My CFO Career

    Career Perspectives from Ed Jordan

    As you may know, Paul Stahlin, the Immediate Past Chair of the AICPA, visited us in Orange County a few months ago to attend a CalCPA Xchange networking forum for our members in industry.  Before we held the Forum, Paul accompanied me to visit a couple of major local employers, meet with their CEO’s and their executives.  As we visited these companies, it was evident that Paul felt very comfortable in identifying the unique cultures of each of these enterprises, their strengths and what makes them a leader in their space.

    It was also pleasant to see that Paul is no different than any of us in that he is easy going, warm, and easily approachable.  It was fun to talk to him about strategic challenges faced by the AICPA as well as the challenges faced by wedding ceremonies of one of their kids.  We are proud to participate in unison with the AICPA and to be partners with them in our joint quest to cement our reputation as trusted advisers and leaders in financial reporting.

    Thank you Paul for meeting our local members in industry and listening to our local concerns; we hope that this interchange and sharing of ideas, goals and objectives in some way helped the AICPA in representing our collective views more accurately.  It was definitely a pleasure to have Paul in town and to show off that the AICPA cares about our local economy.

    This is the first in a series of posts that deal with topics that I have been thinking and pondering about but no quite facing the music to fully understand the reasons for my thoughts and feelings; and while it has been a while since my last post, I just had to get back and share with you these thoughts that have been going through my mind for the last couple of months and the very first thing in my mind is my taking golf lessons(?); yep, you heard it right, taking golf lessons.

    Golf

    This past weekend I read an article about an award winning writer who after several of hesitation finally decided to go back to Florida to visit the middle school teacher who initially inspired him to become a writer and who also initially introduced him to the girl who eventually turned out to be his wife.   This article appeared on the September 30, 2012 Issue of Parade Magazine, the Sunday supplement that comes with the Orange County Register.  Please let me know if you can find the name of this writer so that I can share his name with everybody else.

    So herein, my regrets or no regrets for not having faced the real truth about my previous story about disliking golf; in truth I do not dislike golf, after  a lot of soul searching I finally realized that I dislike what golf stood for when I was growing up during my childhood years in Ecuador.  You see, when I was growing up in Ecuador there was only one golf course in a private country club in my hometown and you had to be relatively well off in order to play in it; and as you
    may have guessed it, we were not well off.  So to give the sport a break, I have decided to take several golf lessons and practice for a while before I embark on my first post Regrets or No Regrets game.   You know what, it is nearly as bad as I thought because when I am out in the practice range, I tend to forget
    about all other issues that are occupying my mind.

    Other issues to come next time….

    Photo courtesy of dalechumbley via flickr

    But, what are your regrets or no regrets?…do you have any and what will it take to face them.

    Not sure if I have a good network but go ahead and compare yours to mine…I have well over eight hundred contacts in my Outlook data base, yes that is over 800 and that was pared down from over a thousand just a couple of weeks ago.

    So how did I accumulate that many names???

    1.  These are not just names but people that I have a relationship with; in other words, I have some sort of connection, personal or business that I share with.

    2.  As stated above, it is easy to add names and related details to your data base, it is useless because it is only when you establish a relationship with other people that you can at some point in time develop sufficient trust to do business.

    3.  Do I do business with all my contacts?  Of course not, but I do make myself available so that if I can provide some assistance to them I will gladly do it.  For example, they may be looking for a fellow CFO, controller or just plainly seeking my advice regarding a job opening.  Occasionally, banker friends will call me to inquire confidentially about companies that I have been exposed to and I answer as many questions as possible.

    4. When should you start your network?   Now!!…because if you feel the need to start a network, it is too late then; it is much easier to establish relationships when you can share some beneficial relationship with other people and when you are unemployed, you have very little to offer and a lot to ask for.

    5.  How do you start a network?..I am truly amazed at how many people tell me that they do not know anybody and therefore, they are unable to network.

    Let me share a couple of things on this topic:

    A. It is your responsibility to network and nobody else’s.

    B. Let us see where you can start and I am using one of my own kids as examples:

    1) your sports club: soccer, bicycle, basketball league, etc

    2) your dance club or social activity,

    3) your fellow alumni, church, fraternity/sorority

    4) fellow employees from prior jobs

    5) teachers and professors from your school.

    C. Can you get started with the above leads or do you need further help, what do you think?

    Photo courtesy of 6S.

    If you are still having a hard time, please reach out and let me know where you need some help.   I will be happy to share any insights with you and Happy
    Networking.

     

    There is a certain CFO in Orange County that I have wanted to connect with for a while so I reached out to a good friend of mine who knows this CFO and asked my friend to call this prominent CFO on my behalf.  You see I thought that this CFO was a person of high caliber and stature and may be somebody whom I could learn something from but surprise, surprise!!!!!!!!

    My friend personally reached out to this CFO and this CFO promised to return my call and contact me, but he never did.  I gave the CFO the benefit of the doubt so I
    reached out to him, sent him an email, and left him a personal message but despite my several attempts, he never called me back.

    This CFO just reminded me of one of my pet peeves, which is ”say what you mean”.  Specifically, please do not say any of the following if you do not mean it:

    1. I will call you for lunch,
    2. I will call you back,
    3. I will reach out to him/her and let him/her know that …,
    4. I will send you an email to follow up on our conversation,
    5. I will have my assistant reach out to you to …….,

    You will look as a totally unreliable individual if you make any of the above statements and do not follow up on them; it is totally unnecessary to make any such promises if you do not intent to follow up on them so please don’t do it.  While the recipient may be disappointed if you make unwarranted promises, it is the person making the promises who loses far more credibility and stature than the recipient.

    As you can tell, I have no desire to connect with the above CFO now because I do not respect him anymore and frankly, I am disappointed about his lack of follow up.  And I hope that Ido nto fit into that pattern!!!!

    Photo courtesy of karstenkneese.

    What do you think about my pet peeve?  I would love to hear from you.

     

    Just a few weeks ago, I was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in connection with the 2012 CFO of the Year Award presented by the Orange County Business Journal (the “OCBJ”) and the California Society of CPAs.  Frankly, I have avoided participating in this event because, jointly with Stephen Masterson, we started the event back in 2007 and my feeling is that this would be a self serving participation.  But, alas, Richard Reisman, Publisher of the
    OCBJ, called this year and persuaded me to throw my hat into the ring.

    There are several award categories in which CFOs participate and they are Outstanding CFO for:

    1. Public Company,
    2. Private Company,
    3. Not for Profit Organization,
    4. Up and Coming/Trailblazer, and
    5. Lifetime Achievement.

    I believe that the awards were presented in pretty much the above order or close to it; which means, that the Lifetime Achievement Award was not presented until the bitter end.  Mr. Murray Rudin did a fabulous job of emceeing the event and as usual was very funny and entertaining.  Even though he alluded to being bought out through contributions of spirits products that we sell, he was not serious; he was kidding.

    In fairness to all the judges and the emcee, I had no clue that I would receive the award and thus I was not prepared with any remarks; as such, I forgot to thank the great Family that has employed me as CFO for the last fifteen years, the CEO that I report to, and the staff who are in my team.   Thank you for allowing me to participate in this wonderful achievement.  Thank you to the participants, sponsors and last but not least, to my mentors who have molded me
    along the way.

    On a side note on the evening of the Award Ceremony, I ran into Dr. Irene Lang, Department Chair of the Marketing Department at CSUF, whom I had not seen in almost 30 years.  What a joy it was to see her and I look forward to catching up with her in the near future.  Thank you Dr. Lange for coming by and saying hello; you have not changed in all these years.

    Until next time,

     

    This is an email that I received a few weeks ago from Rich Caturano, Current Vice- Chairman and Incoming Chair of the AICPA, and it really touched my heart because one of the most treasured things that I have in my house, you see, is also a set of cufflinks that were given to me by my mother quite a few years ago.  And while those cufflinks have not traveled as extensive…well you just have to read the post below.

    Again, the following is from Rich Caturano:

    “I just left Washington DC for the AICPA spring council meeting and celebration of the 125th anniversary of our profession.  As part of the special celebration, the Obama administration gave our Board (of which I am Vice Chairman) the opportunity to meet with the President’s Economic Advisory Council at The White House in the West Wing’s Roosevelt Room.  The historic room was named by President Nixon in 1969 to honor Theodore (who used the room as his office) and Franklin (who expanded the West Wing and built the current Oval Office).  The Roosevelt Room is currently used by President Obama to meet
    with his senior staff and it is right next to the oval office.

    I decided to bring along my father’s gold cufflinks and wear them for the experience.  The gold cufflinks are one of only a couple of material things that my father left me when he died 25 years ago. The cufflinks made it through some heavy security into the West Wing, but not without a “beep” from the metal detector, a sure sign that “gold plated” was all a carpenter could afford.

    The special cufflinks got to see some incredible old artifacts in the room, including Teddy Roosevelt’s Medal of Honor, an old Chelsea Naval Clock and portraits of the Roosevelts.  After a few minutes, the cufflinks took their place and rested right on the room’s historic table, where the cufflinks of so many famous Americans have rested before.  Who would have ever thought that my father’s gold cufflinks would have a place in a meeting at a table at the White House!  The President was in the Oval Office right next to us, but unfortunately could not break away to see the cufflinks.  Before we knew it, the meeting was over, and it was time for the cufflinks to leave.  After the White House meeting, the cufflinks got to meet other cufflinks as I shook hands with the Commissioners of the IRS and the SEC and several US Senators.

    It was quite a day for my father’s gold cufflinks, topped off by a cigar and a Nolet Gin Gibson martini with CPA friends on the penthouse deck of our hotel overlooking the White House and the Washington Monument.  I know that my father would be happy and proud to know that his cufflinks are now part of the history of the White House, and that the work ethic he left me was what helped get them there!”

    The above is reprinted with Rich’s permission and the picture is also from him.

    I just want you to picture yourself not anybody else but you! sharing a similar story with your friends and your family sometime down the road; how satisfying and gratifying.

    Until next time,

    I have encountered several instances lately of fellow professionals, principally partners in national CPA Firms, who have not returned my emails.  Now I know that we are all busy and have lots going on in our lives but I am trying to figure out why you would simply ignore or delete emails from people you know; especially, if I am not asking for money or not selling anything!…I simply do not get it, do you?

    This rude practice, as you can tell, has annoyed me to no end and I am trying to figure out what to do about it.

    Do you have any ideas or thoughts?

    This image is courtesy of shioshvili.

    Until next time,….

     

    I do not believe that I have reprinted an article verbatim in the past but the article below deserves to be shared in its entirety with you.  It is written by Cindy Kraft, the CFO Coach, and it is right on the money: “What CFOs Can Learn from Recruiters” by Cindy Kraft, the CFO-Coach.  This article is reprinted with her permission.

    What CFOs Can Learn from Recruiters

    A recent article by Morgan Hoogvelt, Chief Talent Scout for Clear Channel Communications, delineated “8 Skills Recruiters Should Have.”  I believe there is much to learn from how recruiters think and act … because knowledge is power -and- what makes them great recruiters will make you great potential candidates!   Here’s Hoogvelt’s list … with my commentary from a candidate perspective:

    1. Strong sales skills. Good sales people know the value proposition of the product or service they sell.  In a job search, you are the product.  A compelling marketable value proposition makes it crystal clear to a company why they should hire you and why they should pay you well when they bring you on board.

    2. Social intelligence, f/k/a interpersonal skills.  From a candidate perspective: networking. Not when you need to network, but long before you need to and as a consistent and constant career management habit.   And remember, today networking is defined as “who knows about you” so visibility is also a key part of social intelligence.

    3. A hunter’s mentality.  Forget the spaghetti strategy … throwing your resume out to everybody and anybody and hoping something will stick.  Instead, focus your efforts. Identify who needs your skill sets, and then hunt in that space. It will yield much better results.

    4. Big picture thinker.  An effective career management strategy is essential today. Short-term thinking focuses on the next job. Big picture thinkers know where they want to go in 3-5 years, 5-7 years, and 7-10 years and who needs to know about them in order to get there.

    5. Follow up skills.  It’s never about sending out a cover letter and resume or accepting a business card at a networking meeting. It’s about what you do in the “follow up” stage that generates ROI. Follow up skills are essential to current and future jobseekers.

    6. Listening skills. Talk with people rather than at people. To do that effectively, you need great active listening skills. Look them in the eye and ask great follow-up or clarifying questions rather than planning what brilliant thing you’ll say next.

    7. Trusted advisor.  Great recruiters can be trusted advisors to top-notch candidates.  Flip the tables and be one for them. A great recruiter relationship that is cultivated and nurtured long before you need to make a move, can bring opportunities you may have otherwise never known about.

    8. Be approachable.  Even if it feels like your job leaves you no time for networking, engaging in social activities, or taking calls from recruiters … do it anyway.  Your job is important but so are people.  The right people are key to making your next transition a smooth and easy one.  Taking a few minutes to make others feel warm, welcomed, and important leaves a lasting impression.  Like recruiters, the savvy Finance Executive should always be in passive hunt mode. You just never know where that next great opportunity might come from, or when! ”

    Cindy Kraft is the CFO-Coach and America’s leading Career & Personal Brand Strategist for Corporate Finance Executives helping clients understand their marketability, articulate their value, and position themselves as the clear and compelling choice.  She is a Certified Reach Personal Brand Strategist, Certified Reach Online Identity Strategist, Certified Career Management Coach, Credentialed Career Master, Certified Professional Resume Writer, and Job & Career Transition Coach.  Cindy can be reached via email at Cindy@CFOCoach.com , by phone 813-655-0658, or through her website at www.CFOCoach.com.

    As I indicated above, this article is reprinted in its entirety with her permission so thank you Cindy, well done!!!!

    As you know, I fully support a separate body to deal with financial reporting issues by privately held companies and so does the AICPA.   For the benefit of its members the AICPA has been advocating that the public and AICPA members write to the Financial Accounting Foundation (“FAF”) to express their own views and the AICPA has set us various tools to make this communication easier.  The following post was copied verbatim from an AICPA announcement, which I endorse, and is thus attributed strictly to the AICPA:Send the Financial Accounting Foundation a Comment Letter Supporting an Independent Board for Private Company GAAP Modifications
    The AICPA is urging CPAs to immediately send a comment letter to the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) to help make financial reporting more relevant and less complex for millions of
    the nation’s businesses. CPAs are asked to respond to FAF’s Plan to Establish the Private
    Company Standards Reporting Council
    , released on October 4 for public comment, and express support for the Blue Ribbon Panel on Standard Setting for Private Companies’ recommendation that FAF create an independent board to set exceptions and modifications in U.S. GAAP for private companies.
    According to FAF’s proposal, decisions of the new council would have to be reviewed and approved by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which FAF oversees.The AICPA believes the FAF proposal does not go far enough and that true differential standards for private companies would be better achieved through the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendation – namely, that a board consisting of members with private company constituent experience and able to act on its own is necessary to make effective and efficient private company financial reporting a reality. A two-step, easy-to-use AICPA online tool enables you to send a letterin just 30 seconds. The public comment period closes January 14, 2012.A high volume of comment letters is needed to change the course of FAF’s proposal.  Thank you in advance for your time and effort to finally bring true and lasting change to private company reporting after more than 30 years of discussion.You can find extensive information on private company financial reporting on the AICPA’s special web page. The site offers:

    • A prepared comment letter that will be sent to FAF immediately. Just input your
      name and click “Send Letter.” To help generate additional comment
      letters to FAF from other stakeholders, grab the “Comment Letter to FAF”
      widget on aicpa.org/privateGAAP for your website, Intranet, blog or social media.
    • You are encouraged to share the widget and letter-writing tool with small business clients,
      lenders, investors and others who would benefit from more meaningful and
      useful financial statements from private companies.
    • A free archive of a one-hour webcast (no CPE) featuring AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, and former AICPA Chairman of the Board Paul Stahlin, CPA. The live webcast was held on November 4.
    • An outreach toolkit to use with stakeholders to gain their support and generate comment letters from key private company constituents. There is a toolkit for public accounting firms and a toolkit for members working in private companies. Both include letters summarizing the issue, a PowerPoint presentation, a handout/flyer and a press release template. See “Outreach Toolkit” on the website for these materials.
    • Our dedicated web page at aicpa.org/privateGAAP provides additional information and resources, including a video from AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, on the FAF proposal.

    The above concludes the AICPA announcement.

    Be bold and reach out to the FAF!!!!!!

    Until next time,…..

    In connection with the AICPA Fall Council Meeting, I had a chance to meet with Mr. Charles Tilley and spend a few minutes picking his brains about the new CGMA (“Chartered Global Management Accountant”) Credential.  As you know, Mr. Tilley is the Executive Director of CIMA, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and, at the risk of boring you to death, CIMA has over one hundred and eighty three (183,000) members and students in 168 countries.

    So close your eyes, imagine this map of the world and the worldwide coverage that CIMA currently has so it would seem to me that it is a fair assumption that CIMA has a brand that carries a lot of recognition and value in all these countries.  Add the AICPA membership to the mix, and now you have an organization that has more than five hundred and fifty thousand (550,000) members worldwide, not too shabby eh?

    AICPA and CIMA are joining forces to introduce the CGMA in 2012.  Having lived in Ecuador and worked for Australian and Dutch Companies it is my feeling that as we continue to do business, it will be imperative that we have a worldwide accounting credential that can be recognized no matter where you are, be that Brazil, the U.S., Russia, etc. and the CGMA will enable us to achieve that goal.

    Having worked for the same accounting firm earlier in our careers and being exposed to the same companies that we currently do business with, I can see why Mr. Tilley is as equally enthused about the new CGMA and the opportunities that the new credential brings to the world of Management Accounting.

    It is also exciting to see CIMA’s curriculum and to envision the possibilities going forward for how members in industry can avail themselves of these plethora of offerings to improve the value for themselves and the organizations that we work for.

    If you have a moment, go ahead and get more info on the CGMA.

    Photo courtesy of nsikander28.

    Until next time……