Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm Not Just Doing My Job...

Ashley Lawler
Talent Acquisition Manager
Stamford, CT
I'm a Recruiter. Have been for some time. Been at McGladrey for 3 years now, and I have a hard time wrapping my head around that because it's kind of flown by. I began here as a Sourcer, having taken time off to raise a family, and little did I know when I accepted the offer that I would soon know the difference between Internal and External Audit, c-corps vs s-corps, and exactly how many credits someone needs to sit for the CPA exam. To say I've learned a lot from the candidates with whom I speak would be quite an understatement - I still learn every day. Just today I spoke with a lovely woman who taught me all about FINRA exams. Adding this to the "cool-stuff-I-never-knew-I-wanted-to-know" file.

Now, I work hard, we all do, but it has been a fun ride since I was a Sourcer in 2012. Not long after I started with McGladrey I was promoted to a Senior Recruiter, and last year I became a Manager. There is so much opportunity here in every area and sometimes I still pinch myself, wondering how I got so lucky.

But let's face it - I'm paid to sell McGladrey, I'm a Recruiter, remember? Every day I have conversations with accounting professionals who have either applied to my open jobs and therefore are looking for a new home for one reason or another, or who I have directly sought out because I was given their name by a happy employee, saw their profile on LinkedIn or have networked with, and I want to make each conversation a good one, hearing about someone's career goals, experience and sharing with them how they can make a true impact here. I like to think that I'm a genuine person first and a recruiter second, but with so many conversations each day, week, month, year - I sometimes wonder if I'm putting the recruiter hat on first. Frankly, I don't have enough time in the day or space in my brain to not be forthright with what we're looking for and who we are trying to attract to help grow this thing and neither do the folks I speak with, but I guess anyone could say that.

But last night, an old friend told me she had applied to an open position we have and that she was interviewing today in one of our offices. She's from the Big 4 and naturally, she asked me a thousand questions and was looking for my honest, friend-to-friend perspective on whether or not McGladrey was a good place to work. I told her that culture is of utmost importance to us here. I told her that the fact that we are consistently on the Working Mother's 100 Best Companies To Work For isn't just lip service (haven't missed a school event or a 6pm baseball game yet where my son is the starting pitcher!). I told her that the Partners' doors are always open, both figuratively and literally. I told her all about the growth that we are experiencing and how we like to build our team with people who have a vision and want to make a real contribution to a team, rather than just go to work each day, and that they're truly appreciated for those efforts. We talked for nearly an hour.

I don't know if I can explain the feeling I had after we hung up, but let me try. Elation. Pride. Gratitude. I was so excited to reconfirm that I'm with the best firm for me, and that I am not just "doing my job" when I am sharing McGladrey's finer points with prospective candidates, but rather I'm able to share with many why it's easy to come to work each day. It was pretty awesome.

My friend did come in to interview today and we had coffee afterwards (actually she had a raspberry crumble and black tea and I had a lemonade, but now I'm getting too specific). She told me how impressed she was with our firm, our vision, our culture and our real commitment to our people and our clients, and that she was crossing her fingers that she gets the job.... I am too!

Monday, April 27, 2015

April New Hire Spotlight

Welcome to all McGladrey new hires in the month of April!

Central Region
Name: Joe Wessbecker
Position: Manager, State and Local Tax
Office Location: Minneapolis, MN
Bio: Joe specializes in State Income Tax consulting, including audit and controversy representation, research and planning, refund reviews, nexus studies and voluntary disclosure agreements. Joe has a J.D., Law, from University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI, and a B.A. in Accounting, from Augsburg College. He is a CPA, MN and a licensed attorney in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere in Montana - skiing in the winter, camping and motorcycling mountain roads in the summer and fall.
Fun facts about your family: My wife is also a tax lawyer!
Career aspirations and goals: To help grow McGladrey's Minneapolis SALT practice by developing associates and seniors. To build the #1 SALT controversy team in our market, and to take advantage of all the firm's training, teaching and mentoring opportunities.

Name: Gregory Schuelke
Position: Director, Forensic & Dispute Advisory
Office Location: Houston, TX
Bio: Gregory brings over 25 seasoned years of providing financial damage modeling and expert witness services to local and international law firms, corporations and insurance companies. He also brings to McGladrey his many years of providing forensic accounting services to the construction, petrochemical, refining, energy, manufacturing, retain, hospitality and food processing industries.
Professional affiliations: Greg is currently active in the Texas Society of CPAs where he serves as a director, and active with the local chapter of CPAs where he has served as committee chair and continues to serve on several sub-committees for the Litigation and Valuation Services Committee.

Northeast Region
Name: Georgie Morris
Position: Senior Associate, Risk Advisory Security & Privacy
Office Location: New York, NY
Bio: Georgie comes to us as a Fortune 500 client-serving technology consultant, with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Cum Laude) from New York University in Social Cultural Analysis and minor in Web Programming and Applications.
What do you like to do in your free time? As a New York native, I enjoy running and attending arts performances!
Career aspirations and goals: I'm looking forward to making an impact on our professional services offered in the Tri-State area and Northeast Region. 

Southeast Region
Name: Andrew Harding
Position: Senior Associate, Healthcare Financial Advisory
Office Location: Charlotte, NC
Bio: Andrew is originally from Bethesda, MD and received his Bachelor of Economics from Brigham Young University. Prior to joining McGladrey, he had extensive experience optimizing and improving the efficiency of the revenue cycle, as well as training and rollout of healthcare IT tools. Andrew brings a keen focus on leveraging data to identify leakage and develop sustainable project plans to reduce the negative impact.
What do you like to do in your free time? In my spare time, I enjoy golf, lacrosse, skiing, hiking and travel. My wife and I just moved to Charlotte from Colorado last weekend! She will be attending Queens University in the nursing program.

Name: Bill Kaik
Position: Manager, Technology Management Consulting - Business Applications
Office Location: Charlotte, NC
Bio: Bill joins us supporting the Business Applications groups primarily in the Dynamics CRM space. He first started withing with Dynamics CRM 11 years ago at an ETL company where he gained extensive knowledge around data integrations/data migrations with many disparate systems. In the last five years, he has focused work primarily around banking, wealth management and nonprofit organizations.
What do you like to do in your free time? I enjoy spending time with my two children. Bentley is four and Kensley just turned one last week. Our favorite place to vacation is Walt Disney World. Our daughter who just turned one has already been three times!
What would people find surprising about you? I own a Bounce House business on the weekends. We have about 25 inflatables which keeps my weekends pretty packed!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Award Winner Spotlight - Matthew Durette

Matthew Durette
Tax Associate
Phoenix, AZ
We are delighted to announce that Matthew Durette, tax associate in Phoenix, was recently named by the AICPA as a winner of the 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award.

Bryan Zall, office managing partner for the Phoenix office said, "We are thrilled with Matt's accomplishment to earn the Elijah Watt Sells CPA examination award and recognition! We are looking forward to working with matt as he continues his career development in our Phoenix office! Congratulations, Matt."

In prepping for the CPA exam, "there is a term commonly used which is 'quality time'" Matt said. "Throughout the months I was preparing for the exams, I tried to treat all my time as quality time - meaning that I would try to make every minute productive. One the drive to and from work, I would recount the material I had recently studied. During lunch, I would break out the textbook or flashcards. If I had a few spare minutes, I would write out one of the mnemonics from a recent lecture. I found that there is a lot of potential quality time throughout the day, and I believe it was the use of this time that led to my success on the exams."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Award Winner Spotlight - Lora Dust

Lora Dust
Assurance Associate
Chicago, IL
Lora Beth Dust, an associate in our Chicago office, was recently named a 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award winner by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

"This is a very special award," says Great Lakes regional managing partner, Donna Sciarappa. "Lora's accomplishment is indicative of the high-achieving employee I'm sure she will be at McGladrey for years to come."

Lora said, it never occurred to her that she would accomplish something so rare and receive this kind of recognition. Her only motivation was to take all four parts of the exam between graduation from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in May 2014 and the beginning of her new career with McGladrey in October 2014.

"I studied for the exam like it was a full-time job," said Lora. "Although it was hard some days, I stayed focused and driven to meet my goal of getting the exams taken, passed and behind me."

Lora used a structured study plan and CPA exam classes to ensure she was fully prepared for each part of the exam. She also stressed that her primary study goal was to make sure she understood what she was learning. "If I got something wrong on a practice test, I took the time to understand why it was wrong and how to correct it for the next time," said Lora.

"It doesn't surprise me that Lora was so dedicated to studying for the CPA exams," said Chicago assurance partner, Tom Shaw. "She works on many of my accounts and it's obvious the same effort and diligence she put into taking the exams has translated into her work on the team and with each engagement."

Finding out that she was one of 60 people who had won the Elijah Watt Sells Award was a shock. Lora wasn't even aware of the award until mid-way through her exams when a former professor brought it to her attention.

Although very excited and honored about the award, Lora said she is mostly relieved to be done with the exams and moving forward in her career with McGladrey. Congratulations to Lora and all of the McGladrey 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award winners!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Award Winner Spotlight - Mark Connolly

Mark Connolly
Assurance Associate
New Haven, CT
New Haven, Conn., assurance associate Mark Connolly is one of four McGladrey employees recently awarded the 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Examination.

"We are all very proud of Mark and his accomplishment," said Connecticut office managing partner Tony Ceci. "Clearly his hard work and passion paid off and will be part of a winning formula for his success in the future."

Mark join McGladrey in 2013, after a year as an XBRL research assistant at the Financial Accounting Standards Board. He graduated from University of Connecticut in 2011 with degrees in accounting, economics and resource economics. He said he heard of the award when another UConn graduate earned it in 2011. Although he was aware of the award, his primary goal was simply to pass all sections of the exam the first time.

"Congratulations to Mark for achieving this outstanding distinction as one of the top performers in the country," said northeast regional assurance leader Joel Shamon. "Mark has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and expertise, which is consistent with the vision and values we deliver to our clients throughout the year."

Mark's advice for other associates who will take the CPA exam is to do it as early in your career as possible, when you have the most time available to study. In addition, communicate to your team that you are preparing for the exam. In Mark's case, he kept his team informed, and his team supported him throughout the process by ensuring he had the time to study and take the exam.

Then, once you have the time to study, Mark said sometimes the hardest part is just starting. "You need the discipline to begin studying and to create a routine, because it is too easy to procrastinate and put it off," said Mark. "Set the right expectations for yourself and then hold yourself accountable."

Now that the exam is over, Mark is looking forward to getting back to his passion for kayaking and camping, and hopes to take a summer trip down Maine's Allagash River.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Award Winner Spotlight - John Buntz

John Buntz
Assurance Associate
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore assurance associate John Buntz is one of four McGladrey employees recently awarded the 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Examination.

"Congratulations to John on this great accomplishment," said southeast regional assurance leader Craig Radke. "This honor is a result of commitment and effort toward learning that will follow him throughout his career and we are truly proud to have John as a member of our team."

John graduated from Salisbury University in Maryland in 2014 with dual degrees in accounting and corporate finance. While at school, he completed an externship in 2012 and an internship in 2013 at McGladrey. After graduating, he took the Becker fast pass course, which is a concentrated version of the traditional Becker course, to prepare for the CPA exam. He took the final section of the CPA exam at the end of August and join McGladrey as an associate in October 2014.

"John has been an outstanding addition to McGladrey and the Baltimore office," said Baltimore office managing partner Marty Brunk. "We are very proud of his accomplishment and recognize that he has a great future ahead of him."

Although John was aware of the Elijah Watt Sells Award, he wasn't necessarily expecting to win it - he just wanted to do well on the exam. His advice for other associates who will take the CPA exam is to develop and stick to a study plan, take the exam before you start working, if possible, and make sure you take a break every day to relax.

"I went to the gym every day," said John. "And while I was studying and taking the exam, it was baseball season; so I made sure to take breaks to watch the Baltimore Orioles."

Now that the exam is over, John is looking forward to the 2015 baseball season and to spending more time playing with his roommate's black lab.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Award Winner Spotlight - 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award

Congratulations to four McGladrey associates who were recently awarded the 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Examination.

These McGladrey associates were four of the 60 award recipients:
  • John Buntz, Baltimore
  • Mark Connolly, New Haven
  • Lora Dust, Chicago
  • Matthew Durette, Phoenix
To earn the Elijah Watt Sells Award, recipients must pass all four sections of the exam on the first try within the same year with a cumulative average score above 95.5 on all four sections. More than 91,000 candidates sat for the exam in 2014.

"Congratulations to John, Mark, Lora and Matthew on their extraordinary accomplishment," said Jim Morton, national assurance leader. "These individuals have clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to competence, which is one of the building blocks that inspires confidence in our profession. We sincerely thank them for their exemplary dedication to learning."

This week, we will be highlighting one Elijah Watt Sells recipient each day! Whether you're a graduating student looking for advice on taking the CPA, or an experienced accountant wanting to congratulate a fellow CPA, their stories provide insight and encouragement for everyone! Look for their stories to come this week!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life After Busy Season

Nicole Neglia
Recruiting Specialist
New York, NY

It’s April 15th and you’ve made it!  Another busy season in the books and the only thing you want to think about is what you’re going to do with all that extra time – spend time with friends and family that thought you fell off the face of the earth.  Maybe go on vacation.  Or even have a staycation and just enjoy the spring weather.  Whatever the case may be, the last thing you want to think about is your next move, right?  Wrong!  Most people feel that they have the luxury of waiting until the fall to start their job search.  This can backfire for a few reasons:

- Your competition is thinking the same thing and your chances of landing that dream job decrease dramatically (as do the amounts of offers).

- Companies that wait to hire in the fall are already behind the 8 ball because not only do they have to staff the winter engagements but they also have to replace all those people that left over the summer – and that means extra hours for everyone if they don’t fill those jobs. We are in it for the long haul to ensure a less hectic busy season for everyone.

-You don’t have to rush if you start now! Things move quickly in the fall and many people feel that they have to make hurried decisions because of the approaching busy season.  Not the case if you start early.

Yes it seems daunting to have to deal with after you just worked your butt off.  But in the end you’ll be happy you made the move now rather than worrying in October that you waited too long.

So check out our jobs and get your search started before the guy sitting next to you takes the job you want.

2015 Trailblazer Award Recipient

Kara Trahan
Assurance Manager
Oklahoma City, OK
Assurance manager, Kara Trahan has been recognized by the Oklahoma Society of CPAs (OSCPA) as a recipient of the 2015 "Trailblazer" award. The OSCPA Trailblazers program pays tribute to the professional dedication, innovation and community commitment of new OSCPA members who are under the age of 40 or who have five or fewer years of CPA experience.

"Kara is an outstanding professional who is an excellent leader within the profession and the community. She has definitely earned this opportunity to be recognized as one of the leading new CPA's in Oklahoma," said Mike Gibson, assurance lead partner.

Kara is a certified public accountant and began her career with Cole + Reed in 2009 prior to its merger with McGladrey on December 1, 2014. Kara has focused her career in providing assurance services to manufacturing and distribution, governmental, not-for-profit and benefit plan clients. She works closely with clients and staff to ensure each audit is performed in accordance with industry standards.

Kara is heavily active in the local community and is a volunteer for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Chapter of the Salvation Army. She has also been a participant in the Oklahoma City Regatta and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

First Busy Season

by Munir Ahamed, Assurance Associate
Chicago, Illinois

You can mentally prepare all you want. You can ask all your friends already in public accounting. You can ask every experienced associate you meet at new hire orientation. But there is no better teacher than experience. This definitely applies to the question, "so what is busy season really like?"

During new hire orientation, the common consensus seemed to be "it all depends on what clients you're on". This definitely wound up being true, however at the time it didn't help much for what lie ahead. I was also told that your first busy season would "not be that crazy". With all this vague advice, I went into January with a positive attitude ready for whatever was thrown my way. I mean, this was what I went to school for, what all those nights in the library while friends were out partying were for. I would say my first busy season was definitely a big learning experience. There were many ups, a few downs, a lot of stress, jokes with team members, and new relationships formed with clients and coworkers.

I was on two main clients for this busy season. One was the for the entire month of February and one for the entire month of March. I was able to experience and put my feet in the water with many different sections of the audit by being on the same client for entire months at a time. I really got a feel for the client's business and all that was going on. One of the biggest takeaways from this busy season is the importance of having a good relationship with your clients. Working on a client for a month straight allowed me to really get to know the controllers and staff accountants. A couple of weeks into each client, we had reached a level of comfort to where we were able to joke around about non-work related things. This builds a level of trust and comfort where both you and the client feel approachable. Being around for a month was definitely beneficial for that.

I would be lying if I said I was never stressed out during these past few months. The hours were manageable. You go into this profession expecting the longer work days. It really was "not that crazy", as I was told. I'm sure going forward, as responsibilities increase and I become more familiar with the procedures, hours will go up.

All in all, I enjoyed my first busy season and learned a lot about the financial services industry from my two main clients. Busy season advice I plan to give when asked in these next coming months from new hires would include, "just have a positive attitude and you'll be fine." They'll realize everything else best once they're actually in the field.

Friday, April 10, 2015

AICPA Recognizes Four from McGladrey with 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award

McGladrey is pleased to announce that four of its employees were recently named by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) as winners of its 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award.

According to the AICPA’s news release, the award is bestowed upon candidates who have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, passed all four sections of the exam on their first attempt and completed testing in 2014. A total of 91,384 individuals sat for the exam in 2014, with only 60 of them meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AIPCA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Examination. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the U.S., was active in the establishment of the AICPA, and played a key role in advancing professional education within the profession.

“We are very proud of our McGladrey teammates who were recognized by the AICPA as winners of the 2014 Elijah Watt Sells Award,” said Katie Lamkin, human resources leader for McGladrey. “Our employees consistently provide our clients with top-notch service, and we are pleased to see these four receive such an honor within the industry.”

Congratulations to McGladrey’s award recipients:
John Karl Buntz – A graduate of Salisbury University with a B.S. in accounting and a B.S. in corporate finance, Buntz is based out of McGladrey’s Baltimore office.
Mark Connolly – A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in economics, B.S. in accounting and a B.S. in resource economics, Connolly is based out of McGladrey’s New Haven, CT office.
Matthew Robert Durette – A graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of accountancy and a Master of taxation, Durette is based out of McGladrey’s Arizona office.
Lora Beth Dust – A graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a B.S. in accountancy, Dust is based out of McGladrey’s headquarters office in Chicago.

About the AICPA
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 400,000 members in 145 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.

The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; forensic accounting; business valuation; and information management and technology assurance. Though a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, which sets a new standard for global recognition of management accounting.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Durham, NC and Ewing, N.J.

About McGladrey
McGladrey LLP is the leading U.S. provider of assurance, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market, with nearly 8,000 professionals and associates in 80 cities nationwide. McGladrey is a licensed CPA firm, and serves clients around the world through RSM International, a global network of independent accounting, tax and consulting firms. For more information join our Facebook fan page at McGladrey News, follow us on Twitter @McGladrey, and connect with us on LinkedIn, and/or on YouTube.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Busy Season Fun!

by Katie Hull, Campus Talent Acquisition Associate
Kansas City, Missouri

The McGladrey Davenport, Iowa office is having some fun this busy season! This past month, during Take-A-Break, employees were challenged with a Lego project. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast... we threw in a twist! Teams were broke up into 6 players, half the team was in one room with a completed Lego project - the other half in another room with just the Lego pieces. One team member was appointed as the Go Between Runner who had to relay instructions from the team with the completed object to the builders with the pieces. The team that finished reconstructing the object first was the winning team!

The winning team was the Young Professionals! Congrats Chelsey Wrage (Assurance Associate), Amber Johnson (Sr. Tax Associate), Meghan Frazier (Tax CSR), Trudi Saarivirta (Sr. Admin Assistant), Seth Whan (Tax Intern), and Kyler Menster (Tax Intern).