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Accounting Talent Development

Most CFOs claim that their staff members are their most valued asset. However, if you look at organizations’ lack of investment in training for their finance and accounting teams, you see a different picture.

Research indicates that talent development; including a clear path to promotions, regular and fair evaluations, training for new skills, and mentorship are critical for retaining your top performers. Nevertheless, many organizations have yet to accept and embrace the need to invest in their employees.

According to Accounting Today, employers in the Best Companies Group spend a little over fifty hours per year on supporting existing skills or internal process and system training. These same companies invest less than 10 hours per year on talent development per employee. Even more surprising, the average finance and accounting team receives only two hours of talent development, and then it is usually in conjunction with the annual review process. This small investment runs counter to the need to retain top talent.

Today’s finance departments have a real need for the right team with the right mix of skills and competencies, not only in accounting, but in business, leadership, communication, and other non-financial disciplines.

So, how can you meet your needs for the future, and retain key staff? Start by creating a personal development plan for each employee. This plan will enable you to grow their skills and demonstrate a future role for the employee in your organization. Ensure that the plan includes access to education and training in new or enhanced skills.

When you continually invest in the development of talent, you no longer have to worry about retention and attraction. Top talent knows they need to grow their skills - or go to an organization willing to invest in them. Take a close look at your talent development investment as part of your 2017 New Year’s resolutions.

Accounting Talent Development

Blockchain Basics

A blockchain is a ledger of records arranged in data batches called blocks which use cryptographic validation to link themselves together. Each block references and identifies the previous block with a hashing function, forming an unbroken chain.

What makes a blockchain unique, and of value, is that it’s a database - with built in validation. The truly unique part is that the database is not stored in a specific location, but instead it is distributed. Since those who access the data have only a copy and not the original file they can’t change, modify, or tamper with the file. Perhaps the best definition of a blockchain is that it’s an independent, transparent, and permanent database coexisting in multiple locations and shared by a community.

The team at have created the following graphic which is a great explanation of how blockchains work:

There are not yet clear standards to govern how blockchains will be implemented across an enterprise. Some companies may choose to use the bitcoin network, while others may opt for “permissioned” or semi-private blockchains.

While concerns about privacy remain, especially for financial services applications, 2017 will see many industries working to take advantage of the benefits of blockchains.

Blockchain Basics

Finance Employment Outlook

As accounting professionals embark on a new year, they have a lot to celebrate. The unemployment rate for Accountants stands at around 2.5 percent and Accountants rank #6 in Best Business Jobs according to Money Magazine.

In fact, several types of finance positions, including accounting and auditing, are expected to outpace overall occupations in job growth and pay by 2024. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Financial Analysts, Financial Examiners, Accountants and Auditors, and Financial Planners show the strongest growth.

A few key facts to consider:

Financial Examiners

Financial Examiners will grow an expected 10 percent by 2024, adding 3,700 jobs to the 38,200 of 2015. Median pay in 2016 was $78,010.

Accountants and Auditors

There were 1.33 million accountants and auditors in 2015. Their ranks are expected to grow 11 percent by 2024, to 1.47 million. The median pay in 2016 was $67,190.

Financial Analysts

The 277,600 Financial Analysts in 2015 are expected to see 32,300 additional colleagues, or 12 percent growth by 2024. Median pay in 2016 was $80,310.

Financial Planners/Personal Financial Advisors

Financial Planners and Personal Financial Advisors are expected to grow an amazing 30 percent by 2024. Median pay in 2016 was $89,160.

An increase in the number of businesses, changing financial laws, corporate governance regulations, and increased accountability for protecting an organization’s stakeholders will continue to drive the demand for finance professionals. This will surely make 2017 a Happy New Year for experienced finance professionals as well as new graduates looking for their first opportunities in the industry.

Finance Employment Outlook

Getting from the Remote Interview to Face-to-Face

Often times hiring managers will ask for a phone conversation or a remote interview, such as Skype, as a way to narrow the field for the next-round of hiring decisions. These interviews are crucial if you want to have a chance at the coveted face-to-face job interview.

Because remote interviews are quite common, many interviewees feel like they have their bases covered. I’m on the phone, or sitting at my computer at home, and I just have to sound enthusiastic and be myself. Easy right? It’s not quite that simple.

Treat a remote interview just as seriously as you would an in-office interview. And, be sure you are following these suggestions to get an invitation to meet the hiring manager face-to-face!

  • Take time to prepare. Just as you would for an office interview: have a copy of your resume handy, do research on the company, see if you are connected on LinkedIn to someone from the company or your interviewer, have a few questions prepared, and be dressed for the interview.

  • Dress for your interview. If this is a skype type interview you certainly want to look the part for the job, just as if you were face-to-face the interviewer can see you. Look interview ready. If it is a phone interview, you should still be dressed and not in your jammies, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and sit at a desk or table. No one can see you, but these simple acts will boost you into interview mode. So, practice answering a few questions out loud and sit up straight!

  • Eliminate distractions and interruptions. Make sure you are in a quiet area where kids, pets, or roommates will not intrude. Be sure the radio and TV are turned off. Your full concentration should be on the call.

  • Listen and respond. You don’t have to fill all the empty air space. It’s tough when you are on the telephone to allow some quiet moments, but don’t feel like you should dominate the conversation. Speak to the questions asked and be sure to take a breath, and then ask your interviewer if they would like more examples or details.

  • In your pre-interview prep, be sure to have a couple open ended questions at the ready to get your interviewer talking. You want to take this opportunity to learn about the company and their culture as much as the interviewer wants to learn about you, and if you will be a fit.

  • A remote interview is a real interview. Follow-up as you would with any interview, send a thank you note.

  • Good luck. You’ve got this.

Getting from the Remote Interview to Face-to-Face