12 February 2016
Author: The ExecuSearch Group
You’ve updated your resume, applied to a number of jobs, and finally got a call for an interview. Congratulations! But once the feeling of accomplishment settles in and you give yourself that much-deserved pat on the back, the inevitable question arises: “Now what?” For too many, the answer is to frantically prepare the morning of and fret the whole way there. But should you want to ace the interview and feel relaxed enough to let your real professional side shine through, this is the last way to approach such an important meeting. Everyone feels nervous before an interview, sure, but how much of that nervousness is self-imposed? A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Here are five ways you can make the often nerve-wracking day work to your advantage: Be prepared the night before. Iron and set out your clothes, have a nutritional breakfast planned, print out any materials you might need, and read up on the company. Have everything staged to go in the morning so you have to do minimal thinking and preparation when your mind should be focused on the task at hand: impressing your interviewer and assessing the company you’re interviewing with. That’s right—remember that they’re impressing you, too. Though you want to make the best possible impression, it’s helpful to remember that your interview isn’t simply an audition on your part; you need to ensure that a company is also a great cultural fit for you, too. One of the best ways to do so is to ask the interviewer questions at the conclusion of your interview. Having these questions prepared beforehand will keep you confident and on-track, and will increase the likeliness that you get the most out of your time there. Get there early. If you’re well-prepared, this should be easy enough. Getting to your destination early will give you time to sit, breathe, and calm your nerves before your interview. Try to avoid running through possible scenarios or memorizing responses, as this can stress you out further and contribute to any pre-interview jitters you may be experiencing. Instead, get a cup of water, sip on it slowly, and remind yourself that you’re here because you’ve already impressed someone. If there is any kind of unforeseen delay out of your control—for example, if you realize you’re going to be a couple of minutes late due to train delays—call to inform the company as soon as you can. Don’t obsess over what you “should” do. This applies not only to the time directly before an interview, but during it, as well. By all means, do some research prior to the big day, do a practice run-through, and understand the basic do’s and don’ts—but don’t try to recite perfect answers or portray yourself as anyone other than you. If you’re preoccupied with everything you should be doing, you’re going to be distracted at the time when focus is most vital. Accept that nerves are normal. When it comes down to it, just about everyone experiences a bit of apprehension before an interview. There are a number of ways to make the meeting easier on yourself, but ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that it’s normal to feel anxious. The worst thing you can do is stress yourself out further by fixating on the fact that your hands might be a bit shaky or that you didn’t answer that last question quite how you rehearsed it. So smile, breathe, and remember—you’re one of a select few who made it this far!
12 February 2016
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting that accounting jobs are expected to experience faster than average growth for the next ten years, there is little doubt that the field faces a bright future. However, it’s also hard to dispute that the accounting industry has experienced many changes in recent years, and with it, so has the role of an accountant. It is the professional who embraces these trends – especially in regards to the latest technologies – who will have the most marketable skills and be able to take advantage of these new opportunities. “Various factors ranging from a stricter regulatory environment to a general increase in business have required organizations to upgrade their systems and improve the efficiencies of their reporting processes,” explains Michael Cooke, Executive Vice President of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “Today, accounting involves much more than number crunching and to streamline their operations, organizations want their accountants to wear many hats. That’s why the strongest candidate will have the technical skills necessary for not only generating the data, but also understanding and manipulating the reports to analyze the information from various viewpoints and objectives.” While these advanced skills are something that the new CPA exam seeks to specifically address, more experienced accountants looking to enhance their marketability should also make the effort to familiarize themselves with the following technologies: Advanced Excel Skills: While most accountants know how to use the standard functions on Excel, those needing to take a deeper dive into the data should possess more advanced knowledge of the program. Whether you need to prepare budget reports or project financials, knowing how to build macros, utilize the VLOOKUP function, and create a data model is key. SQL: In an effort to improve their efficiencies and increase their productivity, many firms are investing in database management systems such as Access and Oracle that utilize SQL, a programming language that is used to manipulate data. “Our clients who are making the effort to streamline their data management are seeking an individual who can build the process for advanced reporting metrics from the ground up,” notes Michael. “To successfully do this, you really need to possess knowledge of SQL.” Visual Basic: As accounting and IT become inextricably linked, the demand for accountants with basic programming skills is at an all-time high. Since Visual Basic is a programming language that is often used to manipulate data – particularly within Excel – the ability to write code is something that can set you apart from your competition. “As something that is not regularly taught in school, this is a very rare skillset amongst accounting professionals,” says Michael. “If you take the initiative to learn, you open yourself up to opportunities that not many people are qualified for.” If you are interested in learning more about any of these skills, there are a variety of online and in-person tutorials that you can choose from. In a today’s technology-driven economy where organizations need to adapt to the latest trends, or risk falling behind, any current or future employer will certainly appreciate any additional skills you can utilize to push the business forward in times of change.