Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Networking 101 - An Intern Event

I had the pleasure last Friday of sitting in on an event that we ran for a group of our Winter Interns in our Gaithersburg, MD office. A group of 17 Interns listened to Tony D., a Business Development Director, who gave them a number of great tips and pointers regarding the value of professional networking in one's career development. Some of his tips included:

- How to work a room at a networking event
- Making a good first impression
- The importance of an elevator speech
- Listening to understand
- How critical follow up is
- How to nurture relationships
- and who to think about that is in your network, and who can help you achieve your goals.

There was good conversation to be had as well. In particular, it was interesting, but not surprising to hear how difficult some our Interns found it to adapt to professional networking situations. They also found it interesting how Tony, who got is start as an Accountant found his way into sales/business development. Overall I got the sense that they got a lot out of the session.

We find it important to provide our interns meaningful development opportunities like this throughout the duration of their internship. It's events like these that we hope will make our Interns as they start their transition from student to professional, and ideally, a McGladrey employee.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

McGladrey 5th Largest on 2009 Accounting Today List

For the 3rd straight year, RSM McGladrey (combined with McGladrey & Pullen) was listed as the fifth largest accounting, tax and business consulting firm by Accounting Today. The Top 100 List (registration required) also names McGladrey as fifth largest in Tax and A&A (Accounting & Audit). Even more exciting those rankings is that McGladrey was named Number 2 in the "Pacesetters In Growth" list, which measures percent change in revenue.

Our industry has faced numerous challenges this past year like many others have. It's good to see however that our firm continues to grow at a rate higher than all but one of our competitors, and that we continue to hold strong in the Number 5 slot. Check out the List for a valuable snapshot of the accounting industry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Social Networking for Job Seekers Story Features McGladrey Recruiter

Earlier this week, McGladrey's own Maren Mercado was featured in a news story on NBC's Connecticut affiliate (NBC 30) regarding how recruiters and job seekers are using social networking tools to connect with each other. There's some very good advice here on how to use social networking to your advantage in your job search efforts.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Eternal Optimist

I'm an optimist. I have to be. Let's face it, there is more than enough bad news to go around these days, what's the point on dwelling on it, especially if we can't control it. A long time ago, I learned not to get upset by things I can't control. I'm a bit of a control freak, so that was a tough lesson (and admittedly one I still struggle with from time-to-time), but it was a critical lesson that has helped me understand my place in the world.

Having an optimistic view on life is more important now than ever in my opinion. The deep financial mess we are in right now is due to a number of factors, but one of the things keeping us from a quick recovery is this deep psychological funk, a view that things are only going to get worse. I guess that's why I was so encouraged the past few days to see the stock market rallying. Any sign of progress or success, any stories that are good, constructive and positive in nature should be celebrated. I believe that the mainstream media tends to focus and dwell on the controversial, the negative, and the pessimistic side of the world. Is it any wonder that a 200 point loss on Wall Street receives more attention in the media than a 200 point gain?

My optimistic side has shown through in the growth and development of Success starts here. Our business has seen challenges similar to others in our industry. But I'm not going to dwell on that here. For as much as we are challenged at this point in time, we also have some wonderful stories to tell. There is a lot of good going on here at McGladrey, just as there is a lot of good going on in other communities and organizations across the country. It's a great pleasure to share these stories with you here, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

A little optimism here and there can go a long way. Don't fret over things out of your control. Celebrate whatever that is good that surrounds you. Find ways to turn negatives into positives. Learn to appreciate the little things in life (That's how I was able to cope with rooting for a baseball team last year that had over 100 losses. Every strikeout, every home run, every great catch was something to savor).

I may be a bit naive in saying this, but I think that if everyone in the world made the effort to be a bit more optimistic in their work and in their life, this world would be a much better place. Naive maybe, but ultimately, am I wrong? Think about it, optimistically.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The McGladrey Intern Experience - Rachel: Part 4

Just a few hours and counting. With the end in sight, I am reminded of Juliet’s parting words to Romeo: “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” For me, this oxymoron aptly describes my mixed emotions. I feel sorrow and sadness because I’m leaving McGladrey. Yet, at the same time, I am so excited at the thought of returning as a full-time employee in the fall of 2010 after I earn my MAC (Master’s in Accounting).

I am very happy that my graduate year of study at Appalachian’s Walker College of Business includes preparation and study time for the CPA exam. This should help me complete the exam before I return to McGladrey so I will be prepared to "hit the ground running."

I am very interested to see how my internship experience impacts my attitude, approach and perspective on my studies. I have always taken my education seriously, but I now have a better and clearer understanding of the real relevance of what I am studying. A successful American accountant, Harold Geneen, former CEO of ITT once said, “You can’t run a business or anything else on a theory.” And that’s why this internship opportunity has been absolutely invaluable to me. It’s easy sometimes to lose focus when you get caught up or stuck in the abstract. It’s the real-world application of concepts, principles and rules that gives life and meaning to learning and transforms information into knowledge. And to me that’s what accounting is all about.

More than a method, more than a precise listing or enumeration of financial transactions, accounting is all about knowledge. So, thank you McGladrey - for the opportunity to gain insight into my chosen profession and for starting me on my knowledge-quest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Balancing Work and Life...with an occasional massage

***Today's post comes from a Tax Associate in the Upper Midwest Economic Unit, Darla.***

McGladrey’s commitment to WorkLife balance has impacted my families’ life by helping me meet my education and career goals. The Education Reimbursement Program (one of McGladrey’s WorkLife offerings) has helped me keep my focus on completing my Accounting degree and not on how it was going to get paid for. The program is a great motivator for employees that are debating the idea of going back to school.

After completing my degree I was able to transition from the finance department to the tax department. My education has allowed me to be a more effective tax associate in addition to enhancing my knowledge while working in finance. McGladrey's emphasis on assisting individuals in meeting their career goals was reassuring when I decided to make the transition; I knew they would guide and support me through the process.

In addition to utilizing the Education Reimbursement Program, I integrate WorkLife by dedicating at least one night a week to just hang out with my family. I do not worry about work or school; my family gets my entire attention on that day. Also, when I am feeling overly stressed or burnt out I take a lunch break to go get a massage.

If you are struggling to achieve WorkLife success you should consider looking at McGladrey. It is important to understand that McGladrey not only promotes WorkLife but follows through with it. It has been wonderful to see and experience how everyone wants to help you succeed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Going Green in the Central Plains

*** Today's post comes to us from Emily Forrester, Campus Recruiter based at our Des Moines, IA location***

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Three little words that are used with increasing frequency these days, as we all know. A number of our offices in the Central Plains Economic Unit (EU), including Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa, St. Louis, Missouri and Champaign, Illinois, are taking this mantra to the next level by introducing office ‘Green Teams’ to help McGladrey reduce its footprint.

Overall the ‘Green’ changes have included:
1) The entire EU has gone paperless in the tax and audit practices through use of customized software.
2) Eliminated disposable cups and silverware and replaced them with reusable coffee cups and silverware.
3) Removed 5 gallon water coolers because they were shipped by diesel burning trucks and made of plastic. Replaced those by adding filter systems to existing tap water dispensers.
4) Additional recycling bins designated for magazines and books have been added in each office.
5) Recycled newspapers are used for packaging instead of bubble wrap or foam peanuts.
6) Distributed information to employees on bus routes and their nearest recycling centers, along with information on how they can increase their ‘Green’ efforts at home.
7) Asked our property managers to partner with us in our efforts. Examples include requests to turn off our lights at night sooner, replacing our florescent bulbs with more efficient ones, and setting up additional recycling bins in the building.
8) As we go forward with office renovations we are asking for programmable thermostats, lights on timers, and more efficient paper towel dispensers.
9) All electronic waste is taken to a recycling center for de-commissioning.
10) Recyclable building material was used to create an IT consulting room in the Davenport, Iowa office. This room consists of walls made from aluminum which can be disassembled and relocated. In the past, the room would have been made of wood and drywall, and if we wanted to eliminate the room all of the waste would have ended up in the landfill.
11) We are sending out Green Tips, a monthly e-reminder how all of us can be more environmentally friendly.

Our employees have been very excited about these changes and we are seeing a significant reduction in the amount of waste each office is producing. We look forward to additional offices getting on board and increasing the impact of this initiative.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The McGladrey Intern Experience - Rachel: Part 3

As my internship draws to a close, I find myself in a reflective mood. Looking back over the past 9 weeks, I have had some very interesting opportunities, experiences and encounters! During this time, one of the most common questions I have been asked as an intern has been: "So Rachel, have there been any unexpected surprises? If so, were they pleasant or unpleasant?" I thought I would take this opportunity to answer this question for everyone.

I guess I’ll start with the not-so-good surprise. With much chagrin, I found I really didn’t know anything about public accounting. What do I mean by that? Well, give me a test on financial accounting, introduction to audit or individual income tax and I would probably ace it. Academically, accounting is my strong suit. However, I quickly realized that theory does not always translate or correlate to practice. Accounting in the "real world" is significantly different from what I studied in the classrooms and textbooks. I was vexed and humbled to discover that I had no idea how to do a real tax return. This disconnect between theory and application would become somewhat of a pattern during my internship. With each new assignment, I realized just how little I knew and just how much there was to know and learn about accounting. In the beginning, my reaction was to question my preparedness, my knowledge, my understanding and sometimes even my education. My self-doubt soon dissipated with the awareness that the accounting profession is a complex, living, growing, ever-evolving discipline.You’d think this revelation would be terrifying but for me, it was affirmation.

And this is the unexpected good surprise. At first, I wasn't sure that accounting was truly for me; I now know, without a doubt, that it’s the career for me. I need to be constantly challenged and mentally stimulated so this mercurial field is a great fit. I am also a very social creature which has confounded many of my friends who were concerned that I would wither in a world of numbers. I am very pleased to report to them that the accounting world is brimming with wonderful people who are happy, outgoing, energetic, and interesting. And to my good fortune, people who are genuinely concerned about my happiness and my success – which, in a 9-week span of unexpected surprises, is truly a great delight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Philly Interns named Top 100 Alex's Lemonade Stand Host

*** Today's post comes to us from Monica Luke, HR Associate in our Blue Bell, PA office as an update to a post from last July about how interns from our Philadelphia Economic Unit (EU) raised money for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.***

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Summer Interns on being named a Top 100 Stand Host 2008 by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer!

Amy A., Kat K., Christina C., Jai N., Ali P. and Tara W. participated in a community service project competition as part of their summer internship at McGladrey last summer. They split into teams and competed against each other to see who could raise the most money by hosting lemonade stands out in the community. The project included developing business plans, selecting locations for their stands, procuring supplies and sponsors, and making and selling lots of lemonade! The interns raised over $5,000 and were recognized with a plaque and gratitude for their achievement by Alex’s parents, Liz and Jay Scott: “With thousands of stands held each year, achieving Top 100 Stand Host recognition is truly an extraordinary achievement.”

Since Foundation creator Alexandra “Alex” Scott held her first front yard lemonade stand, over $25 million has been raised toward funding research and raising awareness for childhood cancer. Congratulations to the interns and all who supported them!

Monday, March 2, 2009

McGladrey Director Receives 2008 Henry W. Bloch National Award for Outstanding Community Service

*** Today's post comes to us from Karen Carper, Recruiting Manager in our Southern California Economic Unit ***

Anyone who says there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done has not met Greg Jones, a Wealth Management Director based in Pasadena, CA. Perhaps you’ve always thought about doing some volunteer work, but just never got around to it. Or, maybe you already participate in volunteer activities, but wonder if one person can really make a difference.
Last year, Greg Jones, along with an Assistant Governor in the local Rotary District, spent two weeks in India with 50+ other Rotarians from around the world. “Our main purpose was to participate in India’s National Immunization Day for Polio,” Greg explains. In a joint effort with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and several other agencies, the Rotary Club is working to eradicate polio throughout the world.

On National Immunization Day, Greg and his group went to several small, rural villages southwest of Delhi. “We helped immunize small children by giving them two drops of an oral polio vaccine. We were the first non-Indians to visit most of these places,” he says. “I helped with about 275 immunizations. 1.2 million kids were immunized across India that day. Believe me it was a real experience.”

After administering vaccines, Greg and his fellow Rotarians traveled to Chahalka, a village with a population of about 7,000 and no running water, no bathrooms of any kind and very little electricity. Greg says, “It is very much like a medieval village in most respects.” Here the volunteer group built a job training center and a day care center, and worked on some sanitation projects. He says, “We also did some work at a school in town. Only about 6% of the students are girls (but they seem to be the top students).” Now back in Pasadena, Greg is helping to raise funds to build the first toilets in Chahalka, and has been traveling throughout the local area to give talks on the trip to build awareness of the Polio Eradication effort and to raise money for the Chahalka project.

Greg believes and practices the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” As part of his Rotary Club duties, Greg oversees five clubs in the Pasadena area and participates in several other Rotary activities, including feeding the homeless at Pasadena's Union Station and adopting Field Elementary School. He traveled with people from the District to build five houses in Tecate, Mexico in May of last year. He’s the Vice Chairman of the Post Parade Committee for the Tournament of Roses, serves on the Board of Directors of the Rose Bowl and is on a few other community boards around town, including a support group for the Hastings Branch Library, which he created a few years ago. All this, and Greg still manages to be a successful Wealth Management Director. For these extensive charitable efforts, Greg recently received the Henry W. Bloch National Award for Outstanding Community Service for 2008. So, Yes, you CAN make a difference!