Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

McGladrey Tax Manager Honored with the AICPA Elijah Watt Sells Award & Shares CPA Exam Prep Tips

Bill Jachym, tax manager in the New Haven office of McGladrey, was recently named a recipient of the prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award presented by the American Institute of CPAs to the candidates who obtained the 10 highest cumulative scores on all four sections of the computerized Uniform CPA Examination.   Bill was among those top candidates who completed testing during 2010 and passed each exam section on their first attempt.  Several candidates achieved identical cumulative scores, resulting in several ties and a total of 19 winners.  More than 103,000 candidates sat for the Exam in 2010.

 “I was very excited to learn of the award”, said Bill, “Not only is this a validation of my hard work, it’s also an honor to represent McGladrey in a positive light.”

When it came time to sit for the CPA exam, Bill took it very seriously. He completed the standard self-study review courses, and followed a regimented study schedule that he recommends to anyone who is preparing to sit for the CPA exam:
  • Two months before you are scheduled to take each section of the exam, plan a study schedule that allows for a minimum of 1-2 hours of study each day and stick to it.
  • Avoid cramming or you won’t retain the information
  • Allow yourself a few study-free days just before the exam to avoid information overload.
  • After you complete one section, allow minimal downtime before starting the next section to keep your good study habits intact.
“Bill has always been a high performer and represents the quality of people we have at McGladrey,” said Tom Ferreira, managing partner, Northeast.  “He’s always shown initiative, is very bright and a team player.  He’ll have a very successful career.”

Bill joined McGladrey in September 2007 shortly after graduation from the University of Connecticut.  In September 2010 he accepted an opportunity in Amsterdam to assist a client’s European operations with FAS 109 compliance.  He has also helped the client with U. S. tax returns and a variety of other tax and accounting matters. 

“Bill’s assignment was supposed to last about three months, but he’s added so much value that our client has kept him on a full-time basis for more than a year and a half,” said Tom.

The past 18 months haven’t been all work for Bill, though.  He says he’s traveled across Europe and recently became engaged.  Bill will be returning to the U. S. with his fiancĂ© in a few months. 
Elijah Watt Sells, who passed away in 1924, was one of the country’s first CPAs under the provision of a New York State law enacted in 1896 and a leader in advancing professional education. He was active in the establishment of the AICPA and was a founder of New York University’s School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance. The Sells award was created by the AICPA in 1923 in his honor.

For more information on the exam, visit

Friday, March 23, 2012

Settled In

Written by Valerie Koufidakis
Tax Intern
Boston, MA
McGladrey Boston Office

It’s the third week of March. Those of you who work or have worked in public accounting can imagine how things are at the office right now. Even though it’s still about a month until our April filing deadline, tax busy season is in full swing here in Boston.

Though the long hours can be exhausting, I still look forward to coming to work each day. Since I am working primarily with Private Client Services, I’ve been doing tax returns for our individual clients, and each one doesn’t take me longer than a day to complete. I love this aspect, because it means that I’m seeing at least one brand new return a day- though usually many more! By dealing with such a multitude of clients, as opposed to just one big one, I’m learning a great deal. Even the “simplest returns” can many times contain something I’m not familiar with and need to research further.

Luckily, I work with great staff and managers in PCS. Whenever I have a question, they’ve been there to help. I’m especially grateful because people take the time to explain why something is the way it is, rather than just feed me an answer. Another great resource I’ve become quite familiar with is the IRS website- ha! While it’s important to utilize those around you, I realize that their time is valuable too, especially during busy season. Not to mention, being able to find an answer to something myself has been quite rewarding.

The steady volume of work during this time of year has allowed me to settle into a bit of a routine, which I have certainly appreciated. I like coming in each day and having a rough idea of what I’ll be working on. I’m not overwhelmed, but with that being said, there hasn’t been much downtime either. A new part of my “routine” has been trying to get out for a 10-15 minute walk at least twice a day. When the weather is cold and wet outside, I’m perfectly content sitting in my cube and working all night long. But now that it’s warm and sunny, I sometimes find it harder to focus because I just want to go outside! These little breaks have certainly been great as a way to clear my head and reenergize me for the rest of the day.

Needless to say, I am really enjoying my internship here at McGladrey. I’m keeping busy and working with different people in the office each day. I certainly don’t feel like “just an intern” here, and I think I’ve gained the trust of many in the office. I can tell, too, because they’ve been assigning me work! It feels great to be appreciated, and it’s obvious the firm really values the effort their staff puts in.

We are all working for the same clients, and at the end of the day, have the same goal; understanding and satisfying their needs. The client-service aspect of public accounting was what drew me in to begin with, and it’s been an amazing experience so far to work as part of a team with so many talented professionals to deliver that service. Here’s to us!

I Came, I Saw, I Concatenated

Written by John Reschke
Assurance Intern
Orlando, FL

Well folks it is a wrap! This internship is coming to an end after three great months. As I reflect back at my time spent at McGladrey, I am humbled at the whole experience. I really have learned a lot of things that school just can’t teach you.

Working this internship I have truly learned the definition of what life in public accounting really means, especially as it relates to the peak of the season. Let me tell you, they don’t call it busy season for nothing. You better be someone who knows how to bring your “A Game” if you intern this time of the year. You not only have to meet the expectations of your coworkers, but the clients you serve as well. It’s a lot to juggle when you start throwing deadlines into the equation. I don’t mean to make it sound scary. The bottom line is if you’re the kind of person that really embraces a good challenge, I have no doubts you will thrive in this environment.

The other good news is you are set up for success here at McGladrey. You’re given all the technological tools needed to get the job done. If you are a full-time staff here, they even issue iPads to aid you in your work endeavors.

And on top of the tools, you have the best assets available to anyone, the consummate professionals who are your coworkers. This isn’t my first job working with people who are truly “professionals.” Before I decided I wanted to pursue a career in public accounting, I had the honor and privilege to serve in the Air Force. It was there I learned what it means to have the dedication to be a professional. I see that same level of dedication and service with all of my coworkers, as I saw with my fellow service men and women. The people here are dedicated not only to bettering themselves in the pursuit of excellence, as well as each other. No one here plays “I have a secret.” If ever I had a question, no matter how little, or silly it may have seemed I got real help. Everyone took the time to make sure I understood what was happening. Nobody rushed through an explanation or got irritated if maybe I didn’t understand the concept right away. Some even went all classroom style and started writing out explanations on a board (thanks Mike).

I leave McGladrey a better accountant than I started. I have a new network of friends to lean on if I have questions going forward. I even mastered the art of concatenating (thanks Crystal).

And my advice for would be interns, definitely aim for a winter/spring internship. It is truly a unique experience that really gives you a taste of what it means to be a CPA. You will get more experience in these three short months than you would have ever hoped for. That I can promise. 

McGladrey Madness

Written by Ashley Schmitt
Tax Intern
Elkhart, IN
As you have probably read in my previous blogs I have very much enjoyed my internship at McGladrey. I have great coworkers and have learned a lot. I feel that one of the purposes of writing this blog, along with giving people an inside look at the culture of McGladrey, is to give future interns an idea of what to expect. In that regard, I feel like it is my duty and obligation to pass along an important lesson that I have learned during the last few weeks. It wasn’t until the beginning of March that I realized that in one aspect I am completely under-qualified. It is amazing to me that I lasted through an interview without one mention of this seemingly pertinent qualification to be an employee of McGladrey: You must watch college basketball. Of course, my cube is within ear shot of my cube buddy- “The Man of Troy[er],” and at many times what at first seems like very serious conversation going on behind me is, well, a “very serious conversation” between him and Mr. “Fantastic” about the NCAA tournament. For the first time I filled out a bracket and of course, just like most everyone else, it was busted by the end of the first weekend. Brady, one of my fellow interns, is in charge of the March Madness pool. This was a great idea because I think most people can agree that he is a very straightforward, honest person.  Unless you are a partner who didn’t get the team they wanted in the random draw. I have no doubt that the bracket money is safely hidden and that the random draws were, indeed, random. However, I think we can all agree that if Chris Bradford wins again this year, we know who rigged it!
Since the March 15th deadline, we have been moving away from corporate returns and towards preparing individual returns. After getting the hang of doing corporate, it’s a little difficult to make the adjustment to 1040’s. I’m sure it won’t be long before I start having hallucinations of little red “TR” stamps (that’s a tick mark used on PDF Flyer software to symbolize a number has been added to a tax return).  Thankfully, I have access to the master of individual returns, Garrett, sitting five feet away. I do think it has been a nice change and it is a little more interesting to look at an individual rather than a corporate return (we’ll see how I feel on April 17th!).
This internship has given me the opportunity to learn things that I most likely would not have from a textbook. For instance, for the first time this month I depreciated a heifer. I did not even know this was possible, but I can’t help but to assume I probably wouldn’t have learned of this particular asset’s ability to be depreciated if I did not live in Northern Indiana. I have also learned that if you keep Starburst jellybeans, fruit snacks, and Twizzlers in stock there will be happy accountants, no one can talk sports like Karen Wagner, and it’s impossible for an intern to survive a week without Mexican food. In all seriousness, the experience and knowledge a student can gain from an internship at McGladrey is priceless. I have been able to put together many of the pieces that I have been taught during various classes but could never quite fit together until now. With the internship coming to a close I can say that I enjoyed my time here and know that I will take the knowledge I have learned during these 4 months with me and build upon it in the future.

Savoring the McGladrey Experience

Written by Daniel Brown
Tax Intern
Cedar Rapids, IA
The corporate deadline came and went in the blink of an eye.  In less than a month, the individual deadline will also be in the rearview mirror, and with it, my internship with McGladrey.  As much as I look forward to returning to my old life as a college student at the University of Iowa, I sure am going to miss being an intern in the Cedar Rapids office.  In the meantime, I plan on making the most of my remaining time.
I imagine that many public accountants across the country took some time off this past weekend to momentarily relax and take a breather after having overcome the first deadline of season, which fell on a Thursday this year.    To celebrate the deadline in the Cedar Rapids office, many of us went to a local establishment for some mid afternoon appetizers and drinks.  Although I was surprised when one of the associates stopped by the intern bay and told us to stop what we were doing because it was time to head downtown, I didn’t complain, and neither did the other interns.  Several hours later, and much to our dismay, we eventually remembered that we had to work early the next morning and headed home for the night.
Looking forward, the next several weeks will be pretty busy with individual tax preparation.  However, I still have a number of businesses on my to-do list that were extended, so it won’t be all individual tax from here on out.  One thing that has really impressed during my internship with McGladrey is the large variety that interns are exposed to.  For example, I am currently working on a controlled group of foreign corporations, an area of tax that is quite literally “foreign” to me.  Although I have very little experience in international tax, it is exciting to have been given the opportunity to broaden my horizons. Over the past couple of months I have seen s-corps, partnerships, c-corps, farmers, international corporations, and a multitude of individuals with different types of income and business activities.  The same has been true for the other interns in the office, except their engagements seem to be unique in their own right as well.  Overall, McGladrey has done an excellent job at providing a well rounded internship.
Although I know the next few weeks will be incredibly busy, I look forward to taking on the challenge with my fellow coworkers.  If the past is a good indicator of the future, then I am sure there will be a number of fun times along the way to boot.  Thanks for a great experience, McGladrey, and everyone in the Cedar Rapids office!

Lessons Learned

Written by Regina Roetzheim
Assurance Intern
San Diego, CA

Well, my internship has concluded and I’m off for one last summer break. The days at McGladrey were fast paced and interesting which made my three month internship fly by. These are the essential lessons I’ve learned so far:

  1. Food is big in audit
  2. Dress in layers
  3. Be flexible
Not only is food big among auditors, I’ve found that food is also big at many client offices. Many mornings I would prepare my lunch consisting of an apple, yogurt, and PB&J only to be greeted upon my arrival to the client by the overwhelming wafting smells of bacon and eggs. Around noon as I unwrapped my PB&J, I’d start to smell the beginnings of steak and cheese quesadillas. It was enough to make a girl gain a dress size. Lesson #1: pack a good lunch or add a strenuous workout to the end of each day.

As we worked at various offices throughout the week, I found you never really knew what temperatures you were expected to endure for 8-10 hours. Most offices boasted Swedish ice hotel freezing levels while others decided to forgo air-conditioning all together (absolutely unheard of in San Diego). Lesson #2: wear layers and keep a parka and fan in your trunk.

Lastly, office conditions (in addition to temperature) vary dramatically from company to company. One office in particular had west facing windows allowing us to witness beautiful sunsets each afternoon. These same windows were absolutely blinding from 4:00pm-6:00pm and I had the privilege of sitting in the direct fire. Luckily, previous auditors from our company had jerry-rigged makeshift blinds that consisted of broken plastic strips of paper clipped to the dilapidated remains of window coverings. From 4:00pm-5:00pm I hunched behind my laptop in a gallant effort to preserve my eyesight and continue working and from 5:00pm-6:00pm I tried to sit absolutely still while one of the plastic strips shaded a 2” portion of my face protecting my eyes. Lesson #3: office conditions vary dramatically when you’re onsite; work with what you’ve got.

Overall in this job there’s never a dull day. I enjoyed seeing different offices, meeting new people, and learning new things from each new company. 10 weeks is such a short time, but I really found I got an good impression of all the aspects of my job and I feel I’ll be more comfortable and prepared starting up full time in the Fall.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Social Media Success Story - Found on Facebook

Written by Courtney Blonigan
Talent Acquisition, Minneapolis

Melissa L. Webb
Recruitment Source: Facebook
Tax Associate – Financial Services Industry
Chicago, IL

When I heard that Melissa Webb had been hired at McGladrey, it came as no surprise to me. I had gotten to know Missy pretty well over the last couple months through McGladrey’s social media websites. I knew she was interested in employment at McGladrey and that she was driven to get to know McGladrey (and other companies) better by engaging with them online while she was job searching.

Missy Webb
Missy’s hiring story with McGladrey started a few months ago when she heard about McGladrey for the first time and decided to look us up on Facebook (where else!?). “I was impressed with how interactive McGladrey was with their hopeful candidates on Facebook,” explains Missy. “They seemed to be friendly and care about their employees.” She posted on our Facebook wall asking how she should go about applying, and we suggested the best process to submit her application. “McGladrey’s presence on social media is one of the things that really impressed me about the firm and moved me to submit an application.” Missy posted on our wall again to let us know she had applied and then continued to visit our Facebook page and interact with McGladrey on Twitter. She later shared that she was engaging and interviewing with other large public accounting firms at that time but didn’t see the same type of interaction on their social media sites.

Missy is also a member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) at her university and saw that McGladrey was going to be at the NABA student convention. So Missy let us know through a wall post that she was going to be attending the conference. “And I felt great going into the conference to interview since I already had a connection with McGladrey,” said Missy.

Fast forward a couple months… Missy is now a Tax Associate at McGladrey. And her social media route from job seeker to hire is becoming a more common path to take. Missy recommends using social media to get to know the companies you are interested in working for during your job search. She recommends seeking out the companies that are sharing what they’re doing in the community or sharing stories, not necessarily just posting positions. “I felt as if I was getting a preview into what it would be like to work there.” 

Missy suggests that once you get to know the company socially, “put your best foot forward and let them know you are interested!”

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