What We’re Reading – 7/12/2017

July 12, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on networking, management, and innovation. 

 

Learn from a seasoned veteran of the business world on his vision of management: 

https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/the-art-and-philosophy-of-leadership-and-management

 

Do you cringe when you hear the word “networking”? For many people, networking can be intimidating and stressful. Here are six ways you can network if you don’t like talking to strangers: 

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-network-if-you-dont-like-talking-to-strangers/

 

Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, shares the challenges and opportunities he’s been faced with, as well as career advice for entrepreneurs. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2017/05/23/drew-houston-why-the-most-successful-entrepreneurs-solve-big-problems/#66bcdadb7acd

 

Those who came before us often can lead us the way forward. Here are some lessons from history’s greatest innovators: 

https://medium.freecodecamp.org/lessons-from-historys-great-innovators-that-you-should-never-forget-4d5e432adcde

 

What We’re Reading – 6/28/2017

June 28, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on retention, management, and development.

 

Why are some of your best employees packing their bags and leaving? These warning signs might just help you keep your most valued workers.

http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2017-05-17-Are-Employers-Missing-Retention-Red-Flags

 

Giving an employee critical feedback is never fun. It’s part of the job, but doesn’t have to be negative. Learn how to constructively give feedback to your low-performing employees with these 4 tips:

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/heres-how-good-managers-give-bad-employees-feedback.html

 

An increase in training programs and employee development is imminent, according to the American Insitute of CPAs. Indiana CPAs and beyond, what are you doing to develop your own employees?

http://www.cgma.org/magazine/2017/may/employee-development-and-training-201716652.html

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

What We’re Reading – 6/21/2017

June 21, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on job recruitment, technology, engagement, and innovation. 

 

Technology is constantly evolving the accounting industry. Here is a list of trends for firm leaders to keep an eye on. CPAs, how will these trends affect you and your organizations? 

http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2017/jun/technology-trends-for-accounting-firm-leaders-201716749.html

 

Do you feel appreciated and respected at work? If you have your doubts, here are three signs to look for in your company to see if they truly value you as an employee. 

http://fortune.com/2015/10/22/signs-company-values-employees/?xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_FORTUNE

 

 Read on to discover why John Graham, professor at Duke Universy’s Fuqua School, shares and addresses this issue. This primary issue faced by CFOs and companies might surprise you. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cfos-are-feeling-1497838320

 

Innovation doesn’t always mean discovering or creating the “next big thing.” Instead, it is sometimes the smaller, lesser discoveries that really lead to a company’s success. As CPAs, how can we recognize this type of innovation? 

https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Bad-Innovation-Is-Just-What-Your-Company-Needs?gko=cc371&utm_source=itw&utm_medium=20170620&utm_campaign=resp

 

According to this article from Deloitt University Press, the workforce of tomorrow needs two primary things: engagement and passion. Read on to learn more about why these traits are important and how you focus on fostering them in your own organizations today.   

https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/topics/talent/future-workforce-engagement-in-the-workplace.html?id=us:2em:3na:dup2725:awa:dup:061317&sfid=0031400002Y8aGdAAJ

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

 

What We’re Reading – 6/14/2017

June 14, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on change, employee management, and continuing professional education. 

 

Change is a constant in today’s accounting industry. CPAs, how will these four trends driving change in the industry affect you?

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/the-four-trends-driving-accounting-today?brief=00000158-6edb-da3c-af5a-ffff76ed0000

 

Learn in this interview from FEI Daily how finance executives are handling the banking revolution in speed and satisfaction of customer expectations. 

The Three Things Financial Execs Can Learn from the Banking Revolution: A Q&A With Grant Thornton’s Simon Moss, Part 1

 

Why are your employees giving you their two-week notice and leaving? This article from CGMA Magazine explains why, and offers five tips you can do to reduce employee turnover in your company. 

http://www.cgma.org/magazine/2017/jun/how-to-reduce-employee-turnover.html?linkId=38609579

 

Similar to the CPA Center of Excellence’s support of competency-based professional development for CPAs, The International Accounting Education Standards Board has proposed a revision that moves away from traditional credit-hours based learning. Learn more here: 

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/proposed-international-standard-focuses-on-learning-outcomes-for-accountants

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 6/7/2017

June 7, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on leadership and productivity. 

 

CPAs, how have you managed conflict within your company? Learn how three CEO’s displayed incredible leadership to their employees in the midst of conflict:

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/these-3-emails-from-the-ceos-of-starbucks-microsoft-and-amazon-teach-extraordi.html?cid=sf01001&sr_share=twitter

 

“Silences creates accountability for a response.” Sometimes, the best way to let voices be heard is to silence your own:

https://www.inc.com/lee-colan/how-silence-speaks-louder-than-words.html?cid=sf01001&sr_share=twitter

 

Everyone knows the drag of long, fruitless meetings. Read on to learn the secrets to running more productive meetings. As CPAs, how have you incorporated these methods into your own meetings?

https://www.fastcompany.com/40423133/seven-ceos-secrets-for-running-more-productive-meetings?utm_content=buffer8f82b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 5/31/2017

May 31, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology. 

The 2016 Capital Trends study has identified five things your company can do right now to foster new leadership. As CPAs, how can you implement these tactics to nurture your workplace’s future leaders? 

http://deloitte.wsj.com/cmo/2017/05/25/5-ways-to-nurture-developing-leaders

According to the Harvard Business School, there are several reasons why having an openness to new experiences gives you a more entrepreneurial spirit than your peers.

https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/harvard-research-says-this-1-thing-distinguishes-entrepreneurial-leaders-from-co.html

New developments in informatics applications are poised to forever change the way risk management is done. Read on to learn how “R.I.S.K.” is making this change and how it might affect YOUR company.

https://medium.com/@TGRCBB/meet-r-i-s-k-why-your-next-chief-risk-officer-will-be-a-smart-robot-5b91e5f840b1

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

 

What We’re Reading – 5/17/2017

May 17, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

 

This week’s recommended reading and listening on authenticity, leadership and education. 

 

“Many of us feel at times as if we are impersonating a leader rather than working out what it means to be ourselves in a position of leadership.” Learn how to go beyond imitation, and become a more authentic leader in your life with this article from strategy+business.com.

https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Eliminate-Your-Authenticity-Filters

 

Sometimes, it’s the little things that end up making a big difference in the success of a leader. Here are 9 actions that all great leaders share in common:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/294347

 

In addition to what we’ve been reading, here’s what we’ve been listening to as well. In this podcast, INCPAS CEO Gary Bolinger and our very own Strategist Jess Halverson Bowyer discuss the importance of the changing nature of continuing education in the digital age.

Episode 26 – From Clock Hours to Competence in Life and Work

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 5/10/2017

May 10, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on technology, leadership, and relationship-building. 

 

Advances in machine learning and AI are leading to a situation where finance must embrace new technology. Although many CFOs have reservations on its use, automation could prove to be a valuable resource and help shift the CFO’s focus back to strategic thinking. 

http://daily.financialexecutives.org/ai-machine-learning-financial-management-qa-intaccts-aaron-harris/ 

 

Strategic relationships are a key to success in every business. Uber, Adidas, and Tesla have proven exemplary in these types of collaborations. How can your business benefit from building these types of mutually-beneficial relationships?

https://www.fastcompany.com/40414038/how-uber-adidas-and-tesla-use-strategic-relationships-to-get-ahead 

 

PwC is setting the example for trust-based leadership by using its diverse workforce to make a difference in the lives of its clients.  

https://www.fastcompany.com/40417229/how-pwcs-tim-ryan-creates-trust-based-leadership

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

The Future of Learning and Why You Should Care

May 2, 2017By Jennifer Briggs, CAEArticle, Learning and Career Development

Here at the CPA Center of Excellence and Indiana CPA Society, the driver behind our organization, we have been talking a lot about a competency-based approach to professional development, advocating for change to the CPE regulations and effective learning for CPAs, and the future of learning in a larger sense. Below is our quick guide to the future of professional development and learning.

SOME BACKGROUND:
In 2012 an Indiana CPA Society Board-level task force produced a white paper on the Future of Competency. In this paper we sought to look at the very broad world of education (K-12, higher education and continuing professional education) and consider trends and changes. As an association we need to ensure we’re meeting our members’ needs, and since CPE is such a big part of CPAs professional commitment, we wanted to know more about how education is evolving. After the work we did, we concluded that, well, there’s a lot more work to do.

Education is changing everywhere you go. In just a few minutes of conversation with any K-12 grade student you learn that online learning is so prevalent that some schools don’t even have snow days anymore — if it’s snowing, they just learn from home online. First-graders are being issued iPads. Hard copies of text books are a bit outdated. Smart boards are prevalent and flipped classrooms are the norm at one Indianapolis school. In the area of professional education, simulation and scenario-based learning is becoming more valuable. Some firms like Deloitte have gone to extensive measures creating entire campuses, like Deloitte University, with its enhanced learning and simulations that provide immediate feedback.

I had the privilege to be a member of the AICPA Future of Learning Task Force in 2013-14. I visited Harvard University and heard from their education experts, some from MIT and other nationally-recognized education innovators. I grew to understand our road to change was going to be hard, but that if we don’t start experimenting now, it will be even harder to catch up later. Even at these elite institutions, changing behaviors about learning wasn’t necessarily simple, but an ongoing process of trial and error. Despite that, it was evident the world isn’t going to become less complex anytime soon. With the chance to hear Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speak about his mission to provide “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere,” I better understood how technology is changing how we learn. It’s not about webinars. It’s about the accessibility of education — to anyone, anywhere. What does this mean for how we value and measure education as an organization at large, and for the CPA profession?

WHY CPAS SHOULD CARE:

1. THE YOUNG PEOPLE YOU HIRE WILL BE INCREASINGLY DISINTERESTED IN SITTING in a classroom for eight hours at a time to earn CPE. And it’s not about moving it online. Sitting at a computer and staring at a screen with little interaction might be even less tolerable. The type of education you offer may be a differentiator for young people when choosing an employer. They are going to look for hands-on learning and real life scenarios in a way we haven’t seen before.

2. THE WAY YOU UNDERSTAND SOMEONE’S EDUCATION IS GOING TO CHANGE. Learning is accessible in so many ways, and with the complexity of our day-to-day workloads, we’ll be looking for people who can get the job done — not necessarily people with a specific GPA or a degree that took X number of years to attain. What do they know and how will you know they know it? We will begin to look to things like digital badges to tell us where someone has an expertise. Or, which MOOC’s did someone participate in and finish?

3. YOU, OR YOUR ORGANIZATION, SPEND A LOT OF TIME AND MONEY ON CONTINUING EDUCATION per regulatory requirements to meet an arbitrary number of hours to say you’ve maintained your competency as a CPA. Are you always getting bang for your buck in the current hours-based system? Does learning really only happen if it’s done in 50-minute increments? Or, is learning continuous and can it be earned and documented in different ways? Education is a critical area for the CPA profession. For the reasons stated, and many others, the CPA Center of Excellence and the Indiana CPA Society continue to ask questions and study the future of learning and competency.

SOME DEFINITIONS:

MOOC
Massive Open Online Courses are generally free and provide online, interactive learning. Courses typically have unlimited participation. EdX is one of the more prominent providers with universities like UC Berkeley, Harvard and MIT offering courses this way. Generally no official credit is offered; the learner is recognized for completing the course and learning the content.

Flipped Classroom
A form of learning where the “lecture” part is typically viewed online before a class and class time is used for collaboration, in-depth discussion or working on actual problems. It’s basically flipping the lecture and homework. The homework is done with the instructor so the student can ask specific questions or talk with others as needed to gain better insight and a better understanding of the content.

Digital Badges
Digital badges are an assessment and credentialing mechanism that is housed and managed online. Badges are designed to validate learning, and hold the potential to transform where and how learning is valued. They help demonstrate skills learned either online or in person. They are characterized by a symbol of some kind (a badge) that is digital and is coded to show whomever clicks on it, the skills, experiences, etc., achieved by the learner.

Mozilla
Launched in 1998, Mozilla is a community of technologists working to make the Internet accessible to all and to promote innovation. One of the group’s project is Mozilla Backpack. Available at backpack.openbadges.org, the backpack is like a locker you had in school or a network drive on your computer. It’s simply a place you can store your digital badges, making it easier to share them online via social media or your LinkedIn profile. Read the last page in our online courses guide for a brief tutorial on uploading your digital badges to Mozilla Backpack.

Sal Khan/Khan Academy
Through Khan Academy, students can make use of a library of content, including interactive challenges, assessments, and videos from any computer with access to the web. Sal Khan’s speech about his mission received a standing ovation at the October 2013 AICPA Council meeting in Los Angeles.

Future of Competency
A 2012-13 INCPAS task force that focused on the identification (plan), acquisition (education), and demonstration (experience) of behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for successful performance as a professional. Learning is one part of the future of competency. Read their report.

Future of Learning Task Force
A 2013-14 AICPA task force explored a new vision, developed by the task force, to reinvent lifelong learning and competency in the CPA profession. The task force research resulted in an extensive report.

Smart Board
The Smart Board is an interactive whiteboard that uses touch detection for user input (for example, scrolling and right mouse-click) in the same way as normal PC input devices.

Competency-based Learning
Learning formats that allow students flexibility to learn where and when they want to and to demonstrate mastery of content vs. completing a specific semester, or hours-based system. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education had several experimental sites allowing universities to try this approach without losing federal-aid eligibility. This is the type of education we advocate at the CPA Center of Excellence.

 

 

 

 

 

Burnout is Real, But it’s Avoidable

April 24, 2017By Jennifer Briggs, CAEArticle, Blog, Learning and Career Development

I know I’ve talked incessantly about going back to school for my MBA at the ripe old age of 42 (see blog 1 and blog 2), but I’m bringing it up again because post-graduation I have some thoughts on burnout. That’s right. Instead of basking in the glow of my advanced education, when all was done I felt lost, a little numb, and frankly, bored. Thankfully, it was a temporary feeling and I’m recovering. I thought about writing on burnout this week because right after busy season, I’m guessing my friends in public accounting can relate.

During two full years of classes two nights a week, plus my job and family, I thought I was handling it like a champ. And mostly I was. But when it was all over I crashed hard. I couldn’t settle down. I couldn’t read a book without feeling the need to highlight something. I had what felt like endless migraines. I found my family to be sort of irritating. I’d think things like “I’m STILL here hanging out with you? Don’t I have to be somewhere else?” I realize that’s terrible (sorry family). I’d wrapped myself up so tightly in being efficient and effective and scheduled that I had no idea how to just BE anymore.

I keep reading about burnout and now I know it’s real. I think it’s why many companies and firms are adding sabbaticals to their benefits; many times these are mandatory. People just need a break sometimes — and they might not even know it. It’s important to be vigilant and take care of yourself even during your busiest times. Don’t do what I did. Examples of my bad behavior: No time for the gym — just give it up. Friends — I’ll probably have to see you in about two years. Family — I’ll show up, but I’ll often be preoccupied. I think I was trying to break a record for coffee consumption. And, I did it all to myself as I couldn’t possibly have a family, boss or colleagues who were more supportive. I just didn’t really notice what was happening.

There are articles everywhere that help us deal with burnout. Here are just a few:

I’ll boil it down to just four of my favorite tips:

  1. Take deep breaths. Often. Many times a day in fact. You’d be shocked how helpful this can be and how it clears your head if even only for a little while.
  2. Take days off with no designated purpose. Not to chaperone a field trip or work on your house. Just take a selfish day for yourself even if you feel selfish every day for being so busy – you still deserve ‘you time’.
  3. Take time to exercise. I’m sorry. I hate it, but it actually works. Do whatever makes you feel good and do it even when you don’t want to. I credit Stephanie Parton on our staff for inspiring me on this one.
  4. Take a few minutes each day to write a manifesto. Not a creepy one like the Unabomber, but one about what you want and need out of life. Just start writing and you’ll be surprised what comes out.

In an article I read recently in Inc. magazine (10 Mistakes Smart People Never Make Twice) Travis Bradberry says, “Emotionally intelligent people are successful because they never stop learning. They learn from their mistakes, they learn from their successes, and they’re always changing themselves for the better.”

I talked in my last blog about being proud of my accomplishment in going back to school and trying to better myself through continuous learning, so I felt I should also share some mistakes I made along the way that led to a feeling of burnout. I hope that I’m emotionally intelligent enough to not make those same mistakes again. And maybe, just maybe, someone who reads this will not make the mistakes in the first place. Deep breath.