September 18, 2018

Bosses

There’s a New Boss at Moss

Well, technically you'll have to wait until 2013, but, barring any unforeseen events, Chris Schmidt will be the next Chairman and CEO of Moss Adams and he's legit excited about it. "I'm honored and excited to have the opportunity to help lead Moss Adams forward into its second century," Schmidt said. "I hope to continue to build […]

CPA Didn’t Count on Little League World Series Mom Telling Him to Take Her Job and Shove It

Most of the time when you ask for time off, your superiors don't have much of an issue. "Sure! Enjoy yourself!" or "Go ahead. You deserve a break," they might say. On the rare occasion where your request comes at an inopportune time (e.g. looming deadline, it's their monthly get-away time with mistress/boy-toy), there can […]

How to Manage Up and Keep Your Bosses Happy (Well, Most of Them)

Don't wanna work? Just wanna to bang on a drum all day? Okay, but the noise may result in you being escorted out by security. Best to ask us about something that's been bugging you. Shoot us an email and we'll keep you out of trouble. Hi, this isn't a tip but can you do […]

Five Ways to Communicate Better with the Boss

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

Would you like to be more appreciated by your boss? Feel more comfortable apprith requests? Stop worrying about what he thinks of you? Why not do something about it?

As with any human relationship, your behavior and attitude can make a difference in your relationship with your boss. If you want a different type of relationship with him, start behaving differently and results will follow.

First, be conscious of the type of relationship you’re going for – you don’t want to build a connection that’s too friendly or intimate; keep it professional but rewarding.


“The ideal boss-employee relationship is one of trust and respect where both individuals work as a team to achieve the goals of the company,” said Deborah Millhouse, president of CEO Inc., which specializes in direct hire placement, temporary staffing, and human capital services. “The employee should be supportive of the needs and requirements of the boss so that the boss can reach the goals and complete the job with success.”

Millhouse offers five tips for building a better relationship with your boss:

1. Make a genuine effort to learn about him or her. “Understand your boss’s personality style and communicate with him in an effective way that supports his temperament,” Millhouse said. “Ask good questions about his or her goals, and then support them.”

2. Check your bad mood at the door. “Attitude is more important than aptitude,” Millhouse said. “Be full of energy and ready to try anything.”

3. Use good manners. Just like your mom taught you, simple courtesies like saying please and thank you can go a long way. Also, “deliver results without being asked or prompted a million times,” Millhouse said.

4. Communicate openly and clearly. Don’t be stingy with your ideas; contribute good ideas to the team and you’ll be appreciated. Also, “speak up, be accurate, clear, and to the point; don’t play the cloaking game,” Millhouse said. No boss wants to spend time trying to figure out what you meant by what you said – just say what you mean in a polite, clear way.

5. Take initiative. Don’t always wait to be told what to do; when you see something that needs to be done, just do it. “Set good goals,” Millhouse said. And then, “do what you say you will do.”

If your boss is particularly difficult, improving your relationship with him might take more time. View it as a challenge and make an ongoing effort to make improvements.

“Most difficult relationships lack trust, so building trust is the first step,” Millhouse said. “Trust is achieved through understanding and communicating effectively with each other. With a boss who is especially difficult, the employee can attempt to improve relations with efforts to open the lines of communications.”

About the author:
Nancy Mann Jackson is an award-winning journalist and corporate communicator who writes regularly about small business, parenting, and workplace issues. Since 2001, she has worked as a freelance writer and has written hundreds of articles for publications including Working Mother, CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur.com, and MyBusiness. She also writes and edits annual reports, blogs, and newsletters for companies in industries including finance, technology, and construction. Jackson also is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Reprinted with permission from glassdoor.com.

Memo to the Boss: We Need to Talk

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

Don’t fall for the myth that some bosses are just too busy to meet with you. The truth is your boss does not have time not to meet with you on a regular basis no matter how busy your boss might be.

Don’t get me wrong. You should be very careful about wasting one minute of your boss’s time – or anybody’s time for that matter. After all, there are only 168 hours in a week and everyone has zillions of demands on his or her time. Your boss has his own tasks and responsibilities and projects besides his management obligations to you. Your boss is busy. You are busy. Nobody has a minute to waste.


That’s exactly why neither you, nor your boss has time to not meet with you on a regular basis to talk about your work. When you have a boss who won’t spend time talking through your work with you, misunderstandings occur, you don’t always know what resources are necessary, you might find yourself in a real pickle and, even if you succeed against all odds, then you probably won’t get the credit you deserve.

But how often can you succeed against all odds? Without clear expectations, adequate resources, monitoring, and measuring of performance, here’s what happens:

• Unnecessary problems occur.
• Problems that could have been solved easily get out of control.
• The resources you do have get squandered.

As a result, the boss who tried so hard to avoid spending time managing you ends up spending lots of time managing you, anyway. Only it’s after the fact because you were set up to fail, instead of being set up to succeed. When the boss avoids spending time in advance to make sure things go right, things usually go wrong. Small problems pile up. Often, small problems fester unattended until they become so big that they cannot be ignored. By that point, the boss has no choice but to chase down the problems and help you solve them.

In crisis, the boss is virtually guaranteed to be less effective – a further waste of time. What’s more, these bosses run around solving problems that never had to happen, getting big problems under control that should have been solved easily, recouping squandered resources, dealing with long-standing issues, and then feeling even more pressed for time.

As a result, these are the bosses who go right back to avoiding spending time managing you, and the next time they’ll make time for management is the next time there is another big problem to resolve.

So don’t waste any boss’s time. Make your one-on-one time with every boss brief, straightforward, efficient, and all about the work. But make sure you get that regular one-on-one time with every boss you answer to directly at any given time. How often? That depends on the nature of the work you are doing for that boss. Once a day? Once a week? Every other week?

If you push every boss to put the management time where it belongs, up front before anything goes right, wrong, or average, on a regular basis, and you make sure you get the basic elements you need to succeed, then the time every boss does spend managing you will be so much more effective.

If you make sure the time every boss spends with you is high-leverage time, bosses are going to want to give you that time. You will gain a reputation for not wasting anyone’s time. You will gain a reputation for making good use of management time. Bosses will know that it is worth spending time with you, that there will be a return on investment for every minute a boss spends with you.

Pressure from CEOs More Likely to Lead CFO Shenanigans Than Monetary Gain

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

A recent study, “Why Do CFOs Become Involved in Material Accounting Manipulations,” by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Washington attempts to answer just this question. Their finding? Pressure from the companies’ CEOs, more than the possibility of financial gain, tends to drive the actions of crooked CFOs.

Of course, the researchers couldn’t actually divine the motivations that drove the CFOs who manipulated numbers. Instead, they reviewed a group of firms subject to SEC enforcement, analyzing the role of the CFOs, as well as the costs they incurred and any benefits they gained from their actions.

They found – not surprisingly – that the CFOs involved faced stiff penalties for their actions. More than half of the CFOs (54 percent) employed by the nearly 300 firms in the sample that were charged by the SEC for accounting manipulation were prohibited from serving as an officer, director or accountant with a public company in the future. About 48 percent of CFOs were fined as a result of their wrongdoing, with a median fine of $50,000. A small number – about 4 percent – also faced criminal charges. Clearly, monkeying with the numbers can be quite costly for CFOs.


On the other hand, the CFOs that engaged shady number crunching didn’t have significantly higher equity incentives than CFOs in the control sample. That means the CFOs involved in misstatements took on a lot of risk, yet couldn’t expect to come out much further ahead financially than their counterparts at law-abiding firms.

Conversely, the CEOs of firms in trouble exhibited both greater power and equity incentive than CEOs of control firms. For instance, these CEOs were more likely to be company founders and to serve as chair of their boards than the heads of the other firms. “This evidence is also consistent with the pressured CFO explanation; that material accounting manipulations are more likely in the presence of powerful CEOs,” the researchers write.

What’s more, CFO turnover jumped during the three years before the misstatements occurred. That suggests that at least some CFOs either left or lost their jobs because they refused to participate in the manipulation.

The SEC also seems to have taken note of the larger role that CEOs, rather than CFOs, typically played in the schemes. When the researchers examined 188 companies in which both the CFO and CEO were charged with manipulating numbers, they found that the SEC had charged 18 percent of CFOs with orchestrating the schemes. When it came to CEOs, however, 32 percent were charged – almost double the CFO number.

Moreover, when the SEC charged just the CFO with wrongdoing, 30 percent of them benefited financially. That’s a lot, but it’s significantly less than the 46 percent of CEOs who were charged and also gained financially.

Given these findings, are there changes that could reduce accounting shenanigans? To be sure, the research doesn’t mean that CFOs who cook the books can simply blame their actions on their bosses; clearly they could have acted differently, as difficult as doing so might have been. The findings do suggest, however, that one step to reducing the opportunity for wrongdoing would be to provide CFOs with greater independence from their CEOs. One way to accomplish this would be to expect greater participation from corporate boards or audit committees when it comes to hiring and evaluating their firms’ chief financial officers.

Mr. Comptroller, John Liu, Demands That You Recognize the Seriousness of His Office

john-liu.jpgEveryone runs into a quirky boss at some point in their careers. Whether you’re answering to a higher power like Team Jehovah (just do as I say, or it’s eternal damnation) or just the new partner at your firm that keeps all the keys to the john in his office, people have to make adjustments to keep things on an even keel.
Well here’s a new one: The Post has reported that New York City’s new comptroller, John Liu, has ordered his staff to rise and address him as “Mr. Comptroller” whenever he enters the room.
In addition to the new formalities, The Post also reported that Mr. Comptroller is eliminating casual Fridays and is requiring everyone to arrive for work by 8 am. This is not a country club, people!
What’s the reason for all this, you ask? It’s quite simple actually. Mr. Comptroller is obviously aware the less than prestigious image that accountants (even elected ones) have and he wanted to nip this notion in the bud:

Liu’s new protocols were the brainchild of First Deputy Comptroller Eric Eve, an ex-Citigroup banker and adviser to former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, according to Lee.
“It is important to note John is the same John, and he hasn’t changed,” Lee said. “At the same time, we want to address the office with the seriousness it demands.”

See, it was the ex-banker’s idea? Mr. Comptroller is the same guy, just wants to point out that the Office of the Comptroller is to be taken seriously. Make no mistake, it’s a real elected position. Mr. Comptroller is also ex-PwC so that could have something to do with it. Or not, you can sort that out for yourselves.