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IRS Recruitment on Facebook

I give two thumbs up to the IRS for actually using Facebook in constructive manner. You can ask them many questions just by clicking the Like button. I looked them up because my diversity article for the next newsletter will talk about IRS jobs and I wanted to talk with an insider about it. The person who does it responded very quickly.

Now I think I shall see if I can find some local accounting firms on Facebook :)

Unexpected Networking

As you know, I have worked with the UACPA ProNet Communications Subcommittee for nearly a year. During that time, I have come to know several other members of the UACPA ProNet Council and they have come to know me. I have not had a chance to meet many of them, but we keep in contact through email as we work together to improve student experiences.

One of the major questions encountered by our team is how long an accounting professional should stay within the public accounting sector. A couple of our members had written amazing responses, one of which will appear in the upcoming newsletter for May and another I might put in the one due in May. I responded to one of the respondents about how I know I don't have the right kind of mentality for the big public accounting firms and how I would prefer to work in a small industry accounting place or department.

To my surprise, he complemented me and offered to help me connect with people in my area. I sent him my resume and he is sending it around with his recommendation. I cannot really express how truly thankful I am for his help. I know I would return it in a heartbeat because he helps a lot with our newsletter as well.

Just goes to show that behaving professionally and doing your volunteer job well can open up doors with networking in surprising ways.

Play to Your Strengths

In my strategic planning class, we talked about the importance of playing to a person's strengths to win a competitive advantage. Our teacher said that doing so should be a no-brainer, yet many company's still struggle with it. I know I have struggled with it a little in my current class, but my team has figured out how to play to all of our strengths for our final assignment.

We have a two-part final assignment - A paper that summarizes all our previous papers and a presentation to the class. Our teacher is big on professionalism, so we are going to treat it like we were going to present to our company's CEO and other executives. Since I am the only person on our team who does not actually work in the company, I will sit on the sidelines during the presentation. I will still dress professionally though. I am taking the paper writing because it plays to my knowledge and skill set. By dividing it up like this, we have a better chance of success.

As to how this could work in the accounting industry, I know of at least one firm that has separate tax and audit departments. People choose which subject they work best with. If the company notices they might do better in the other option, they will assign them to the other department. The people in each section become experts in their chosen areas of strength. They also receive assignments that play to their strengths. The firm is middle-sized but steadily growing in prestige. I do believe they were opening up new branches in other parts of the country.

You Go Tax-Guy!

I found this neat little blurb on my Daily CPA:

Doug Stives, a CPA from Red Bank, N.J., intends to be "The Most Tax-Efficient Man in America." Stives uses many of the tax strategies he learned in decades as an accounting firm partner to make his new job as a college professor as tax efficient as possible. For example, he obsessively documents travel expenses, down to a $6 hot dog at the airport, and takes advantage of tax-free employee benefits not available to him when he worked at a firm.
The Wall Street Journal (4/5)

Considering how much training we receive, it is not all that hard for us accountants to keep track of our expenses diligently. I am still working on improving my expense tracking as an about-to-graduate MBA student. My husband and I rather like to use Mint.com to track our overall expenses. I just have to remind my husband to actually update his financial institution info.

Nichepreneur

Part of my reading for the next week of class includes an article by Susan Friedman entitled Riches in Niches: Embrace Expertise for Profitability. It was printed in a magazine called Sales and Service Expertise. I wish I could find the volume number. It is on page 7 of whatever edition.

Susan Friedman defines a Nichepreneur as someone who passes himself or herself as an expert. Many accountants specialize in a particular field such as taxes, small business management, auditing, corporate management, etc. Being an expert allows us to charge $150 an hour for our services even if we work alone. I thought that the article is interesting even though it is aimed at any person, professional or not. She does have a book out with a similar title: Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a Small Market. It also has its own website at www.richesinniches.com

It also references a book by Chris Anderson titled The Long Tail in which Chris Anderson talks about personalization of services and using niches. It could provide some aid if you are looking for a way to differentiate your firm or yourself.

Identity Theft - ACFE

The consequences of identity theft in a recession feel much worse than those in a booming economy. Unfortunately, it is more likely to happen during a recession as thieves want to keep living the high life. Here are some tips if your identity is stolen:

Keep even more detailed records than before. Write down every purchase so you can keep track of what is yours to compare with your bank records.

File a police report locally and keep a copy of it. Once you have a copy of it, keep it handy for when you talk with your banks, financial companies, and credit agencies. They require you to do that before you contact them.

Consider alerting the Federal Trade Commision and Federal Bureau of Investigation. They might be looking for the person perpetrating fraud against you.

If your cards are stolen, cancel them and get replacements.

Put a stop payment order on any lost or stolen checks.

Keep a close eye on your financial statements (bank or financial or investment companies). Inform them of any unauthorized charges and opened accounts. Many will help you to change the account number or close them down if needed (I personally like Wells Fargo for asking me if some charge seems off).

Alert the three big credit reporting agencies. They need to know that someone has your personal information so it does not ruin your credit score. They will work with you to ensure your credit stays in tact.
-- Equifax -- www.equifax.com or (888) 766-0008
-- Experian -- www.experian.com or (888) 397-3742
-- Trans Union -- www.transunion.com or (800) 680-7289

Inspired by the ACFE article in January 2010 by Andi McNeal CFE, CPA

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Book Recommend - How To Become CEO

I recently picked up a book called How To Become CEO, by Jeffrey Fox. I have yet to start it, but the information on the back cover intrigues me:

The Secrets of Success that May Surprise You...
Never Write a Nasty Memo
Avoid Staff Jobs, Seek Line Jobs
Think for One Hour Every Day
Don't Have a Drink with the Gang
Skip All Office Parties
Make Allies of Your Peer's Subordinates
Arrive Forty-Five Minutes Early and Leave Fifteen Minutes Late
Don't Take Work Home from the Office
Avoid Superiors When You Travel
Don't Get Buddy-Buddy with Your Superiors
Always Take Vacations
Overpay Your People
Look Sharp and Be Sharp
Don't Go Over Budget
Treat Your Family as Your #1 Client

I found this bargain-priced at Barnes and Noble. It should prove to be an interesting read. I will let you know what I think of it after I read it.
Botnets recently made fraud news through a case going on in Texas right now. Botnets contain networks of thousands of bots that are run by a software program. People who create botnets use them to try to sell fraudulent items to people through the bypassing of email spam filters. Some of the fraudulent items sold include fake pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, and stock promotions. The people who create these fraudulent items pay botnet owners for their help in distributing their spam.

Royal Bank of Scotland IFRS issue

Another interesting little article I found from the CPA Daily Newsletter:

Report: RBS benefited unfairly from U.K. shift to IFRS:

International Financial Reporting Standards allowed the Royal Bank of Scotland to inflate its capital position by more than 4%, compared with what it would have been under the British accounting rules that were replaced in 2005, according to an analysis by Tim Bush, a member of the Urgent Issues Task Force, for the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee. The task force is preparing a report expected to be critical of IFRS. Telegraph (London) (3/29)

My opinion:

Why are they worrying about this?
Was the Royal Bank of Scotland on the committee to chose the switch?
Did they do unfair lobbying techniques?

Of course some banks will benefit while others do not. That's going to happen when standards change. If it will benefit companies, it makes more sense to make the change. As long as they make it clear that the change in accounting standards was what caused the nicer numbers. That is a requirement with the U.S. GAAP because of the accounting principle of consistency.

CPA Goes International

I found this short article which talks about the US AICPA working with the European CIMA:

AICPA, CIMA joint venture would offer management accounting designation, promote CPA credential globally:

The AICPA and the London-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) are proposing a joint venture to develop and promote a new global management accounting designation and advance the U.S. CPA credential as a worldwide standard of professional excellence in accounting. If approved by the organizations' respective governing bodies later this spring, the joint venture would combine the strength of the AICPA in North America with CIMA's presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia and cover more than 550,000 members and students worldwide. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, both AICPA and CIMA would retain their positions as membership bodies.

JournalofAccountancy.com (3/18)
Accountancy Age (London)(3/18)

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