Blog Archive

Monday, March 30, 2015

McGladrey and the Three Bears

Grace Green
Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist
Northeast Region (NY & CT)
One of the things that attracted me to McGladrey was the size of the firm. We are the 5th largest accounting firm in the United States, and also have a large global presence as a result of our international affiliations.

When coming to McGladrey from other accounting firms, I always tell candidates my Goldilocks' theory on how McGladrey is "just right":

We aren't "too big"... Many employees of larger firms feel as if they are just another cog in the machine, without any real ability to affect change. Perhaps you don't feel connected to your team because you have been stuck on a client for the last few months and aren't meeting others in the office?

We aren't "too small"... Where you might have cash flow issues, lack of resources or suffer from a branding perspective.

Personally, I feel that McGladrey's size is "just right". Because of this, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to create change, be in the driver seat of our own careers, and to make a real, tangible difference.

Creating change
If you're "too big" there are many obstacles to maneuver when attempting to bring your ideas to fruition. These businesses are so large that they require rigid structures, policies and procedures that do not offer the average employee the ability to have their voice heard.

If you're "too small" you may lack the resources (manpower/cash flow) to implement these ideas and plans that can positively impact your organization.

This is why I feel McGladrey's "just right" size is the perfect fit for me. It gives the employees the flexibility that many other organizations do not. This allows for exciting workplace innovation where our leaders are open to change and new ways to improve the business.

For example, we are able to conduct surveys and have brainstorming meetings on how we can learn to improve. These meetings have led to changes around the office. In NYC, we now have Starbucks machines, free soda, and a busy season calendar full of fun things to do such as a Wii and arcade, yoga/stretch rooms, healthy snacks, among other things.

Driver seat of your career
If you're "too big" it is easy to get lost in the crowd. There tends to be a very competitive culture for promotions and growth opportunities. It can also be very hard to switch lines of business, where you may be more inclined to leave and start fresh at a new firm.

If you're "too small" there may be lack of growth opportunities unless someone resigns. It can also lead to lack of exposure to certain industries and/or clients.

McGladrey's "just right" size gives you more responsibilities sooner, which allows for growth. Employees are sometimes expected to learn and train on the job, which at first can be intense, but ultimately increases their skill level.

To make a difference
At the end of the day, McGladrey is a family... we attend each others weddings and birthdays, support each other no matter what, some of us go on vacations together, and some of us are even roommates. We have summer BBQ events, volunteer days, a firmwide giving program Birdies Fore Love, and we sponsor a PGA Tour golf tournament to raise money for children and family charities. We are making a difference one day at a time!

It's "just right" here at McGladrey! Come join us and see for yourself!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Practice Spotlight: Forensics and Litigation Support

by Kristi Saeger, Talent Acquisition, Philadelphia

Gregory Cowhey, Principal
In April 2014, McGladrey was excited to announce the addition of a local Forensics and Litigation Support consulting practice in the Greater Philadelphia region. The practice is led by Principal, Gregory Cowhey, ASA CBA, and is based out of the newly renovated City Center office. Gregory came to McGladrey as a subject matter expert in the field of forensic accounting, business/intangible asset appraisal, economic damages and litigation support. Since joining, Gregory has built a team of six practitioners, ranging from intern to experienced manager-level.

Commenting on the experience since joining McGladrey, Gregory noted, "Thankfully, we have been extremely busy since joining McGladrey and we find that our team approach and the McGladrey brand has been well received in the local legal community, even after a short period of time. We judiciously recruit talented professionals that bring a myriad of skills and life experiences to allow for a well-reasoned analysis of often quite complex financial/economic problems. Most importantly, our team functions well together as one to bring about a group effort for best-in-class expert services."

The most tenured team member, experienced associate Meagan Farrow, JD, says, "We all come from different professional backgrounds...tangible asset valuation, a military veteran who was deployed overseas, an attorney, a forensic accountant, an insurance expert, as well as a recent finance and accounting graduate." While looking through the extensive list of files on her desk, she adds, "The subject matter of our caseload varies significantly from one case to another, so having different strengths allows us to support each other." The hire of Jenn Pollard, senior associate, rounds the team out with the addition of Big 4 experience. Her ability to transition transferrable skills as a tangible asset value consultant to McGladrey's financial forensics practice has been a valuable asset to the team.

Team members: Jamie DePetris, Meagan Farrow and
Jeff Baresciano congregate to discuss recent case work
Known around the office as the "fun team", this tight-knit group takes a break from daily work to ensure they get outside of the office. They've been known to plan exciting outings such as trips to the bowling alley, Super Bowl gatherings, or attending the local Young Professionals Networking events. Associate Nick DiGalbo jokes, "A lot of people around the office think our team is a strong-knit group team because of our weekly lunches and occasional bowling excursions. But what truly makes this group special is the readiness and eagerness to help one another. Each case we receive is a team effort from start to finish."  

One of the most noteworthy aspects of this practice area, along with all other lines of business at McGladrey, is the opportunity for consultants of all levels to gain the opportunity to work alongside their team leads - managers, directors, and partners/principals. As a campus hire and entry-level intern, accounting major Jamie DePetris is grateful to have been given the chance to work directly with Gregory, along with both supervisor, Ryan Haag, and manager, Jeff Baresciano. "[This position] offers experience in an area of business that encourages the use of analytical skill, while utilizing the foundation of knowledge gained in college. Each engagement is a unique situation that presents a learning opportunity through the ability to observe from start to finish," she says. "With the field of forensic accounting on the rise, this position could develop into a tremendous opportunity for career growth in the future."

Together, the practice has successfully serviced a number of clients of varying needs in the past ten months. McGladrey Consulting looks forward to further expansion in the Pennsylvania marketplace through the Financial Forensics practice and the acquisition of Fesnak, LLP in 2015.

Are you interested in joining the McGladrey team? To see opportunities in the Philadelphia market, click here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cedar Rapids’ Employee honored with Tribute to Women of Achievement Award

Carley Umstead, a senior manager in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been recognized by Waypoint Services as a 2015 Tribute to Women of Achievement honoree.

Umstead was named to the 'Women of Achievement in Leadership' category, and award for women who have accomplishments that go beyond a single company or organization, and favorably contribute knowledge or benefit an entire industry, professional or field.

"It takes people working together to make a measurable impact on our community," said Umstead, who adds she wants to be a part of the up-and-coming group that will continue to carry the torch for the community which she believes "takes care of its own".

Umstead is the board treasurer for Kids First Law Center and is also a member of 100+ Women Who Care. From 2012 to 2014, Umstead was the board treasurer of Miracles in Motion. In addition to being a volunteer board member and officer, she devoted over 500 volunteer hours to the organization performing grant writing, personnel management, bookkeeping, and tax compliance services.

While having a young family at home, Umstead stays committed to being a volunteer in the community. The organizations she works with serve local children facing challenged or conflict. Her efforts are based on the idea of paying it forward to help children and families succeed.

Over the last 33 years, Waypoint Services has honored women that keep the community vibrant and give courage and hope to others to make a difference. Waypoint serves women, children and families who are homeless, nearly homeless or victims/survivors of domestic violence by providing hope, courage, and empowerment through their critical services programs.

To learn more about Waypoint Services, or to get involved visit their website.

International transfer the realization of a lifelong dream for employee

Kathy Maher estimates she's traveled to 15 or 16 countries. Her favorite destination? "Probably Switzerland," she says. "We did some hang gliding, hiking and canyoning - a lot of adventurous stuff when we were there." Her biggest adventure, however, is about to begin.

As an assurance manager in McGladrey's Madison, Wisconsin office, Kathy is finalizing plans for an international transfer to Melbourne, Australia in June. She will transfer to RSM Bird Cameron in Australia's second-largest city. It's the culmination of a lifelong dream for the St. Louis native.

Seeds planted by New Zealand experience
Before joining McGladrey in 2013, Kathy did a four-month secondment in New Zealand as part of her work for a St. Louis-based regional firm. The experience whet her appetite for more international experiences.

"I liked living in a place that is very different from the U.S. and just absorbing the local culture," she recalls. "It was good to broaden my personal and professional horizons."

While a future longer-term international experience remained in her radar, a family medical challenge brought new urgency to her goal. "My mom was diagnosed with cancer, and it got me thinking about how little time we all have," she says. "And so I figured, why wait?"

Support "Beyond my greatest expectations"
With an English-speaking destination in mind, Kathy focused her attention on Australia and RSM Bird Cameron.

"So many people have been so supportive of me in this," Kathy says. "It was beyond my greatest expectations." She singled out Wisconsin managing partner Shawn Carney and her career advisor, partner Lisa Hanmer, for their support.

"I told them how important this was to me and how much I wanted to stay in the McGladrey family," Kathy recalls. "They were among the people who worked so hard to get me connected to the right people."

Senior International HR Generalist, Lisa McGinty says, while transfers like Kathy are not possible for every employee in every instance, the firm is committed to the development of its employees.

"Supporting our employees' professional goals is a priority for McGladrey," Lisa says. "Whenever it's feasible, as it was in this case for Kathy, we'll do what we can to help them pursue those goals and take ownership of their future."

Global perspective among transfer's benefits
So in addition to planning an April wedding, Kathy is preparing to leave for Australia in mid-May. "I'm really excited about having this experience with my fiancée," Kathy says, noting doctors were able to remove the cancer from her mother, who is doing well. "I think it will make our relationship stronger."

Professionally, Kathy sees many benefits for herself and McGladrey as part of her Australian adventure. "I'm excited to learn more about the global companies that we're seeing more and more of at McGladrey," she says. "And establishing relationships with our affiliate firms is vital to the firm's future, so I'm eager to meet new people as part of my work there."

Kathy's transfer is for four years, and she believes at the conclusion she will be a better, more effective member of the McGladrey family. "I think this will make me a better manager, and hopefully, partner someday," she concludes. "I'm going to get experiences under my bely that will benefit me the rest of my career."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Charlotte Office Named United Way Spirit of North Carolina Award Winner

Laura Megahee, tax services senior manager, has led the Charlotte, North Carolina office's United Way campaign for the past four years. Over the years, she and many others involved in the campaign have worked hard to come up with new ideas and ways to engage and encourage McGladrey's Charlotte office to participate. This year, the office is being recognized for their efforts and all of the hours, energy, and money they have donated, by being named one of the United Way's Spirit of North Carolina award winners. In 2014, the Charlotte United Way campaign raised $47,369.

Laura attributes this year’s award winning success to a focused plan of continuously improving their campaign every year. The campaign team, with support from the Charlotte partners, recognizes successful tactics from years past and continues to use them to drive participation. Classic campaign elements include an office-wide jeans month for reaching the office goal and a friendly fundraising competition between lines of business. Employees know these activities associated with the yearly United Way campaign and look forward to them each year.

In addition to continuing campaign favorites, Laura tried something new to bolster participation and improve the team’s impact in 2014. Laura used McGladrey’s national volunteer day as a way to show Charlotte employees how participation in the United Way campaign impacts their local community. Volunteers spent the day serving local branches of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, which is an organization that receives support through the United Way. The volunteer event also coincided with North Carolina’s CPA Day of Service, a day in which CPAs across the state give back locally and highlight how CPAs are a vital part of both the financial and social fabric of North Carolina’s communities.

"By planning the volunteer day with an organization that receives United Way funds, we were able to experience exactly how our contributions affect the community," said Laura. "It was an eye-opening experience for many of our employees and I think it really made a difference in the desire to participate in the United Way campaign this year."

Not only did volunteers get hands on experience providing clubs with much needed fresh paint and participating in field day activities with local children from the clubs, but they also heard spokespeople from the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club talk about their organization, their mission, and, in particular, how the United Way supports them in meeting their goals.

Laura's hard work paid off compared to 2013, total employee giving increased 13 percent, leadership giving increased 16 percent, and the number of leaders who donated increased 22 percent in 2014. All of this prompted the United Way representative for the Charlotte office to nominate them for the Spirit of North Carolina award. After the nomination, Laura submitted an application and then received the good news that they won. On February 13, Laura and Mark Kral, Charlotte office managing partner, were able to attend the award ceremony to accept the award on behalf of the Charlotte office and everyone who participated in the 2014 campaign. 

Congratulations Charlotte for making a difference in so many lives!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating Women’s History Month and Diversity

Note to our readers: Some of the content in this blog update contains information from McGladrey: Beyond the Balance Sheet, Second Edition (1926-2013) by Kathleen Gilbert and Dan Deuel.

March 2-8 is designated as 2015 National Women's History Week. This annual recognition of women's accomplishments always occurs during the first week of March. This years' theme, "Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives," presents an opportunity to weave women's stories - individually and collectively - into the essential fabric of our nation's history, and into the history of McGladrey.
Diane McNulty was an unusual sight around McGladrey, Hansen and Dunn's Mason City, IA office when she was hired in August 1966. She was a women, and she did accounting work. It wasn't unusual for women to work for accounting firms - or for McGladrey - in those days, even going back to McGladrey's founding in 1928. But at that time, most women worked as secretaries, receptionists and in other administrative jobs that women were largely confined to in American business before the 1960s. Only few worked as professionals, and even then, those in the accounting industry worked mostly as bookkeepers or paraprofessionals. None were CPAs.
Diane McNulty - Mason City Tax Partner

McNulty earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Drake University (where she was the only female accounting major in her class). She worked in private accounting for two years before joining McGladrey. Yet in the early years, she was expected to not only be an accountant, but also do what was considered the "women's work" - answering phones and making coffee - again, a common practice in accounting firms and Corporate America during that time. Then she took the CPA exam in 1968...and passed it the first time. She was one of only five women in the state of Iowa who held the certificate and license that worked in the profession. My, how the profession has changed!

For the most part, McNulty said her trailblazing was not difficult. "Mason City was a pretty laid-back office," she said. "Being a woman and a CPA might have been [more challenging] in a bigger office, but I had good working relationships with everyone. The clients didn't mind, either. Once they realized I could do the work, the fact that I was a woman didn't bother them."

When McNulty became a partner in 1976, she was the first woman voted to be a partner in McGladrey's history. "As far as blazing a path, I always tried to do my best job and do what I loved to do; the fact that they continued to name women partners to the firm speaks for itself," she said.

Diane McNulty was a partner at McGladrey until she retired in 2011. But McGladrey has never retired its focus on diversity and inclusion. In fact, in 2013, the firm named Richard Caturano, former chairman of the AICPA, as its leader of culture, diversity and inclusion (CDI). Various women-focused and other special interest groups continue to promote those efforts across the firm's 80 offices nationwide today. You can learn more about McGladrey's CDI efforts on our website.