Those of you who are still on the fence about pursuing a professional accounting certification […]
Not that he would really say anything bad about management accountants since he was at […]
In Compliance Week, Tammy Whitehouse reports on a revised “Statement of Ethical Professional Practice” from […]
Ever since the CGMA hit the scene, we've all been subjected to the campaign blitz […]
The Institute of Management Accountants salary survey came out yesterday, and you should check it […]
The AICPA’s CGMA Designation Is the Most Popular Management Accounting Designation in the U.S., Says AICPA
Oh look, the AICPA put out a press release that says the Chartered Global Management […]
Have you struggled to pass a certification exam? Is your reaction to colleagues that place […]
Do You Really Want a Management Accountant Credential That Doesn’t Require Passing a Rigorous Multipart Exam?
Did you all remember that the Chartered Global Management Accountant designation was kicking off today? […]
The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.
In my experience, the most important thing you need to consider when looking for a job in the U.S. as a foreigner is how to work here legally. International students looking for part-time work are allowed to work no more than 20 hours a week to maintain F-1 visa. After graduation, to stay in the United States, one must find an employer willing to sponsor your working visa (called an H-1B visa).
I came to the U.S. last August from China, and am enrolled in a master of accounting program at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Like other international students in a completely new place, I initially felt hopeless as to where to start my job search. I began searching recruiting websites, but found that these websites aren’t as helpful for students without experience.
Another method I tried was to take advantage of all the resources my school offered, including a career center. These often offer more entry-level opportunities. You can often find networking opportunities through career centers as well.
I was honored to act as the president of the student chapter of IMA® at my university in my first semester and actively took part in the events held by the local professional chapter every month. During this time, I not only got to know some professionals but also got an understanding about business culture in the U.S. – a great help in my job hunting.
In my second semester, I secured my first unpaid internship with a nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC. At the same time, I volunteered to help prepare tax returns. These experiences helped build up my résumé and enhanced my communication skills. Likewise, for those international students who do not have any working experience, it might be a good start to focus on volunteer opportunities and unpaid internships. Nonprofit and international institutions are more willing to sponsor foreign students since they know the process quite well. For those who work in companies that are hesitant to sponsor your working visa, try talking with your supervisor or the HR department to explain that the visa sponsorship process is simple.
This past summer, through on-campus recruiting, I was offered a challenging internship with a government contractor. After spending the summer there, I gained a deeper understanding of accounting issues on daily basis and had more responsibilities.
In addition to adding professional experience to my résumé, I was also looking to strengthen my academic background and social skills, which included passing the CMA® exam and becoming more involved with IMA. I will also attend the 11th annual IMA Student Leadership Conference in California this November. Currently, I am working as an intern at a financial institution which has relationships with banks in China. In addition to assuming some financial and accounting responsibilities, I will also be involved in projects aimed at the Chinese market.
Thanks to my former experience, I got used to my new position quickly and was able to perform my work with minimal supervision. The company even expressed their willingness to sponsor me for the H-1B when I graduate. This shows how it is very useful to rely on your educational and professional background and seek out job opportunities with links to your home country.
Accounting News Roundup: PwC Chips in $12.5 Million for J.P. Morgan’s FSA Fine; IRS Not Returning to Austin Crash Site; Senate Working on Proposal to Scale Back 1099 Requirements | 08.09.10
PwC To Provide Up To $12.5M To JPMorgan For FSA Fine [Dow Jones]
“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP agreed to provide up to an aggregate of $12.5 million to the bank related to a fine J.P. Morgan had to pay to the U.K. Financial Services Authority.”
Late Ponzi schemer’s accountant surrenders license [Nashville Business Journal]
This accountant managed to surrender his CPA in just under four months for his role in a Ponzi scheme. Dave Friehling had to be stripped of his license nearly 9 months after pleading guilty. NY DoE should get with Tennessee and see how they do things.
IRS to stay at new Austin site after plane crash [AP]
“An Internal Revenue Service office will not return to the Texas building where a tax protester killed himself by crashing his plane into the structure.
IRS spokeswoman Lea Crusberg said Thursday that the agency has signed a two-year lease on another office space in Austin. She declined to identify the location.”
Senate Democrats Propose Scaling Back IRS Reporting Law [WSJ]
“The Nelson proposal would exempt from the reporting rules firms with fewer than 25 employees. For larger businesses, it would require information returns only in cases where payments to a single vendor exceeded $5,000 in a given year—down from $600 in the health-care law.”
Richtermeyer to Chair Management Accountants [Web CPA]
“The Institute of Management Accountants has named accounting professor Sandra Richtermeyer as the chair of its board of directors for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Richtermeyer, who also chairs the Department of Accountancy in the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is only the fourth woman ever to hold the position of IMA chair since the organization’s inception in 1919.”
BKD looks to grow health care practice with purchase of Grant Thornton team [Wichita Business Journal (partial subscription required)]
According to the message sent from Stephen Chipman, that we reported on at the end of July, this is the final transition that Grant Thornton will be making. What happens from here is anyone’s guess.
About two weeks ago, one of our Twitter followers was curious about how someone might land a cost accounting position. We put the question to the group and there was a little discussion but something told us that our inquisitor wa
We recently spoke with Sandra Richtemeyer, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, the Chair of the Institute of Management Accountants for 2010-2011 to discuss cost accounting careers in more detail. In addition to her role at the IMA, Dr. Richtermeyer is chair of the Department of Accountancy in the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Going Concern: We’ll just start off by getting your reaction to our reader’s question – “How would you suggest getting into a cost accounting position?” And the previous post’s comments “WHY would one get into cost accounting?”; “[N]obody likes cost accounting.” and “[I]n its true sense does not exist.”
Dr. Sandra Richtermeyer: We represent the Institute of Management Accountants so we usually place the focus on management accounting versus cost accounting. Cost accounting is one aspect of managerial accounting and when we say “management accounting,” that’s another term that many people don’t resonate with, as there aren’t a lot of positions out there called “management accountant.” You do hear job titles like “cost analyst” and “financial analyst,” so sometimes it is easier to explain these roles.
At the IMA, we like to take a look at the focus inside the organization and really try to look at the broad perspective of management accounting – which includes cost accounting – where people are really more involved with strategic decisions that influence business actions and activities and in much more significant ways than just what people would ordinarily perceive.
The last thing that you said, “does cost accounting really exist?” We certainly see positions called “cost accountant” but they are so narrow in scope and it’s not really reflective of what’s happening with the people that are charged with that important element or aspect of accounting.
GC: So it sounds like cost accounting is a red-headed step-child of sorts – why do you think there are so many misconceptions about cost accounting jobs?
SR: I think because people don’t see the big picture and how information produced in cost accounting and related activities plays a role in many business processes. They typically think of a very narrow scope that’s part of a costing decision or the actual calculation of cost of goods sold, budget variances or manufacturing costs. I don’t think that it is clear how accountants who have costing responsibilities are often working with key leaders in the organization who are determining product or service mix and making critical strategic decisions. They often need to spend a lot of one-on-one time with decision makers or teams to consider different analyses and work through various scenarios to help guide the right outcomes. All too often, cost accounting is perceived to be a stand-alone activity. Rather, it plays a really important role in an organization’s value chain.
GC: That takes me back to the financial analyst job I had and how many different people I worked with providing them with various data and analysis. Communication was a big part of that job.
SR: I think the biggest misnomer is that people don’t realize how important communication skills are for accountants in general and that they are critical for these types of roles. They picture people working independently in an office by themselves perhaps creating spreadsheets or entering information in an enterprise system but there’s so much interaction and people don’t seem to understand that. The concept of a cost or financial analyst being in an internal customer service role is often overlooked as well. It can very much be an internal customer facing role and even extend outside the organization with vendors or players in the supply chain.
GC: Is there traditional path into a “cost accounting” career?
SR: Well, I think there’s a few we can cover:
1) A typical starting point is to get an accounting or finance degree. A few years ago when the economy was stronger, a lot of cost accounting positions were filled by people with finance degrees while the accounting majors were frequently starting in public accounting. In a large company, someone might start in an entry-level position where they work in a more narrow accounting role where they do cost accounting. Alternatively, they may start at a smaller company and have a broad set of accounting responsibilities, with cost accounting being one of those. Smaller companies most likely don’t have job titles like cost accounting or financial analyst, because accountants have to do a lot more. We certainly hope that people who choose this path understand the importance of becoming a Certified Management Accountant because it’s a great credential for someone entering those types of jobs.
2) Many people might start out in public accounting as auditors and they may work with clients that have very specific product and service costing needs. After a few years of working as an external auditor, they might step out of that role and go work for a client and have responsibility that entails cost accounting. That’s not uncommon for someone with 2 to 5 years of public accounting experience. Someone with more experience than that would likely step into a broader role that is closer to a controller or CFO role, depending on the size of the company.
3) People unexpectedly find themselves providing these services. They might have started out as a business analyst and then they might find themselves providing a lot of costing information for people within the organization. The next thing they know, they are a cost accountant – either in title or in substance!
4) It’s surprising to me how many MBAs end up in controller-type positions and sometimes the path to controller, depending on the organization, is through a business or financial analyst position. I talk with a lot of MBAs that want to learn more about accounting because they find themselves essentially doing more and more cost analysis in their roles. The cost accounting piece may not be their entire set of responsibilities but it’s something they have significant responsibility for and they see it providing them with a lot more career advancement opportunities down the road.
GC: So what are some examples of some jobs for those that are interested in cost accounting? Or titles that people can look for when they’re job hunting.
SR: Well, we need to think about job titles and also the words used in a job description because in accounting, the title varies widely depending on the size of the organization. Larger companies have more specific titles and smaller companies tend to have more general titles. Some common titles are: General Accountant; Staff Accountant; Financial Analyst; Cost Analyst; Cost Accountant, to name a few.
Job descriptions likely list responsibilities such as: cost and profitability analysis, maintenance of costing systems, budgeting, interim or internal financial reporting. Often times they are a bit more specific and may include activities related to customer profitability analysis, product and service costing support, or variance analysis. Those are some key words that are going to pop out.
GC: What resources does the IMA provide that are useful?
SR: We have an amazing social network site, LinkUp IMA, for accounting professionals where our members discuss all kinds of accounting topics. This provides a great networking platform for professionals in specific roles to connect with each other and share ideas in an online forum.
We also have many chapters all over the world that allow accounting professionals to meet face-to-face and discuss trends and issues or concerns they deal with in their roles. We also have a strong certification program, the CMA. When someone makes the investment in themselves to obtain their CMA certification, they demonstrate that they are prepared not only for cost accounting, but for the many strategic roles that accountants are involved in. The CMA can provide the basis to launch them into a career path that will help them gain more experience and move into financial leadership roles. Our certification program provides a lifetime of value.
Accounting News Roundup: Rangel Settlement May Be in the Works; IMA Launches New Website; Landing a Job with Uncle Sam | 07.29.10
Rangel Is in Talks to End Ethics Case [WSJ]
“Negotiations between lawyers for Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) and House ethics investigators continued on the eve of a public hearing Thursday that was expected to lay out the charges aga ethics panel announced last week its plans to present a case against Mr. Rangel, his lawyers have been in private discussions about a possible settlement to avoid a hearing. A central issue is the wording of the House ethics panel’s findings about Mr. Rangel’s alleged ethics violations, according to a person familiar with the case.”
Audit reveals billions of dollars of Iraqi oil funds gone missing [Guardian]
Hard to believe that there would be trouble tracking the money over there, “The US department of defence has called in forensic accountants to help track $8.1bn (£5.2bn) of $9.1bn in Iraq’s oil revenue entrusted to it after the fall of Baghdad, following an official audit that revealed the money was missing.
The funds were to be used for spending on reconstruction during 2004-07, a period when Iraq was under weak transitional rule.
The report was issued today by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which had previously criticised poor book-keeping by senior officials throughout the last seven years.”
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Still Too Big to Nail [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
“This month Congress passed the 2,323- page Dodd-Frank Act without any clear understanding of why the financial crisis happened — and without doing a thing to address Fannie and Freddie, which were central players. Now the Obama administration says it will deliver a reform proposal to Congress by January on the nation’s housing-finance system, including Fannie and Freddie. Yet the government still hasn’t undertaken any comprehensive inquiry into why these companies blew up and who was at fault.”
IMA Launches New Website to Support Accounting Community [Business Wire]
“IMA™, the association for accountants and financial professionals in business, unveiled [Wednesday] its new website, now making it even easier for professionals to experience IMA’s range of valuable resources and services. The website can be accessed at www.imanet.org.”
How to Get a Job in Financial Regulation [FINS]
The SEC, FDIC and CFTC are all hiring in the wake of Dodd-Frank. But landing a gig with the Feds isn’t like landing a job anywhere else. FINS breaks it down for you.
George Carlin Never Would’ve Cut It at the New Goldman Sachs [WSJ]
What’s next? They take your will to live? “The New York company is telling employees that they will no longer be able to get away with profanity in electronic messages. That means all 34,000 traders, investment bankers and other Goldman employees must restrain themselves from using a vast vocabulary of oft-used dirty words on Wall Street, including the six-letter expletive that came back to haunt the company at a Senate hearing in April.”
Alex Rodriguez Objects to Rangers Bankruptcy Plan [Bloomberg]
Chances are, A-Rod doesn’t know the particulars but he would like the $24.9 million he’s owed.