reviews: No Need for Teeth Pulling | Battling Staff Turnover | 7 Steps to Take As Your Firm Grows | How Enthusiastic Is Your Staff? | Can You Recite Your Mission Statement? | Your Firm’s Biggest Assets Walk out the Door Every Day
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There are at least five principles you should follow to ensure you are moving ahead on the right track.
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Who’ll Quit Next?

Mentor showing project presentation to menteeSmart ideas for retaining and developing top talent. 

Who's going to quit next? And why?
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By Steven E. Sacks

Professional services firms always have their eyes on the bottom line with as much, if not more, intensity than on the top line. Salaries and benefits take up a considerable chunk of resources, and programs designed for professional and personal development are given short shrift, except when it comes to meeting continuing professional education credits.

MORE: Make CRAP a Badge of Honor | The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite
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The younger professionals – your future leaders – should be viewed as investments. Part of that investment is allocating funds for their participation in associations or networking groups, in addition to conferences and workshops that expand their knowledge.
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Make CRAP a Badge of Honor

Superhero businesswoman wearing shadow capeHow do your clients view your relationship?

By Steven E. Sacks

Performing Like CRAP. A strange concept, you might think. When someone acknowledges that your actions reflect crap there is no positivity in this assessment. And because this term is baked into the American lexicon, people will always view it negatively.

MORE: The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent | Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know | Improve Job Satisfaction or It’ll Cost Your Firm | We Hear But Do We REALLY Listen?
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But what if we look at it another way – in the form of an acronym? Let's give it a try.
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The Holy Grail: Finding the Right Talent

Two businesswomen shaking hands in modern officeThere are 3 basic elements.

By Steven E. Sacks

We get so hung up on generational labels: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and now Gen Z. As a result, we ascribe certain characteristics or behaviors to each one – whether fair or not.

MORE: Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices | The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement | Performance Reviews: No Need for Teeth Pulling
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Adherence to the labels can cause a hiring manager or an executive to overlook the contributions each cohort can make to an organization. Potential stars are overlooked, and the usual reliance on outdated search approaches continues unabated.
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Strengthen Your Firm’s Screening Practices

Two women shaking hands across a table5 reasons that background is important.

By Steven E. Sacks

The employment scene according to the usual poll takers appears to be the best it has been in nearly 20 years. A closer study may show that in the statistics, there have been people who have stopped looking or ceased receiving unemployment checks, as well as those who are underemployed based on their education and experience.

MORE: The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite | Battling Staff Turnover
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If more jobs are created and businesses repatriate their operations from overseas, the focus will return to recruitment and selection.
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Want an Open Culture? Let Employees Share Their Thoughts

Man in business suit listening attentively to coworker4 keys to soliciting genuine feedback.

By Steven E. Sacks

You are in a boardroom or a staff meeting room. The managing partner, his or her second in command, or someone else in charge has offered employees the opportunity to suggest or share an idea.

MORE: The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition | The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Outsourcing the C-Suite | Battling Staff Turnover | Confronting Leadership: Not Such a Bad Thing
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Did you ever hear someone express what you thought was a ridiculous idea, which was followed by the sound of crickets? Furtive glances all around. Breaths held. No physical movements to suggest any type of reaction. Heads remain down, and note-taking was actually mindless doodling.
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The Job Interview: A Make or Break Proposition

Two businesswomen sitting at table and talking in office courtyard5 criteria to meet when hiring.

By Steven E. Sacks

Over the past several years, there has been significant job growth and a large part has been attributed to the private sector, which includes professional services firms, businesses, hospitality, education, and health.

Despite what appears to be robust employment with new opportunities across a broad swath, companies on the hunt for talent are still facing the challenge of finding the perfect candidate.

MORE: The Power of ‘Real Influence’ | Smart Trust in the Workplace | What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know | Improve Job Satisfaction or It’ll Cost Your Firm | We Hear But Do We REALLY Listen?
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Companies are using third parties to assist them in their quest to get the “right fit” because their goal is to build solid teams. The team approach ensures that there is consistency in attitude and performance within and between departments. This is not to suggest the goal of creating automatons or cultivating groupthink.

However, a recruiter considers not only whether the individual is competent but also if he or she will be compatible with the other players.
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The Power of ‘Real Influence’

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SUMMER READING: "Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In"

By Steven E. Sacks

Today’s rapid-fire communication dynamic expects quick responses to emails, texts, and even the old-fashioned telephone call. An information or idea exchange requires quick analysis and quick decision making. If something requires drawn-out deliberation, which takes away from task-driven activity, it screws up our mojo – the stars and moon are no longer in alignment.

MORE SUMMER READING: Smart Trust in the Workplace | 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs | Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement
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I am not talking about business proposals that require significant sums of capital or a change in an organizational structure or something else that has enormous transformative implications. There are, however, so many lesser matters we encounter that are superseded by our daily “to do” checklist.
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Smart Trust in the Workplace

SUMMER READING: Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World

Book cover
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By Steven E. Sacks

There are some ideals that never go out of style; they simply stand the test and challenges of time, enduring through disruptions caused by innovation, changes in public policy, globalization and a changing workforce.

MORE SUMMER READING: 10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ NeedsStop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement

One of these ideals is trust. It can be a double-edged sword, however.

If restraints are placed on trust we cannot grow as a society. On the other hand, if we engage in blind trust, then we end up with the governments we disdain and bad corporate behavior we experienced in the early 2000s (e.g., Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing).

There has to be a smart balance struck; something referred to as smart trust. This concept is found in the Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link book, "Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World." READ MORE →

10 Elements to Balancing Shareholders’ Needs

Portrait of Nancy Falls
Falls

SUMMER READING: Corporate Concinnity in the Boardroom

con·cin·ni·ty
/k?n?sin?d?/
noun
the skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.

By Steven Sacks

Every so often I come across a business book that addresses an ongoing organization challenge in a thoughtful, practical and effective manner. This is what I discovered when reading "Corporate Concinnity in the Boardroom" by Nancy Falls.

MORE SUMMER READING: Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings | A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement

The title does not limit the book’s scope; the treatment of the topic applies to boards in the public, private, not-for-profit and academic sectors. READ MORE →

Stop Wasting Time in Useless Meetings

Portrait of Lisa Kay Solomon
Solomon

SUMMER READING: Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change

By Steven Sacks

We've all questioned how worthwhile meetings can be (or a real time-waster when there is no agenda developed and no objective is articulated). So I recommend reading the book Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change, co-authored by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon.

MORE SUMMER READING: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement

How many of us are having a productive day until the meeting fire alarm rings – sometimes without advance notice – that just puts a pin in your productive balloon, negatively impacts your mood and attitude and makes you wonder if you should have just hidden under your desk?
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What Aspiring Accountants Need to Know

Man looking at 5 keysThe five keys to kick-starting new careers they don't teach in college.

By Steven Sacks

When I was asked recently to address college seniors in accounting, we initially thought it would be all about technology. Instead, we talked about something else: How their real education would be learned on the job. And neither their skills in technology nor accounting would be their most important advantages.

MORE: Is Your Firm’s Culture a Magnet? | Improve Job Satisfaction or It’ll Cost Your Firm | Performing Like CRAP Can Be a Badge of Honor | 7 Steps to Take As Your Firm Grows | The Damocles Sword of Staff Retention | Five PowerPoint Rules to Live By | Can We Please Refer to Accounting as a Profession?
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The students, by this time, had all the technical knowledge they would need to begin a career in either the public or private sector. So they were more interested in the evolution of the profession and the necessary human skills that would help kick-start their careers. Come to think of it, what we discussed might be as relevant to a senior partner as a newbie recruit. They are the essentials for achieving long-term success at any stage, and maybe in any line of work.

We covered five major topics: READ MORE →

A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement

Chester [click for more]
SUMMER READING LIST
Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce

By Steven Sacks

An American Psychological Association study shows that during this period of rapid change and uncertainty about business and the economy, there is a higher level of chronic stress caused by organizational change. Change increases distrust with employers, leading to the potential of employee departures within a year’s time.

Tax and accounting firms are no exception. In fact, it could be argued they are a cauldron of change-related stresses and strains these days.

In Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce, author Eric Chester explains how to grapple with these issues in firms and organizations large and small, and with some uncommon common sense. Since 1998, Eric Chester has been the leading voice in attracting, managing, motivating, and retaining the emerging workforce. As an in-the-trenches workplace researcher and thought-leader, Chester may have cracked the code on the tactics and strategies companies that are recognized as "best places to work" in their respective industries are using to win the talent wars.
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