Microsoft Crunches Some Data to Find Out Teams is the Biggest Productivity Killer at Work
Have you ever been totally in the zone, grinding away at work oblivious to the world around you when you’re rudely interrupted by a *DING* that snaps you right out of your trance and back to the tedium of a seemingly infinite inbox? Or maybe you were cruising along on some project you’d been putting […]
Accounting Firm Leaders Cite ‘Rising Salaries’ As The Second Biggest Problem Facing Their Firms
Accounting Today has published “The 20 biggest problems for firms in 2023” and no one will be surprised to find out that the war for talent ranks #1 among the firms AT surveyed. Talent actually has its tentacles in a number of problems on AT’s list and spills over into several items–capacity issues, burnout, retention. […]
Survey Says: Virginia Accountant Salaries By Experience Level
Skipping the smart-ass headline for this one and getting right to it: Virginia Society of CPAs surveyed a total of 84 public firms, 17 solo practitioners, 133 accountants in corporate/industry, and 48 in government/nonprofit for the 2022 VSCPA Compensation & Benefits Survey and here are the results: Virginia Accounting Salaries Mean Median Accountant I: 0-1.9 […]
Accounting Firms Are Being Uncharacteristically Modern About This Whole Remote Work Thing
Are we ready for another survey? OH BOY. Thomson Reuters has written up the 2022 ConvergenceCoaching, LLC® Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW) Survey — you can request survey results here — and we learn that almost all responding firms say they are being flexible about where and when their people put in their time. Of the […]
Robert Half Reports Finance and Accounting Talent is in High Demand (Duh)
According to the results of a recent Robert Half survey, companies across the U.S. are hungry for talent and of all professional roles, finance and accounting are nearly the most in-demand, second only to technology. The survey also shows that few respondents expect to freeze hiring or eliminate positions in the first half of this […]
KPMG’s ‘Do As We Say Not As We Do’ Tips to Prevent Employee Turnover
KPMG has some sponsored content in Harvard Business Review about how to keep employees from defecting (defecting? Really? It’s a job, not the Sandinistas) and in it, the firm offers some suggestions to encourage employee loyalty. Suggestions that they themselves would be wise to implement should KPMG want to hang on to their own people […]
Shocking News: 82.4% of Hiring Managers Are Struggling to Find Accounting and Finance Talent
What we’re about to share with you shouldn’t be news to anyone and in fact the only news here is that somewhere, 9.1% of public company hiring managers and 14.8% of private company hiring managers are not struggling to find talent. Well that’s what they reported to Deloitte, anyway. Sheryl Estrada writes in Fortune: Deloitte shared […]
Deloitte Survey: C-suite Execs are Burned Out, Delusional, and Lack Empathy (And Also Want to Quit)
There’s some new Deloitte research out this week and it is hi-lar-ious. It seems executives have absolutely no clue what their underlings are going through, mistakenly think they’re doing a good job of making said underlings think they care, oh and they too are stressed AF and thinking about quitting their jobs. Man, things are […]
PwC Finishes First In Vault’s Accounting Firm Prestige Ranking For the Gazillionth Time (2023)
Another year, another first-place finish for PwC in Vault’s ranking of the most prestigious public accounting firms. At this point, you can just pencil in PwC as being the most prestigious firm now until the end of time. If a firm was to eventually unseat PwC in prestige, it would be as big of an […]
PwC Does Not Relinquish Top Spot In Vault Accounting 25 (2023)
Vault today released its newest ranking of the best public accounting firms to work for, and it’s a slimmed-down version for 2023: the number of firms ranked went from 50 (as has been the case for many years) to 25. But one thing remains constant: PwC is No. 1. This is the 10th straight year […]
Listicle of the Day: Firms That Have Topped the Vault Accounting 50/25 Through the Years
Except for 2012 when the Purple Rose of Chicago shockingly was named the best accounting firm to work for, a Big 4 firm has been ranked No. 1 in all the other Vault Accounting 50s. And even though Vault’s latest ranking for 2023, released earlier today, includes only 25 firms instead of 50, a Big […]
Number of the Day: 53
The average age of a non-Big 4 public accounting firm partner hasn’t really changed at all in the last three years. In late December 2018, CPA Journal analyzed the results of the 2018 NYSSCPA–Rosenberg Practice Management Survey and mentioned this in regards to partners’ ages: Partners have gotten slightly younger, both in terms of average […]
Number of the Day: $2,626
A question we’ve often been asked through the years from aspiring CPA candidates is: Do accounting firms give out bonuses for completing the CPA exam, and if so, how much? The answer is, yes, many public accounting firms do throw some money new CPAs’ way for passing all four parts of the exam, but the […]
Number of the Day: 73%
Deloitte US made national headlines last Tuesday when CEO Joe Ucuzoglu told employees in an email that the firm “will require PPMDs and professionals to be vaccinated [against COVID-19] to access US Deloitte facilities,” effective Oct. 11, which led Adrienne to speculate that the other Big 4 firms will eventually fall in line behind Deloitte […]
Here’s Why the Millennials and Zoomers In Your Office Stink
If you’ve chosen to awaken from your work-from-home slumber and returned to your firm or accounting department, you may have noticed a foul smell coming from some of your younger colleagues. No, they aren’t reeking of entitlement (unless they work at EY). They are reeking of body odor. Lockdowns and social distancing have triggered a […]
$58,508: The Average Starting Salary for New Accounting Grads
Accounting students who are graduating in 2021 are the beneficiaries of an average starting salary that has increased by nearly 11% over last year, according to the most recent salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The average starting salary for accounting undergrads this year is projected to be $58,508, up […]
Number of the Day: 59%
While not public accounting specific, that is the percentage of top performers who had their promotions postponed within the past year due to the Rona pandemic, according to the results of a recent Robert Half survey. So as a result of not being able to drink that sweet promotion juice, 38% of professionals surveyed said […]
Vault Accounting 50: No Stopping PwC In Latest Prestige Rankings (2022)
In the 16 years that Vault has ranked public accounting firms by prestige, only three firms have taken the title of “most prestigious”: EY (2007), Deloitte (2009), and PwC (2008; 2010-current). With the release of Vault’s 2022 Accounting 50 last week, that’s 13 straight years now that PwC has been viewed by accountants as the […]
Vault Accounting 50: PwC Remains No. 1; Top 5 SALY (2022)
How much do Big 4 people really care about Vault’s annual Accounting 50? PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG and their employees probably care way more about the ranking than EY and its employees because those firms routinely comprise the top three positions. EY, on the other hand, hasn’t participated in Vault’s annual survey of accounting professionals […]
Number of the Day: 88%
This is the percentage of the 4,500 or so employees of the Queen’s Grant Thornton who want to continue to spend the majority of their time working from home post-pandemic, an in-house employee survey revealed. According to the Financial Times, GT U.K. CEO David Dunckley said the pro-WFH crowd was the same regardless of age, […]
Let’s All Hope This Finding From Korn Ferry’s 2021 Global Salary Survey Is Wrong
Do what you will with this information. I’m just throwing it out there. Korn Ferry recently released the results of its 2021 Global Salary Survey, in which the management consulting firm combines “ongoing data we collect from 25,000 clients across 150+ countries with additional data gathered at key points throughout the year.” OK. So. Right […]
Most People Would Leave Their Job For This Raise, According to Some Survey
It seems based on the amount of time Adrienne and I spend lurking on Reddit and Fishbowl that more people are fleeing the meat grinder that is public accounting lately than in previous years. It’s not because they’re working ungodly Goldman Sachs-type hours, but some people are just not cut out to be capital market […]
Number of the Day: $547,841
As the Paycheck Protection Program has again thrown out a life raft of relief loans this past week to struggling small businesses, our friends at INSIDE Public Accounting recently surveyed 110 managing partners and CEOs to find out how their firms worked to serve clients with PPP-related advice and assistance in 2020. What the survey […]
What Percentage of Straight White Businessmen Don’t Give a Crap About Diversity and Inclusion?
In the year of our COVID Lord 2020, it’s a shame that nearly six in 10 straight white dudes who are college-educated professionals still don’t really give a damn about their employer’s diversity and inclusion efforts. From a survey recently conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation: Majority men are defined as white straight cis-gender […]
What Are You Guys Drinking While Working From Home?
I don’t know why y’all are so eager to get back to the office because isn’t it better to be drinking a gin and tonic, sipping whiskey, or downing your favorite IPA while staring blankly at a spreadsheet at home than doing so while having a cup of coffee, Ice Mountain bottled water, or Red […]
Vault Accounting 50: PwC Is Still the Most Prestigious Firm In the Land (2021)
There wasn’t much that changed in Vault’s 2021 ranking of the most prestigious accounting firms, at least in the top 25. PwC was named the most prestigiousiest firm for the 12th straight year, the Big 4 took the top four spots once again, and the same firms that filled up the top 25 in 2020’s […]
PwC Continues to Dominate Vault Accounting 50 (2021)
Not even a pandemic, the likes of which we’ve never seen, could stop the folks at Vault from releasing its 2021 Accounting 50 today. But if you were hoping for a firm other than PwC to take the top spot in the latest Vault ranking of the top accounting firms in the U.S., well, you’ll […]
The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Causing Many Accountants (and a Whole Lot of Consultants) to Freak Out About Losing Their Jobs
OK, let’s talk about layoffs and accountants. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting dumpster fire that is the U.S. economy has quite a few capital market servants worried about losing their jobs. And some have taken to sites like Fishbowl and Reddit to voice their concerns. The thing is, nobody knows what’s going to happen. […]
You’ll Have to Pry Vault’s ‘Most Prestigious Firm’ Title Out of PwC’s Cold, Dead Hands
A little while ago, we told you how PwC locked down the top spot in Vault’s 2020 Accounting 50—the seventh consecutive year the firm has been ranked No. 1. But believe it or not, this isn’t the longest win streak P. Dubs has going when it comes to Vault’s rankings. Even though the House of […]
PwC Once Again Tops Vault Accounting 50 (2020)
It’s one of our favorite times of the year at GC HQ when our friends at Vault put out their yearly rankings of the top accounting firms in the U.S. in several categories. But for now, we’re going to focus on the overall top 50 ranking. The No. 1 firm in the U.S. for 2020, […]
The Number of Women Partners in Accounting Firms Is Still Abysmal
Earlier this month, the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC) issued its second CPA Firm Gender Study and its findings are not encouraging. The survey found that partnership on average remains overwhelmingly male. The current survey shows little change from studies done in years past, which have typically found less than one-quarter of the partnership […]
The 20% of Americans Who Would Get an ‘IRS’ Tattoo to Never Pay Taxes Are Getting Off Too Easy
Americans hate paying taxes. This is not news. Why they hate paying taxes is a bit of a mystery. I reckon it has something to do with wanting to piss the money away themselves rather than have police or schools or national parks. Anyway, a survey by WalletHub found that some Americans are so intent […]
However the Presidential Election Goes, CPAs Probably Not Moving to Canada
Trump? Clinton? Bloomberg (write-in)? Another to be named later? None of the above? However this dumpster fire of a presidential election turns out, an AICPA survey found that CFOs, controllers and "other CPA executives" are chill: About 64% say the election will factor into business planning for the next fiscal year to some extent. Twenty-six […]
Apparently Accountants Are Terrible on the Phone
I'm surprised as anyone to learn that this is an actual thing: Only 24 percent of American consumers are satisfied with the way accounting firms handle their phone calls, according to a new survey. The study of 2,234 people, conducted by audio branding specialist PH Media Group, found standards in the accounting industry fell below […]
A Surprising Number of Accountants Think Accountants Are Incredibly Corrupt
A recent survey of 1,696 global accountants from CareersInAudit.com found that accountant don't think too highly of other accountants: [I]t would appear that the accountancy profession is still not squeaky clean with all its working practices. 20% of respondents believe between 10–20% of those in the profession have helped their clients create a set of […]
Here’s Another Lousy Stat on the Number of Women Partners in Accounting Firms
In case you needed another crummy datapoint to help illustrate the gender disparity at the partner level in the accounting profession, this finding from the AICPA's Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee CPA Firm Gender Survey should do the trick: Many firms have non-equity partner tracks that don’t include ownership in the practice. The WIEC survey found […]
CPAs Admit That They’re Not Good Business People
Here's something interesting (hilarious, even) from the Indiana CPA Society's Center of Excellence: CPAs lack a bunch of important skills and they're completely aware of it. The Society conducted a survey of over 600 CPAs across 30 states and found that the profession that constantly goes on about being "trusted advisors" to businesses and entrepreneurs, […]
Deloitte Survey: Auditors’ Use of Technology Does Not Impress
A Deloitte survey of financial executives, financial statement users and audit committee members found that an overwhelming majority — 84%, 70% and 76% respectively — of these people, "believe auditors should use advanced technologies more extensively in performing an audit." Apparently, 21st century auditing is still a few years off. [WSJ] Image: Gnangarra/WIkimedia Commons
SOX Approaching Teens, Behaving Accordingly: Survey
That is, taking up a lot more of companies' time and money: Nearly 13 years after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the money and time spent to comply with its disclosure requirements continue to increase for companies, according to a new survey. Sixty-seven percent of the 460 audit executives and professionals polled by the […]
Survey Says: Over Half of Small Businesses Don’t Work With an Accountant At All
Here's an interesting discovery from Xero: 53 percent of small businesses they surveyed "say they don’t work with an accountant at all." So not only are all firms the same, they're not crucial to fledgling businesses? Is this an opportunity or a barrier? Go.
PA CPAs Suggest Liquor Stores Be Privatized, Less Enthused About Legal Marijuana
Sixty-nine percent of CPAs suggested privatizing liquor stores as the best measure to close the Keystone State's deficit. Only 27% of them like the idea of legalizing marijuana. Considering the puritanical liquor laws in the state — er, commonwealth — we should accept progress where we can get it. [PICPA]
It Takes Four to Five Weeks to Fill Vacant Finance and Accounting Positions
According to new survey results published today from Robert Half Finance & Accounting, it takes an average of four weeks to fill open staff-level accounting and finance jobs and five weeks for management-level positions. But hiring managers need to move fast not only because it can be challenging to be short-staffed during that stretch, but because top candidates […]
If You Can’t Get a Job, It’s Probably Because You Suck at Interviews
It's really helpful that we have all these survey results to count on otherwise we'd have no idea what the heck is going on. Here's the scoop from CGMA Mag: Job candidates appear to have brushed up on their résumé skills, but they’re still struggling to come off as polished in a job interview. That’s […]
One in Three Accountants Getting a Little on the Side
Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean work. The scoop from CPA Trendlines: If you’re reading this at home, or on your own time, you’re not alone. Today more than one-third of accountants are already moonlighting in “side” practices or home offices – especially during busy season, according to a CPA Trendlines survey […]
According to the Results of This Survey We’ve Been Waiting For, CPA Execs Are Less Optimistic on the Economy
Disappointingly, I snoozed through the alarm I set for 6:59 AM and therefore I completely missed the release of this information I have been waiting anxiously for since they told me to start waiting anxiously for it on Monday. BUT HERE IT IS, the AICPA Economic Outlook Survey: NEW YORK (Dec. 5, 2013) – Business […]
Only 61% of CGMAs Surveyed Think the Second Most Important Person in America After the President is Important
You guys probably didn't watch Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing yesterday but I did because Janet has long been one of my least favorite Fed characters, since before she returned to Washington to serve as Fed Vice Chair. Frankly, I'm horrified that she'll be running the show over there but that's not important right now. The […]
Paternity Leave at Accounting Firms Better Than Getting a Tie for Father’s Day
Sunday is Father's Day, so our friends at Vault have shared the results from their working parent survey that cover the dear ol' dads and accounting firms faired pretty well: [S]urvey respondents who work in accounting rate their firms highest when it comes to how accommodating they are for working fathers (survey respondents were asked […]
AICPA Attempts to Tie Expired Payroll Tax Cut to Normal American Behavior
Are you irritable? Sleeping less? Impatient with your friends? Putting on weight? Thinking about divorce? Yes? Sorry to hear, you must be going through a stressful time. Oh, wait, are you an American? Yes?! Whew, you're behaving normally then. If you were to read this AICPA press release, you might be inclined to believe that […]
God Only Knows Why Most Companies Still Manually Reconcile General Ledger Accounts
A recent report released by Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation found that "nearly two-thirds of finance departments in US companies and one-half in Canadian companies" are manually still reconciling general ledger accounts. That seems like a lot! But Roberto Halfo says it's biz as ushe: "The level of manual reconciliation reported in our survey […]
According to Obvious PwC Survey, Millennials Want To Barely Work From Home, If At All
If I have to read ONE more of these, I am going to scream. Here's the latest from PwC: A new report released today, PwC's NextGen: A global generational study, reveals that enhancing workplace flexibility and equity between work and home is one of the keys to improving job satisfaction among Millennials. According to the […]
PwC Tops Vault Accounting 50 (2014)
After a couple of interesting teasers on LGBT relations and satisfaction among women, our friends at Vault have unveiled their Accounting 50 ranking today. The results will probably annoy many of you because, yes, PwC topped the three big categories in Vault's 2014 rankings — Overall Ranking, Prestige, and Diversity.
Vault Survey: Male Big 4 Partners Most Satisfied; Female Senior Associates Least Satisfied
Our friends at Vault will release their Accounting 50 ranking on Monday, but if you simply cannot contain your excitement until that day comes, they've got a little teaser in this post that reveals Big 4 men are happier than Big 4 women. Is this a shock or is it more predictable than a creep […]
Are Some U.S. Companies Preparing to Trim Their Tax Department Fat?
When I first saw this KPMG press release, I figured it was the same old insufferable tripe. I mean, read this shit: Amid continuing economic and political uncertainty, senior management at US-based multinational companies are relying on their tax departments, now more than ever, to provide guidance and expertise on complicated regulatory and compliance issues, […]
Latest CFO Survey Results Reveal a Whole Lot of Information That Will Make You Shrug with Indifference
Take it away, Robert Half! In the latest survey, 5% of executives said they plan to add personnel and 6% said they expect job cuts in accounting and finance. In other words, everyone's just sitting around like boobs. What else is going on? Finding the right people is hard! Finding qualified talent remains a problem […]
Accounting and Finance Professionals Are Only Slightly Less Optimistic Than They Were Last Quarter
Surveys, we love 'em! The latest Mergis Group Finance and Accounting Employee Confidence Index has come down from its highest level in four years, decreasing 5.2 points to 52.6 in the second quarter of 2012. Fret not, the news is still mostly good. The 184 employed finance and accounting professionals surveyed seem to be mostly […]
BREAKING: Balancing Work, Life Is Stressful
According to an intrepid survey by Accountemps that investigated what stresses out CFOs, balancing work and life responsibilities was listed as the biggest drag. This beat out office politics, keeping up with accounting and finance regulations, higher workloads, and a "challenging commute." Maybe all these men and women wouldn't be so stressed if more of them […]
Comp Watch ’12: CFOs
As many of you continue striving towards your career goals to occupy the CFO chair, we thought you might like to know a little information on how well that dream job pays. According to a recent Grant Thornton/Financial Executives Research Foundation survey, public company CFOs saw their average base salaries climb from to $286,500 to from […]
Those Annoying Recruiter Calls Might Be Slowing Down Next Quarter
In a few weeks, many of you plugging along through busy season will decide to call those incessant recruiters back and test the job market. Last week's report by Robert Half and published in the Journal of Accountancy miiiiight rain on your parade, at least in the short term. Ninety-one percent of CFOs said they don’t expect […]
Wanted: Accountants With a Sense of Humor
When you think about desired qualities for financial professionals, honesty, intellect and technical knowledge are probably high up there but have you considered the value of a sense of humor? Yeah, me neither. According to this recent Fortune article, however, CFOs interviewed by Accountemps expressed a desire to find professionals equipped to bring the funny […]
Non-U.S. Survey: IFRS Is Getting More Popular
Global Reporting Standards are gaining popularity among investors and finance executives, according to a new report by ACCA. Around 170 senior executives and investors were questioned. More than 40% said international financial reporting standards improve access to capital, while around 25% believe the global standards have lowered capital costs. ACCA chief executive Helen Brand said: “Growing support amongst CFOs and investors for [IFRS] must be considered carefully” by US regulator the SEC as it debates converging US GAAP with international standards. “We believe a positive answer from the SEC would give a tremendous boost to the cause of financial reporting and more importantly the world economy.” [Accountancy Age, Earlier]
AICPA Outlook Survey: This Double-Dip Recession Just May Be Happening
Just in time for President Obama’s jobs conversation to a joint session of Congress, the AICPA has released its latest quarterly economic outlook survey results. Long story short: sentiments aren’t high among financial professionals surveyed.
The outlook for the U.S. economy turned negative in the third quarter for the first time since 2009 as prospects for recovery waned and concerns about a second recession rose, according to the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey of Chief Financial Officers, Controllers and CPAs in executive and senior management accounting roles.
The CPA Outlook Index, a broad-based composite index that captures the expectations of CPA financial executives and management accountants, declined 8 points to 58 this quarter, down from 66 in the prior period. The survey, conducted in August, tallied 1,305 qualified responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions, such as chief financial officers or controllers in their companies.
“For the second consecutive quarter, the CPA Outlook Index declined as turbulence in the political and economic environment eroded the sense earlier this year that a recovery was taking hold,” said Carol Scott, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government. “A majority of our CPA members in executive financial roles now fear a second recession may be likely.”
The decline in the CPA Outlook Index was fueled by a sharp drop in sentiment about the U.S. economy.
A whopping 61 percent majority of respondents said they think it is “somewhat likely” or “very likely” the U.S. will fall into a double-dip recession. Only 9 percent of CPAs serving in executive positions expressed optimism about the U.S. economy in the third quarter, down 24 percentage points from 33 percent who were optimistic in the second quarter.
It is reasonable to point out here that though the CPA Outlook Index turned negative this quarter, it is still above the 4-year low of 32 in the first quarter of 2009.
U.S. economy optimism plummeted a whopping 28 points from 53 to 25. Of the major index components, none changed positively quarter-over-quarter for 2011.
While the outlook for respondents’ own organizations is not as rosy as it was earlier this year, it has not dropped as sharply as the outlook for the US economy. Optimists also still outnumber pessimists, with 41% of the CPA decision-makers indicating that they are optimistic about the outlook for their own organizations over the next 12 months, while only 21% are pessimistic. Expectation for expansion also dropped again this quarter but a majority of respondents (53%) still expect to expand at least somewhat in the next 12 months. This is down from 61% who expected expansion last quarter.
Executive summary of the survey results can be found here.
Grant Thornton Survey: Celebrities’ Acceptance of Infidelity Carrying Over to the Plebs
In Northern Ireland, anyway. Yes, if you’re moseying around Belfast and catch your spouse in an intimate embrace with someone who isn’t you, your heart may be broken but that doesn’t mean you’re going to divorce their cheating ass. Why, you ask? Well, you see, celebrities, being the model global citizens that they are, seem understand that marriage doesn’t really mean that you can’t have sex with other people, even if you haven’t expressed a desire to do so and regular Joes and Janes are starting to think that should be their attitude as well.
The UK Press Association reports, “one of the reasons for the shift may be the growing number of high profile celebrities that have publicly accepted their partner being unfaithful, according to consultancy and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, which carried out the matrimonial survey.” Yes Grant Thornton, fresh off their new ad campaign, is finding time to weigh in on marriage trends, although they readily admit they’re really just taking a stab at this:
Sally Longworth, partner at Grant Thornton’s Forensic and Investigations services practice, said: “The shift in the reasons for divorce is difficult to explain, although one potential influence could be the rise in the number of celebrities that are very publicly accepting their spouse’s infidelities.
Seems that GT is hard up for work in N.I.
Global Robert Half Study Reveals Financial Executives Are Trippin’ Over Retaining Talent
Forgive me for suggesting this to (alleged) financial professionals but perhaps if they treated their current talent like, well, talent as opposed to third-rate street whores, they might not have this problem. One need look no further than the comment section on any of our salary posts to find warranted discontent, anger, frustration and threats of exodus.
The Robert Half Global Financial Employment Monitor was developed by Robert Half International and is based on surveys conducted by independent research firms. The study, focusing on hiring difficulties, retention concerns and business confidence, includes responses from more than 6,000 financial leaders across 19 countries.
Here are the key findings:
• Two-thirds, 67 percent, of financial leaders reported at least some level of recruiting difficulty. Approximately one out of five (19 percent) respondents said it is very challenging to find skilled accounting and finance professionals today.
• Retention concerns are rising. Globally, 56 percent of executives said they are either very or somewhat concerned about losing top performers to other job opportunities in the year ahead. This is an 11-point jump from the 2010 survey.
• In the United States, 43 percent of executives cited worries about keeping their best people. This is up from 28 percent in 2010.
• Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported being at least somewhat confident in their organization’s growth prospects for the coming year.
Survey nerds can dig deeper into the research highlights or data tables for more information.
More disturbing, retention issues seem to be a globally pervasive issue. More than half of executives, 56 percent, said they are very or somewhat concerned about losing valued employees to other opportunities in the coming year. This compares to 45 percent who cited retention concerns in the 2010 survey.
In some countries, the results were much higher. The number of executives worried about keeping key employees is up 16 points in Singapore, for example; 91 percent of respondents there said they see retention as an issue. In Hong Kong and Brazil, 88 percent and 85 percent of financial leaders, respectively, noted retention concerns.
What this means, of course, is that if any of you are desperate for work and somewhat decent at your jobs, you might want to look into tapping these markets. Despite what the IASB may like you to think, U.S. GAAP isn’t dead and knowledge of it is still a marketable skill, though a decent command of international standards will obviously benefit you more going forward.
Or turn your keepers’ fears into a tool to be leveraged and get yourselves raised up to at least second-rate street whore. Stranger things have happened.
CPAs Aren’t As Optimistic As They Used to Be on the Economy
Straight from the horse’s mouth, or, in this case, the CPAs:
According to the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, chief financial officers, controllers and CPAs in executive and senior management accounting roles are far less optimistic now about the direction of the U.S. economy than they were in the first quarter of 2011.
The CPA Outlook Index, a broad-based composite index that captures the expectations of CPA financial executives and management accountants, declined three points to 66 this quarter, from 69 in the prior period.
“The flush of optimism we experienced earlier this year has given way to more moderate expectations for the U.S. economy,” said Carol Scott, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government. “While the CPA Outlook Index is still positive relative to the dark days of the recession, our members are concerned about rising energy costs and inflation, health care costs and continuing weakness in demand.”
The pullback in optimism follows an upbeat assessment in the prior quarter and signals the two-year-old U.S. economic recovery has lost momentum, Scott said. The survey shows that expectations for corporate expansion and hiring have moderated and the outlook for revenues and profits declined. Concerns about inflation continued to rise, driven by higher energy costs. The outlook for capital spending remained largely flat with information technology the only sector enjoying improvement.
It’s worth noting that while optimism for the US economy declined sharply this quarter, it is still higher than it was for the 4th quarter of 2010. Slightly more than one quarter of respondents (27%) expressed a pessimistic outlook for the US economy, driven by concerns about unemployment, government debt and rising prices.
Check out the full survey here, Valium not included.
Don’t Worry, There’s Still Plenty of Accounting Fraud Out There
In what might be a lagging indicator of recession-spawned misdeeds, the percentage of reported corporate frauds compared with all other reported incidents increased to 20.3% in the first quarter of 2011, a rise of more than 60 basis points from the previous quarter, according to data from 1,000 organizations worldwide. Of the 30,000 ethics- and compliance-related reports from people at those organizations in the first quarter, more than 6,100 concerned accounting or auditing irregularities, embezzlement, kickbacks, and other forms of fraud. [CFO]
Are Accountants Willing to Trade Salary for a Four-Day Work Week?
Apparently! Our sister from across the pond has gotten over their Royal Wedding hangover to report that two-thirds of “finance professionals” would take less money if they were allowed to skip one day a week:
It seems that finance professionals are getting a taste for a more balanced lifestyle after the recent spate of bank holiday weekends. According to a recent survey, two-thirds of accountants would be happy to give up some of their salary to enjoy a four-day working week.
A survey of 2,882 finance professionals conducted by recruiter Marks Sattin found that 66% of respondents were more attracted by the prospect of a four-day working week and would be willing to sacrifice up to £11,000 a year [about USD $18k] to achieve a better work-life balance.
Only 6% said they are less attracted to a four day week than this time last year, while just over a quarter of respondents said they felt no differently.
Marks Sattin managing director Dave Way commented, “Appetite for a greater work-life balance is a sure indication that people feel more secure in their jobs. Since the recession, people have had to knuckle down and work harder. But as the economy picks up and there is less pressure on employers to make redundancies, people are increasingly prioritising a work-life balance.
Of course what isn’t mentioned is that even with a four-day work week, a number of people would just end up working longer hours on those four days and would spend a portion of their free day checking email and other various work-related activities. In the Big 4 (and the rest of the top 10-20 firms) however, there are people who are completely satisfied with the status quo and others willing to give their lives for the firm, so there’s little chance that you’ll see a big shift in culture. That said, it’s a question worth putting out there – would you take less money to work four days a week? Tell us below.
Latest Poll Suggests That Most People Think Paul Ryan’s Deficit Reduction Plan Is a Lousy Idea
[A McClatchy-Marist] poll reported that roughly two out of three registered voters — 64 percent — would be in favor of increasing taxes on annual income over $250,000. President Obama reiterated in his deficit-reduction speech last week that he favored allowing taxes to rise on families in that income level. Independents favored that plan of action at roughly the same percentage as the country at large, with more than eight in 10 Democrats also behind the idea. A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, opposed it. The poll was conducted both before and after Obama’s Wednesday speech, with support for higher taxes on wealthier Americans picking up afterward. Meanwhile, fully four in five registered voters oppose cutting Medicare and Medicaid. The House GOP’s fiscal 2012 budget, largely crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), makes fundamental long-term changes to both health entitlement programs, converting Medicaid into a block grant and turning Medicare into a type of voucher system. [The Hill, Earlier]
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.
Survey: CFOs Find Outdated Technology Slightly Maddening
CFOs admit that if technology is implemented correctly it can be pretty damn swell but over half of those surveyed said the biggest barrier to improving the finance department is “out of date and inflexible” IT systems. Also, nearly three-quarters of respondents said that these systems are also to blame for failing to reach objectives. Not good. How can we possibly solve this problem?
According to KPMG’s Steve Lis, “By adopting a unified approach to technology, CFOs and CIOs can transform their organizations to become more proactive, innovative and flexible.” That’s a pretty interesting thought but another possibility not addressed in KPMG’s press release was: spending money. I know, I know. Pretty crazy concept so it’s probably best to just keep things the way they are. [KPMG]
BREAKING: Tax Season Leads to Poor Work/Life Balance for Accountants
This newsflash is brought to you by OfficeMax’s National “Tax it To Me” survey:
For busy accountants responsible for filing taxes on behalf of the approximately 82 million out of 228 million American adults who opt to use professional services, tax season is perhaps even more emotionally wrought. A busy plate often leads to a poor work/life balance, botched sleep schedules, poor eating habits, and problems in personal relationships.
And if you can believe that, the survey also found that taxpayers blame procrastination of filing their returns on nervousness, confusion and laziness (among other things). Now remove your hand from your forehead and get back to work.
[via The Hill]
CFOs Think Cloud Computing (Whatever That Is) Might Be Important to Future IT Strategy
Asked about their current use of cloud-computing services, a majority of senior finance executives either have no plans to pursue it in the short term, or are doing so very tentatively. Nearly a third admit that they aren’t even sure what “cloud computing” really means. Yet, when asked how cloud computing might affect their company’s approach to IT longer term, almost half say they believe it will enable a significant restructuring of their entire IT strategy. [CFO]
Report: Nearly 20% of Financial Statement Users Think the Auditor’s Report Is Worthless
Last December, the PCAOB announced that they were going to kick around some ideas for a new and improved audit model. See, you may have heard about a few financial institutions that, it turned out, weren’t in such great shape. Funny thing – all these companies had clean audit opinions. This got people asking pretty awkward questions out loud like, “Are Auditors Irrelevant?” and making statements such as, “Get rid of [them]” AND “They add no value.”
The PCAOB listened to all this gnashing of teeth for about a year (or maybe their entire existence) and they came to the conclusion that some conversations needed to be had and even some changes might be appropriate. What exactly does that mean? Well, it sounds like we’ll hear some suggetions next Thursday when the next Standing Advisory Group meeting is held but in the meantime, the PCAOB’s Investor Advisory Group was plenty busy today, making several presentations that included some very interesting findings.
The first is “Improving the Auditor’s Report” that was prepared by Joseph Carcello of the University of Tennessee, Norman Harrison of Breeden Capital, Gus Sauter of Vanguard and Ann Yerger of the Council of Institutional Investors. Some items worth noting:
• 45% of respondents believe that the current audit report does not provide valuable information that is integral to understanding financial statements while 23% of respondents believe the current audit report provides valuable information.
• 18% believe the auditor report is of no use to them at all.
• Two selected comments from the report: “The statement feels very binary. Either a qualified opinion or not. Not a lot of incremental information once a company gets an unqualified opinion.” and “The audit report is valuable both because of what it says, i.e., an opinion, and by virtue of what it does not say, i.e., an exception.”
• Examples of disclosures that users were asked about: Disclosure of risks (“77% believe auditor should disclose areas with greatest financial statement and audit risk and the audit work performed in those areas”); disclosure of audit hours (“51% believe the auditor should not be required to disclose hours spent on individual financial statement accounts”); materiality thresholds (“56% believe the auditor should disclose quantitative and qualitative materiality thresholds and considerations”); audit partner signature (“44% support requiring the audit partner to personally sign the audit opinion”).
There’s more where this came from so check out the full presentation for some interesting reading. We’ll have more tomorrow.
Chief Audit Executives Like Sarbanes-Oxley…No, They Really Like It
A new survey of more than 300 chief audit executives (CAEs) by Grant Thornton LLP finds that while nearly half believe that the shifting regulatory landscape poses the greatest threat to their company, a vast majority (88%) do not believe that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) should be repealed. Of those that believe SOX should be repealed, the cost of compliance is the main reason for doing so. “Since the passage of SOX, organizations have had to dedicate significant resources to comply with a host of new laws and regulations,” noted Warren Stippich, a Chicago-based partner and Grant Thornton’s national Governance, Risk and Compliance solution leader. “Based on discussions with various CAEs during the survey process, many believe that SOX brings a continued focus by management on financial and governance-related controls. However, CAEs believe that compliance audit processes are now well-defined and are currently exploring ways to contribute value creation to the organization well beyond compliance monitoring and reporting.” [GT]
Nearly One in Four of Your Co-workers Is Not Down with March Madness Pools
Our friends at Vault put together a fun little survey on your gambling habits at work and, no surprise, nearly 75% of you participate in a March Madness pool. What about the remainder? Well, there are the puritanical types who probably leave Bible verses on your desk, “My office is awash in sinners. Some day a real rain will come and these cubicles will be cleansed.” But then there’s the jerks who are simply all business:
“The next time I see [colleagues using work time to focus on office pools], I’m going to put an anonymous note on all the bosses desks to make them aware” warns one respondent. (Presumably they fall into the 22 percent of respondents who disapprove of workplace betting altogether.)
If you know someone who is capable of this level of dickishness, the temptation to violently pinch them with a stapler remover is great, however we’d ask that you refrain from this until they actually make good on their threat. Of course if you impress upon them that there is a valid purpose for studying a bracket, maybe they’ll let it slide.
New Robert Half Survey Reveals CFOs Will Need You to Go Ahead and Come in on Saturday
We’re not very good at math or statistics so perhaps our numbers are off a bit, but how do 89% of CFOs expect their firms to grow in the second quarter of 2011 while 85% also do not expect to add any new full-time accounting and finance professionals? It doesn’t take a mathlete to figure out what that means for those of you lucky enough to work for these CFOs, so you better get to slacking off now before they come down to your cube and kindly inform you you’ll need to go ahead and come in on Saturday.
Robert Half interviewed 1400 CFOs across the country for their Robert Half Financial Hiring Index and here’s what they came up with:
Most (85 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index said they expect to make no changes to their current staffing levels during the second quarter of 2011. Seven percent anticipate adding full-time accounting and finance professionals, while another 7 percent plan personnel reductions. The net 0 percent projection is down two points from the first-quarter 2011 forecast.
As businesses navigate the current economy, they remain optimistic about the outlook for their own companies. Eighty-nine percent of CFOs expressed confidence in their firms’ growth potential in the second quarter, up one point from the first-quarter survey.
Looking to relocate? Try the Pacific or Mid-Atlantic regions. Twelve percent of CFOs plan to add full-time accounting and finance professionals and 5 percent foresee cutbacks, a net 7 percent increase.
“Many Pacific-region companies, particularly those in the manufacturing and technology sectors, are rebuilding their teams to meet renewed demand for their products and services,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “In particular, firms are looking for skilled financial analysts to help them control costs and prepare for potential growth.”
In the end, a net 0 hiring projection is a lot better than previous recent surveys which were in the negative however we’d be remiss if we did not point out that the last time the survey showed a net 0 projection was for 3rd quarter 2008. And we all know how that particular period of time went.
What does this mean? New grads who are still waiting around for jobs can keep waiting, and more seasoned professionals who have been out of work for quite some time should probably just give up. Thanks for the great news, RH!
Are Accountants in Denial About North Africa?
From February 9th to 24th, they may have been.
A CPA Outlook Index put together by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the University of North Carolina rose to its highest level since the third quarter of 2007 — before the recession took hold. That was largely due to a big jump in optimism over the U.S. economy, but the 1168 accountants surveyed were also felt better about their own firms and expect stronger sales, profits, spending and hiring. The survey was conducted between Feb. 9 and 24 — a period that captures the resignation of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, growing unrest in Libya and rising energy prices. That offers evidence that, thus far, the tremors in the Middle East and North Africa haven’t seriously unsettled U.S. businesses.
Possibly related – CBS had just suspended Two and a Half Men on February 24th, thus, this survey may not accurately reflect the effect this loss has had on our nation.
Survey Says: Accountants and Small Businesses are Optimistic About the Future
It must be survey season so since you kids received the last one so well (surely I jest), we humbly present this latest survey of 1,217 Intuit small business and 1,200 Intuit accountant customers between Oct. 15 – 20, 2010. Thanks, Intuit!
The good news is that there really is no good news but that hasn’t put a damper on survey respondents’ view of things to come. It’s sort of exceptional, in our opinion, that 75 – 80% of respondents feel today’s economic climate is just fair or poor but more than that feel optimistic about opportunities in the future.
In a considerable showing of resilience, 65 percent of accounting professionals and 54 percent of small business owners said their companies grew in the last 12 months. Despite this growth, 75 percent of accounting professionals and 80 percent of small business owners rate today’s economic climate as “just fair” or “poor.”
Both groups expressed optimism for the future, with 94 percent of accounting professionals and 87 percent of small business owners seeing opportunities to grow their businesses in today’s economy.
Well if there are going to be new opportunities once things look up, where are they going to come from? According to respondents, news and technology are the key:
77 percent of accounting professionals said “access to industry news and/or trends” is the most important; “investing in new technology” ranked second.
73 percent of small business owners placed “marketing and/or advertising” as the most important; 57 percent said they plan to focus on “expanding their range of offerings.”
Funny, Sage just asked 533 accountants and IT professionals what keeps them up at night and they responded with getting new clients and regulatory compliance. For Intuit’s respondents, however, client retention ranked higher than finding new ones.
When asked what keeps them up at night, 32 percent of accounting professionals said “keeping clients happy.” For 26 percent of small businesses, “paying bills” is their number one concern.
Fine, so what does all this mean?
“Accounting professionals and small business owners are extremely adaptable and flexible individuals,” said Shawn McMorrough, lead research manager of Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division. “Despite feeling the pinch in this challenging economic environment, they are optimistic and continue to weather the rapidly shifting business environment. Their unrelenting passion for serving their customers helps accounting professionals and small businesses succeed in the face of any challenge the market presents them.”
Should the rest of the world take that as a good sign that things aren’t as bad as Jr Deputy Accountant, Michael Panzner and the Mogambo Guru might make it seem? It looks that way, though the doomsayers are still in business for the foreseeable future. Yay?
Your Company Smartphone Scares the Crap Out of Your Boss
Let’s be honest here, how many of you use your work-issued phone strictly for work? Promise I won’t snitch anyone out. Some of you might even be lucky enough to be able to tweak your wallpaper, add apps and get your significant other on BBM for all day sexting without the pesky messaging data trail.
The AICPA’s 2011 Top Technology Initiatives Survey is out and shows that IT professionals’ biggest business technology concern is not that they could be replaced with robots but the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices in the workplace.
The 22nd Annual AICPA Top Technology Initiative survey, conducted Jan. 13 to Jan. 26, shows control and use of mobile devices was the No. 1 challenge for IT professionals. The finding was based on responses from nearly 1,400 CPAs nationwide specializing in information technology. In addition to mobile devices, the survey signaled future IT issues will revolve around implementation of touch-screen technology, deployment of faster networks and voice recognition technology.
“The surging use of smartphones and tablets means people are doing business, exchanging sensitive data wherever, whenever they want to,” said Ron Box, CPA/CITP, CFF. “The technology is advancing so rapidly that the capabilities for controlling and protecting the information on mobile devices is lagging behind. What was once as simple as losing your phone, could now create an enormous security risk for organizations.”
Remember back in the day when you might, say, accidentally drop your phone in the toilet at the bar and simply have to worry about recouping your contact list? Now our phones hold pictures, banking information and even client information that is oftentimes carelessly stored on unsecured devices that are taken everywhere. IT professionals can’t be expected to manage the network when the network is in your pocket, and when your pocket sometimes happens to be in the bar (you are a professional, after all).
Some of the top issues identified by CPAs in public accounting included data retention, control and use of mobile devices and privacy.
The complete Top Technology Initiatives list as voted on by CPAs, IT professionals, and others responsible for making or influencing technology decisions includes initiatives and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should be aware of over the next 12 – 18 months.
Deloitte: Thanks to the Internet, Americans Are More or Less Obsessed with TV All the Time
One big concern: once Charlie Sheen continues his epic run (does anyone believe that rehab is going to take?) will the masses be able to survive without Two and a Half Men? Personally, I’ll manage but what about all those American Families that depend on this show to complete that void in their lives every week?
In a media environment saturated with new and evolving online entertainment platforms, TV continues to be king. Released today, Deloitte’s fifth edition “State of the Media Democracy” survey reveals that 71 percent of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities.
The survey results indicate that live viewing on a home TV system continues to be the most common method among individuals for watching their favorite programming, and supporting the notion that traditional television advertising continues to be a viable model. In addition, 86 percent of Americans stated that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions.
Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey assesses media consumption preferences of nearly 2,000 consumers, ages 14 to 75 years old in the United States, revealing significant trends including the power of TV when supplemented by the Internet, a dramatic rise in smartphone adoption, the steady popularity of print magazines, and the emergence of cloud computing as a potential consumer entertainment storage and access solution.
And guess what? Not only are people watching more TV, they’re talking about it more. But not face-to-face: Americans can’t be bothered with leaving the confines of their homes or take their eyes off their computers long enough to manage human interaction and thanks to social media, they don’t have to!
Deloitte’s survey indicates that the Internet, mobile and social media channels are enhancing the overall television viewer experience, driving people to watch first-run programs and live events during their initial broadcast. The survey also reveals that nearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV. According to the research, 42 percent are online, 29 percent are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26 percent are sending instant messages or text messages.
Perhaps even more importantly, 61 percent of U.S. consumers now maintain a social networking site, where constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility.
“Consumers are not only watching television, they are talking about it, and those conversations are frequently taking place in real-time online and via IM/texting,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and technology, media and telecommunications industry leader, Deloitte LLP. “By embracing the Internet as a platform that encourages audiences to participate in discussions about their favorite programs, television is maintaining its hold on the American public. People want to be part of the real-time conversation and they are embracing both platforms in a complementary fashion.
Because discussing the train wreck that is Sammi and Ronnie in real time is crucial to the human experience. Carry on.
PwC Survey: Working People to Death Might Cause Them to Quit Their Jobs
Shocking survey results out of PwC today as the firm announced that overworking staff increases turnover at law firms. If you can believe that.
There is a “strong correlation” between staff turnover and chargeable hours at law firms, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Numbers released as part of their annual survey of the sector show that the top ten law firms have average turnover rates of 17-18%.
According to the accountancy firm, reducing turnover to less than 10% can reduce costs by £32,000 per equity partner.
In semi-ironic and related news, a bunch of bitter Big 4 employees finally decided over the Thanksgiving holiday that they would be leaving their respective firms because they are sick of the hours.
CFOs: We’ll Adopt IFRS Just as Soon as You Finish Your Little Convergence Exercise
Actually it’s about half of CFOs with that attitude, according to Grant Thornton’s latest survey. They’re ballparking it around 5-7 years while nearly a quarter of the responders think we need to get on this ASAP.
Stephen Chipman, is keeping the faith even though, people aren’t as enthusiastic as he:
“While there is movement toward greater acceptance of International Financial Reporting Standards based on our previous surveys, it is clear that there is still much work to be done in educating the U.S. financial community on the benefits of IFRS,” said Grant Thornton LLP CEO Stephen Chipman.
“We have been, and continue to be, staunch supporters of the ongoing movement toward one set of high-quality, globally accepted accounting standards. As dynamic businesses continue to expand their international footprint, it is increasingly sub-optimal to be using different reporting standards, which sometimes increase costs while decreasing comparability. Just as international business has benefited over the last 30-odd years from the increased shared use of English, so too will global companies reap the benefits of one financial reporting language.”
Deloitte Survey: If Everyone Would Get Passionate About Their Job, This Economic Recovery Would Be a Cinch
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like we’re thisclose to breaking out of the economic doldrums? If we just got a little push we’d be back to the McMansions and mall marathons in no time. What’s holding us back, you ask? Ourselves of course!
It’s your lack of enthusiasm about your very own job that is keeping this country from being great again. Forget about Democrats, Republicans (although, it is fun hating both of them, isn’t it?) or quantitative easing (no one really knows what it means, anyway). You have the power deep inside you to change your attitude about being stuck in a gray cubicle for 12+ hours a day in an office with a bunch of jerks and have only limited access to the bathroom.
Deloitte’s survey gets all Tony Robbins on us without the price tag:
According to the Shift Index, the solution lies in empowering passionate employees, those who feel truly engaged with their work and constantly push the performance envelope, by accelerating institutional innovation and driving corporate growth. However, Deloitte’s 2010 Worker Passion Survey – one of several separate studies that feed into the overall Shift Index report – reveals that only 23 percent of U.S. workers are passionate about their current jobs.
“By squeezing resources tighter in response to the near-term downturn, companies risk losing passionate employees,” said John Hagel, co-chairman, Deloitte Center for the Edge. “These individuals will play a critical role in sustaining the extreme performance improvement required for firms to survive and succeed beyond the recovery. Unfortunately, as the recovery picks up steam, these very employees are likely to be the most at risk for fleeing for better employment platforms.”
Right then! And you know what gets people impassioned? Social media of course! Your constant desire to be networking 24/7 with people that are as excited about [insert] as you are. You don’t need to meet a person in the flesh:
“Passionate workers actively seek like-minded people using digital tools and social media to advance dialogue, learning and collaboration,” said Hagel. “Their urge to connect fuels inter-firm knowledge flows, which often go unrecognized but are a vital part of any organization that wants to be successful in today’s hyper-competitive environment.”
So until you’re ready to get drenched in passion for whatever it is that gets your blood boiling (former Jets sideline reporters don’t count) you’re holding this economy back. Hope you sleep well knowing that.
Do Women In Accounting Get the Shaft When It Comes to Pay?
Ed. note: delirious from a cross-country move this past week, AG mistakenly switched around percentages. This has been corrected and she will be meditating on the matter hoping for forgiveness.
A recent Mergis Group survey reveals 47 percent of women in accounting are
less than content with compensation and the always popular with the ladies work-life balance, leaving us scratching our heads wondering who these 47 percent are (we already know plenty of the 53%). If any of you are in that group or know someone who is, please get in touch, we’re desperate to connect with a woman in accounting who actually feels appropriately compensated for her work and redeemed by the challenges of her career while rewarded with a perfect balance of work and family. Seriously. Anybody?
Anyway, the details from the survey if you are still interested:
Women are less satisfied with the progression of their accounting and finance careers than men. Specifically, 60 percent of male workers in accounting and finance consider themselves to be satisfied, as opposed to 47 percent of women.
Women in accounting and finance ranked being challenged (31 percent), compensation (25 percent) and flexibility (15 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.
On the other hand, men in accounting and finance ranked compensation (32 percent), being challenged 26 percent) and flexibility (15 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.
Mergis breaks down these results further, pointing out that women in accounting and finance are more than generally upset with the challenges and opportunities offered to them. Hey, they don’t say “it’s a man’s world” for nothing.
“Based on the findings of our Women in Finance survey, more than half of the women surveyed are dissatisfied with the progression of their careers and nearly three-quarters believe they face a separate set of professional challenges in comparison to their male counterparts,” stated Patricia Dinunzio, regional managing director of The Mergis Group. “While there are certainly many different viewpoints in how workers in general define career satisfaction and success , it is interesting to note that both men and women are highly likely to recommend the profession to others. One of the greatest take-aways from this survey is that there is a clear need for mentorship programs within the profession. It is our personal and professional responsibility to enable existing and future accounting and finance professionals to achieve their full career potential. Doing so will only contribute to the future development of the profession.”
My 2¢? The profession – and your career – is what you make of it. Mentors don’t just come along and decide to kick down their knowledge, you’ve got to get out there and find one. We don’t need the AICPA to set up play dates with young CPAs and OGs of the industry in order to accomplish this; instead need to take matters into our own hands if we are upset with how things are working out at the moment. In other words, get off your lazy ass and stop expecting everything to be handed to you, go out and get it if you don’t think you have enough of it.
The disparity is greater between generations than the sexes if you ask me but who is asking me?
Full survey results and methodology may be found here. As always, you are welcome to submit your opinion on surveyed subjects in the comments.
Survey: CFOs Wouldn’t Turn Away Some Help with Their Clerical Work
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.
If financial executives could get one thing off their plates, it would be administrative tasks, according to a recent survey by Robert Half Management Resources.
More than one-third (38 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said that if they could eliminate one responsibility, it would be basic clerical and administrative work.
“Today’s less extends to all levels of the organization,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, said of the survey results.
“At small and mid-size companies, in particular, this often means financial executives have had to take on tasks once handled by others,” McDonald said. “The demands of the current economic environment make it even more essential for senior-level managers to use their time wisely.”
CFOs were asked, “If there was one responsibility you could hand off from your job, what would it be?”
• Basic clerical/administrative – 38%
• Accounting-related – 19%
• Human resources-related – 14%
• Managing – 7%
• Operations-related – 3%
• Interactions with vendors – 1%
• Nothing – 8%
• Other – 10%
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 795 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
Robert Half Management Resources offers executives six tips for maximizing their time:
1. Set realistic expectations – High standards are a must, but setting impractical goals can cause frustration and waste valuable time. When initiating a project, consider what you would like to achieve if resources and time were unlimited. Then determine what can reasonably be accomplished considering available resources and other priorities.
2. Don’t procrastinate – It’s tempting to postpone less challenging assignments for more exciting initiatives, but it can backfire if projects start to stack up. Procrastination strains working relationships and creates unnecessary stress as everyone strives to catch up.
3. Delegate – Distribute more routine tasks to other staff members. Look for opportunities that allow your top performers to gain visibility and build their expertise and decision-making skills.
4. Keep meetings on track – Distribute a detailed agenda prior to the discussion so everyone is prepared. Meetings should begin and end on time. If information can be easily covered in e-mail or phone, a meeting might not be warranted.
5. Bring in help – If you and your team are overloaded, consider bringing in outside support during peak activity periods or for large-scale initiatives that are finite in nature.
6. Recharge – Financial executives are accustomed to long hours and demanding work, but that doesn’t mean they should sacrifice breaks and vacation. Scheduling time for even a short respite can restore energy and a sense of control.
About Robert Half Management Resources:
Robert Half Management Resources is a provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.
Latest Survey of CFOs Confirms That Surveys of CFOs are Bunk
Less than two weeks ago, we shared with you the latest results from Grant Thornton’s National CFO Survey.
What we learned is what we already knew, which is that the job market sucks and will continue sucking if we are to believe the 516 CFOs surveyed from October 5th to October 15th:
In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 21% plan to decrease hiring.
Not so good, huh? Well fortunately for all of you looking for a job out there, the GT methodology is severely flawed for two reasons: 1) It included the extra-super-tragic days of October 5th and October 15th when CFOs were feeling especially negative and 2) They survey far too many CFOs.
Had they performed their survey on October 6th through the 14th like FEI and Baruch College and kept cut their population by roughly half (FEI/Baruch interviewed 249 CFOs), they would have discovered that things aren’t really that bad at all:
While CFOs this quarter continue to forecast high unemployment nationwide (on average predicting at least nine percent through October 2011), hiring prospects at their own companies paint a rosier picture. More than half (56%) plan to hire additional employees within the next six months, and overall they anticipate a four percent increase in hiring over the next six months.
So obviously Grant Thornton just needs to tweak their methodology a bit and then we’ll all be on the same page.
Until that happens, feel free to get some of your hapless friends together and start asking CFOs for their broad-based economic outlook. It appears that as long as you have a shell of a methodology and manage to get at least 250 responses, it’s perfectly acceptable to share the findings with everyone and claim that things are turning around.
Grant Thornton CFO Survey Reminds Everyone That the Job Market Still Sucks
But don’t just take the CFOs word for it, Stephen Chipman is hearing the same thing from the dynamic companies that GT is rubbing elbows with these days:
In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 21% plan to decrease hiring.
A vast majority (79%) believe that the U.S. economy will not recover until the second half of 2011 or later, and more than half (59%) are concerned with a double-dip recession.
“These findings are consistent with what we have been hearing from our dynamic-organization clients,” said Grant Thornton LLP CEO Stephen Chipman. “Indecision stemming from a weak economy and the unknown impact of governmental tax policy and new regulation on business and individuals is causing paralysis, particularly as it relates to major business decisions, including expansion, expenditures and hiring.”
In related economic shitshow news, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are probably going to need more bailout cash. As you were.
KPMG Survey: Execs Anxious About Reporting Undecipherable Explanations for Uncertain Tax Positions
So you take a position on a tax issue. You don’t really know why or how you got there but your CFO says it’s legit. How does he/she know? “Johnson in the tax department told me.”
Does Johnson understand it? Of course not! It’s an uncertain tax position. It’s a shot in the dark at best.
Naturally, the IRS has gotten all nosy about this sort of thing so you have to formulate something that vaguely resembles an explanation that doesn’t read like Bittker & Eustice.
You can’t simply make it a copy and paste job since we’re guessing the IRS wouldn’t appreciate the bloggy approach. But you’ve got to come up with something. Oh, and try to keep it brief.
Almost half of senior executives polled are most concerned about the prospect of providing a concise description of their uncertain tax positions (UTPs) in order to comply with a new, much-discussed Internal Revenue Service disclosure requirement, according to a survey conducted by KPMG’s Tax Governance Institute (TGI).
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since we’re talking about interpreting the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE. But the BSDs out there are worried about explaining why they’re taking a stand on something that don’t understand one iota. Plus, if you’re already pret-tay sure that the IRS is going to call bullshit on you, that warrants an explanation as well [teeth being grit into dust].
According to the survey of 1100 business leaders conducted in early October, 44 percent of respondents said their biggest concern was providing the concise description for a disclosed UTP, defined by the IRS as a federal income tax position for which a taxpayer or related party has recorded a reserve in an audited financial statement (or for which no reserve was recorded because of an expectation to litigate). Other major concerns cited centered on the IRS’s ability to effectively administer the UTP program (20 percent) and on the scope of taxpayers required to file UTPs under the new rule (15 percent).
This could all be avoided if the IRS required companies to use Twitter as a guide for brevity. Just a suggestion.
Executives Anxious About IRS Reporting Requirements for Uncertain Tax Positions Schedule, KPMG Survey Reveals [PR Newswire]
Analyzing the Hiring Outlook for Accountants
Okay, so Roberto Half dropped their quarterly Financial Hiring Index and the message is that things are turning around for accounting and finance peeps looking for jobs out there. Their rationale? It’s the first net positive hiring outlook since the first quarter of 2009. Are we convinced that the ship is turning around? Hardly, dude. Let’s take a look at some of these details to see what’s is going on.
Good news: A net 1% (8% hiring, 7% firing) of CFOs surveyed plan to hire new employees in the last three months of the year. The fact that 84% of the CFOs surveyed don’t plan any hiring isn’t exactly thrilling but considering the last 2, wait 3 (going on 4?) years this, everyone is probably used to seeing even more dismal numbers.
Bad News: The hottest area of the country for hiring is the West South Central – defined as Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas. Bob tells us (via Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of RHI) that a net 6% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in Q4. This is due to the “Retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and oil and gas services companies in the region are rebuilding their teams,” sayeth Maximilian. Of course if you cut Texas out of the equation, that amounts to approximately 12 jobs total. If you include Texas, then it’s more like 112. If you were considering moving to TX, those 100 or so jobs will likely be taken by migrants from AR, LA and OK before Halloween.
What is actually promising is that net 5% of CFOs surveyed plan on hiring in the “Pacific” states – Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington (IOW, California). Whether this actually pans out is another matter entirely.
Overall, only three out of nine regions in the survey have net positive results.
The other problem is that the industries that are doing most of the hiring are manufacturing and wholesale sectors. That means the outlook for all you people in financial (includes insurance and real estate), business/professional services and construction is still looking bleak.
So what can we take from all this? Basically that the only certainty at this point is that no one has any idea what’s going on.
CFOs Reveal Fourth-Quarter Hiring Expectations [Robert Half via FINS]
Latest Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index Reaffirms That No One Has Any Idea What Is Going to Happen Next
Complete and utter meltdown to the point where are all fighting over chicken skins and muffin stumps? The next asset bubble to get us back to our mall-hopping weekends? It’s anybody’s guess really.
Grant Thornton LLP’s Business Optimism Index, based on a quarterly survey of U.S. business leaders, decreased significantly to 58.4 in August from a recent high of 67.6 in May. Business leaders are again becoming pessimistic, with only one-third (34%) expecting the U.S. economy to improve in the next six months, down significantly from 63% in May. The hiring outlook has also dimmed; only 38% of business leaders report that their companies will ramp up hiring in the next six months.
So the one thing we can count on is that unemployment will be hovering above 9% until at least the next presidential election. Got it.
Grant Thornton LLP Business Optimism Index drops 10 points [GT]
Deloitte Poll: One-Third of Companies Don’t Have the First Damn Clue About Business Analytics
You can try to blame the Obama Administration’s anti-business policies but you really only have yourself to blame. Get with it people.
Business analytics represents the ability to rapidly harness massive amounts of data for modeling complex situations and predicting potential outcomes and alternatives. This presents enormous potential value for business leaders to make more informed, fact-based and ultimately better business decisions. Yet, in a recent Deloitte webcast poll of more than 1,900 technology executives and business professionals, approximately one-third of the participants either didn’t know if their organization utilized business analytics – or even if they had business analytics capabilities at all.
“Mind-boggling,” said John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, leader of its Advanced Analytics and Modeling practice, and one of the webcast presenters. “Organizations have ever more depth and breadth of information readily available within their grasp, and the technology and methods to extract and help synthesize the data are well proven. When you see the low levels of adoption, you have to ask the question, ‘Why aren’t more companies doing it?'”
Deloitte Webcast Poll: One-Third of Organizations Have Limited or No Business Analytics Capabilities [PR Newswire]