Funny CPA Exam stories—and other memories of the test (Journal of Accountancy)

Funny CPA Exam stories—and other memories of the test

Whether they’re laugh-out-loud funny or more serious, these tales are likely to remind all CPAs what it was like when they took the test themselves.
September 18, 2017

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the CPA Exam’s use for licensure. To celebrate, earlier this year the Journal of Accountancypublished some of our favorite stories about the exam from members. That story prompted even more people to send their stories. While we couldn’t publish all of them, here are a few of our new favorites.

Don’t be late!

As a soon-to-be graduating senior at the College of William & Mary, I took the CPA Exam in May 1978, along with my classmates, at the Norfolk Scope Arena. It was a two-and-a-half-day, four-part exam back then, if I recall correctly. There were about 500 test-takers, all diligently working away. The first day of the exam, about a half hour in, one of the doors opening down onto the convention center floor suddenly crashed open with a huge noise. Someone, who had obviously overslept, almost fell down the stairs in his rush to get onto the floor to be seated and started. It was a great icebreaker. The test takers on the floor roared with laughter. I, along with my friends, managed to pass the exam.

David B. Tatge, Esq.
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
Washington, D.C.

Tough crowd

I took and passed the exam in 1981, and the memories of that day remain fresh in my mind. As someone who holds numerous certifications, I found that by far the CPA Exam was the hardest and most intimidating exam I have ever attempted.

I took the exam in the Fort Worth Convention Center with thousands of prospective CPAs. Roughly one to two hours into the exam, with the center as quiet as a church mouse, I recall someone scooting their chair back, standing up and screaming, “son of a b****,” and walking out!

I don’t recall any laughing. Tough crowd.

Michael Farris
Retired CPA/PFS (inactive)
Platte City, Mo.

Identity crisis

I took the exam in the Lausche Building—named after a former Ohio governor—at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus.

I stayed with a future brother-in-law who was an Ohio State student. By uncanny chance, the night before testing began, his apartment was robbed. They were surprised to find me on the sofa, and stole my wallet, watch, and shoes. The shoes weren’t nice; the thieves took them because they did not want me to run after them, which I would not have done anyway.

I had to borrow shoes to drive to the Lausche Building, and the only ones I could muster were at least two sizes too large. I drove up to the parking lot and could not pay to park. Luckily I had my checkbook, so I asked how much it cost to park for the next three days and wrote one check for the rest of the week.

Of course, taking the exam requires a picture ID. Since my wallet was stolen, I no longer had one. I arrived early enough to plead my case with the accountancy board administrators. At first they did not believe I was so unfortunate and suggested I would not be allowed sit for the exam without the picture ID. I took off one oversized shoe to show them some sort of proof my story was true. This captured the attention of a director, who was watching from afar and remembered that the application for sitting for the exam required a picture be attached. The director went to the file and found my application with picture attached, looked at it, and said, “Looks like you. You can take the test.”

The exam started with frustration, but the rest, as they say, is history.

Dennis P. Benvie, CPA
Cincinnati

Blood, sweat, and tears

I sat for the exam in 1974 at the Long Beach, Calif., Municipal Arena. There were hundreds of individuals sitting for the exam, all seated at long tables with seating spaced so no one could look over someone’s shoulder. As part of the introductory instructions, we were told we could not leave our seat during the last 45 minutes to an hour of the exam, so if we needed to use the restroom we had to do so before that last hour. We were reminded of this requirement more than once with an emphatic reminder close to the beginning of the last hour. Due in part, I suppose, to the large number of persons taking the exam and with seating in every nook and cranny of the arena, there were volunteer monitors keeping a close eye on all exam-takers, and if I remember correctly, I believe monitors were stationed near restrooms and closely watched those who left their seats during the exam.

After a long day, we finally entered the dreaded last hour and were told the time had come when we could not leave our seats for any reason. When I was in college, I broke my nose in a sports activity. For a few years after that injury, I would often develop a significant nosebleed. You guessed it: Just as we entered the last hour, completely out of the blue, my nose began bleeding like someone turned on a faucet. I had a handkerchief in my back pocket and applied pressure attempting to quell the bleeding. I signaled to one of the monitors that I had a real problem. When the monitor came to my seat, the “blood evidence” did not require me to say much other than I needed to get to the restroom quickly. The monitor hesitated and said no one can leave their seat. I protested so vigorously the monitor consulted with another monitor and accompanied me to the restroom. I was finally able to stop the bleeding, clean up, and return to my seat. By now the time to complete the exam had almost expired.

The result was I passed three of four parts at the first sitting. I had failed the last part due to heavy bleeding. I passed the fourth part at the next sitting. I always thought the person grading my exam workpapers probably thought this person put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the exam.

Leo Anderson, CPA
Steinbruner Hill Certified Public Accountants
Carmel, Calif.

Medical emergency

A few weeks prior to graduating from the University of Cincinnati, I sat for the May 1981 Ohio CPA Exam on an unusually warm day. The exam took place on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. It was the first day of testing, and the sun was bright. We sat down, were given the signal to start, and began scribbling furiously. After about an hour we heard a loud scream, a crash, and a tumble. I was afraid to look to see what had happened, and motivated by fear, got back to the task at hand. Then an ambulance came down the street and into the parking lot of the building. An EMS crew came in with a gurney and removed a body. The state of the body was unknown. I thought to myself, “Passing this exam is not worth losing one’s life.” However, I kept focused. The proctors gave us an extra half hour to compensate for the disruption. We finished and conjectured what had happened. The best theory we could come up with was someone had a seizure. It was rumored the following day that the person who had collapsed was back to continue the exam. When the results came in the mail a few months later I discovered I had passed three out of four parts, including the part interrupted.

Glenn Mears, CPA
President, The Parkway Auto Group
Dover and New Philadelphia, Ohio

Locked out

In 1984, I took the CPA exam in Los Angeles. I had never driven the freeway before, so I was very nervous.

When I got downtown to the test site at the convention center, I was flustered and I ran into the building to sign in. After the exam was over, I walked to my car and realized I had locked my keys inside. Thank goodness for AAA.

The second day, I left a bit earlier in case there were any issues. I got there, incident-free, and sat in the car doing some last-minute studying while listening to the radio. After the exam was over, I realized, lo and behold, I had locked my keys in the car again.

I know the AAA guy was wondering what was wrong with me!

Nancy Ngou, CPA (inactive)
EY Advisory & Consulting Co., Ltd.
Tokyo

Call the cops!

Back in the fall of 1987 when I was taking the last part of the CPA Exam in Trenton, N.J., I was staying overnight in a small motel just south of the Trenton firehouse where the exam was being held. It was a small motel off the main road, not very expensive, and I started to hear noises outside the sliding glass door in the rear of the building. I turned off the lights, slid the curtains, and saw someone a couple of units down trying to get into the rooms.

In my bravest fashion, I grabbed the phone and called the front desk and informed them of the potential intruder. This was just what I needed the day before the exam. My heart was beating a mile a minute. I lay down on the bed in the dark trying to relax, listening in the dark, wishing upon wish that no one would try to get into my room.

After about 15 minutes or so, my bravery came back enough to go back to the sliding glass door to look out again. My lights were still out. As soon as I looked out, someone shouted, “Freeze, hands up!” It was a local policeman responding to the call, thinking that I might be the intruder. As calmly as I could, I stated that I was the person who placed the call about the intruder, and could I please put my hands down, and change my underwear?

Michael Lefkoe, CPA (inactive)
Cherry Hill, N.J.

The good and the ugly

I’ll just mention the good and the ugly places I took the exam. I graduated in 1982, and knowing I needed two years of audit experience to be certified, I used that two-year period as my goal. I’m happy to say I passed within the two years and scored a 75 on each exam, which made me a member of the 300 Club. Using two years meant I took the exam in two different locations.

The good place was at Yonkers Raceway, a harness race park in Yonkers, N.Y.  I sat right in front of the betting window for good luck and remember watching the horses practice on the track while taking the exam. It actually helped me concentrate better.

Then there was the ugly place, the Bronx Armory, a huge, dark building. I sat in front of a row of tanks.  It was so noisy I was sure I wouldn’t pass the part I was sitting for that day. I’m happy to say I did pass, but glad I only had to sit once at that location.

Scott D. Abrams, CPA, CGMA
Financo
New York City

https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/newsletters/2017/sep/cpa-exam-memories.html?utm_source=mnl:cpald&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20Sep2017

JPMorgan’s CEO admits his company has a black talent problem—and the finance industry should listen

JPMorgan’s CEO admits his company has a black talent problem—and the finance industry should listen

Leah Fessler
Quartz

Everything is “exceptional” and “extraordinary” at JPMorgan Chase, according to CEO Jamie Dimon’s annual letter to shareholders. But the firm has “simply not met the standards set for [itself]” on one initiative: hiring black talent.

That will hardly come as a surprise to an industry that’s resolutely lacking in diversity. According to the US Census Bureau, 79% of financial advisors are white, 8% are African American, 7% are Hispanic/Latino, and just 5.7% are Asian.

By some measures, JPMorgan’s diversity record is better than its peers. According to its website, among its professional US workforce, 20% is Asian and 8.7% is Hispanic/Latino. It’s also making progress on gender diversity. 40.5% of US employees are women. It promotes women to leadership positions too. Within global financial services, 30% of Dimon’s direct reports and 30% of its leadership are women.

But when it comes to African Americans among its ranks, JPMorgan barely tracks better than its peers. African Americans comprise 9.4% of employees, and just 3% of executive or senior-level managers.

For Dimon, this is unacceptable. He writes:

“While we think our effort to attract and retain black talent is as good as at most other companies, it simply is not good enough. Therefore, in 2016, we introduced a new firm-wide initiative called Advancing Black Leaders. This initiative is dedicated to helping us better attract and recruit external black talent while retaining and developing the talent within the company.”

Nearly every top US bank—Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citi Group—promotes diversity initiatives. But Dimon’s explicit condemnation of this specific diversity challenge appears to be a first among top Wall Street execs. What’s more, by addressing insufficient African American talent in his coveted annual letter—deemed management gold by the likes of Warren Buffett—Dimon is assuming responsibility for the issue and its resolution.

“What’s most encouraging about Dimon’s statement,” says John Rice, Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a non-profit helping underrepresented minorities become corporate and entrepreneurial leaders, “is that it appears JPMorgan is focusing on a multi-faceted approach to African American diversity; he addresses recruitment, retention, and advancement. Not all organizations will publicly communicate the importance of all three levels, as historically Wall Street has prioritized recruitment over helping ethnically diverse employees advance.”

The real question, says Rice, is whether JPMorgan has the strategies in place to move the needle on all three issues; such strategies must include a clear, metrics-based definition of success, including benchmarks for how many African American employees JPMorgan hopes to employ at all organizational levels in the next three to five years, and promotion rates of African American analysts be relative to white analysts.

The jump from executive director to managing director is the toughest on Wall Street, and has been particularly troubling for black and Hispanic employees. To support minority employees’ success at this notorious choke point, JPMorgan is formalizing the developmental coaching white men have long-received informally, and doing so in more creative and aggressive ways than its competitors, says Rice. This focus is undeniably strategic as the trickle-down impact of having more ethnically diverse executives on minority advancement and retention is powerful.

Yet, in light of JPMorgan’s equally troubling percentages of Hispanic/Latino and Asian executives (4.1% and 6.5%, respectfully), Dimon’s explicit focus on black talent could raise concern. According to Rice, it shouldn’t.

“What’s important is that the CEO, the top executive, is talking about diversity issues within a particular segment of the employee population, African Americans, and saying that they are going to hold themselves accountable to moving the needle on this segment,” says Rice. “The strategies that prove successful, as relevant, will undoubtedly broaden to other ethnic minority employee populations.”

Valerie Rainford, JPMorgan’s ABL leader, reinforces this point: “When we see an opportunity where we want to do better, we’re bold enough to make the change,” she says. “Advancing Black Leaders is that kind of strategy, and we’re not stopping there. We’ll continually look at ways to help other communities within the company.”

Dimon’s commitment is set. Now he’s got to deliver.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jpmorgan-ceo-admits-company-black-181552697.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=ma

Why Valuing Diversity Matters!

With all that our country faces, I wanted to keep the focus on what, I feel, makes America Great. Valuing our Diversity. We still have much work to impact diversity retention in many technology companies made this blog feels timely.
Our nation and our workforce are both becoming more diverse. The share of people of color in the United States is increasing; more women are entering the labor force, and the LGBT community continues to make vital contributions to our economy while being increasingly open about who they are. To that end, businesses that embrace diversity has a more solid footing in the marketplace than others.
A diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. And businesses have learned that they can draw upon our nation’s diversity to strengthen their bottom line. In this way, diversity is a key ingredient to growing a strong and inclusive economy that’s built to last.
Let’s look at the top economic benefits of workplace diversity.
1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth. Our nation’s human capital substantially grows as more women, racial and ethnic minorities, and gay and transgender individuals enter the workforce. A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.
2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market. By bringing together individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, businesses can more effectively market to consumers from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, women, and consumers who are gay or transgender. It is no surprise, then, those studies show diversifying the workplace helps businesses increase their market share.
3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.When companies recruit from a diverse set of potential employees, they are more likely to hire the best and the brightest in the labor market. In an increasingly competitive economy where talent is crucial to improving the bottom line, pooling from the largest and most diverse set of candidates is increasingly necessary to succeed in the market.
4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs. Businesses that fail to foster inclusive workplaces see higher turnover rates than businesses that value a diverse workforce because they foster a hostile work environment that forces employees to leave. The failure to retain qualified employees results in avoidable turnover-related costs at the expense of a company’s profits. Having a diverse and discrimination-free work environment helps businesses avoid these costs.
5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce. Bringing together workers with different qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences are all key to effective problem-solving on the job. Similarly, diversity breeds creativity and innovation. Of 321 large global enterprises—companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue—surveyed in a Forbes study in 2011, 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.
6. Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market. Census data tell us that by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in our country. Further, between 2000 and 2050 new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of the growth in the working-age population. Our economy will grow and benefit from these changing demographics if businesses commit to meeting the needs of diverse communities as workers and consumers.
7. Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism. Our nation’s entrepreneurs are a diverse set of people of color, women, gay, and transgender individuals. According to the Census Bureau, people of color own 22.1 percent of U.S. businesses. Moreover, women own 28.8 percent of U.S. businesses, and Latina-owned businesses, in particular, are the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gay or transgender individuals own approximately 1.4 million (or approximately 5 percent) of U.S. businesses.
8. Diversity in business ownership, particularly among women of color, is key to moving our economy forward. The diversity of our nation’s business owners helps boost employment and grow our economy. For example, women of color own 1.9 million firms. These businesses generate $165 billion in revenue annually and employ 1.2 million people. Latina-owned businesses, in particular, have total receipts of $55.7 billion since 2002.
9. Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world. As communities continue to grow, it’s important to harness the talent of all Americans. Businesses should continue to capitalize on the growth of women, people of color, and gay and transgender people in the labor force. Our increasing diversity is a great opportunity for the United States to become more competitive in the global economy by capitalizing on the unique talents and contributions that diverse communities bring to the table.
10. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential. By 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States, and our nation’s boardrooms need to represent these changing demographics. Currently, people of color and women only represent about 14.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of corporate boards among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies. Recruiting board directors with a breadth of expertise and varied experiences will make companies more proficient.

THE BLOG 12/19/2016 11:23 am ET
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marietta-davis/why-valuing-diversity-mat_b_13711938.html

Financial Article – Investing

Next week, the 2016 Summer Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro. One of the most compelling events is the marathon, a 26.2-mile endurance contest with roots dating back to ancient Greece. It may be that we’ve kept our interest in the marathon because it can teach us much about life – and it certainly has lessons for investors.

In fact, if you were to compare in-vesting to an Olympic sport, it would be much closer to a marathon than a sprint. Here’s why:

 

  • Long-term perspective –

Sprinters are unquestionably great athletes, and they work hard to get better. Yet their events are over with quickly. But marathoners know they have a long way to go before their race is done, so they have to visualize the end point. And successful investors, too, know that in-vesting is a long-term endeavor, and that they must picture their end results – such as a comfortable retirement – to keep themselves motivated.

  • Steady pacing –

Sprinters go all out, every second and every stride. But marathoners have to pace themselves – too many spurts of speed could tire them out and doom their performance. As an investor, you, too, should strive for steady, consistent progress. Rather than attempting to rush success and achieve big gains by chasing after supposedly “hot” stocks – which may already have cooled off by the time you hear about them – try to follow a long-term strategy that emphasizes diversification among many different investments. (Keep in mind, though, that while diversification can reduce the impact of market down-turns that primarily affect one type of asset, it can’t guarantee success or prevent all losses.)

 

  • Ability to overcome obstacles –

When sprinters stumble or fall, they are finished for the race; there’s simply not enough time to recover, so they typically just stop. But over 26 miles, a marathoner can fall and – providing he or she is not injured – get up again, compete and possibly even win. When you’re investing for the long term, you have time to overcome “mishaps” in the form of market volatility. So instead of dropping out of the “race” and heading to the investment sidelines, stay invested in all types of markets. As you near retirement, and you have less time to recover from market downturns, you may need to adjust your portfolio to lower your risk level – but even then, you don’t need to call it quits as an investor.

 

  • Proper fueling –

Sprinters have to watch what they eat. But world-class marathoners have to be ultra-diligent about their diets, especially in the period immediately preceding a race. Because they must maximize the oxygen their bodies can use while running, they need a high percentage of their calories to come from carbohydrates, so they “carbo-load” when needed. When you invest, you also need to periodically “refuel” your portfolio so it has the energy and stamina needed to keep you moving forward toward your goals. And that means you must add dollars to those areas of your portfolio that need beefing up. Regular reviews with a financial professional can reveal where these gaps exist.

 

As an investor, you can learn a lot from Olympic marathoners – so put this knowledge to good use.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Financial Advisor Ken Bradshaw.  ken.bradshaw@Edwardjones.com

Bradshaw, KenÑ08/13/13Ñ323788

Ken A. Bradshaw| Financial Advisor | Edward Jones
2432 N. Heritage Oaks Path |Hernando, FL 34442|

Office: (: 352.527.2291|Mobile: 321-662-1181

Fax : 888.409.4517 *:ken.bradshaw@edwardjones.com
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MAKING SENSE OF INVESTING

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: PLEASE DO NOT SEND TRADE INSTRUCTIONS VIA EMAIL. ALL TRADE INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE MADE VERBALLY.

 

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Financial Article – Employee Benefits

Use “Open Enrollment” to Help Improve Your Financial Outlook

 

It’s Open Enrollment Season, so if you work for a medium- or large-sized company, you will need to make some choices regarding your employee benefits — and these choices can have a big impact on your financial situation.
Depending on your employer, your benefits package may include various types of insurance, plus access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of these benefits:

  • Health insurance – Companies regularly change plans and providers, so the coverage and premiums you had last year may not be the same this year. In any case, look at all aspects of your coverage options – premiums, deductibles, co-pays and total out-of-pocket limits. A lower premium may seem attractive, but you could end up paying even more if the coverage is not as good. So, choose wisely.
  • Life insurance – You may want to take whatever life insurance your employer offers, but it still might not be enough. To determine how much life insurance you need, consider a variety of factors – your age, income, family size, spouse’s income, and so on. If your employer’s coverage is insufficient, you may want to supplement it with a separate policy.
  • Disability insurance – This could be a valuable employee benefit – but, as is the case with life insurance, your employer’s disability coverage may not be enough for your needs, especially if you’d like to protect yourself against an illness or injury that could sideline you from work for a long time. Consequently, you might want to consider purchasing your own disability policy.

Apart from reviewing your insurance options, you may want to examine your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Of course, your employer may allow you to change your 401(k) throughout the year, but you’ve got a particularly good opportunity to do so during open enrollment, when you’re already looking at all your employee benefits. So look at your contribution level. Are you putting in as much as you can afford? Your 401(k)’s earnings can grow tax deferred, and you typically contribute pretax dollars, so the more you put in, the lower your taxable income for the year. (Taxes are due upon withdrawal, and withdrawals made before age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty.)

At a minimum, invest enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. And increase your own contributions whenever you get a raise.
As far as your investment choices, you’ll want to spread your dollars among the different investments within your 401(k) in a way that reflects your risk tolerance and time horizon. During the early stages of your career, when you have many years to go until you retire, you can probably afford to invest more heavily in growth-oriented accounts. These will fluctuate more in value, but you have time to potentially overcome the downturns. When you’re nearing retirement, you may want to shift some of your assets into more conservative vehicles – but even at this point, you still need some growth opportunities. After all, you may spend two or three decades in retirement, so you’ll need to draw on as many resources as possible.
Open enrollment isn’t just a time to fill out a bunch of papers. It’s also a chance to reconsider – and maybe even upgrade – many areas of your financial outlook.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor – Ken Bradshaw.

Bradshaw, KenÑ08/13/13Ñ323788

Ken A. Bradshaw| Financial Advisor | Edward Jones
2432 N. Heritage Oaks Path |Hernando, FL 34442|

Office: (: 352.527.2291|Mobile: 321-662-1181

Fax : 888.409.4517 *:ken.bradshaw@edwardjones.com
EdwardJones
MAKING SENSE OF INVESTING

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: PLEASE DO NOT SEND TRADE INSTRUCTIONS VIA EMAIL. ALL TRADE INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE MADE VERBALLY.

 

“The highest compliment you can pay me is the referral of a friend or relative.”

 

“Follow me on Facebook” 

Follow me on Linkedin

Getting Connected: How to Network Like a Pro

Getting Connected: How to Network Like a Pro

How to Network Like a Pro

We continue our “Ask a Recruiter” series with Kathy Downs, a vice president at Robert Half Finance & Accounting. This week, Kathy discusses honing your skills for professional networking, beginning with a question about how to network.

Q: What advice would you give about leveraging networking to get ahead?

A: You’ve probably heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” In the world of finance and accounting, your technical skills undoubtedly help you climb the corporate ladder. But knowing how to network and putting those skills to work can put you a step ahead of the competition — and even open career doors.

Some specific tips for networking in different arenas:

• The workplace

Many people overlook the value of networking in their own offices. But coworkers come and go, and you never know where they’ll end up. Stay on good terms with current colleagues by organizing a monthly lunch or happy hour, and keep it professional. Then, after you leave the company — or they do — keep in touch. Current or former colleagues may hold the keys to your future career success.

• At seminars and conferences

Of course, you’ll need to have plenty of business cards on hand, because many organizations use networking events as an opportunity to scout for talent.

Kathy Downs

Learning how to network at seminars and conferences can be very beneficial. It brings you together with professionals you’d never meet otherwise. I suggest attending talks and lectures on subjects that pique your interest. Hang out afterward to mingle with speakers and other participants. Of course, you’ll need to have plenty of business cards on hand, because many organizations use networking events as an opportunity to scout for talent.

Discover how to make a strong case with your boss for attending professional conferences

• On social media and online

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn offer myriad ways to network online with colleagues, former

classmates and professionals. You can join groups on some social media platforms and find online discussions to learn new methods for tackling financial challenges and approaching big data.

Find out about Robert Half’s complimentary finance and accounting leadership development webinars, many of which qualify for continuing professional education (CPE) credit.

Q: How is joining a professional organization especially effective for networking?

A: Professional organizations give you a chance to share ideas with industry colleagues outside the office. They can promote career development in many ways, helping you step into leadership roles and learn new tricks of the trade. Membership also demonstrates your career dedication to current employers, which is never a bad thing.

Here are several finance and accounting-related professional networking groups that Robert Half works with on a variety of initiatives:

• American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

AICPA has been an advocate for certified public accountants (CPAs) for more than a century. Its various conferences, volunteer activities and task forces allow you to expand your networking. You’ll also have access to CPE credit opportunities offered to members, which focus on the latest issues CPAs face.

• American Payroll Association (APA)

APA offers members a wide range of benefits, including free e-books, webinars and career resources. In addition to its local chapters, the organization hosts national events. APA’s annual Congress lets members rub elbows with fellow payroll professionals.

• Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA)

AFWA gives you opportunities to hone essential leadership skills and network with other female finance professionals. The group hosts several regional conferences a year, as well as an annual national conference. In addition, members have the chance to acquire CPE credits, backed by a scholarship program for degrees and certifications like the CPA, Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

• Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA)

ALPFA focuses on enhancing Latino business and leadership in today’s workforce by increasing career opportunities and customizing professional development plans for its members. Networking events focus on current financial topics, such as finance in healthcare. And members in the group’s more than 40 chapters are eligible for leadership scholarships, as well as GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) workshops and test-prep materials.

National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)

NABA is a network that has professional and student chapters and offers community outreach, student development and networking. There are 7,000 members nationally and local chapters throughout the United States.

Financial Executives International(FEI)

The mission of FEI is to advance the success of senior-level financial executives, their organizations and the profession. For more than 80 years, FEI has connected senior corporate executives, now with more than 11,500 members globally.

• The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA)

Established in 1941, the IIA is the internal audit profession’s global voice, recognized authority, acknowledged leader, chief advocate and principal educator. It serves more than 185,000 members from more than 165 countries as the profession’s watchdog and resource on significant auditing issues around the globe.

Q: How can recruiters facilitate professional networking?

A: Recruiters offer an array of services when you’re looking for a new position. They can be your “eyes and ears” to the job market, with abundant ideas about how to network with professionals in your area.

If a specialized staffing professional reaches out to you, take some time to listen, then ask about the best ways to keep in touch. Even if you’re not looking for a job right now, there’s no predicting what will happen in a few years.

Read more about how you can work with Robert Half’s recruiters to find a position matched to your unique skill set and requirements. 

Knowing how to network can help your career today and in the future. I wish you the best!

Read More ‘Networking Now’

Kathleen Downs, a vice president with Robert Half Finance & Accounting, started with the company in 2000. Before that, she was CEO of a recreation/retail/education organization in Bonn, Germany. Kathleen is actively involved with a number of professional organizations within the finance and accounting field and sits on several not-for-profit boards.

To read more of her columns, go to Ask a Recruiter on this blog, and feel free to ask her a question in the comment space.