SPRING 2016 | VOL. 11, NO. 2
WORKING AT THE
A dream come true...
CONQUER CPA EXAM STUDYING page 10
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR COLLEGE FINANCING page 14
WALKING OFF CAMPUS AND
A CAREER 800-772-6939 page 16
GRADUATING? Take your WICPA membership with you! As you begin your accounting career, stay connected to your most valuable resource – the WICPA. Log in to wicpa.org/graduate to verify and update your member profile. Affiliate membership is your next step to career success. Make sure you’re on the right path!
To make your affiliate membership official, contact Jessica Murphy at email@example.com. 2
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Spring 2016 | Vol. 11, No. 2 A publication of the WICPA Educational Foundation, Inc. | wicpa.org
Table of Contents 4 b recognized | student profile Working at the PCAOB: A dream come true Justin Daniel Scott, MPA, a recent UWM graduate and staff accountant at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP in Milwaukee, shares his internship experience at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. By Justin Daniel Scott, MPA
features 10 b prepared | CPA Exam Conquer CPA Exam studying: Follow these tips to make every hour count The Uniform CPA Exam is like a four-quarter football game; by the end of the exam you’ll likely be exhausted. Learn what it takes to achieve a winning score on your CPA exam. By Katie Fisher, CPA
14 b educated | financial literacy Take control of your college financing Student loan debt is at an all-time high in the U.S. With the average Class of 2015 graduate paying back more than $35,000, it’s important to do all you can to limit your borrowing needs for your college education. By Jon Marshall
16 b hired | interview tips Walking off campus and into a career Attending career fairs, meet and greets with firms, and networking events where you have the chance to meet with professional accountants are valuable resources that could help you land your first accounting job. By Collin Salutz
20 b prepared | tax season 101 10 tips to bringing your A-game during busy season Think of busy season as the Super Bowl of a CPA firm. CPAs spend most of the year planning, preparing, and training for this high stakes time of year. By Monica Hauser, CPA
24 b prepared | first busy season Busy season is like running a marathon: You need stamina, endurance and focus As you enter your first busy season, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Use your co-worker’s guidance along with your personal experiences to help you stand out as an irreplaceable asset of the team. By Amanda Senkbeil, CPA
26 b versatile | networking Networking for success The key to networking is to meet as many people as possible who might help you build your career and enhance your business opportunities. By Kyle R. Stephens, CPA
28 b versatile | work-life balance Work. Life. Balance? How to find the best of both worlds as a CPA Discover strategies on how you can have the life you want while still having a career. By Amy Kowalchuk, CPA
31 b educated | soft skills How to network like a CFO You’ve probably heard that the secret to success isn’t what you know, but who you know. Networking increases the likelihood that you’ll land a good first job, gain valuable industry knowledge and go further in your career. By Robert Half
34 b in the know | industries & specializations Big budgets need big brains: Join forces with Uncle Sam Governmental accounting has all the makings of a great career: unbeatable benefits, high demand, room for growth, and work-life balance that any CPA would envy. By Kenesha A. Crafton, MPA
departments 2 b affiliated | congratulations graduates 3 b in the know | scholarship opportunities 23 b educated | conferences 30 b social | events calendar 35 b affiliated | welcome new members 800-772-6939
Apex Award for
MOST IMPROVED MAGAZINE
Association Trends Bronze Award for
MOST IMPROVED MAGAZINE
2015-2016 WICPA Educational Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors: President Renee M. Johnson, CPA Secretary/Treasurer Michael E. Friedman, CPA, J.D. Director Christopher M. Cholka, CPA Director Dorothy Conduah, CPA Director Elizabeth Hazi, CPA Director Kevin M. Heil, CPA, CGMA Director John R. Heindel, CPA Director Diana L. Henke, CPA Director Debra L. Lenz, CPA, MBA, CIA, CRMA, CGMA Director Darci L. Middaugh, CPA Director Randall J. Wichinski, CPA, MBA Director Boula Xiong Editorial Team: Editor & Vice President of Communications Amy E. Gaeth – firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Layout Krista Streuly, KS Creative, LLC Advertising Manager Ellen Engel – email@example.com Copy Editor Joan Bahr
Congratulations GRADUATES! The following students will graduate this spring from their respective universities. We wish you great success as you begin your accounting careers. Matthew Adams, UW-Eau Claire
Estafania Mora-Hurtado, UW-Whitewater
Kelsey Beld, UW-Whitewater
Kelsey Muth, Marquette University
Bryan Boeck, Integrys Business Support, LLC
Chelsea Rasmussen, UW-Whitewater
Joshua J. Carmichael, UW-Whitewater
Brittany E. Schuh, Lakeland College
Joe Fischer, UW-La Crosse
Megan Spitzenberger, UW-Whitewater
Alyssa Gruber, Marquette University
Scott Stene, Viterbo University
Max Haraldsen, UW-Madison
Thomas J. Subjak, Brookdale Senior Living
Hannah Harkness, UW-Whitewater
Rachel Uecker, UW-Milwaukee
Jordyn Herzog, Carroll University
Paul M. Waller, UW-Whitewater
Magdalena Jaworska, MBE CPAs
Mollie I. Weaver, UW-Milwaukee
Ethan Kirner, Carthage College
Lijia Zheng, UW-Milwaukee
Angela Mitek, Carthage College
Printing Special Editions CPA2b is a biannual publication of the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Change of address should be sent to: Membership, W233N2080 Ridgeview Parkway, Suite 201, Waukesha, WI 53188; Phone: 262-785-0445; Fax: 262-785-0838; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Statements or opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the WICPA. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement of a product or service by CPA2b or the WICPA.
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Articles may be reproduced with permission. © Copyright 2016 CPA2b.
in the know | scholarship opportunities
$47,500 in scholarship
money was awarded in 2015. You could be one of the deserving students who receives a scholarship from the WICPA Educational Foundation, Inc. By Mary Murray
The WICPA scholarship program rewards students who excel academically and demonstrate commitment to a CPA career. Scholarships are awarded to qualified accounting students in their fifth year of academic study working toward the 150-hour requirement to apply for a Wisconsin CPA license. The WICPA Educational Foundation will award up to nine $2,500 scholarships for fiscal 20162017 to students who are Accounting majors to assist in the last year of the 150-hour requirement to apply for a Wisconsin CPA license and one $5,000 scholarship to assist a student in the last year of the 150-hour Accounting degree program resulting in a master’s degree in the business area. New this year is a special scholarship for students at the University of WisconsinPlatteville. This scholarship honors WICPA member and UW-Platteville alumnus Timothy L. Christen, CPA, CGMA. Christen is chairman and CEO of Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP (Baker Tilly) and serves on the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) Board of Directors for 2015-2016. The AICPA is the world’s largest member organization representing the accounting profession. To celebrate this prestigious honor, Baker Tilly and the WICPA Educational Foundation are providing a $2,500 scholarship to an Accounting major at UW-Platteville. For more information, visit wicpa.org/efscholarships and click on the link on the left side of the page. If you have additional scholarship questions, please contact Jessica Murphy, WICPA Executive Relations Manager, at email@example.com.
Applying for our scholarships is easy. First, determine if you qualify. Our website, wicpa.org/efscholarships, lists the eligibility requirements. Next, complete the short application. Finally, print and mail it along with your current college transcript, letters of recommendation, resume and personal statement. The application period for scholarships begins in September and runs through the end of February. The deadline is Feb. 26. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions about our scholarship program, visit wicpa.org/efscholarships.
Mary Murray is the Membership & Marketing manager at the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs. Contact her at 262-785-0445 ext. 4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Adam Ryan Morris
recognized | student profile
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WORKING AT THE PCAOB: A dream come true BY JUSTIN DANIEL SCOTT, MPA
When I was deciding where to work for the summer of 2013, I knew I had many options. A faculty member at my university strongly encouraged me to apply for an internship at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) in Washington, D.C. Seeking to open as many doors as I could, I applied for the position. After a lengthy interview, I received an offer from the PCAOB. As a Milwaukee native, the idea of spending a summer working in a city far removed from my home was intriguing. I have also never been to the nationâ€™s capital, which only added to my interest in the opportunity. Since I was seeking diverse experience in accounting, I gladly accepted the internship offer from the PCAOB. For the first time in my life, I was moving to another city. 800-772-6939
recognized | student profile
y experience working at the PCAOB was everything I dreamed it would be. As an intern for the Office of Research and Analysis, my job was to compile and analyze information to provide support for the other respective divisions, including Inspections and Enforcement. I was assigned projects that were designed to assist the PCAOB in identifying potential financial risks that would require action by the organization. From organizing spreadsheets, to gathering information from public and private sources, I helped the PCAOB achieve its objective of protecting the investing public. It was satisfying for me to know the work I did was for the benefit of the public good. I was happy to be working at an organization that believed strongly in ethics and integrity so investors were not taken advantage of. I grew both professionally and personally during my time at the PCAOB. I expanded my technical knowledge, and learned how to account for investments for large companies, as some of my work dealt with projects revolving around them. Because of my work there, I knew about derivatives and hedges before I saw them in the classroom setting.
Since I worked with large spreadsheets, I learned Microsoft Excel skills that served me well at positions since the PCAOB. My knowledge of Excel was fairly limited going into the internship, but my skills were developed so much that I ended up teaching Excel as a teaching assistant at my university two years later. While living in the District, I also developed critical soft skills, such as adaptability, independence, and communication skills, because I was required to use them to survive a new city.
“It was satisfying for me to know the work
I did was for the benefit of the public good.” The skills I developed from the internship benefitted me beyond that summer. When I returned to Wisconsin, I continued to pursue my bachelor’s degree in accounting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During my senior year, I interned at Scribner Cohen & Co. SC in Milwaukee during busy season. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I enrolled in the Master of Science in Management-Accounting program at UWM. While a graduate student, I was also a
Justin attributes his professional success to working at the PCAOB in Washington, D.C. 6
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teaching assistant, charged with instructing students on how to use Microsoft Excel. On top of my obligations as a student and instructor, I studied for the CPA exam in my spare time. A few short weeks after graduating with my master’s degree, I passed the fourth and final part of the CPA exam. Before my final year of school, I was also fortunate to receive and accept an offer to work at the Milwaukee office of Baker Tilly, a large regional accounting firm. I know all of these successes are attributable to the outstanding start I had in Washington, D.C. My accomplishments after the summer of 2013 all were possible because of my internship at the PCAOB.
“I was happy to be working at an organization that believed strongly in ethics and integrity so investors were not taken advantage of.”
I truly enjoyed my summer internship in the nation’s capital. The sightseeing and professional opportunities presented to me truly made the experience worth it. After coming back to Milwaukee, I knew I was a different person from when I left. In addition to the city itself, the people I met there were amazing. The managers I interacted with were all great individuals, who were integral in my development at the PCAOB. Also, my friendships with my fellow interns were some of the strongest I had in my lifetime. Many of the interns, including me, were from places far away. Because we didn’t know the city very well, we were able to bond, and had to rely on each other for support. I keep in touch with some of the interns, and I am glad to still be able to call them my friends. My experience at the PCAOB was one of the best I ever had, and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
Justin Scott is a staff accountant at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP in Milwaukee. Contact him at 414-777-5532 or email@example.com.
recognized | student profile
JUSTIN’S Fun Facts
My advice to aspiring accounting majors is… work hard, and never give up: Perseverance truly does pay off in this field.
I never leave home without… my cell phone. I frequently use it for directions to new places.
I am passionate about… in the words of Vince Lombardi, “God, family and football.”
In my spare time, I enjoy…
People don’ t know this, but… I am a World War II buff.
My favorite movie is…
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traveling, watching movies with my family, and watching football.
“Dumb and Dumber”…See it if you haven’t.
Whether you’re looking for a new career or a new employee, the WICPA’s enhanced Career Center can help you make the most of your search.
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prepared | CPA Exam
CONQUER CPA EXAM STUDYING:
FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO MAKE EVERY HOUR COUNT BY KATIE FISHER, CPA
CPA2b | wicpa.org
THE UNIFORM CPA EXAMINATION IS LIKE A FOUR-QUARTER FOOTBALL GAME; BY THE END OF THE EXAM YOU’LL LIKELY BE EXHAUSTED. IF VINCE LOMBARDI WERE A CPA EXAM INSTRUCTOR, HE WOULD TELL YOU THAT THE EXAM IS LIKE FOOTBALL: "IT REQUIRES PERSEVERANCE, SELF-DENIAL, HARD WORK, SACRIFICE, DEDICATION, AND RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY." HERE ARE SOME EXAM TIPS, PITFALLS TO AVOID, AND WHAT IT TAKES TO PASS THE EXAM:
TIPS 1. S tart studying as soon as possible after or during the last year of college. It will help you to begin while you are still in the routine of studying. The further out of school you are the harder it can be to get back into a studying routine. 2. W hen determining your study schedule, consider any upcoming events you have that may affect your ability to commit to your studies. After each exam, take a few days off from studying. 3. U se tools that help you learn. Flashcards are a great learning tool. Creating your own flashcards helps to reinforce the concepts by reading, writing and repeating the information. Reviewing the flashcards is a quick way to study many specific items or topics when you have spare time. 4. S tudy for one section at a time. Focusing on the current exam will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed from the amount of information you need to get through for the exam. It may be helpful for your first exam to be one you are comfortable with. Passing builds confidence and motivation for the rest of the exams. 5. S tudying is like a second job. The best recommendation would be to complete as much studying as possible over the summer before starting a full-time job. You won’t want to work 40 hours and spend another 20-30 hours studying at night.
6. S chedule all four exams at once. This forces you to commit to a study timeline. 7. Be aware of the testing windows when scheduling your exams. There are only certain months that you can take the exams. If you plan to be ready to take your first exam at the beginning of a testing window it will leave you more time after to study for the next exam. 8. When scheduling the exams make sure you can complete them during the 18-month window. Leaving more time on the back end of the window may be useful if there is an exam you need to re-take. You don’t want to lose the hard work on the other exams you’ve already passed! 9. C reate a “game-plan” of how and when you will study and take the exams. The Becker Professional Education CPA exam review materials have a nice tool that helps you schedule your study time. You set a schedule based on how many hours you want to study each week. It then tells you when to take the exam based on your study schedule. It also builds in two weeks for review for each section. 10. T he study materials are available in different formats. You can choose online instruction or live review classes. Choose what works best for you. >>
prepared | CPA Exam
PITFALLS TO AVOID 1. A void scheduling your exams with not enough time to prepare between exams. Be realistic with how much time you can commit to studying each week and how much material there is to get through. Allow for review time.
2. A void not allowing yourself enough time to study. There’s a ton of material for every section and all of it is fair game to be tested. Allow yourself enough time to get through the material, complete practice questions as well as simulations, and review everything.
3. Steer clear of letting your family or friends pressure you into skipping study sessions. It is occasionally good to take a break and come back refreshed. However, doing this too often could result in procrastination or attempting to cram for the exam at the last minute.
4. A void studying in a place with distractions. During the exam you will find you may want to do anything but study. Choose a place such as a library or a coffee shop. This will help avoid the urge to do tasks around the house or interruptions from family or roommates.
5. D on’t try to study just enough to pass. Being well prepared and studying all the material will give you a better chance to pass the exam.
IN THE END, IF YOU'VE PUT IN THE TIME AND EFFORT, YOUR RESULTS WILL SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUCCESSFUL PERSON AND OTHERS IS NOT A LACK OF STRENGTH, NOT A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, BUT RATHER A LACK OF WILL." - VINCE LOMBARDI
Katie Fisher, CPA is a senior accountant at Schenck SC in Appleton. Contact her at 920-996-1321 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 12
CPA2b | wicpa.org
WHAT I WISH I WOULD HAVE KNOWN BEFORE I TOOK THE CPA EXAM… “Successfully passing the exams requires a disciplined approach to time management and creating a study plan. Turning down social events and shutting out distractions for the long-term may be the largest challenge facing candidates. They have already passed the classes!” – Kevin A. Greer, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP, Milwaukee
“The website called another71.com helped me a lot. The website was set up by a guy named Jeff who got frustrated after getting numerous failing scores on the CPA exams. (He got a lot of scores of 71s hence the name of the website.) I tried Becker CPA Review and it didn’t work for me. The only reason I passed the CPA exam (after failing numerous times with Becker) was because another71 notes and audio are fun, concise, and inexpensive. Check out another71.com!” – Michelle Luckmann, Technical Accounting & Research Specialist, American Family Insurance, Madison
It Takes Some Courage, But Saving Money Is Worth The Leap .
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Put Away A Few Bucks. Feel Like A Million Bucks.
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educated | financial literacy
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR COLLEGE FINANCING By Jon Marshall
Student loan debt is at an all-time high in the United States. With the average Class of 2015 graduate paying back more than $35,000, itâ€™s important to do all you can to limit your borrowing needs for your college education. The following are some possibilities to consider in helping to strengthen your financial position.
irst and foremost, start by evaluating your tuition fees and cost of living. For example, private university tuition fees can be two to three times higher than lower cost, in-state public universities. Clearly, that kind of difference could significantly impact the amount you may need to borrow. You can find a simple cost evaluation tool online at www.consumerfinance.gov. If you have already made a decision on your school, a clear understanding of tuition expenses can help you manage your course selections wisely. This is where your advisor can provide significant savings to you as a buyer of
CPA2b | wicpa.org
college level education. Develop a plan with your advisor to graduate as efficiently as possible. That means achieving your goals without paying tuition for credits you donâ€™t need and avoiding costly mistakes that may result in extra semesters on campus due to course availability. Choose your electives by thinking about the credits in tuition dollars. Is it really a good long-term investment? If a subject is truly of interest to you, but not essential to your career path, perhaps borrowing a book from the library would be much more cost effective. Remember, course credits cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
You also need to set a smart budget for expenses outside the classroom. A meal plan may seem more expensive upfront, but it can give you a simple food budget and help you avoid money wasted on spoiled food. Living on campus can provide predictable living costs, while off-campus bills could be more variable, particularly heating and electric costs through the winter. The bottom line is that the less you spend, the less you may need to borrow. The less you borrow, the less you need to pay back, which means you get to keep more of your hard-earned income after you graduate and begin your career. Of course, the other way to avoid borrowing is to pay for the courses yourself. Easier said than done, right? Start researching scholarships and grants early on and apply for as many as you can find each school year. Most scholarships are awarded before freshman year, but there are scholarships that are awarded to students at all levels. Pay attention to what scholarships are looking for; perhaps it could help motivate you to join extracurricular activities or achieve high grades, both of which will help you with your next application, whether it’s for a scholarship or your first job out of college. If you’re working during school or over the summer, ask if your employer has any tuition reimbursement programs. Even if you work for a smaller employer, the possibility is worth asking the question. When it comes to borrowing, the place to start is your schools’ financial aid office where you can complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Federal student loans are the best option for borrowing because they almost always cost less and are easier to repay. For example, some loans are subsidized
by the government while you’re in school, which means you won’t have to pay interest on the loan until you graduate. Even the un-subsidized federal loans, which charge interest during the school year, are still a good option because it will almost always be a lower interest rate than you could find through a bank. Remember, this is a loan. You must pay this money back to the government. Lastly, if everything we’ve discussed so far doesn’t cover your expenses, you can search for private student loans from various banks or credit unions. Note that this is different than credit cards. These are actual loans intended to finance your college education. Although the interest rates may be higher than federal student loans, they should be considerably lower than interest rates on a credit card. Don’t finance your college education with a credit card, and only borrow what you absolutely need. Avoid borrowing money or using credit cards to buy things that you want. High interest credit cards can be very difficult to pay off when only paying the minimum balance due. Remember, the less you borrow, the less you need to pay back. Take control of your financial situation today so it is better for you tomorrow.
Jon Marshall is an investment advisor at Spectrum Investment Advisors, Inc. Contact him at 262-238-4010 or email@example.com
hired | interview tips
WALKING OFF CAMPUS AND INTO A CAREER By Collin Salutz
CPA2b | wicpa.org
The journey from student to full-time job candidate was a process that was filled with a roller coaster of emotions and a lot of hard work. For me, the recruiting process started my junior year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater when I joined Beta Alpha Psi. Joining Beta opened my eyes to the vast array of career opportunities that are available to accounting students.
Before I knew it, a year of networking with professionals and learning about working as an auditor in public accounting had flown by and it was almost time to sign up for internship interviews. UW-Whitewater greatly prepared me for the interviewing process by allowing me to participate in several different recruiting events. The events included career fairs, meet and greets with firms, and a professional dinner where I had the chance to network with professional accountants. These events prepared me in that they taught me the value of â€œsmall talkâ€? and how important interacting with professionals can be throughout the recruiting process. UW-Whitewater has a program that allows students to interview with several accounting firms, rank the firms, and subsequently get matched with the firm that best fits them. My interviewing process, like many others, was a very stressful and busy time at the beginning of my senior year of school. Over a twoweek span, I had the opportunity to interview with 10 different accounting firms. I interviewed with several different firms ranging in size from local to Big Four.
As interviews were approaching, I made sure to prepare myself so I could land an internship with the firm that I wanted. Having the chance to meet with several recruiters and professionals throughout the process gave me a good background of the firms with which I would be interviewing. In preparation, I reflected on the several office tours I had gone on, the people I had met, and the research I performed on the accounting firms. These things, along with the recruiting events that I had participated in, helped me to succeed. At the end of the interviewing process, I had made the decision that
I wanted to be an audit intern at Ernst & Young (EY), and luckily, I was matched with that firm. I spent the remainder of my first semester of my senior year very anxious to start my internship at the beginning of January. I was excited to be presented with this amazing opportunity, but I was also nervous to make the transition from being a student to working as a professional in public accounting. As I made the transition, I ultimately wanted to ensure that I enjoyed the work I was doing and be sure to make a good impression, as this could turn into a full-time career upon graduation. As January crept up and I started my internship, I was excited to dive into the work. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of clients, from retail to manufacturing and large public clients to small private clients. With every opportunity I was given, I approached each of them with an open mind and a willingness to work hard. As an intern, I experienced a variety of duties that a first-year staff would typically perform. I assisted in auditing areas such as cash, accounts payable, fixed assets, accounts receivable, and various other areas. When I first started the work, it was overwhelming to say the least. I had always done well in school and thought that I would apply what I had learned to the work that I would be performing. Although I did find that applying concepts I had learned in school was helpful, the work I was doing was very new to me, and at first, almost seemed like I was learning a foreign language. In the beginning, I was overwhelmed with the amount of material I was learning. It became easier as the process evolved, but I learned something new every day. 800-772-6939
hired | interview tips
During my internship, I believe what helped me to succeed was my willingness to ask questions. Every day I encountered things that I hadn’t seen before and it was important that I ask someone senior to me for help instead of spinning my wheels and trying to do it myself. My 10-week internship was done before I knew it and on my very last day, I, along with many others, was presented with a full-time offer. I couldn’t have been happier that my hard work had paid off and that I would be starting full-time with EY upon completion of my fifth year of school. I’m currently pursuing my
Master of Professional Accountancy at UW-Whitewater while also studying for the CPA Exam. I’m looking forward to finishing off this school year and starting my career as an auditor with EY in the summer of 2016!
Collin Salutz is pursuing his Master of Professional Accountancy degree from the University of WisconsinWhitewater. Contact Collin at 920-645-4530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free money for college 5th year accounting students can apply for up to $5,000. Deadline is Feb. 26, 2016.
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prepared | tax season 101
10 TIPS TO BRING YOUR A-GAME
during busy season B y Monic a Hauser, CPA
Itâ€™s your rookie year, and you were just drafted by a CPA firm. Congratulations! Now, how do you manage through your first busy season? 20
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Busy season can be a very challenging time to learn a new job. Stress levels are high, client demands are high, and deadlines can be short. Here are 10 tips for a rookie to get through busy season and perform like a pro, making you the season’s MVP. 1. Willingness to learn – You might think you learned a lot
in college, but be prepared to learn more. In your first busy season, you will learn how to use a variety of new software programs and tax forms, how to prepare workpapers, etc. It might overwhelming, but try to be a sponge, soaking in as much as you can. Listen and learn from others around you. Don’t get frustrated when you can’t figure something out right away. You will not be expected to know everything.
2. Be flexible – You will be expected to complete multiple
projects and work for a variety of people. You will need to reprioritize what you’re doing to meet client deadlines, to accommodate other workloads, and to survive the occasional emergency. Be flexible and change projects when needed. Partners and managers get numerous calls and emails from clients throughout the day. Many times this work trickles down to new staff. Just realize that you may go into a day expecting to do one thing and end up doing another thing, or you may have to work a few extra hours in one day to meet deadlines.
3. Be organized – You will have several projects to handle at one time. Keep track of deadlines and priorities. If you have questions on priorities, ask a partner or manager for help. It can be detrimental to you to miss a deadline, but sometimes it may be out of your control. Communication is the key. Let others know if you can’t get things done on time or if there are problems. It’s better for you to be upfront and get help right away than wait until the deadline is looming. 4. Time keeping – Many CPA firms bill based on time entered
into their billing software. This causes employees to be diligent about keeping track of how much time they are working for each client and what they are doing for the client. When first starting, keeping track of every tenth of an hour, or whatever increment the firm uses, can be daunting. Just be aware of the fact that at the end of the day, you have to account for what you’ve done that day.
5. Understand expectations – Don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure of the number of hours expected of you or if you’re meeting the expectations. Understand what’s expected when coding time to training or to clients. Speak up and ask questions when you don’t understand something. 6. Be a team player – No matter what department you’re
working in, you will be working with other people. Be willing to help out others whenever possible. Learn from others and teach others when you can.
7. Find a friend/mentor who has been through it – Finding
someone you’re comfortable bouncing questions off can help make busy season less stressful. Having someone to give you advice or just help you can be a tremendous relief. Using laughter in the office to break the stress can make the day more enjoyable.
8. Make time for fun – Having fun at work seems a bit contradictory, but many firms have programs to encourage everyone to take a quick break and have a little fun. Take part in these events/programs. They can help you build relationships with others around you, take your mind off your long list of projects, and reset your body.
9. Sleep and exercise – These might seem like such basic
things, but too often they’re the first things we cut. Getting the right amount of sleep is very important for your mind and will help you feel refreshed and ready to go the next day. Exercise can be a great stress reliever and help you feel better.
10. Reward yourself – Getting through your first busy season is an accomplishment. Find something that you can reward yourself with and use that as an incentive to get through it — a day at the spa, a new laptop, dinner at a nice restaurant. A reward will give you something to look forward to and motivate you on those stressful days. >>
prepared | tax season 101
Once busy season is over, hopefully the “coaches” will acknowledge your hard work and effort and nominate you for rookie of the year. Getting through your first busy season as an intern or a new hire is a great accomplishment and can set the framework for your future or career with a firm.
Monica Hauser, CPA is a partner at Hawkins Ash CPAs in La Crosse. Contact her at 608-784-7737 or email@example.com.
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Annual Tax Conference 2014
HAVE YOU SEEN W233N2080 Ridgeview Parkway Suite 201 | Waukesha, WI 53188
With so many sessions, how will YOU choose?
262-785-0445 | 800-772-6939
I TA L I A N COMMUNITY CENTER, M I LW A U K E E
Mandates and Rules
Understanding the ACA. 4
THURSDAY, NOV. 6 & FRIDAY, NOV. 7
Annual tax conference to feature even more sessions
CPAS IN INDUSTRY FALL CONFERENCE TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 COUNTRY SPRINGS HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER Estate Planning
Domestic Partnership Law and same-sex clients. 5
IT Security Issues
Data breaches, the cloud and apps. 6
What past attendees are saying… New and returning tax pros expected to draw crowds at annual WICPA Tax Conference as they address important developments, latest issues and biggest questions. KEYNOTE SPEAKER
IRS Reaches the “Tipping Point”
Minimizing the 3.8% Surtax
Robert S. Keebler, CPA, MST, AEP addresses complex issues and answers your biggest questions revolving around the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax. 7
Rick J. Taylor, CPA, MST reviews the most important judicial, legislative and regulatory developments for late 2013 and 2014 from the practitioner’s perspective and tackles the latest hot-button issues. 4
Ways to Register: ONLINE: WWW.WICPA.ORG/CONFERENCES PHONE: 262-785-0445 FAX: 262-785-0838 MAIL: W233N2080 RIDGEVIEW PARKWAY, SUITE 201, WAUKESHA, WI 53188
Wisconsin Tax and DOR Updates
“From the speakers to the topics to the food and beverages, it’s always a great experience.”
CPAs in Industry Fall Conference
Important changes affecting tax practitioners. 6
Register to Save
“Great forum. I enjoy attending both the Spring and Fall conferences every year.”
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center
Save $30 when you register by Friday, Oct. 24!
“I can use information from each of the sessions – all pertinent to my business.” “The speakers were great, the topics were highly relevant, and a perfect mix between technical and soft skills.”
“Excellent conference as always! Worth every penny!”
DETAILS & REGISTRATION WWW.WICPA.ORG/CONFERENCES
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS C O N F E R E N C E Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center
Sharpen your skills at the
School District Audit Conference Thursday, June 4
Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center Stevens Point, WI
Friday, June 5
Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center Pewaukee, WI
WHERE ACCOUNTING AND TECHNOLOGY COLLIDE!
Quality CPE is like a four leaf clover: HARD TO FIND & LUCKY TO HAVE
CPAs in Industry
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2015 Spring Conference
WICPA & K2 TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE THURSDAY, DEC. 4 & FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2014 Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center, Pewaukee
ACCOUNTING, AUDITING &
Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center From early on, nothing has proven to be more important to a business’s success than accounting, and nothing has had a bigger impact on a business’s success than technology. As both continue to evolve at tremendous rates, it is difficult to keep up with the changes, and even harder to anticipate and respond to them when they occur.
TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2015 Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center
NONPROFIT & HEALTH CARE
Join us at this year’s WICPA & K2 Technology Conference to witness accounting and technology collide as three of the nation’s leading IT consultants present on the top technology topics affecting your business’s success.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 29, 2015 ------COUNTRY SPRINGS HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT C O N F E R E N C E WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014 COUNTRY SPRINGS HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER
THESE CONFERENCES? If you are looking for top-quality CPE and networking events, look no further than WICPA conferences. Thousands of your peers attend each year, as every conference is an unrivalled opportunity to hear from the most highly regarded experts and thought leaders about the biggest changes and hottest issues, so save these dates for 2016!
Technology Conference Thursday, Dec. 1 – Friday, Dec. 2, 2016
Tax Conference Thursday, Nov. 3 – Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
Accounting, Auditing & Financial Management Conference Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
Nonprofit & Health Care Financial Conference Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016
CPAs in Industry Fall Conference Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016
School District Audit Conference Thursday, May 26, 2016
School District Audit Conference Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Financial Institutions Conference Tuesday, May 10, 2016
CPAs in Industry Spring Conference Wednesday, March 16, 2016
For 2016 WICPA Conference dates, visit wicpa.org/conferences.
prepared | first busy season
Busy season is like running a
marathon YOU NEED STAMINA, ENDURANCE AND FOCUS By Amanda Senkbeil, CPA
CPA2b | wicpa.org
Overwhelming, stressful, hectic, exhausting – these are all words that describe tax season for employees of a CPA firm from the staff accountant level all the way up to the partners of the firm. Although everyone feels this same rush of emotions, experienced staff has had more opportunities to practice managing them whereas someone working a first full-time busy season has not. While you have undoubtedly experienced these same kinds of feelings at some point throughout your life, whether during school or other work experiences, tax season brings a whole new meaning to them.
As you enter your first busy season, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Your co-workers will become an invaluable support system. Use their guidance and advice along with your personal experiences to help you stand out as an irreplaceable asset of the team. Throughout busy season, you will have lots of questions and will run into situations leaving you perplexed. Make a diligent effort to use available resources to find the answers or solutions before asking managers. There’s a fine line between trying to enhance your technical knowledge by researching the answer on your own and being as efficient as possible, especially January through April. However, your billing rate as a first year staff is much lower than that of a manager or partner, so if you can spend a little extra time to figure out a solution or at least present a case for your position, then do it! You will save the manager’s time and the firm’s money. Keeping a list of topics and issues that you simply don’t have enough time to research further during tax season will be a great starting point when you’re looking for work as things taper off after April 15. Getting through tax season, and ensuring it’s a successful one, is a team effort. Taking the initiative to ask others if they need help will not go unnoticed. Strive toward putting yourself in a position where you’re able to offer help to others. The easiest way to do this is by becoming more efficient in your processes. Work smarter, not harder. This will help you work through your assigned tasks more quickly and then be available to help co-workers. It’s also fairly standard to maintain a backlog of your work, but it’s critical that you keep this up to date as you are assigned new projects and finish others. Such a resource will give you a clear sense of when you will be able to work on certain items and will allow you to give managers realistic timelines. This will ultimately allow managers to shift work around so the firm is successful at meeting the demanding needs of its clients.
During tax season, the office environment may become chaotic. Everyone feels a bit under pressure and your patience will definitely be tested. Remaining calm and having a little fun will be your keys to flourish during busy season. Enjoy the simple things and celebrate mini-accomplishments, such as completing a challenging tax return. Going out to lunch or organizing a happy hour with your co-workers is a great way to treat yourself and build camaraderie. Tax season is a major commitment and requires a huge devotion of time. You will very easily become engulfed in work, and it will seem like you have no time for anything else. However, you should make an effort to continue doing the things you enjoy outside work, such as spending time with your friends and family. In addition, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle during busy season. You likely will consume a significant amount of coffee and/or soda, it will be a struggle to muster up the energy to work out, and sleep will become a commodity. If you allow yourself to become rundown, your performance will suffer and busy season will become unmanageable. Taking proactive measures against some of these obstacles will help you keep a clear, fresh, and focused mind to prevent you from becoming burned out. While tax season tends to be the craziest time of the year, it can also be the most rewarding. It’s a strong sense of accomplishment when managers, partners, and even clients appreciate your dedication and hard work. Perseverance and a positive attitude will contribute to your success during this strenuous time of year. Do not simply survive tax season, but rather thrive during it.
Amanda Senkbeil, CPA is a tax specialist at Sikich LLP in Brookfield. Contact her at 262-754-9400 ext. 357 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 800-772-6939
versatile | networking
YOUR CONNECTIONS MAY HELP DEVELOP BUSINESS, FIND A NEW OPPORTUNITY OR EVEN SOLVE AN IMPORTANT PROBLEM. By Kyle R. Stephens, CPA
CPA2b | wicpa.org
o you’ve told your parents, sibling and all of your B-school friends that you’re going to be a CPA. Mother is proud and father is happy that you’ll one day be employable. Yet your sister doesn’t care and your friends feel sorry for you. They’ve heard that CPAs sit in a corner and crunch numbers all day. On top of that, it’s hard to get away from long hours in the late winter months. They’re not entirely wrong. As a CPA, there’s certainly a path you can take directly to that dreary cubicle where you can crank away 50-plus hours a week. But you could do that in any profession. If you lack communication skills and don’t like to be bothered by people, don’t be afraid to go that route. You’ll make a decent salary and be left alone to tick-and-tie, foot, change the 10-key tape and have time to eat a bologna sandwich every day for lunch.
The following professionals can lead to new clients for your firm, and they can provide assistance to your current clients (this is not an exhaustive list): Bankers: help clients by financing expansion and providing liquidity. Attorneys: write and review contracts upon which clients rely. Insurance representatives: insure clients’ businesses and livelihood. Wealth managers/financial planners: help clients invest their accumulated wealth. Government and community leaders: these movers and shakers know everyone in town and help write the rules of the game.
While that description may be a bit exaggerated, it’s the picture drawn in many a comic strip. However, there are many in the field who buck the stereotype. Yes, there are opportunities to sit in the shadows with the required filings CPAs know and love. But there are many more opportunities for a well-connected professional aiming not only to be an auditor or tax professional, but also a trusted business advisor and consultant who succeeds at marketing and personal development. So how does a young CPA become well-connected, meet business professionals and earn their trust?
Being the bright, hardworking, new CPA that you are, partners and managers are sure to take notice. Soon, you’ll likely get a call from a partner: A longtime banking contact has hired a new associate at the bank and wants the four of you to get together for lunch. Make the best of this opportunity; it’s a great time to start building your network. Bankers know a lot of people in the business community, and who knows, you may come away with a new friend.
As you start your public accounting career, partners and managers will challenge you with different projects to determine your competencies. Can you handle high-level and highstress engagements? Can they trust you with handling direct communication with business savvy clients? The first step in your career should be to absorb as much of this as possible. Figure out what you’re good at, what you like to do and how you can help the firm succeed. You’ll have to continue to work hard at the technical side of your career throughout, but also focus on building your network. Once you have a couple of years under your belt and you feel comfortable discussing your trade with other businesspeople, it’s time to expand your network. If you want to be a partner one day or have aspirations to move to industry, meeting the right people in the business community is invaluable. So, where do you start? Let’s begin with the type of people who are helpful for CPAs to meet and why.
With your newfound networking confidence, you’ll look for places to meet people. Consider getting involved with the WICPA Young Professionals Committee to meet other young CPAs and learn how to promote the profession. Are you a proud alumnus of your university? Join an alumni group. Many professionals fondly remember their college years and it’s always nice to reminisce about that tough calculus professor. Is there a nonprofit organization that aligns with your passions and beliefs? Volunteer your services, whether it’s in a food pantry or on a finance committee. There’s nothing better than helping others and meeting people who share your passions while helping you gain name recognition. Does your local chamber of commerce or another business organization have roundtables or development groups? Consider joining a group to keep abreast of what’s going on in the business community. Keeping yourself informed makes it easier to converse at a more sophisticated level. Also, you never know who you’ll meet! After you begin establishing a network, make an effort to keep in touch with everyone. Whether it’s coffee, lunch, happy hour or dinner, keep them on your mind and help them in any way you can. Someday your connections may help you develop business, find a new opportunity or solve an important problem. Never underestimate a simple introduction. Kyle R. Stephens, CPA is a supervisor at Scribner, Cohen & Co. S.C. in Milwaukee. Contact him at 414-271-1700 or email@example.com. 800-772-6939
versatile | work-life balance
Work. Life. Balance? How to find the best of both worlds as a CPA By Amy Kowalchuk, CPA
Thereâ€™s no shortage of articles,
quotes and discussion about the topic of work-life balance.
Google the term and the list is
endless with tips and tricks for how to achieve balance. Does this term apply to CPAs in an environment of constant deadlines, changes in guidance and regulations, and ever-increasing technology and access to work? I think it can. Here are some tips on how you can have the life you want while still having a career.
CPA2b | wicpa.org
Be realistic The reality is that there are long hours involved in accounting and also crunch times before deadlines. It’s best to recognize that you can’t do everything for both work and your personal life, especially not in your first couple years. Whether in public accounting or industry, accounting is team-based and you want to contribute your fair share. Opportunities often arise over the course of your career, whether it be a new client, a new industry, or to participate in a transaction, that may result in long hours and difficulty balancing out work and personal life for a period of time. Depending on what you’re looking for in your career, these can be the times that you learn and develop the most professionally, and the experience can open doors later on.
Communication is key
Earn the trust of your supervisors and co-workers Supervisors are more likely to be accommodating if they know you will meet the commitments you make to them. It can take time in your first position to earn this trust. It may mean asking for fewer things in the first few months or even year that you’re in a position to ensure everyone develops confidence in your work and ability to deliver on time. After eight years in accounting, I still feel this way after recently moving to a position with a new company. Even if you have been successful in the past, it’s about proving your ability to each and every person you work with, whether internally or with clients. Once people know you will honor your commitments, they aren‘t concerned if you have to leave early one night or work remotely for a day.
The main thing I have learned over the years is that work-life balance is much easier to accomplish when I keep my supervisors and co-workers informed on my schedule and the type of balance I need at that time. When I was a senior at Deloitte, my boyfriend (now husband) decided to take a position at a company that required him to work out of state full time for an extended period of time and only come home once a month. Since we had a dog, I didn’t think I could arrange my schedule to get home each day to take my dog out, since at the time I traveled quite a bit and busy season required long nights. I thought about leaving public accounting to take a job with a more “normal” schedule. Instead, I talked to the partner on my client, and she told me that she would not only be fine with me leaving by 6 p.m. each night to take my dog out, but also that she would help me to re-arrange my client schedule to roll off my out-of-town clients. The result: I stayed at Deloitte for three more years, and in my last two years gained management experience. All I had to do was ask directly for what I needed.
versatile | work-life balance Recognize that balance is different for everyone What work-life balance means to one person may be entirely different than it means to someone else. It can also change over time for the same person. Whether it’s going home to have dinner with the family, playing a sports league, a weekly night out with friends, or anything in between, it’s important to respect the different things for everyone. If you judge what someone else does, they may judge you as well for what’s important to you.
Use your vacation wisely Most accounting firms acknowledge that employees work long hours and compensate for that with aboveaverage vacation benefits. Make the most of your vacation time! Although certain things come up that aren’t flexible, it’s easiest to plan for times that aren’t as
busy for you (i.e. if you have a 12/31 year-end client, it’s not easy …or sometimes not allowed… to take vacation in January). This will also help you to honor your vacation time. With the right level of advance planning and coordination, you should be able to enjoy your vacation unplugged and work free. In accounting, there’s often a seemingly neverending list of things to do. Clients can decide to acquire or dispose of a company, you can have turnover on your audit team, accounting issues get identified. It’s important to remember there’s never the perfect time to take vacation.
Amy Kowalchuk, CPA is director of accounting at Jason Industries in Milwaukee. Contact her at 414-277-7079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start building your professional network
Attend a WICPA event! May 2015 May 5, 5, 2016
June 9,2016 2015 June 9,
September TBD September TBD
Member Recognition Banquet
New CPA Welcome Dinner
6th Annual Golf Outing
For details on all events planned by the WICPA Young Professionals Committee, visit wicpa.org/YPevents 30
CPA2b | wicpa.org
educated | soft skills
How to network
LIKE A CFO By Rober t Half
In a 2015 Robert Half survey, 50 percent of CFOs polled said they prefer to network professionally using email, while 18 percent like to network online.
educated | soft skills
You’ve probably heard that the secret to success isn’t what you know, but who you know. Although this is rarely 100 percent true, there’s something to be learned from
Executives realize the value of networking, which comes in various forms. In 2012, Robert Half surveyed chief financial officers (CFOs) about their networking style. Forty-five percent of those polled said they prefer to network professionally using social media, while 22 percent were partial to email. This year, the numbers have flipped. The follow-up survey discovered that 50 percent of respondents now prefer email, and 18 percent like to network online. Why the difference? Perhaps many execs were finally discovering social media in 2012 and were eager to put it to work, and now they feel email is a constant and more reliable form of professional communication. Maybe social networking sites have lost their sheen and that personal touch. What’s more, email has no learning curve and few barriers to access: Everyone has at least one address, while not everyone is on LinkedIn or Twitter. In addition, many executives check their email compulsively, far more often than they log into social media accounts.
the observation. Your technical knowledge is crucial for passing that
It’s not difficult to network using old-school email. Here are some best practices:
all-important CPA exam,
Select an appropriate email address. You may have set up a clever user name for your personal email account. But now that you’re launching your career, it’s time to look professional. If your current email address is anything other than a variation of your full name, open a new account for work-related use.
but knowing how to network increases the likelihood that you’ll land a good first job, pick up valuable industry knowledge and go further in your career.
EMAIL NETWORKING TIPS
CPA2b | wicpa.org
Don’t neglect your email account. Many college students prefer to communicate using texts and messaging apps, but that’s not what many CFOs do. To network with other accounting and finance professionals, get in the habit of checking your email often. Make emails reflect your professionalism. Even though they’re a form of electronic communication, don’t treat business emails like instant messages. Come up with a descriptive subject line, include niceties like salutations and closings, and generally avoid using emoticons or exclamation points.
MORE NETWORKING TIPS IN-PERSON NETWORKING TIPS CFOs also like to meet professional acquaintances through another classic method: face-to-face interactions during events such as seminars and conferences. This was the second preference, chosen by 25 percent of respondents to the 2015 Robert Half survey. In-person conversations are excellent ways to keep up with industry news and developments, the top purpose of networking CFOs mentioned in the same survey. Certifications also have their own place in your profile. If you’ve spent the time to earn a certification, by all means, crow about it and add it to your profile. It will bring legitimacy to your listed skills, and adds some color in the form of the certification logo. It’s not difficult to network using old-school email. Here are some best practices: Just do it. Don’t use busyness or shyness as an excuse not to get out there and network. Attend local workshops, job fairs and regional or national accounting conferences. When in doubt as to which events are worthwhile, talk with your professors or your supervisor if you’re already employed. Go for quality over quantity. At a conference or networking event, engaging a handful of people in meaningful conversation will result in deeper connections than collecting dozens of business cards from passing acquaintances. Make a point to network at more than a surface level. Have lunch with others. While you may be able to squeeze in some extra study time by eating alone, sharing a meal — with fellow students or those already working in the field — is a prime opportunity to network, cultivate relationships and even share tips about passing the CPA exam.
Whether you’re an accounting student or the CFO of a large enterprise, knowing how to network will help you reach your professional goals. As you begin your career, keep these other networking tips in mind. Give as much as you take (if not more). When you’re just getting started as an accountant, you may wonder what you can possibly do for your colleagues, especially established professionals. There are actually many ways to be a giver. When you see a question posted on social media, participate in the conversation. If you come across an article that would interest a new acquaintance, send it on by email. Think of ways to be an altruistic networker. Volunteer your time. Choose a group you truly believe in — such as a charitable organization or professional association — and get involved. When you do, you’ll broaden your network, bolster your resume and gain valuable soft skills like leadership, collaboration and communication. Nurture your network. Once you make new connections, it’s important to maintain them by checking in periodically. For example, when they land a job or promotion, send a congratulatory email. Meet up occasionally for coffee. A smaller network made up of strong ties is far more valuable than a large network stacked with contacts with whom you never communicate. Seek out a trusted advisor. For more advice and networking tips, find a mentor at school or in the professional sphere. An accounting veteran can give you feedback on who to meet and how and where to meet them — and may even introduce you to his or her circle of contacts. At the start of your accounting career, learning how to network may seem daunting. And you may think there’s plenty of time for that later. But, as with retirement savings, starting early pays off. Put in the time and effort today, and you’ll develop a network that will benefit your professional life, now and well into the future.
This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half, parent company of Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources. Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm placing accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. For career and management advice, follow our blog at blog.roberthalf.com.
in the know | industries & specializations
BIG budgets need big brains: Join forces with Uncle Sam B y K e n e s h a A . C r a f t o n , M PA
ypically, new accounting and finance graduates choose their first job after graduation in either a public
accounting firm or corporate America. But you may be surprised to learn about the large number of CPAs
and accountants who work in all levels of government. Accounting professionals working in government
have very successful and promising careers, just like their counterparts in public accounting and industry. Some of the titles held by accounting professionals in government include, but are not limited to: Government Auditor or Revenue Agent/Officer. Fraud Examiner.
Financial Comptroller. Budget Analyst. Government Financial Manager. Budget Director. Financial Analyst. Grant Analyst.
THERE ARE MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONALS INTERESTED IN GOVERNMENTAL CAREERS. YOU CAN FIND AN OPPORTUNITY ON THE FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS.
CPA2b | wicpa.org
As a CPA, working within the federal government can be very rewarding and personally fulfilling because the work product services the entire U.S. Some of the more popular federal government agencies employing CPAs are the Securities & Exchange Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Central Intelligence Agency. Responsibilities include: • Investigating white collar crime.
• Managing financial statement audits for other federal government agencies. • Performing research and analysis on financial management issues.
• Conducting federal tax audit to verify compliance with federal tax laws.
As an accounting professional, you can also choose to work on the individual state, county and city levels. You have the option of working in multiple capacities, providing a wide range of services, including: • Internal/external auditing. • Financial reporting and management. • Enterprise risk management. • Forensic accounting. But enough about position titles and duties; why choose a government accounting career?
Despite what you may hear, salaries for government accounting professionals are competitive with those offered by public accounting firms and corporations. This is especially true when the salary is looked at on a per hour basis. Most government accounting professionals work a standard 40hour work week while those in public accounting can average 60 hours a week and even more during peak seasons.
Accounting professionals enjoy excellent benefits working in government. Among the most common are: • Affordable health and life Insurance.
• Student loan repayments and forgiveness.
• I ncentive to pay for and pass professional certification examinations. • Tuition reimbursement.
• G overnment pension and employer-matched 401(k) contribution.
FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULES AND GREAT WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Typically, government accounting professionals aren’t expected to work beyond a 40-hour work week. There isn’t generally a busy season as there is in public accounting and industry. If you choose to work beyond eight hours in a day, you can take the extra time worked as vacation time on another day of your choice. There’s also extreme flexibility in your work schedule and location. For example, there are some positions within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where you can choose to start work anytime between 6 and 9:30 a.m. You also have the choice of working from your assigned office, your home or any other work office location in your commuting area. There are even some positions that don’t require you to come into the office at all; you can choose to work from home exclusively.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAREER ADVANCEMENT
Working as an accounting professional within the federal, state and local government will provide you with a vast menu of professional development and career advancement opportunities. As an entry-level accountant and CPA, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of employer-sponsored professional certification examination review courses (such as Certified Public Accountant, Project Management Professional, Certified Government Financial Manager), continuing professional education courses (both technical and soft skill courses), and tuition reimbursement. You will also be strongly encouraged to, with the assistance of your direct supervisor, develop a Career Learning Plan. This tool guides you into identifying short-term and longterm goals. It’s also used to plan the series of training courses and hands-on career focused activities that will prepare you to meet your short- and long-term goals. I encourage you to research further the opportunities offered by the various levels of government before you make the final decision on where to work upon graduation. Don’t feel that you have to conform to what the majority of your classmates have planned to do. Most CPAs and accountants working in government have worked there for 25-plus years. It must be a great career to have kept them there so long!
Kenesha A. Crafton, MPA is a revenue agent at the Internal Revenue Service in Waukesha. Contact her at 414-418-3527 or email@example.com. 800-772-6939
affiliated | WICPA membership
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS Devin Barutha, Lakeland College Kayli Bente, UW-La Crosse
Angela Mitek, Carthage College
Ian Chabal, Edgewood College
Rachel Nipple, MPA, UW-Oshkosh
Yvonne Cox, Baker Tilly
Brittany E. Schuh, Lakeland College
Max Haraldsen, UW-Madison
Ian J. Smedema, Brookdale Senior Living
Amber L. Hulett, Poppy CPA Magdalena Jaworska, MBE CPAs Danyell Keen, Carthage College Victoria Kreger, Upper Iowa University
THE PERFECT COMBINATION OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION AND INSPIRATION IS HERE. The new Financial Literacy version of Bank On It速 has it all.
CPA2b | wicpa.org
Thomas J. Subjak, Brookdale Senior Living Rachel Uecker, UW-Milwaukee Christopher A. Waas, UW-Green Bay
Ethan Kirner, Carthage College
START PLAYING TODAY AT
Ashley A. Litscher, Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau
Logan Witthuhn, UW-Green Bay
CLIFTONLARSONALLEN LLP www.cliftonlarsonallen.com Contact: Toni Stangohr, Campus Liaison, firstname.lastname@example.org
RITZHOLMAN CPAS www.ritzholman.com Contact: Brian Wilson, CPA, Manager, email@example.com
HAWKINS ASH CPAS www.hawkinsashcpas.com Contact: Jessica Zych, Human Resources Manager, 608-784-7737
SCHENCK SC www.schencksc.com Contact: Jill Dequaine, PHR, Talent Acquisition Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
KERBERROSE SC www.kerberrose.com Contact: Melissa Olsen, PHR, Human Resources Administrator, 715-526-9400
STROHM BALLWEG, LLP www.strohmballweg.com Contact: Gary Strohm, CPA, Managing Partner, and Renee Vedvig, Firm Administrator, 608-821-0600
KOMISAR BRADY & CO www.komisarbrady.com Contact: Bryan Tomczak, CPA, Lead Recruiter, 414-271-3966
WINTER, KLOMAN, MOTER & REPP SC www.wkmr.com Contact: Julia Geerdts, Firm Administrator, 262-797-9050
REILLY PENNER & BENTON LLP www.rpb.biz Contacts: Brian Mechenich, Partner and Laurie Olson, HR Manager, 414-271-7800
WEGNER CPAS www.wegnercpas.com Contact: Kari Nichols, Human Resource Manager, 608-274-4020
FEATURED FIRMS ON BACK IF YOUR FIRM WOULD LIKE TO BE LISTED IN THE FIRM SPOTLIGHT, PLEASE CONTACT ELLEN ENGEL AT 262-785-0445 EXT. 4513 OR ELLEN@WICPA.ORG.
SPOTLIGHT LISTING FEATURED FIRMS
Tim Mastrino, Talent Acquisition Specialist, email@example.com
Sherry Gustafson, Human Resources Director, 608-826-2108
Sikich LLP, a leading professional services firm, has more than 600 employees throughout the country. Founded in 1982, Sikich now ranks as one of the country’s Top 35 Certified Public Accounting firms. Sikich clients can use a broad spectrum of services and products that help them reach long-term, strategic goals.
SVA Certified Public Accountants, headquartered in Madison since 1974, provides professional accounting services for individuals and businesses. Services include: all accounting services, small business accounting software, audits, tax planning and reporting, strategy sessions, and business consulting. With offices in Brookfield, Appleton, and Rockford, our goal is to be a trusted advisor to our clients.
Angela Hildestad, PHR, HR Manager, 608-836-7500 Smith & Gesteland, LLP is a local CPA firm who was voted #1 accounting firm by Madison business leaders! We value life/work balance and provide a culture and environment where people want to stay. People stay because they feel appreciated, are challenged and know they are the future leaders of our firm.
Barry S. Sattell, CPA, PFS, 414-273-0500
Michael Kaebisch, Firm Administrator, 608-826-1900
Sattell, Johnson, Appel was founded 60 years ago on the principle of family first, more relevant today than ever. We focus on dedication to superior client service and the highest ethical conduct. Our culture fosters continual professional enrichment and community service to provide the foundation for career and personal growth.
Established in 1981, Meicher CPAs, LLP has earned an unequaled reputation for professionalism, high quality service and attention to detail. We’ve built solid relationships with our clients by working closely with them to understand their individual situations and needs. We have extensive experience in a variety of areas and offer a full range of tax and accounting services.
Tara Tomter, Sr. Campus Recruiter, Tara.Tomter@bakertilly.com
Kristin Kallies, Manager, Campus Recruitment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP is a nationally recognized, full-service accounting and advisory firm whose specialized professionals connect with clients and their businesses through refreshing candor and clear industry insight. Baker Tilly is ranked as one of the 15 largest accounting and advisory firms in the country. Headquartered in Chicago, Baker Tilly is an independent member of Baker Tilly International.
Wipfli is a top 20 Accounting & Consulting Firm! With 31 offices across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Pennsylvania our 1,400 professionals provide the firm’s 45,000 clients with industry-focused assurance, accounting, tax and consulting services. Our commitment to college recruiting is reflected year after year with an internship class of close to 70 individuals throughout the firm in 2014!
| wicpa.org IF38YOURCPA2b FIRM WOULD LIKE TO BE LISTED IN THE FIRM SPOTLIGHT, PLEASE CONTACT ELLEN ENGEL AT 262-785-0445 EXT. 4513 OR ELLEN@WICPA.ORG.
CPA2b Spring 2016, Vol. 11, No. 2 A publication of the Wisconsin Institute of CPAs: wicpa.org