October 26, 2020

Skills

What Data and Analytics Skills Do You Need to Advance Your Accounting or Finance Career?

As we mentioned in our last article, data and analytics skills are becoming increasingly more crucial for accounting and finance professionals. These skills are in high demand across the industry—and by becoming data-fluent now, you can open up bigger career opportunities for yourself and perform your current job more effectively. But it’s not like you […]

How to Follow-up Without Being a Pest

You’ve seen the commercial where the clueless Millennial is being interviewed for a job.  When the guy says, “We’ll call you” the phone rings.  It’s the Millennial across his desk following up after the interview.  There’s a fine line between efficient follow-up and being a pest.  Business owners and managers respect efficient follow-up.  They avoid […]

Accountants Need Skills, But Which Ones? A Conversation With BYU Professor David Wood

This past year, the skills of accountants (or lack thereof) have been a topic of intense debate. Employers of all kinds lament that the talent pool is lacking in several areas. Skills such as leadership, critical thinking, communication, are all in-demand as are science, technology, engineering and math. Not to mention the fact that most […]

5 Ways Accountants Can Protect Themselves from the Accountapocalypse

In an earlier post, I listed what types of firms and accountants are vulnerable to the Accountapocalypse. Since then, I’ve received a number of tweets, LinkedIn messages and hate mail (thanks guys) centred around this:

Seventy Percent of Accounting Grads in Some State of “What the Hell Is Going On?” at First Job

In an Accountemps survey, 56% of accounting and finance professionals responded that, "they felt only somewhat prepared for their first job after graduation." Another 14% admitted that, "they were not at all prepared." Nothing mention about whether coding skills would've done them any good.  [AT, Earlier]

Four Things to Remember Before You Leave Public Accounting

This is our second submission from the stable of Going Concern freelancer candidates. The following is by Bob Loblaw. Notwithstanding a few e-mails I’ve written in the past that had a wider circulation than intended, this is my first piece of journalism (Ed. note: relative term). With that in mind, it’s important to my unpaid […]

Do Regional Firm Accountants Have Better Excel Skills Than Their Big 4 Counterparts?

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.

I was having a discussion with a colleague concerning the Excel skills in industry versus public accounting. We agreed that, generally speaking and based on surveys of class participants in our respective Excel CPE classes, industry users are more advanced than public accounting users. Within public accounting, regional firm users are more advanced than local and Big 4 users. Why is that?

We had one computer for about 150 professional staff when I started out in Big 8 public accounting oh so long ago. Back then we were the cutting edge in spreadsheet use. We were consulting with our clients on how to use Visicalc to increase productivity and reduce errors. So how did the Big 4 apparently slide to the bottom of the scale?

Theory number one holds that the Big 4 does all their training from within. They take someone who has perceived advanced skills, and use that person to teach everyone else what they know. The problem is that the in-house trainer may not know some of the advanced features in Excel that would be useful to the group. The trainer may only know slightly more than everyone else. My own experience with selling Excel to a Big 4 firm is that they feel it would be nice to know more about Excel, but it’s not imperative to the job. Rather it is better to focus CPE resources on IFRS or the latest tax code changes.

Theory number two says that associates in the Big 4 are focused in on their in-house proprietary audit software which doesn’t allow incorporating new ideas into the audit process like pivot tables or form control objects. Stick to the audit program because there is no room in the budget to experiment with Excel.

Now that I’m done ragging on the Excel skill level in the Big 4 remember I said at the beginning of the post “generally speaking” and I know there are excellent Excel users in the Big 4. I just haven’t met them yet.

Robert Half Survey: CFOs Are Nearly Done Firing People

unemployment.jpgBob Half is spreading some good cheer the-world-is-not-ending-in-2010 news this holiday season, as the staffing company’s latest poll has indicated that the job market for accountants should “stabalize” in the first quarter of the new year. Call us morbid but “stable” makes us think of someone in the ICU.


Web CPA:

Staffing company Robert Half International found that a net 3 percent of the 1,400 CFOs interviewed for the survey plan to reduce their accounting and finance personnel in the first quarter of 2010, but this represents an improvement from the net 6 percent forecast the previous quarter. Most executives — 84 percent — expect no changes to their staffing levels.
Six percent of executives plan to increase hiring in the first quarter and 9 percent foresee personnel reductions. Compared to the fourth-quarter projections, the number that anticipated adding staff rose while the number projecting cutbacks declined.

Thought so! Not anything to write home about since 84 percent of the respondents expect no changes in their staffing levels. To make matters worse, according to the survey those of you pounding the pavement don’t have any skills:

Despite current unemployment levels, CFOs continue to report challenges finding highly skilled professionals for certain functional areas. Twenty-five percent of financial executives said accounting roles are the hardest to fill, and 20 percent said they experience the most difficulty hiring for operational support positions.

Leave it to the BSDs of the world to bring you down by telling you don’t have any skills. We believe in you, unemployed number crunchers of the world! Don’t let the bastards get you down.
Accounting Staff Cutbacks Expected to Slow [Web CPA]