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An important question to ask your friends today – it could get you a job!_1213
An important question to ask your friends today – it could get you a job!

An important question to ask your friends today – it could get you a job! - Accounting jobs

I write often about the need to surround yourself with positive, supportive people during a stressful period of job transition. Connecting with family and friends regularly lifts your spirits and reminds your network to keep an eye out for you. It can also provide you with important insider information about the job market in your local community.

I recently had lunch with a friend whose husband works for a Fortune 200 company in our city. As we were catching up, I casually asked her, “How’s Chris’s new job going?” My friend opened up about how stressful her husband’s job had become, and told me that his company was currently under a hiring freeze. Now, the day we had this conversation, this very company had hundreds of open jobs listed on its Web site. Their online application system would easily take each candidate at least 30 minutes to complete. Imagine how those applicants would have felt if they had known that no one would be reviewing their applications!

Your friends offer an invaluable perspective into your local economy and job market. A simple statement such as “John just got a job over at XYZ” can clue you in to companies that are hiring again. Many times our friends don’t realize the greater economic ramifications of the events they see going on around them, but those of you who are searching for any sign of economic opportunity will be able to see the broader patterns.

When you do find great nuggets of information don’t forget to have a great resume ready to share. Personal branding is a must and generic will never do if you want the interview.

An Equality Policy - Does Your Business Need One-_697
An Equality Policy - Does Your Business Need One?

An Equality Policy - Does Your Business Need One? - Accounting jobs

What is an equality policy?

An equality policy is a business document that outlines a company's position on equality in the workplace. This is important - discrimination at work on grounds of age, race, gender, sexual orientation and religion are all illegal, and if your employees or the company as a whole acts in a discriminatory manner, you could be vulnerable to expensive litigation.

Why should my company have one?

The first reason to have a business document outlining your company's stance on equality is simple - it's good for your employees. Discrimination, bullying, maternity leave, and so on are areas that workers frequently feel hesitant talking about, and unclear about what their legal rights are. Having a clearly defined equality policy gives your employees something to refer to if they have any queries and gives them a clear process to follow.

From a manager's point of view, it is of even greater importance that you have good quality policy documents to refer to in case of a dispute. Bullying and discrimination litigation can be costly, time consuming and very damaging for a business. A clear equality policy will help reduce the incidence of such problems. Established guidelines concerning what kind of behaviour is unacceptable and outlining a disciplinary procedure are essential, and you should be aware that if any of your employees acts in a discriminatory manner, you can be held responsible for their actions. A comprehensive equality policy can be invaluable in demonstrating that an employee has breached company regulations, and can direct any legal consequences towards the employee who has erred rather than the company as a whole.

What does it need to say?

The equality policy needs to:

- State your company's commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace
- State the kinds of discrimination that are covered by your policy
- Outline a clear plan of action for encouraging equality in the workplace

Kinds of discrimination that should be covered in the equality policy include:

- Ageism - Note that it isn't always older people who complain of age discrimination - there are many cases of younger workers complaining that their older peers are paid more for doing the same job.
- Sexism - This includes discrimination in hiring and pay, and also harassment in the workplace.
- Racism
- Sexual Orientation
- Religious Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination

What can go wrong?

If writing a comprehensive equality policy sounds daunting, consider getting a template document - many companies can provide you with a business document template to make sure that the policy is correctly worded. Of course, the most important thing to bear in mind is that once you have this policy in place, you have to follow it! You should also hold regular training days to make sure your employees know what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

You also need to make sure that the document is kept up to date - equality laws change all the time, and you do not want to be caught out by a new development that renders your existing policy ineffective.

Iain Mackintosh is the managing director of Simply-Docs. The firm provides over 1100 business documents covering all aspects of business from holiday entitlement to non-disclosure agreements. By providing these legal documents (with content provided by leading commercial lawyers, HR and health & safety consultants) at an affordable price, the company intends to help small businesses avoid costly breaches of regulation and legal action.

An End to the ‘Midlife Crisis-’ or, How to ID the Best Careers the First Time Around_602
An End to the ‘Midlife Crisis:’ or, How to ID the Best Careers the First Time Around

An End to the ‘Midlife Crisis:’ or, How to ID the Best Careers the First Time Around - Accounting jobs

A web-based career ID tool has the ability to identify – with 100% objectivity and 90% accuracy - careers in which an adult or teenager has the greatest opportunity for success and, at the same time, avoid a midlife crisis.

Has there ever been anyone in a midlife crisis who “loved” his or her job?

Of course not.

Think about it. Ask anyone to describe a ‘midlife crisis’ and his or her first response is ‘job dissatisfaction.’ Interestingly, virtually every clinical definition of a midlife crisis includes a reference to job dissatisfaction.

Our culture and our education system are to blame for this anomaly.

Parents, educators and peers all have a hand in contributing to the creation of a ‘midlife’ problem. They mistakenly tell an individual they will make “…a great attorney, teacher, nurse…” etc, etc. Everyone then continues to reinforce a stereotypical model of the ‘whatever’ they have said our individual should be.

The individual now starts taking all the appropriate high school classes and the college courses leading to the career of a ‘whatever.’ After college a position is secured using the acquired education and then more courses are pursued to acquire a higher level of skill and education.

All is well for about twenty years into the future when the individual now starts showing signs of job and career dissatisfaction – their midlife crisis has started.

Our individual has finally arrived at a point in his or her life where they have “peaked” in the wrong career. In a manner of speaking they were doomed to fail from the beginning because they chose a career that did not match them either personality-wise and/or mental aptitude-wise.

Both personality and mental aptitude are critical in identifying the best careers for someone to pursue. Having the personality for a particular career does not mean the individual has the mental aptitude to succeed in that career. One without the other is assurance of a career time bomb that usually leads to midlife crisis that could have been avoided.

All of the frustration and problems associated with a midlife crisis could have been avoided if the individual had objectively identified the best careers for him or her to pursue.

A study by Dr. Nathan Bowling, from Wright State University (Dayton, OH), concludes matching a job candidate’s personality with those required in a specific job is critical to job performance. The study, appearing in Science Daily, titled ‘Personality More Important Than Job Satisfaction in Determining Job Performance’ is a research paper based on data from thousands of employees who participated in dozens of industrial studies in hundreds of companies.

Bowling does have it half-right by recognizing the importance of personality in job performance. The other half, mental aptitude, must also be included in the equation.

A web-based assessment called Career Direction (/) is accurate to ninety-percent in identifying the best careers for someone to pursue.

Career Direction is completely objective and cannot be manipulated as “personality tests” can.

With an assessment such as Career Direction, adults and teenagers have the ability to objectively and accurately identify their ‘dream job.’

Individuals can confirm the job they are currently in is where they should be.

Moms and dads can also be reassured their child is pursuing the best major for him or her, before the kid goes to college.

And teenagers have the ability to identify their best career choices at an early age.

Career Direction is the only career ID tool that uses both personality and mental aptitude as they directly relate to specific careers.

So, in less than an hour, an individual can objectively (100%) and accurately (90%) identify specific careers in which they have the greatest opportunity for success.

Tom Thoms is the principal of (). is the home of Career Direction, a web-based, career identification tool. Career Direction is 100% objective and 90% accurate in identifying careers in which an individual has the greatest opportunity for success.

Tom is a contractor with Candidate Resources, Inc. (). CRI specializes in the design, construction, and implementation of custom, web-based, applicant management systems. CRI’s online systems perform all applicant screening, tracking and data management required to comply with all federal guidelines. CRI systems, meet, or exceed, all AAP, EEOC and OFCCP compliance guidelines, reporting and record archiving. (

An Economic Tool Kit_140
An Economic Tool Kit

An Economic Tool Kit - Accounting jobs

The United States may be moving into its first real recession in 10 years - with a downturn in profits. To survive during tough economic times, businesses must refocus from the top line (sales) back to the bottom line (profits) - the ultimate indicator of business success.

As part of this refocusing, businesses should take a closer look at their daily procedures to find ways to increase profits. As trusted advisors, CPAs are key to this process and the most credible sources to help their clients and employees turn business and tax ideas into bottom-line results. By becoming bean multipliers instead of bean counters, they can ensure not only the survival of their clients but actually prepare them to be more profitable as the economy improves.

In an economic downturn, CPAs should examine their businesses from all aspects and then help develop profit plans that prevent cash and profitability from eroding. By encouraging them to take an objective look at their businesses and make tough but informed decisions, CPAs inspire their clients and businesses to take action and not be mesmerized by fear. They can turn financial ideas into financial reality by developing plans for increasing profits.

One of the key concepts in developing this profit plan is profitability, the skill necessary to identify financial opportunities and the ability to turn ideas into financial results. Profitability comes from training. Employees should be trained in profitability. Has this training been overlooked? Company manuals must address profitability. Meetings should focus on profitability. Employees should know they are responsible for improving the company's profitability.

CPAs can help establish a process or system in which employees are held responsible for generating ideas to improve profits. When employees are trained to look for new ways to make their departments and the company more profitable, ideas will come. For instance, imagine truck drivers who are profitable. Instead of just delivering building materials to job sites, profitable drivers will identify new construction opportunities in the normal course of their jobs and be rewarded for leads that turn into sales.

Increased profits enhance the value of any business and create more opportunities for everyone, from promotions, to greater compensation and benefits, improved working conditions, enhanced technology such as laptop computers for staff - the list is endless. Profit for profit's sake is not the goal. The goal is to generate sufficient bottom-line income to allow the business to seize opportunities that come its way and to make working conditions better for everyone. What are some other ways that CPAs can help their clients and businesses? Here are some proven strategies for increasing profits, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

Strategy #1: Systematically Increase Profits in Five Easy Steps.

When analyzing a company's current financial position, the questions to ask are if you feel comfortable with the status quo and if you are open to change. If you are not satisfied with your company's financial performance and are willing to modify existing business practices, the following steps will serve as a plan of action.

1. LOOK OBJECTIVELY AT UNTAPPED PROFIT OPPORTUNITIES. To improve the company's profit-generating capability, you need to look at its fiscal parts: · sales and marketing, · employees, · organizational structure, · operations, and · finance. If a firm is performing at peak efficiency, how do these components work? An aggressive marketing department stimulates product demand from new and existing customers and the sales staff converts the leads to good margin sales. Conscientious, long-term employees perform their duties efficiently and accurately. The products and services provided by the firm reach customers on time and exceed their expectations. Payments are promptly received, and vendors are paid within terms. Costs are held in line with your budgets, and a nice profit remains. Doesn't this scenario sound good? It should be the foundation to help a company reach its full profit potential and identify opportunities. It is difficult to identify all the variances from this model of perfection if you view the same scenarios every day in the same business for years. For a fresh perspective, bring together the company's management team to help identify proactive profit initiatives.

2. INVOLVE THE ENTIRE MANAGEMENT TEAM IN PROFIT RESPONSIBILITY. Ask the lowest level employee where the money is going during a profitable year, and in too many cases that individual will say that it's going into the owner's pockets. Unfortunately, people at higher levels of the company also sometimes share this view of corporate profits. Making profits is too big a job to be left to the firm's top echelon. Employees have to know what is in it for them. This is key to enlisting their involvement in your profit quest.

3. ELIMINATE DEPARTMENTALISM. A car dealer was not having a great year. Sales were strong, but profits overall were weak. Each department manager was evaluated for the department's profitability, and on paper, they were performing well and were compensated accordingly. When asked, "How are things going?" They universally replied, "We're having the best year we've had in a long time." These managers were focused on their department and not the overall corporation's performance. This situation was exemplified by the used car manager who had his inventory serviced in a garage down the street with a lower hourly rate than the dealership's own service department. Departmentalism is a cancer that can destroy a business. It's meaningless if a department is doing great when the company as a whole is not on strong financial footing. It is a CPA's obligation to continually send the correct signals to the management team and employees. Individuals and departmental performance need to be rewarded but not independently of overall corporate profits.

4. ERASE THE FEAR OF RETRIBUTION. You want the management team to become a profit team and help identify profit-making ideas. For this idea to work, no sacred cows can be permitted to interfere with the process. Every idea has to be prefaced with "for the good of the company." If someone has an idea that would be great for the company but might conflict with the opinion of someone from top management, the environment has to be safe enough for that individual to take the risk of raising a difficult issue. A company will stagnate if important and unpopular thoughts are left unsaid. You won't be able to gain the benefit of enlisting additional sets of eyes to help you identify profit opportunities if those eyes are always protected by dark glasses.

5. IMPLEMENT YOUR PROFIT IDEAS. The world is full of great ideas that never went anywhere because they were difficult to expedite. The usual reasons for the failure to implement ideas are that: (a) no one is responsible; (b) deadlines are unclear; (c) no means of measuring progress exists; and (d) priority is absent. Successful financial strategy implementation requires a process. Someone has to accept the project assignment; completion must be expected by a specific date; progress must be measured and necessary resources made available. Most importantly, there must be a system of accountability. If people are assigned projects that are to be completed on the 15th and 30th of the month, it is not unusual for the work to be done on the 14th and the 29th. If no one is responsible for monitoring progress, it is likely these deadlines will be missed. Without accountability, projects will keep slipping until everyone forgets them. Someone on the management team must be appointed as the profit activities leader, or PAL, empowered by the CEO to ensure ideas that have been developed by the profit team (rather than a management team) are carried out. With the unequivocal backing of the approved profit initiatives by the CEO, in conjunction with recognized rewards for results or consequences for lack thereof, your implementation process is destined to succeed. Companies that follow these five systematic steps will realize a noticeable improvement in the bottom-line. Empower your profit team. Demonstrate that there is something in it for everyone when profits reach their potential. Allow issues to come out on the table and institutionalize an implementation process to turn them into financial results. These steps have brought millions of dollars to the bottom lines of businesses.

The United States may be moving into its first real recession in 10 years - with a downturn in profits. To survive during tough economic times, businesses must refocus from the top line (sales) back to the bottom line (profits) - the ultimate indicator of business success.

Strategy #2: Measure the Effectiveness of Your Business in Critical Areas.

What you can measure, you can manage. Are you measuring the business' effectiveness in critical areas? Is there a profit plan to increase the organization's performance effectiveness in these areas?

Strategy #3: Help Management Build a Profit Team.

Your business or client's staff probably knows more about the day-to-day problems that chip away at the business' profitability than you do. They are also likely to be a wealth of information and advice about correcting those problems and offering other great new ideas for making the business more profitable. Ideas and problem-solving solutions will be lost unless a forum is provided for generating these new opportunities. Far better to build a management team into a profit team where each member can complete the statements: "I believe that profit is...I believe our people can... I believe our business is..."

Few managers make things happen, many watch things happen; far too many say, "What happened?" Profit teams make things happen that enhance the bottom line. Start out by asking each profit-team member for a written plan to improve your business. With management, put together a questionnaire that asks for suggestions to improve the company as a whole, a department, roles in the company, and customer service. The first ideas they write down may be the obvious ones. Invariably, the suggestions you take to the bank are the fourth or fifth ones. And they'll get even better if you have your profit team bring their ideas into a brainstorming session. There's no predicting what ideas will ultimately emerge from this process. You will learn a lot about the organization. The profit team will also start thinking in the right direction and that will pay dividends.

Try some of these brainstorming techniques. Be sure to tell people which of their suggestions were adopted, how they were put to use, and why others were rejected. Brainstorming is essentially a procedure to mobilize a group's creative resources to solve problems and develop opportunities. When properly thought-out, quantified, and assigned responsibility and deadlines, these ideas will provide the basis for a profit plan that will invigorate your entire organization. Here are the basic steps for brainstorming:

1. FOCUS ON PROBLEMS OR OPPORTUNITIES THAT NEED A REMEDY. Break them down into four areas such as: (a) ideas for making my job more profitable, (b) ideas for making my department more profitable, (c) ideas for making the entire company more profitable, and (d) ideas for making our customers more profitable.

2. YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET A CONFERENCE ROOM, A PROFIT COACH FACILITATOR FAMILIAR WITH BRAINSTORMING TECHNIQUES, AND A QUALIFIED GROUP OF CONFEREES. It is all right to include peripheral or offbeat people, but exclude those who have no competence that relates to the problem or opportunity. Their silence will make them uncomfortable and may dampen momentum. Still worse, they may try to participate and throw the meeting off track.

3. APPOINT SOMEONE TO RECORD THE SUGGESTIONS. Have someone write the basic ideas on a flip chart that can be displayed throughout the meeting. A tape recorder may be used in conjunction with the written notes as a backup, but don't use a tape recorder alone. You may want to refer back to something that has been said, and finding those parts on tape will cause an undesired delay.

4. SET RULES AGAINST NEGATIVISM. Do not allow criticism or negative comments. People should feel free to be as spontaneous as possible and offer all ideas as fast as they come.

5. EVALUATE. This is best done by a small group capable of separating the useful ideas from all those gathered.

6. REFINE, COMBINE, AND IMPROVE. The evaluation committee should regard the retained ideas as raw material for further improvement and weave them into the profit plan for action.

7. REPORT BACK. The group should get feedback on the results of their efforts. This is desirable in any event, but essential if you plan to ask the members to participate again in the future.

Americans Say 'I Quit' About Every 3-1-2 Years_661
Americans Say 'I Quit' About Every 3-1/2 Years

Americans Say 'I Quit' About Every 3-1/2 Years - Accounting jobs

The average American changes jobs every 3-1/2 years, according to survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with more than 25 percent of workers starting new jobs within the last 12 months alone.

Moreover, between 1983 and 2000, the proportion of men who stay with a single employer for 10 years or more declined from 37.7 percent in 1983 to 33.6 percent in 2000. Among women, the proportion increased from 24.9 percent to 29.5 percent in the same time period.

The amount of education received also has an impact on how long a person stays in a particular job, the survey data show. For example, people who have not completed high school keep their jobs an average of 3.7 years; people with Master's degrees stay an average of 6.1 years.

The survey data also reveal that the 7.2 years worked by an average government employee is more than twice the 3.1 years that an average private-sector worker stays with the same employer. Government workers also tend to be older. Specifically, 73 percent of government employees are aged 35 or older; 58 percent of workers in the private sector are at least 35.

Longevity in a job also changes with the industry, the data show. For example, people who work in agriculture tend to stay with the same employer 2.2 years. Figures in other industries are:

Manufacturing, 5.0 years;

Transportation, 3.9 years;

Retail trade, 2.0 years;

Business services, 1.5 years.

Also impacting longevity with a single employer is the type of work performed. For example, the survey shows that employees in executive, administrative, and managerial positions remain 5.0 years, on average, with the same employer; engineers stay 4.8 years; college and university teachers stay 4.7 years; lawyers and judges keep their jobs 3.8 years; people in sales occupations remain 2.7 years; and food service workers remain 1.5 years with the same employer.

Note: The BLS uses a median average in its survey analysis, which means half of the responses fall above, and half fall below, the average. It collects its data in a monthly survey of about 50,000 U.S. households. The 2000 figures are based on data collected in February 2000.