April 26th, 2013
With 80% of companies in the U.S. using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, and accounting software so ubiquitous and sophisticated even novices can keep books, you would think an accountant’s job would have gotten easier.
Not so. Remarkably, two-thirds of U.S. businesses still reconcile accounts manually, contributing to an average 48 hour workweek for management-level accounting and finance workers. Even non-management staff are putting in an average of 42 hours. Read the rest of this entry »
January 31st, 2013
With women now filling six out of ten auditing and accounting jobs in the United States, the American Society of Women Accountants decided it was time to update the organization’s brand and reach out to a new generation of women financial professionals. The organization voted to change its name to Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and add the tagline, “Connect. Advance. Lead.” The new name, said the organization, “refreshes our image and resonates better not only with our current members, but also with prospective members and particularly those in younger generations.” Founded in 1938 as a professional group for women accountants, a small, but even then growing number, today the AFWA includes women in a variety of professional financial services jobs. “By contemporizing and broadening the appeal of the organization through a name change, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance is confident it will attract a new generation of women accounting and finance professionals who are in a position to define a new way of thinking in the companies for which they work,” said Lee K. Lowery, CAE, ASWA’s executive director. Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance
December 14th, 2012
As alternative investment strategies become significant and substantial parts of institutional investors’ portfolios, the risk management practices that they have traditionally employed are no longer adequate, writes Tyler Kim, CIO of MaplesFS. He says that with “fixed income yields at historic lows and equity markets exhibiting lackluster performance” greater risk is required to achieve returns similar to those in the past. While these alternative investment strategies offer good returns, institutional investors in particular are exposed to risks unlike those they’ve experienced before. In his article, he outlines how to develop “an adaptive approach to risk management that enhances portfolio performance, and more importantly helps institutional investors to embrace alternative investments with greater confidence.” FINalternatives
October 24th, 2012
Are big law firms doomed to extinction? That’s become an increasingly popular question after the failure of Dewey & LeBoeuf and the troubled dissolution and bankruptcy of Howrey LLP.
In a conversation with Bloomberg Law, law firm consultant Bruce MacEwen said some of the biggest firms are luring new business with hourly rates so low he described them as “suicide prices.” The problem with that is it creates an expectation among clients that these lowball rates are the new rates. Just like department stores have done with their customers, he says, clients are being trained to shop the discounts. That will only lead to the same fate the retail industry has suffered, mergers, bankruptcies, and a cycle of layoffs. Read the rest of this entry »
October 23rd, 2012
Demand for financial services workers in the U.S. is growing; steadily, even if slowly. Since September 2011, the industry has added almost 50,000 workers nationally, with more than half the gains coming in insurance services, especially sales agents, and in bank tellers, and customer service reps.
Nationally, SimplyHired, the job board, reported almost 190,000 jobs in financial services were advertised online in September. That’s a 14% increase in a year. Read the rest of this entry »
September 17th, 2012
The world’s most successful hedge fund manager has a few words of advice for the average investor: balance portfolios for risk. “I think that the first thing is you should have a strategic asset allocation mix that assumes that you don’t know what the future is going to hold.,” says Ray Dalio, who runs Bridgewater Associates. Don’t try to beat the market, thinking you can time things so cleverly you come out ahead. You won’t Dalio warns. Those investors, he says, “make a mistake in terms of dollars invested and with a bias with what’s done well in the past and they don’t realize that risk. They should balance it in terms of risk.” Business Insider
June 30th, 2012
“Let’s be honest,” says Corey Cines,”entering the working world is daunting. It’s a whole different ball game. It is no longer show up to class at this time, type down these notes, study them for a few hours, and regurgitate them on the test to get the A.”
Corey just finished his first year working for one of the Big 4 accounting firms. In an entertaining blog post for the American Institute of CPAs, he offers his insights on how every newbie can make their first year successful. His first tip: Ask dumb questions.
When you finish “From Backpack to Briefcase: How I handled the jump into Public Accounting,” there’s a great follow-up by Heather O’Connor. She rounded up advice from a group of AICPA accounting professionals, who offered their own take on the advice they wish they’d gotten when they started their first job. Among the gems: Find yourself a mentor.
June 6th, 2012
“Create your own luck,” Bob Olman of headhunting firm Alpha Search Advisory Partners told a group of undergrads, grad students and alumni at Columbia University. Despite being “overwhelmingly technical people,” many of them hope to work in hedge funds one day. To get the job, Olman said. “It’s up to students to seek out every avenue they can to get the meeting… I urge students to create their own proprietary pipeline by being active, not passive about it.” FINalternatives
May 9th, 2012
Avoiding regulatory and compliance issues when building or discussing operational infrastructure of an alternative asset program is a mistake, says Deborah Prutzman, CEO of The Regulatory Fundamentals Group. “A proactive approach differentiates a manager from the pack,” she says, “and can allay those often-unspoken investor concerns that frequently delay an initial allocation, reduce its size, or prevent it altogether.” FINalternatives
April 3rd, 2012
Now is the time for accountants to get their public accounting license, counsels Brian Blake, head of the accounting / finance group and a partner in Green Key Resources.
“Candidates with CPA’s tend to be the most marketable,” he says, discussing the hiring outlook for 2012. “Public accounting has consistently been one of the hottest sectors year on year but we have recently seen a pick-up in the hedge fund and private equity space especially at the more senior level which is a positive sign.”
Brian, who was named a firm partner last year, says that the meltdown of the banking and brokerage business that triggered the recession a few years ago, though largely behind us, has left a legacy of caution. Employers may be adding staff, but they are doing it carefully. Read the rest of this entry »