Motivation

The “Youngest CPA Ever” Will Make You Feel Like a Lazy, Unmotivated Turd

So you did well in high school, went off to a good college, managed to get through Intermediate, graduated with a 3.8 GPA, got an offer at a Big 4 firm, and passed the CPA exam on the first try in just 8 months. BIG DEAL, you aren't this young lady. As 17-year-old Belicia Cespedes […]

Grant Thornton Tries to Motivate With the Human Centipede, or Something

At least I think that's what that graphic is, maybe my glasses are dirty. MT @EmployersonDice: Science says ppl want to do great work @DanielPink get out of way via Pam Harless @GTCareersUS pic.twitter.com/f23AcHfYXW — GrantThorntonCareers (@GTCareersUS) May 7, 2014 See it?

Do You Really Need To Buy That $3,000 CPA Review Course?

It feels like forever since we've had to point a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed CPA exam candidate toward the light but oh lookie, we got an email! If you have a question about the CPA exam, you can always email me, and if you have a question about anything else except everything we've ever written about for […]

All It Took Was Vital Organ Failure and Sepsis to Motivate This Accountant to Start His Own Firm

Some of you people have aspirations to start your own firm one day. We think that's great and your career/life path will take many twists and turns on the way to becoming professionally independent. You may become at partner at your current firm. You may get fired several times for being "difficult." You may even […]

Three Study Motivators for the CPA Exam During a Blackout Window

Blackout months are notorious for inviting procrastination, especially June. The weather is nice, the work is light, and if you’ve been studying for most of the year, the mid-point can be exactly where you lose what little motivation you had to study. Because you have an entire month “off”, it can be easy to fall into a rut of not studying.

So as we go into this month, let’s remember some ways to stay motivated, even when it’s tempting to run off and play in the sun:


Get a study buddy – Sometimes all you need is someone chewing you out encouraging you to keep going. If you’re doing this alone and know you’re slacking, maybe you need to recruit a friend to keep you in check.

Bribe yourself – Yes, bribing yourself is a pretty low tactic but whatever works, right? Promise yourself a splurge when you pass whatever section you are studying for or, if you’ve got a little extra cash to throw around, bribe yourself often with treats like $4 lattes and DVDs or whatever it is you’re into that won’t break the bank. This goes in reverse – if you aren’t studying and know it, punish yourself by taking away the movie tickets or nice dinners out.

Schedule your exam date close to the opening of the next window – This way you know you can’t blow off the entire month. Obviously this isn’t a good idea if you’re taking FAR and don’t plan on studying until June 1st but if you’re planning on taking a smaller section like BEC and have the time to put it, schedule your exam in the first or second week of the window so you know you can’t procrastinate. I guarantee you’ll only lose one exam fee because of not studying before you learn that particular lesson.

Good luck and if you’ve had luck breaking the procrastination habit, do share what worked for you!

Adrienne Gonzalez is the founder of Jr. Deputy Accountant, a former CPA wrangler and a Going Concern contributor . You can see more of her posts here and all posts on the CPA Exam here.

Tax and SEC Deadline Watch: Are You About to Get Your Life Back?

Doubtful!

But it is March 15th and corporate return extensions are being submitted en masse. Tomorrow is also the deadline for accelerated filers to submit their 10-Ks so auditors that are borderline delirious (and probably feeling frumpy) might get more than four hours of sleep this week.

For you tax jockeys, today could mean a couple of things: 1) this is a bump in the road and your life will be even more hectic as your deadbeat clients who are now realizing that April 15th is coming up fast or 2) you don’t touch anything that isn’t an 1120 and you’re in the clear for awhile.


And for you auditors, hopefully you haven’t forgotten our little teaching lesson from the previous deadline? Try and catch all the embedded “f*cks.” And hey! E&Y is still having Canadian Tuxedo Fridays for a couple more weeks so that’s something to look forward to, amiright?

Yes, there are some of you out there that are still billing monster hours with no end in sight. But look at this way, if you haven’t quit by now, you’re in it to the end, so you better just read this reminder from Deloitte and get back to it. It’ll be over soon enough.

Four Ways to Force Yourself to Study for the CPA Exam

I’ll save you the hoo-rah, I’m pretty sure you don’t need it. It’s March already; if you aren’t studying, you’re working, and if you’re doing both right now I worry about your decision-making capabilities. Oh well.

Masochistic or not, it isn’t always easy to get yourself motivated to study.

You have entire CPA exam strategies laid out on the CPAnet forums here, here, and look, you even have a hoo-rah. Not everyone is an Elijah Watt-Sells so get that out of your head and worry about what works for you.


That strategy – finding a perfect fit for your own needs as a CPA exam candidate – also goes for motivation.

So how do you force yourself to study? Here are a few ideas:

Bribe yourself – Sock away $xxx for a new toy and reward a passing score with whatever your bribe is. If you’re cheap/laid off/sinking $1000s into failed exam fees and broke, it could be a decent dinner or a movie. Define splurge for yourself and make that the carrot you dangle in front of your face to get you to study.

Commiserate – You can find plenty of miserable accountants taking (and not always succeeding at) the CPA exam. You can also find support and encouragement if you’re actually trying to pass, so use resources like CPAnet and Twitter to find other candidates to speak to. If you’re taking a live review, sign up with someone else from your firm and go to class together. It helps to have someone else keeping you in check.

Visualize your goal – This might be the most, um, cheesy of methods but it absolutely works. Write CPA after your name on business cards and put them up where you will see them frequently (but don’t hand them out, that’d be illegal); though this tactic isn’t meant as a substitute for actually preparing (sorry to break it to you), a little positive thinking takes the anxious edge off.

Plan – Sometimes knowing there is a clearly defined schedule takes some of the panic out of the CPA exam, and if you’re disciplined enough, you won’t need motivation. Sure, it’s robotic, but that’s what studying for the CPA exam is. The exam doesn’t ask you to think critically outside of the parameters of financial reporting and accounting, nor do you get bonus points for creativity. So maybe you just need to have a plan, stick to it, suck it up, and move on until you’re done. It’s the most miserable of the options but sometimes all that works.

So? What worked for you?

Grant Thornton Is on This National Employee Appreciation Day Thing

So, servants of the capital markets, how’s the motivation? Stable? Critical? Grave? Whatever your condition, if you work at Grant Thornton, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a chance (somewhere between slim and good) that you’ll receive a little token of appreciation tomorrow:


Exciting, right? We’re not sure these GT e-cards are of the erotic variety but that would definitely be a great show of apprect have the self-control to forward it to your non-GT address and wait to check it at home so you don’t end up like some people.

Turns out National Employee Appreciation Day has dropping on the first Friday in March since 1995 but we’ll be damned if we’d ever heard of such a thing. Is there some coordinated effort among accounting firms, large and small, to keep this thing as quiet as possible? It’s busy season after all; the close proximity to deadlines should be appreciation enough.

Anyway, Recognition Professionals International put this together back in the Clinton days and presumably it’s been a hit because, well, it’s still going on. Jump over to the website however, and you’ll find out that they have far bigger ideas that just e-cards:

Recognition can take a hundred forms and variations. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Ask an employee to write down six ways they would like to be rewarded. Anything goes. The only rule is that half the ideas need to be low cost or no cost.

2. Schedule lunch dates with employees. Give them an opportunity to select the luncheon site, and use the time to simply get to know them better.

3. Offer a free one-year subscription to an employee’s favorite business magazine and have it sent to their home.

4. Consider a gift certificate entitling an employee to lunch with you or another mentor of his/her choosing for the purpose of being coached on one or more topics.

5. Offer a shopping spree to a local supply store for an employee to get items (no staplers or paper clips allowed) to personalize his/her office or cubicle.

6. Give the gift of wellness. Have a limousine pick up an employee for a full day at a spa. Give gift coupons for ballroom dance, yoga or golf lessons.

7. Give a fun-loving employee a series of On your mark-get set-GO cards that they can redeem at their discretion. For example: Leave work early to go to a movie, or shopping, or play ball.

8. Send a handwritten note of thanks for the completion of a job well done.

9. If an employee stays late/goes above and beyond to complete a project, send the employee and his/her partner to a nice dinner.

10. Purchase a company “toy” your employees would most enjoy; a cappuccino machine, dart board, volleyball court, exercise room.

Now judging by this list, it appears that GT looked through these and thought, “Number 1 could be taken advantage of in ways that could get the firm in trouble (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) and the rest of these involve spending money. With the exception of number eight!”

So an idea was born. GT e-cards. Here’s hoping that you all get an inbox full of these because A) you deserve them and B) the better the odds are that someone will forward it on to us so that we may take a gander and then share it with everyone. If you don’t receive a GT e-card (or anything for that matter), then you have every right to go postal on whoever you damn well please.

Ernst & Young Announces Canadian Tuxedo Fridays for the Remainder of Busy Season

Officially, it appears that it’s just half of the Canadian Tux. You can show up in the jacket if you want but we’d advise you lose it while at the office.


Oh right, showing up at your client from head to toe in denim is not advisable so that eliminates a fair share of you. As for the rest of you, kindly schlep that extra outfit with you just in case. You never know when you’ll need the biz-pro or biz-casual uniform handy. On a somewhat related note, it’s not entirely clear is if the Texas Tuxedo is allowed.

Allowing denim on Fridays during busy season is probably not unprecedented but it may be enough to get some of you through the next 30-ish days. Enjoy.

Grant Thornton’s Valentine to Employees Did Not Consist of Heart Candy

It’s the middle of February and many of you are somewhere between completely exhausted and death warmed up. This is not lost on blogger extraordinaire Steve Chipman. SC’s weekly info session has been crucial to your survival (even though it’s not meant for all of you). Knowing that his soothing words will only get you so far, he’s taken a different approach this week.

Since it was St. Val’s on Sunday, Chip figured he would mark the day for lovers by boosting your spirits by using the words of GTers less CEO-y than himself.

Today I’d like to offer some inspiration to help us push through busy season. The last year and a half have required so much more from everyone that it’s hard to imagine we can work even harder, but it’s evident that we are everywhere I look.

So what keeps us going? That’s what I was looking for when I reviewed the “I am Grant Thornton” interviews we conducted last fall. We asked a variety of people in different roles, in different offices and at different levels if they felt they made a difference, and, if so, how.

It is hard to imagine that you can work harder, isn’t it? Your spreadsheets are bleeding through your monitors, you’ve ingested far more MSG than is recommended, and your cube farm neighbor (who ordinarily smells funny) is looking hot .

And we weren’t aware of this “I am G to the T” exercise but it sounds stupendous. Who knew your personal experiences would be used at this most crucial time of year? Bet you would have really put some thought into if if you had known your words could possibly have been immortalized on Steve-o’s blog.

Here are some carefully selected examples from SC’s list and our thoughts on each:

When a client calls me and says, “Can I pick your brain?” it’s so great because (1) they recognize I have a brain” – We agree that it’s nice when your client recognizes that you are of the same species.

“I had a client tell me recently, and I’m quoting, ‘We hire Grant Thornton because you get [stuff] done.’” – That’s Stephen’s edit. This is a family blog, people.

“I make a difference every day because I work here.” – And because my mother said so.

“Every day is a great achievement.” – We agree. Crawling out of bed is tough.

“How do I make a difference? . . . You know, I’m happy.” – God, you’re one of those happy people.

“I’ve worked at the big firms. We are not bigger by any means, but it’s a question of caliber. I knew it from my first day on the job here. We’re just a different caliber of firm.” – We’re not size queens at GT.

Steve-o’s send-off has us begging for more and also causes us to wonder A) who is this homecoming queen? and B) is Chip a Bass or a Tenor?

I’m also proud to say that among our great people are a former homecoming queen and a professional make-up artist. Of equal wonder, one of you found the most surprising thing about coming to Grant Thornton was “that all the partners have great singing voices.”

There’s more where that came from, but this is the firm’s Valentine to you.

Thanks for you!
Stephen

You could do back-to-back busy season now, couldn’t you?

Busy Season 2010: Generous Accountant Thinks About Others; Arranges Gathering

Because busy season is in full swing, we’ve been discussing motivation a fair amount this week. The latest pick-me-up came way of Houston from someone that decided to take matters into their own hands:

So I know everyone is busy, busy, busy, but I was given a free Happy Hour at Howl at the Moon and wanted to share it with all of you!

What: Happy Hour event

Where: Howl at the Moon (midtown)

When: February 5th, 2010

Time: 9pm – 12 am

Hope to see ya there! It should be a good way to brush off all the stress that busy season has brought!

Happy auditing,


Having never come across such generosity in our own professional experience, we tracked down this noble soul to find out the dealio. Well for starters, our hero reminded us that it’s difficult for the firms to arrange shindigs this time of year so our savior just decided to make it happen.

Plus, people haven’t been able to get together and share their Busy Season 2010 war stories and lament on the days and weeks to come. This is the perfect opportunity to get together and do just that. Also, they told us that you’re all so awesome and you deserve a break.

Gosh, this might be the feel good story of the season. Enjoy Houston!

PwC Motivates the Troops with Just Two Words

More examples of motivation are rolling in as we pick up speed during this most wonderful time of the year.

The latest token of gratitude comes courtesy of P. Dubs. While some people need gift cards to remind them that the next ten weeks will be worth the pain but one PwC office knows that such superficial bait won’t motivate everyone. It requires something more, something meaningful:

Picture 3.png

This goes above and beyond getting off your chair, walking all the way over to someone’s cube-pod, looking them straight in the eye and saying, “You’re awesome!”

This involves handing a piece of paper (below) to this awesome person and then telling them how kick ass they are. Then high-five, chest-bump, fist-jab ass-slap, whatever the hell it is you’re doing these days to top it off. It’s the little things that make it special. Now get to it.

You’re Awesome! Award-1.pptx

Deloitte Has Stepped Up the Motivational Techniques to Include PowerPoint, Gift Cards

Yesterday we shared with you some motivational words of wisdom from Deloitte. Today the firm is stepping it up a notch, not just offering words, but a PowerPoint presentation informing the troops about Winter 2010 C.P.R. (Cash, Prizes, & Rewards). The long/short is that Green-Dotters will be eligible to win gift cards starting tomorrow, once in February, once in March, and a grand prize on March 31st.
While we’re impressed with this particular method of distraction/motivation, the best part is that there is a key slide that includes an admission that they know, that you know, that your life is temporarily over:
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Whether your slim chances of winning one of these gift cards is worth A) your skin not seeing a ray of sun for three months B) not having any semblance of a social life or C) your significant other screaming “That’s it! It’s so over! You can sleep at the f—ing office if you like being there so much!” has to be determined by you and you alone.
CPR 2010.ppsx

Motivating Words During Busy Season, Deloitte Edition

From a friend of GC:

If you’ve got your own words of encouragement for this busy season for Deloitte, or your own firm, feel free to share. Or if you’re feeling creative send us your poster to share with the group.