Blog Archive

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dallas Office Joins the Fab Four to Fight Leukemia

***Today's post comes to us from Trina Kilpatrick, Recruiter in our Dallas, TX office***

The Dallas, TX office of McGladrey has proudly “joined the fight” against leukemia. As Presenting Sponsor and lead fundraiser of The BeatLeukemia Ball, the Dallas office is definitely making a difference.

The BeatLeukemia Ball is an annual “black-tie” fundraising event. All ticket proceeds for the gala go to The Leukemia Texas Research and Patient Center, an organization dedicated to the research and patient aid for those individuals suffering from leukemia in Texas. Roger Hendren, Managing Partner of the Dallas office, helped open the evening by thanking those who took the time to attend and for their numerous contributions to leukemia research. Stephen Young, the Executive Director, of Leukemia Texas also had some kind words to share with those in attendance. The evening began with a cocktail reception and culminated with an epic musical show by the Fab Four which caused those in attendance to travel back in time to the swinging 1960s by performing some of The Beatles most popular songs . This event was an evening of memorable entertainment, learning, and laughter.

The Dallas office has been a corporate partner with this organization since 2006. In an effort to “go the extra mile” in raising awareness and fundraising monies, in 2007, an internal office fundraising campaign was created: Wear Your Jeans: Beat Leukemia. This initiative allowed our employees to wear their jeans on the last Friday of each month for a $5 donation to LeukemiaTexas. In 2008, this concept was expanded further to include every Friday during the summer. During the campaign, weekly “Beat Leukemia Facts” are emailed to all Dallas employees to increase awareness and support of the program. During this time, information about Leukemia, LeukemiaTexas, and The BeatLeukemia Ball are shared. For 2008, an additional $2,700.00 was raised through this initiative. The Ball took place on November 1, 2008.

In 2008, LeukemiaTexas awarded 3 new research grants, totaling $450,000.00.

The Dallas office is proud to be apart of this fight!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Next Degree: McGladrey's MST Program

Darlene D. has been a CPA for 30 years. She worked for the Big Four when it was the Big Eight. And she’s owned her own firm. But she never had a good opportunity to pursue her master’s degree in taxation — until now...

“I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning,” says Darlene, manager in our Ohio Economic Unit (EU). “So when I learned about McGladrey’s Master of Science in Taxation (MST) program, my only response was, ‘Where do I sign up?’”

Darlene expected to have to pay for at least some portion of the program: “When I first learned about the program, I naturally assumed I’d pay at least half from my own pocket. But that didn’t deter me,” she says. “Then I learned that everything—books, tuition—was picked up by the firm. I can’t think of a better employee benefit for a tax professional.”

McGladrey’s MST program, hosted by DePaul University exclusively for McGladrey, is entirely Web-based. In the three-plus years that Darlene and her colleagues took classes, they never had to leave their office—until the big graduation party last November in Chicago, of course.

Darlene, along with nine other McGladrey students, was a member of McGladrey’s first graduating class. More than 80 students will graduate with master’s degrees in tax in the near future.

According to program coordinator Diane K., director-learning and professional development, the MST program may be the only in-house accredited master’s program in the country. The curriculum is tailored to the types of clients McGladrey typically serves. The program lasts a little more than three years, and classes are “held” online one night a week and taught by three full-time DePaul professors.

Chris S., managing director, along with all Great Lakes EU leaders, is a huge proponent of the program. He says the topic comes in very handy during on-campus interviews. “When I talk to undergrads, I explain that we like to see our employees get their CPAs first, work a few years to get some real-world client experience, and then go into the MST program,” he says. “That really seems to appeal to a lot of the recruits I meet with.”

According to one of those recent Great Lakes EU new hires, Peter E., “Without a doubt, the MST program was a significant factor for deciding which firm to work for….The idea that I could work for McGladrey full-time with the MST program instead of having to return to campus for a year was amazing.”

If you do join McGladrey as a Tax Professional, be sure to contact your local HR department to learn more about how you can participate in this great learning opportunity.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Preparing for Busy Season with Central Plains Tax Interns

*** Today's post comes to us from Emily Forrester, Campus Recruiter in our Central Plains Economic Unit ***

A week of orientation recently translated into a week of fun for 48 tax interns from the Central Plains Economic Unit. Interns from ten offices across Illinois, Iowa and Missouri came together in our Cedar Rapids, IA location to complete technical tax preparation training as they began their internships this busy season. Adjusting to an 8am-5pm work schedule was difficult at first for some, but the tax trainer, Michaelanne W. from the Iowa City, IA office, “showed excitement for us being there and kept a lively, upbeat atmosphere” according to Allison C. from the Kansas City office.

Interns learned the ins and outs of our tax software, how to read and translate investment statements and recognize various types of taxable income on them, as well as basic federal and state tax return preparation techniques. Joe P., an intern in Des Moines, Iowa said: “Training created a strong starting point for my internship, giving me a better understanding of the tax policies and procedures at McGladrey. I’m looking forward to expanding my understanding of taxation over the next few months.”

A significant amount of time was also spent during the week to allow the interns to get to know each other outside of the classroom and have some fun together. Russell J. from the Des Moines office put it well when he said “(we spent) quality time every day learning how to prepare individual returns followed by competitive activities with our fellow interns for fun. The evening events were a good balance between formal and informal activities. Some nights consisted of a planned activity with McGladrey while others were unplanned time to mingle with the fellow interns.” A highlight of the week was a trip to a local arcade and activity center for laser tag, mini golf and bowling.

Overall, Nicole C. from the Cedar Rapids office said “The orientation in Cedar Rapids was a great way to be introduced to McGladrey. I felt comfortable arriving for my first day of real work because I was already familiar with my office and my fellow interns. I’ve been confident in preparing returns because we had a lot of practice working with example cases and a great instructor during training. Without that week, I would not have been as well prepared for the assignments I’ve already taken on during my internship.” It was a very busy week, indeed, and these interns now have a solid foundation to build upon as they begin their careers at McGladrey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter Intern Capstone Conference – MaP Your Future

Each winter and summer, McGladrey hires hundreds of interns across the country to provide real work experiences to college students. Our goal is for them to take those experiences back to school to compliment their collegiate studies. One component of their experience with us is attending an intern-focused developmental conference.

On January 14th, we welcomed the arrival of 77 winter interns, representing 5 of our 16 markets, for our first ever Winter Intern Capstone Conference – MaP Your Future. We have held similar conferences for our summer interns, but this was our first chance to expose our interns to the frigid weather at Q Center in St. Charles, Illinois, in January (over night temperatures dipped in the negative teens with wind chills at 40 below zero)!

Over the course of our 2 + days together we took our interns on a journey to explore themselves and who they want to become, both personally and professionally. We heard from Steve Tait, McGladrey’s President and Kimpa Moss, our Chief HR Officer, about their career paths and perspectives on growth and development. We also discussed such thought provoking topics as “Career Equity”, “Leading from the Edge”, “Circle of Control” and “Living with Purpose”. One highlight was our discussion on Pure Instincts, which uses the Kolbe Index to help students understand how they process information and risk, instinctively. By understanding their Kolbe scores, our interns were provided another powerful tool to help them on their journey.

The new element at this conference was the introduction of project teams. Our interns were divided into teams of five to eight people each and asked to address business issues facing the accounting profession.

After the students presented their project team results, we celebrated with awards for the best solution in each of 3 categories. Frigid temperatures outside were no match for the warm memories and laughter shared when the conference was concluded with a slide show recap of the week’s events.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Zach Wins Big in Hawaii

There's alot of places I wish I could of been yesterday other than my house:
  • With 500,000 of my closest friends just 20 miles south of my home at the 'We Are One' Inaugural concert. Too cold and too crowded though.
  • In Pittsburgh to see my 2nd favorite team win the AFC Championship. Colder than DC, not something I'm interested in right now.
  • In Arizona to see the miraculous Cardinals win the NFC Championship. Warmer than DC, but I'm not really a fan of either team that played yesterday. Congrats to Success starts here contributor Todd, who lives not far from the home of the Cardinals.
Nah, you know where I really wish I was yesterday? The Sony Open in Hawaii, where Team McGladrey member Zach Johnson won his fifth PGA tournament, finishing with a final round 5-under 65 for a two stroke victory. Oh the beauty and warmth of Hawaii... Another Zach Johnson victory... THAT would of been a perfect Sunday. Congratulations Zach!

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Yorkers Giving Back By Wearing Jeans and Picking Corn

*** Today's post comes to us from Elizabeth Scholz, Recruiting Manager in our New York Economic Unit (NYEU) ***

When employees of the New York office said that they wanted more opportunities to give back to our community, our leadership listened. The Community Action Team (CAT), comprised of 50 employees, was formed with the mission of focusing on ways for us to give back, and also have some fun in the at the same time.

Our “Jeans Days for Charities” program is going on its one year anniversary. Last January, the CAT, along with the support of our leadership team, announced Fridays in February were going to be Jeans Days for charity. All jean-wearing Associates through Supervisors donated a minimum of $10 on Fridays during the month of February, Managers and above donated a minimum of $20. There were quite a few generous folks who gave more than that amount each month. Some of the charities supported by Jeans Day included the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, Operation Backpack, the Children’s Aid Society and the American Heart Association. One month we raised money for the RSM Iowa Relief fund for our employees whose lives were disrupted by the flooding. Another month we raised money for Myanmar/China through the American Red Cross International Response Fund. During 2008, the NYEU raised approximately $20,000 for these charities, and collected more than 70 backpacks for Operation Backpack and over one hundred children’s toys for the holidays for the Children’s Aid Society.

During the summer of 2008, the CAT stepped out of the office and worked with City Harvest on two initiatives. One initiative was to harvest corn on a farm about 50 miles west of NYC. The other was to work at a men’s shelter in the City to do minor repairs, clean and paint. We had 180 employees and several partners volunteer for these initiatives. The corn that was harvested ended up back in the many NYC food pantries and soup kitchens and the men who utilize the shelter were now able to more fully enjoy their newly improved surroundings.

Ha M., an Assurance Associate, said regarding what the corn harvesting experience meant to her and the other employees who participated: “I think it was an experience that all of us enjoyed. It was a great opportunity for us to show our support for those in need and give back to the community. The fact that it was a company function only made it better, since it allowed us to bond with our colleagues and work as a team beyond the professional setting.”

We are very proud of the work that our CAT and our employees have done to support various charities and local community initiatives over the past year. Jeans Days for Charities continues into 2009 and we are looking forward to further contributions to these and other worthy causes. Our donations for the months of January through March will go to the March of Dimes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Busy Season Fun with the Chicago Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution Team

*** Today's post comes from Lauren Brunell, Campus Recruiter in our Chicago, IL office***

Busy season is a time that many accountants spend all year dreading. They think of the long hours, the difficult conversations with clients and the mountains of work that pile up during the months of January through mid-April. Although many aspects of busy season are unavoidable in public accounting, here at McGladrey, we try to ease the pains of busy season by making time for a little fun.

The Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution (MWD) team in the Chicago office certainly knows how to kick back and relieve stress. Each year Karen K., the head of our MWD group, puts together a social event that allows for the audit and tax professionals to mingle and get to know one another better. In the past these annual events have included happy hours and a trivia game.

Their most recent activity was a McGladrey version of Double Dare. The two teams were divided by function and were comprised of four of the new associates and a partner: Tax vs. Audit. A few of the dares that the teams had to complete, as described by Jason S., one of the organizers, were:

1) Hot Dog Catch – One person throws a hot dog across the room to be caught by a fellow team member. The team member catching the hot dog had to catch the projectile by using a hot dog bun. The catcher than hands the hot dog in the bun to a fellow team member who applies ketchup who then hands the hotdog and bun to another team member who applies mustard. The first team to “make” 6 hotdogs won.

2) Transferring juice to a different cup – Each team had to transfer juice from 4 individual cups (one for each team member) to one bigger cup across the room solely using straws. The first team to fill the other cup won the event

3) Silly String Disaster– A team member had to hold a cup with his mouth and have a blind folded team member attempt to fill the cup with silly string from 10 yards away while being blind folded. This event had to be done in 30 seconds.

4) Peanut toss – A blindfolded team member had to toss peanuts into a box about ten yards away that was being help by another blindfolded team member. The other two team members were to coach the individual tossing the peanuts and the catcher without touching them.

There were prizes to be won and it appeared that a lot of fun was had by all. Members of the firm from all levels (including partners) were there to cheer the teams on. It seems that the new associates may have had the most fun though as this event gave them an opportunity to meet many members of the department that they had not yet worked with. The feedback from this Double Dare event was that everyone is looking forward to what is in store for next year! Double Dare is just one small example of our unique culture that makes McGladrey a fun place to work, even during the challenging cycles that seem to personify public accounting.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On Top in The O.C.

Another local honor for McGladrey, this time from The Orange County Register, who listed McGladrey as one of the Top Workplaces Among Small-Sized Companies (The small, medium and large categories were based on the number of employees based in Orange County, not the firms’ total employee counts.)

McGladrey was one of only two accounting firms to receive this honor—in any category.

Honorees were selected and ranked based on results from employee surveys conducted anonymously by a third party. The survey methodology was as follows:
  • Employees were asked to respond to 20 statements about their workplace
  • Statements probed different aspects of the workplace experience: direction, execution, managers, career, conditions, compensation and benefits
  • The surveys were compared across organizations, with only the 60 best out of 141 participants appearing on the list

The Irvine, CA office is our location in The O.C. Congrats to everyone in Irvine for this great honor.

Monday, January 5, 2009

McGladrey Gives Grass-Roots-Style in 2008

First of all, a Happy New Year to everyone!

McGladrey employees across the country were in the giving spirit in 2008, and gave back to their communities in a big way. I was constantly impressed by the quantity of community service activities that occurred over the past several months. A number of those events were documented here at Success starts here.

Most of these activities were locally organized and executed at the grass-roots level, and there were so many of these events that we couldn't possibly keep up with them all. They shouldn't go without mentioning, so here's a list of some more ways that McGladrey gave back in 2008:
  • The National Practices Economic Unit (EU) raised money and collected goods to create 143 individual care packages that were sent to more than a dozen military units, most of which were the home units of employees’ family members overseas.

  • The Charlotte, NC office collected contributions in the form of cash, gift cards, clothes, electronics, school supplies, toys and more for The Relatives, a local youth shelter.

  • The Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, IA office 'adopted' a total of four local needy families, providing them with clothes, gift cards and cash for the holiday season.

  • The Des Moines, IA office gave gifts to 25 children through the Adopt-A-Star program.

  • The Kansas City, MO and Timonium, MD offices donated toys and cash to Toys For Tots.

  • The Phoenix, AZ office collected enough donations to prepare 6,300 meals for the St. Mary's Food Bank.

  • The Florida EU raised funds for breast cancer awareness.

  • Employees at the Cleveland, OH office donated bags of groceries to the Cleveland Food Bank.

  • Offices around the firm raised tens of thousands of dollars for the United Way.

  • Numerous office across the firm, including the one in Gaithersburg, MD where I occasionally sit, held 'Jeans Days' to collect donations for local and national charities.

I know I'm probably missing some additional community service activities that took place in 2008, but regardless, everyone's participation was greatly appreciated. The generosity of our employees in terms of time, money and effort is great reflection of our people and their desire to help their communities as well as local and national causes.

McGladrey's 2008 community service efforts are also reflective of the firm listening to it's people. Not long ago, the perception was (evidenced in an employee survey) that the firm was not doing enough to support our local communities and important causes. McGladrey leadership heard this loud and clear, and the increased emphasis on community service this past year is the result. At Success starts here, we look forward to providing you continued coverage of our community service initiatives in 2009 and beyond.