ZGAS Presents: The Annual Mid-Size Accounting Panel

by Nicholas Maris, MBA, Accounting, 2013 and Emily McMillen, MBA, Accounting, 2012

Wednesday, October 5th, the Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society hosted their annual mid-size accounting panel. This event provides Zicklin students the opportunity to learn more about mid-size accounting firms and network with professionals in the indhey

ustry. This year, the panel consisted of:

  • Stephen Mazzotti – Audit partner, EisnerAmper
  • Imad Koury – HR manager, ParenteBearde
  • Michael Gaines – Partner, Friedman LLP
  • John Klenner – Senior Audit Manager, Marcum LLP

One of the major panel discussions was client readiness and relationships. Stephen Mazzotti from EisnerAmper stressed the importance of being prepared before interacting with a client. His advice to new or aspiring audit or tax professionals was to organize their meetings with clients by researching the client, askind advice from seniors, and preparing questions. These tools help maintain good client interaction which is required for high customer satisfaction.

Stephem Mazzotti also talked about the importance of good communication within the work place. He suggested it is best to maintain an items list and to keep seniors informed. He stressed the importance of high quality communication whether it is written or verbal. Emails should always be proof read and any required documents should be attached. Verbal communication is better suited for building client relationships because it is easier to clarify what your objectives are, but it is also easier for any professional to be caught unprepared. Furthermore, anything stated in a conversation cannot be documented.

Further panel discussion regarded the recruitment process for students. Imad Koury addressed issues related to the way an individual can market and position themselves more efficiently through preparing a good resume. According to Imad, a resume is very important since it is an individual’s picture.  ParenteBeard is a firm that receives 1,500 resumes from on-campus recruiting periods which last approximately 6 weeks.  Spending around 30 seconds per resume, it is important that the applicant will be able to differentiate himself from the other applicants by customizing his objectives and skills to the firm and the position’s requirements.  Accomplishments should stand out by using quantitative data , for instance by reaching a specific annual number of sales/revenues.  As a written document, it will need to be proof read in order to receive some feedback.  Regardless the individual’s experience and the position he is applying for, a resume should always be 1 page long.

Michael Gaines from Friedman continued the conversation by giving some advice for interviews.  Michael recommends the candidate, after getting selected for the interview, should always have some copies of his/her resume at the interview. The part where the resume needs to stand out has been accomplished but it is the candidate’s duty to confirm the image his resume created.  Taking care of nails and hair, using deodorant and ironing your clothes should always be considered prior to the interview.  It is very important that the individual will attend the interview on time and be professionally dressed.  As soon as the professional greets the interviewee, a smile, a professional hand shake (with no pumps) and body language that shows the excitement to be there are required.  During the interview, the interviewers are asking questions to get a better understanding of the candidate’s personality and background.  This is also a good chance for the interviewee to ask questions to realize the firm’s personality and environment.  According to Mr. Gaines, the questions he would like applicants to ask are:

  •  What qualities are you looking for in an entry level candidate?
  • What do you like about your firm?

As soon as the interview comes to an end, the interviewee should thank the professionals for their time.

Mr. Klenner closed the pannel by explaining the advantages of employment for one of these firms.  In particular, growth is accomplished easier and sooner compared to the growth an individual receives at Big 4 firm.  The reason is that at a Big 4 firm an employee may be limited while at a mid-size firm employees get more exposure.  Even at mid-size accounting firms, there many programs individuals can exploit such as sport teams and groups dedicated to community service. While the Big 4 are well known everywhere, mid-size firms are not short on prestige or public recognition. They provide the same benefits that you will find at a Big 4 firm with the ability to expose associates to more industries fostering a more diverse career development opportunity.

For more information about the Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society and their upcoming events, please visit their website at http://www.zgas.org/

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