Blog Archive

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Glamorous Home Office Life

Written by Kim McLaughlin
Talent Acquisition Manager
New Jersey

Kim McLaughlin, Talent Acquisition
I often tell people that I work from home, and they oooh and aaah at “how great that is.”  I appreciate their unique interest and have to admit that, more often than not, it is a really great gig.  At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if they truly understand what working from home is all about.  So today, I thought I would share with you this one insider’s look at working from home.

My office is in the basement—the very definition of glamour, right?  One little window at the top of my plain white walls tells me what the day is like outside.  At the end of my day, I have a 14-stair “commute” home which works well while trying to manage the hectic schedule of a 5-person family.  But, there are days (especially when my young girls are overly excitable) when a 20-30 minute commute by car or public transportation would be a welcome way to unwind.

The dress code here is casual.  I find, though, that the days when I “dress up” can be far more productive than the days I spend in sweatpants and a baseball cap.

My schedule is flexible.  Without the physical presence of co-workers by my side most days, I am able to decide what I work on throughout the day.  It’s an ideal arrangement for someone who is self-motivated and disciplined, and I believe I have gotten more skilled at flexing over the years.  Each year and life situation (the addition of children, pets, etc…) brings a new piece to the puzzle and some trial and error until I can get it to “fit.”

I love my work-at-home arrangement.  The benefits of it far outweigh any drawbacks that come with the deal.  And for those considering such an option some time in their career, I offer the following suggestions:
  • Talk to others who have worked from home and find out their tips and tricks
  • Make it a rule to visit your main office on a regular basis (and define what “regular” works for you and your company)
  • Schedule recurring calls or video chats with your team members; voice-to-voice is always better than email or IM
  • Plan your days flexibly and focus on your work during work hours and your personal items during personal hours.  In today’s multi-tasking world, these hours often overlap, but using this as a guidepost will help you feel that neither life is getting short-changed
  • Review your arrangement frequently to determine if it’s working for you, your co-workers and your family/friends.  Your work life changes as quickly as your personal life so it’s important to keep your pulse on the reality of your situation
Do you work from home?  Do you know anyone who works from home?  Are you considering working from home at some point in your career?  I would love to know more about your situation and have you share suggestions from your own experiences.  Please be sure to comment below.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Succeeding as an Intern

Written by Valerie Koufidakis
Tax Intern
Boston, MA

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am in the midst of my third internship in three years. In that time, I’ve picked up on some tips that have allowed me great success in my jobs. I wanted to share and hopefully you will find them helpful as well!

Act like a professional…
…..not a lazy intern! At my last internship, someone in the office mistook me as a full-time staff associate, and needless to say, I was flattered! Interns in general can get a bad rep, and people might think we can’t handle complicated work. I am on a personal mission to prove all of these people wrong! In addition to obvious advice such as showing up on time and dressing well, I think a lot of “acting like a professional” is in the way you carry yourself.
When working with somebody in the office, I try to maintain a professional demeanor in person as well as through e-mails and phone calls. Whenever I am meeting someone for the first time, I always have a big smile and an extended hand. These small behavioral actions demonstrate my desire to succeed, as well as my enthusiasm for the job. Even when I am assigned tedious office work (ohhh, scanning!), I take it on with a smile. I’m grateful for any work that people give me, because it shows they trust me. I don’t want to ruin that trust by complaining!

Put yourself out there.
This week, the tax department at the Boston office held their “2nd Annual Office Putting Contest.” An ode to the McGladrey Classic I suppose, but also a great way to meet people in the office in a fun and informal setting. The contest was complete with multiple courses set up in and around cubes and offices, an official bracket established, and pizza and drinks provided for those waiting to putt. I was hesitant to even attend, as most people I knew in the office were not going, but of course I went and had a great time! I didn’t make it past the second round (not that I had high expectations), but in all of the time that I wasn’t playing I was making great connections with my coworkers.

At a large office like ours, chances are you’ll never even work directly with everyone in the tax department.  When you know people though, there is a good chance they’ll come to you with work. As an intern, this is great for me, as I want to get as much exposure to different aspects of tax while I can. So while going to this event was a tad awkward in the beginning, once I got to talking with people, I really enjoyed myself.  And now that I’ve met a few more coworkers, I feel much more comfortable going to them for help when I need it around the office.

Find ways to keep busy.
Have you ever heard the famous quote “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean” by Ray Kroc? While the work at McGladrey is a bit different than what I expect a McDonald’s employee might have to deal with, I think the same mindset applies. The best employees are always looking for work, and can always seem to find it better than others.

The best career advice I’ve ever received was from my grandfather, who essentially told me that there should never be a time when you claim that there is nothing to do at your job. There is ALWAYS something productive that you can be doing, and this has helped me tremendously at every job I’ve held. The past few weeks have been pretty slow in the office, but in that time I’ve organized and reviewed my training materials, cleaned out my desk, and kept busy reading up on current tax news. I also stay in frequent contact with the office schedulers, constantly asking if there is anything I can assist with. When you are taking the initiative and improving yourself as an employee, it does not go unnoticed, and it can set you up for a strong future career.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Please share!

Life as an Intern

Written by Regina Roetzheim
Assurance Intern
San Diego, CA

I thought this month’s blog was going to provide you loyal readers with a thorough “How To” on cubicle life, perhaps even a top 10 list. Unfortunately (fortunately!) I can not speak acutely on the subject for a couple reasons:

  1. I failed miserably in my attempt to adapt to boxed life.
  2. My cubical indoctrination only lasted 10 days (there is a God).
My empty cubicle…

I will tell you that those 10 days may have been the longest of my life. I went from spending 10 hours a day on my feet instructing dance then waitressing at night, to 9 hours a day of sitting. Obviously taking my new internship very seriously, one of my top priorities was maintaining a professional demeanor. The major obstacle to this pursuit was my body’s persistent demand for muscle stimulation, movement, or stretching.  It started with just some arm raises, head turns and foot flexes, natural looking enough. When I found this wasn’t enough I did a modified thigh stretch by sitting on one foot and extending the other. Two days later, when my body screamed for more intense stretching, I decided the risk was too high and found sanctuary in a bathroom stall.

Luckily for me, the day I brought my yoga mat to permanently store in the bathroom, was also my last day of competitive sitting.  I was transferred out to the field to do what I had been trained to do: audit. I cannot describe to you the power wielded from a clipboard and pen. My favorite day was my first inventory observation (IO) which consisted of my freshly trained, 5’2 inch self, directing several forklift operators to bring me this box and that for an inventory of small components. Obviously the real mysteries or oversights were probably stored in boxes on the top rows or from the middle of each pallet – so that’s what I asked to inspect. I think those guys really had a great time that day, I know I did.

Lastly I’d like to address one of the tasks I’ve been assigned purely because of my new guy intern status – food delivery. Normally at lunch and dinner I am responsible for food runs – heard of the phrase, “you buy, I’ll fly”? I’m a flyer – for all my colleagues at whatever site we’re working that day. I think most people would balk at this menial job, but I rather enjoy it. First, I get a chance to leave the office and get some muscle movement – sometimes when I’m really motivated I do arm curls with the take-away bags.  Second, I get to make critical decisions about our food order: mayo, mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper, utensils, and napkins? I’m all over this! I fully understand the morale boost a good meal (with all the condiments) can bring to an office – and I get the privilege of delivering that morale boost twice a day.

In the end, being out of the office and on site has really solidified my confidence in the decision to focus on audit, although I am jealous that the tax guys get the benefit of communal office leftovers (I won’t tell you how many emails I get a day telling me there are left over bagels in the kitchen). The only downside has been the long hours. I’ve learned that people around here generally get their workouts in before work – I met someone who wakes up at 0430 to run every morning. I’m going to have to reach a much higher percentage of muscle deterioration before I find that level of motivation. I’ll keep you posted.

PS: A tip for the new guys – timesheets and expense reports are not interlinked. If you send your expenses along with your timesheet each day, you’ll get a friendly email back from accounting stating that while they appreciate the real time updates on your work budgeting, you are requested to submit your expense reports with everyone else on the day they are due.

Tales from an Intern

Written by John Reschke
Assurance Intern
Orlando, FL

I had a hard time deciding what to write about for my second blog because I’m an accountant, not a writer. So I reached out to my friends over at UCF and asked them, “What do you want to read about?” Funny enough, everyone asked the same two questions:
·         “What’s surprised you the most about working as an intern in public accounting?”
·         “What can I do to prepare for my own internship?”

Let’s start with the surprises. The first thing that comes to mind is how much of a learning experience this has been so far. The knowledge I‘ve gained here absolutely cannot be replicated in class. When you’re out in the field working as an intern with McGladrey, you’re really involved in the whole auditing process. Just last week, I was helping put financial statements together for a client, and I never thought I would be able to say that as an intern. I was convinced I would just be counting inventory, getting coffee, making copies and doing other simple “intern” tasks.   

As far as preparation goes, if you’re interested in trying to be a savvy intern when you start, I have one word for you, “Excel.” Learn it, live it, love it! I recommend that you learn all the Excel formulas and shortcuts you possibly can. is a great place to start. You’ll be surprised how much time you can save, and speed is the name of the game in public accounting. I’m often blown away by the Excel Zen Masters I work with.  Between you and me, sometimes I’ll watch their hands while they’re working to see if I can learn a new shortcut (I know that’s a little creepy). If you learn the ins and outs of Excel you’ll be way ahead of the game.   

My final intern pro tip is: watch the placement of your personal belongings, especially food and drinks, when you’re working in tight quarters with your co-workers. You’ll often find yourself working 3 or 4 people to a small table. I, um…I mean “someone I know,” recently spilled yogurt, right into the power strip all the computers were connected to, when their coworker pushed their computer a little too far forward on the table they were sharing.

When I Grow Up…

Written by Ashley Schmitt
Tax Intern
Elkhart, IN
I have just officially completed my first full month as a McGladrey tax intern! I feel like I’m starting to learn how the office works, the procedures, and I do feel more knowledgeable- most of the time. Every day I am reminded that there is always more to learn and challenges ahead. I am thankful for the wonderful people in the office that answer my continuous flow of questions.
Since my last blog post I went on my first audit. I was not sure what to expect, as the only experience I have had thus far has been in the tax department. I arrived early, and fulfilled my first official “intern” duty- supplying the donuts. I was a little nervous about being in a new environment with people I do not normally work with, but Travis, Anthony, and Rachel were all great. I was given my first task of auditing cash. I’m not sure how much I actually audited (or how much Travis Eull edited my work after I finished), but by the end of the day I felt like I understood a little more of how the audit process works. On the second day, I audited fixed assets. I do think working in audit would be fun, and I decided that its necessary to see every side of the audit to understand the full process. After learning about auditing only from a textbook standpoint, I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to go out on an audit for a few days.  I did really enjoy my time learning about another side of McGladrey. By the end of my audit experience, I felt a little more comfortable, but I did miss the people in the tax department and was ready to head back.
Over the last month I’ve gained a new appreciation for the people who work in the tax department. As an intern, I’ve only been subject to a forty-hour workweek thus far, and will be until the workload permits us to work more hours. However, when I arrive at work in the morning, the rest of the tax department is busy at work just as I left them the night before. I have received emails at 9pm approving work I had done earlier that day.  If the people had not been wearing different clothes each day, I would be convinced that no one has moved from their cubicles in the last 3 weeks. Yet still, they carry on, mostly with tremendously positive attitudes.
When I was interviewing for this internship with Brad Miller, he asked me why I chose accounting. I responded that I have never met an accountant who didn’t love their job. Contrary to popular belief (and the YouTube video “When I Grow Up I Want to be a Tax Accountant”), every time I’ve asked someone who works in the field of accounting about their job I’ve only received positive responses. When I asked my “buddy” Zach how late he works every night and if he gets worn out, his response was that he loves his job; he loves the people he works with. I can say I admire that. I haven’t decided or been around enough people to know if all tax accountants have this attitude, or just ones at McGladrey, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from the dedicated people around me.
Lastly, I’d like to give John from Kansas a shout-out: John, Roger’s triplets say hello!

Staying Busy During the Busy Season

Written by Daniel Brown
Tax Intern
Cedar Rapids, IA
I’m happy to report that I, along with the other interns in the Cedar Rapids office, have survived the first few weeks of work.  With the first major deadline of the busy season less than a month away and quickly approaching, all of the associates and senior management have been hard at work for some time now, and I’m sure they would all say it is only going to get busier.  As for the interns, we have happily dismantled our training wheels and are now churning out partnership, corporate, and individual returns at a moderate pace commensurate of a high-quality (McGladrey-quality) group of interns.  Yes, I hold the Cedar Rapid’s intern bullpen in very high esteem!
The intern bullpen is a new concept in the Cedar Rapids office, and quite frankly, is where the magic happens.  In prior years, interns were interspersed throughout the office, usually paired with an experienced associate, called a navigator, to guide them along the way.  This year, however, all of the interns sit together in a large “bullpen” in the center of the office.  We each are still assigned to a senior associate to help us throughout the internship, the only difference this year is that we aren’t sitting two feet away from them, constantly barraging them with questions.  In the intern bullpen, we are each other’s first line of questioning.  That is not to say that we do not bug our navigators our fair share, because I am sure we definitely do, but only after much due diligence amongst ourselves.  We also have a direct handler, Jeni Gustafson, who is responsible for our office assimilation and has fielded many of our questions on a daily basis.  I could go on about how valuable Jeni has been to us all, and how awesome she is, but I need to do my best to keep this post a reasonable length.
So far the intern bullpen has been an amazing experience.  It has not only facilitated our professional development, but it has also assisted with our social development.  After all, it is a much easier task organizing a much needed happy hour after a long day at work, in person, than trying to accomplish such a task via email. 
The hours have been getting longer – each intern put in over 50 hours last week and worked on Saturday for the first time – but the office has been great about providing various events to help escape taxes, if only for a lunch, dinner, or night.  For example, a few weeks ago the office hosted a holiday party at a local art gallery, which was a tremendous success.  I didn’t win the I-Pad, or any of the other various prizes being raffled away, but I did enjoy my fair share of complimentary appetizers and drinks while mingling with coworkers. And just this past weekend, the office purchased tickets for everyone to attend a Rough Riders hockey game, which proved to be quite entertaining.  
Although the office does not host a social every week (unfortunately!), there are many little things each week to make the busy season more tolerable.  For example, nearly every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday there is food catered from a different restaurant in the area (yes, the intern 15 is all too real if you are not careful!).  And on Valentine’s Day, everyone was surprised with a bag of chocolates waiting for them when they arrived.  Recently, a new and exciting addition to the intern bullpen has also helped ease the daily grind.  Just the other week the interns purchased a large exercise ball that we rotate sitting on throughout the day.  Sitting on a ball for twelve hours is tougher than it sounds, making a rotation necessary, but I think I’m already starting to shed some of the calories I put on earlier in the internship. The rest of the office has been very receptive of the new addition, although in private they are all probably making remarks about how weird the interns are.
Before I go, I’d like to thank everyone in the Cedar Rapids office (and Iowa City office, as some of us have spent a few days working there too) for being so supportive.  I speak for all of the interns when I say how appreciative we are!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm Not The Smartest Person In The Room...and That's A Good Thing

Written by Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition Leader
Charlotte, NC

In early February, the University of Maryland hosted the President of RSM Business Services, C.E. Andrews as part of their CEO@SMITH speaker series.  The day provided an opportunity for McGladrey to be highly visible at the Robert H. Smith School of Business on the College Park campus.  One highlight of the day was a “fireside chat” with four McGladrey leaders.  Student members from various UMD campus organizations were invited to this session to gain insight into the topic of leadership.  The McGladrey fireside chat panelists were:

C.E. Andrews - president, RSM Business Services
Dara Castle - DC Metro office managing partner
Bill Gorman - Southeast region managing partner
Art Yonowicz - Baltimore lead tax partner
Speaking on the topic of “leadership” is overdone, as insights are often similar.  That said, I found some of the messages shared with the student leaders interesting.  While many leaders can be ego-centric, the concept of “the smartest person in room” was repeatedly raised.  The message was strong leaders often are not the smartest people in the room – they look to surround themselves with others with greater capabilities.  These leaders are more concerned growing and developing others, creating efficiencies, adding value, maximizing talent AND results, not JUST results.  Effective leaders look to develop their successors, so they can focus on the next challenge ahead.   And when surrounded by smart people, leaders look for the quality in those people that makes them smart, so it can be tapped into time-and-time-again so it can improve the team, and add value to an organization.

Other key messages that resonated with me from the discussion were that leaders:

·         have a strong disposition towards Intellectual Curiosity – asking questions (more than one), knowing when to listen, not being afraid to try new things

·         constantly strive to learn –  no matter what level a person achieves in an organization, the learning is life-long

·         have vulnerability and courage – show others they are human; a person with emotions and know what they don’t know and aren’t afraid to admit it

Bottom line - you know you are doing the right thing as a leader when you are being sought after by others. Leadership comes in many dimensions…there is not a one-size-fits-all mold that individuals fit nicely into it.  Rather, we are a collection of the traits we admire in others, and that forms our leadership style.

Friday, February 17, 2012

McGladrey Desk-Free Volunteer Day in Baltimore

Written by Sheree Ball
Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist
Baltimore, MD

Desk Free Days are becoming a very popular way for McGladrey employees to better connect with our clients and to get out and support our communities.  Over the recent holiday season, the Baltimore, Maryland team spent the afternoon volunteering at The Salvation Army.  100 team members sorted toys that were donated for the Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree program.  In addition, the Baltimore office conducted a toy drive for boys and girls between the ages of 10-12 (there is always a shortage of toys for this age group).  This event was a great opportunity for Partners, Managers and Associates to work together and contribute to our community.

Visit our corporate website to learn more about Desk Free Day and community involvement at McGladrey.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bulls Game – McGladrey Style

Written by Tim Thorp
Chicago, IL
Tax Intern

Patrick Schwappach (new Assurance Associate) and I shared one class together at Illinois State University and barely knew each other before Wednesday, January 25, 2012.  Now, we will always share this very special night.  Zack Fortsch (Tax Partner and ISU graduate) invited the two of us and Sunny Park (ISU’s campus recruiter) to the Bulls game against the Indiana Pacers as has been his custom every year for new hires from Illinois State University.  Patrick and I were both ecstatic about the opportunity and we had no idea what Zack had in store for us. 

As Zack drove us to the game and bought us a pre-game meal, he informed us we needed to eat quickly because we were going to go down on the floor.  After bypassing much security giving us strange looks as to who we were and why we were headed down to the floor, the four of us were being escorted by Keith, the director of ticket sales (Zack’s good friend and fellow ISU graduate) to courtside seats for a few minutes.  Later Zack informed us those seats sell for $1000 a piece!  After a few minutes, Keith had us go out to center court and took a group photo.  Moments later, Sunny dashed off to talk to her future husband (Derrick Rose).  He actually answered her questions!  After we got a chance to take a few more pictures of the players up close, we found our seats and watched a great game and sat in awe at what we had just witnessed.  Standing next to these NBA players makes you realize just how big and tall they are.  These guys are massive human beings with incredible quickness that cannot be captured on television.  Patrick and I just kind of looked at each other as to make sure we both recognized how awesome this experience really was.  We knew there were perks to the job, but this was truly amazing! 

Patrick and I tell this story because not only because we enjoy working for this firm but it’s moments like these that make us realize how invested the firm is in their people.  That night is definitely something the two of us will never forget and an opportunity we would have only been able to experience because we chose McGladrey.   

Thursday, February 2, 2012

McGladrey Employees Contribute over $30K in One Night with Auction Celebration

From left, Joel Shamon, Rick Condon,
Joe Adams, Troy Merkel and Julie Houle 
Written by John Micalizzi
HR Director
Boston, MA

McGladrey kicked off its 2012 charitable season last week hosting its "Busier Season Kickoff" event, an evening of comedy followed by a live auction to benefit the McGladrey Foundation and the local charities it supports. Over 60 auction items were generously provided by leaders within the firm. In addition to the live auction - the firm held a series of raffles in which a donation of $1000 will be made in the name of the three lucky winners to the local charity of their choice. The event was attended by more than 250 local employees as well as representatives from the firm's national leadership team - Chief Operating Officer Mike Kirley, Chief Financial Officer Doug Opheim and Managing Partner and CEO Joe Adams.

The evening, in which the McGladrey team raised more than $33,000, is a testament to the level of employee engagement within McGladrey and the firm's focus on giving back to the communities where its people and clients live and work. McGladrey has long been recognized as one of New England's largest corporate charitable contributors. The Foundation, which is primarily funded via employee payroll deductions and where employee requests determine the donations, raises more than $200,000 each year to support community-based projects and charitable organizations in the New England area.

"Employees have told us they value giving their time and financial support to the community, and the number of employees who participated in our event proved that point. Working as a team to benefit the community is a great way to strengthen relationships - both internal and external," said Chris MacKenzie, Office Managing Partner - Boston. "At McGladrey, it's all about our clients, our colleagues and our community - and it has been for a long time."

To learn more about the McGladrey Foundation, please contact Mike Ferraro, partner at 617.241.1242.