CPA Staff Career Builders and Killers

Terry Ammons

Systems Partner

March 7, 2016

Last week, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the Georgia State ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) Chapter. Going into it, they were primarily interested in learning about “What Characteristics Made Someone Successful” and specifically from the PKM perspective. As a Systems Partner, this is something I have brought a lot of attention to within the Systems group over the last year. We make it a top priority to not only find the right people for the job, but also people who can fit into our system and service delivery model.

To better explain my discussion from last week, I found an article titled “Career Builders and Career Killers” from The Rosenberg Associates that aligns well with my presentation. The article also relates to the PKM perspective as a whole as it discusses different career builders and career killers for CPA Staff professionals. Here is what they have to say…and I agree with it all!

Career builders

  • Develop a positive attitude towards practice development. Even if your results don’t immediately translate to meaningful sales, savvy firms know that results eventually follow efforts. The key is to demonstrate the “want-to” attitude early on.
  • Develop strong interpersonal skills at all levels: with firm personnel and clients.
  • Become known to the partners as someone who is reliable, can be counted on to do good work consistently and on time. If you are low on work, visit with managers and partners to get more work. Always be planning ahead.
  • Be receptive to training and mentoring efforts by superior firm members. Never be defensive when being criticized.
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude when working with difficult people. Avoid being combative or competitive in your interactions with them. This pertains to all firm personnel (especially partners) and clients.
  • Understand that, with reasonable exceptions, the firm’s #1 goal is to provide world-class service to clients and consistently meet their needs and expectations. Work-life balance is great, but don’t let it negatively impact clients.
  • As early as possible, become known as a go-to person in a specialty area important to the firm.
  • Embrace technology; learn it well. The ideal scenario: mentor an “older” partner who is technologically-challenged.

Career killers

  • Being “ordinary;” being satisfied with average performance.
  • Turning in work to supervisors knowing it is incomplete and expecting corrections.
  • Making the same mistakes over and over again; “it just doesn’t sink in.”
  • Inability to multi-task, mainly to organize and manage multiple jobs at the same time. When one job is stalled, be able to start another and then return to the first job.
  • Being a “me first” person instead of a team player.
  • Disrespectful treatment of co-workers, admin staff and clients.
  • Disorganization and poor time management.

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