Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

CFOs: We’ll Start Hiring Just as Soon as We Hit Our Unreachable Revenue Goals

Sound good to everyone?

Chief financial officers at large North American companies polled by Deloitte LLP said it would take a 20% surge in revenue before they felt comfortable adding to their payrolls.

The quarterly survey released Thursday found that nearly half of respondents would seriously consider adding employees if revenues rose 20%, but few would be moved by a 5% increase. A 10% bump in revenue would only be a major hiring consideration for 11% of CFOs.

Worse yet, perhaps, actual growth isn’t expected to reach such heights: respondents estimate top line growth at North American companies will be just 8.2% this year. (This is, however, a rosier picture than the fourth quarter when respondents forecast 6.5% for the coming year.)

And don’t bother trying to bait them with tax reform, revisions to the healthcare reform bill or payroll tax incentives because they’re all non-starters.

CFOs: Revenue Surge Needed to Boost Hiring [WSJ]

Three Things to Remember Come Goal Setting Season

Final reviews are a thing of the past and – at least for some of you – so are the days of terrible raises. Things seem on the up and up at most firms. That said, focusing on FY2011 is crucial for your career. Hopefully the potential for raises will be consistent if not better than this year’s, and but you need to be thinking about everything now.

The typical HR mantra is, “your goals need to be realistic and attainable but should also stretch you to push yourself.”

Yes, finding the middle ground between cruisin’ down Easy Street and setting yourself up for failure is crucial. So, what are you supposed to do?

1. Firm recommended goals: Every firm supplies their employees with suggested goals, and I’ve always recommended that people should use these at a starting point. Why? Two reasons:

a. Your managers and partners know them. While going through performance management training, partners and managers receive the outline of sample goals as part of their training materials. HR says, “Look, these are the goals your staff members should be shooting for” and the room goes “Ahhhhhhhhh.” Using these goals will be familiar to your superiors as you begin the review process. However, it’s important to…

b. Customize the goals to be you As valuable as the sample goals can be as a template for you, it is important that you adjust them to focus on your unique ambitions. This is your opportunity to voice your needs, i.e. – involvement in planning the audit, volunteering at firm events, or getting involved with recruiting. Showing your commitment to the firm away from the day-to-day engagements is just as important as being committed to busy season.

And for the sake of everything holy – PROOFREAD. Passed your CPA this year? Remove all of the passing-the-CPA related questions. Missing details like this will make your superiors question the effort you put into the process; don’t give them that option.

2. Review last year’s goals: Roll-forward successful goals. Re-evaluate goals you didn’t reach or didn’t surpass to your satisfaction. Demonstrating and documenting continual improvement is key.

3. Speak with your mentor: If you were promoted this year, congratulations! Newsflash – you’re in for an incredibly difficult year. New senior staff members and managers are put through the wringer, and rightfully so. Senior management doesn’t like being wrong and weeding out misguided promotions early is important to their long-term planning. Seek out the guidance of at least one person who was in your situation the previous year. What would they have done differently? Did they overshoot on a particular area in their goals? What’s one thing they recommend including in your goal setting?

Still unsure of what you should do? Talk to your peers, flip a coin, or Google it. Whatever you do, don’t miss the submission deadline.

Unless – of course – you actually want to be blacklisted.

What Are the Diversity Goals of the Accounting Firms?

GOALS.jpgLast week when Deloitte announced the appointment of a new Chief Diversity Officer, we surmised that the reason for such a position is so firms can promote their diversity 24/7. Finally realizing that this wasn’t physically possible, we started wondering what kind of objectives a Chief Diversity Officer would set for their firm.
Deloitte’s press release from last week states that the new CDO, “will be responsible for Deloitte’s diversity strategy and will lead its continuing efforts to attract, retain and develop the best talent in the marketplace.” Isn’t attracting the best talent something the firms are constantly doing? The statement seems to indicate that “responsible for diversity strategy” is mutually exclusive from “attracting the best talent in the marketplace.” So are goals for the diversity strategy different? If so, are they SMART, like our little chalkboard friend suggests?
If the goals are based on percentages (i.e. measurable), then we’re in luck because the Fortune one-hundo included diversity information that stated what the percentage of minorities and women were at each firm on the list (sorry omitted firms).

Ernst & Young – 29% minorities; 50% women
Plante & Moran – 6% minorities; 54% women
Deloitte – 32% minorities; 44% women
PwC – 27% minorities; 49% women
KPMG – 27% minorities; 48% women
We emailed and left a voicemail for John Zamora, the new CDO at Deloitte, to get some perspective on these numbers (for Deloitte) but have yet to hear back. We mostly want to know if these numbers are acceptable or if not, and if they aren’t, what percentages the firm is attempting to achieve (if those are part of the goals).
In the meantime we do know that all of the Big 4 have Chief Diversity Officers (technically E&Y’s is an inclusiveness officer) and P&M has a Diversity Council so there seems to be people assigned to this issue at every firm, large and small.
Furthermore, all of the Big 4 appear on the Diversity Inc’s list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity for muptiple years, so we know that they have been recognized for their diversity efforts.
So that’s why we’re confused; what exactly are the goals of these firms with respect to diversity? Are they looking to dominate the Diversity list, like they do the best places to intern list? Is this all about dominating magazine lists?

Is Becoming Your Own Boss the Next Move?

aspirations.jpgStarting your own firm might seem like a tall order but with all the uncertainty out there many people are giving more thought to putting them their name in the window.
And plenty of people are leaving on their own after several years working for a large public accounting firm and/or working in-house once they realize that they don’t want to wait to be the boss.

Web CPA addressed this a while back and it seems there are lots of reasons that younger CPAs consider the move:

“What I have learned is that audit risk keeps increasing while fees don’t and that tax practices keep facing more competition from home tax-prep software,” said Vuchnich, 31, a sole practitioner in Charlotte, N.C. “When I made the leap it was because I didn’t want to spend years working for a firm to buy into a service industry that is high-risk, low-reward, or where my services would be regularly compared to a $40 software package.”

Jody Padar, 37, left her position of four years at a midsized firm after feeling management saw her as just a stay-at-home mom with a part-time tax job. “The sacrifices I was making to be a competent, exceptional professional were never appreciated. So I left.”

The other possibility is that maybe you have your own ideas on how a firm should be run. There is no shortage of opinions on processes and how a firm should be run so some see that as an the opportunity:

“Young professionals will leave if they feel that they can innovate better than their firm and ‘do’ CPA work in a better way. This may be as a free agent, or it may be as a solo practitioner.”

The other option is that you come from a long line of CPAs and it’s your turn to take over the family business. While the mere idea of working with family members may be enough to give some of you an aneurysm, for others it’s an easy way to get into an established firm.

So is being the boss in your future? Judging by the response to our partner track poll, it’s a goal for many of you but going out on your own to get there is a whole other ball game. Discuss your thoughts and for those that have made the leap, share your experiences and shell out some advice for those looking to make the move.

Becoming your own boss [Web CPA]