Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Candice Owens Follows Her Passion

Longwood University junior Candice Owens (right) showed the accountant's double-checking instinct early on. After taking a couple of accounting classes at Middlesex High School, she wanted to make sure it was the right career path for her, so she helped teach an accounting class as a high school senior.
Now Candice is working hard to build her résumé and knowledge base. She spent the last two years as president of the Longwood chapter of business leadership group Phi Beta Lambda and was elected president of the Virginia chapter in April. She also was honored with a 2011–2012 VSCPA Undergraduate Scholarship.

Candice credits one of her high school teachers, Carl McWhorter, with sparking her interest in accounting. It was then that she discovered her passion for the profession and started on the path that led her to Longwood, Phi Beta Lambda and the VSCPA.
"He helped me discover my way to connect my two favorite careers — law enforcement and accounting — into one," she said. "He was my Future Business Leaders of America advisor that gave me the business foundation needed to help me throughout my classes. He still supports me and guides me into the right direction to be successful in the accounting field."
Candice chose Longwood because of its small size, involved professors and outlets for community involvement. She hopes to sit for the CPA Exam in the spring of 2014 and work in fraud and financial forensics.

"My favorite part of accounting is the ability to connect multiple passions within this career."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Teamwork, Leadership Most Important 'Soft Skills' on a Résumé

According to a recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), out of the so-called “soft skills,” employers are most likely to look for evidence that a job candidate is able to work as part of a team.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents to NACE’s Job Outlook 2012 survey said they look for evidence that the potential employee can work in a team. More than three-quarters said they want a candidate who has leadership abilities and written communication skills. The other two “soft skills” most cited by employers are problem-solving skills and a strong work ethic.

“Overall, results show that the ability to work in a team is the number one soft skill employers seek in their new hires,” NACE Director of Research Edwin Koc said. “Consequently, job candidates need to showcase that ability in their interactions with employers, not just on the résumé, but in the interview as well.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Debbie Wigg, CPA: 1972–2011

The VSCPA lost a member Nov. 8 when Debbie Wigg, CPA (right), of Suffolk was killed.

“Though petite in stature, she was large in life,” said Marty Ridout, CPA, a partner at Wigg’s employer, McPhillips, Roberts & Deans, PLC. “She was smart, kind, gentle, warm, patient, witty, and her smile drew you in and let you know that she was ready to help, whatever the situation. We all loved her and miss her terribly.”

Wigg, 39, leaves behind two young children, Landon and Ryan. McPhillips, Roberts & Deans has established a trust fund to benefit Landon and Ryan Wigg and provide for their health, education and welfare as they live with Debbie’s parents.

To provide financial support for Wigg’s children, send a check payable to “Deborah Marlo Brown Memorial Fund” to:

Deborah Marlo Brown Memorial Fund
c/o McPhillips, Roberts & Deans, PLC
150 Boush St., Suite 1100
Norfolk, VA 23510

The VSCPA offers its condolences to Debbie’s family and friends in this difficult time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proper Office Etiquette Can Go a Long Way

According to a new survey from Robert Half International, workplace etiquette plays a significant role in career advancement.

The report, based on interviews with more than 400 office workers, showed that more than four-fifths of respondents indicated that courtesy with coworkers can positively impact career prospects. When asked the question, “In your opinion, to what extent does being courteous to coworkers positively impact a person’s career prospects?”, nearly half (48 percent) said that it can accelerate advancement, while 41 percent said that it helps, but that skills play a bigger role.

"In most cases, a minor etiquette slipup won't likely be career-limiting if you quickly acknowledge it and learn from your mistake," Brett Good, a senior district president for Robert Half International, said. "But continual missteps have a cumulative effect that can chip away at your professional reputation and get in the way of advancement."

The survey also asked workers to share the craziest workplace etiquette blunders they’ve witnessed or heard about. Here are some of the responses:
  • “A colleague purposely sneezed in the boss’s coffee cup.”
  • “After asking me a question, a coworker talked excessively for 30 minutes without letting me get in one word.”
  • “Someone thought he put a customer on hold and then used inappropriate language within earshot.”
  • “A person took a cell phone into the restroom while still talking.”
Robert Half suggests four tips on avoiding common workplace etiquette offenses:
  • Watch your language: Bad language, off-color comments and politically incorrect jokes can get you into trouble, so pay attention when you wonder if you should say something or not.
  • Keep grievances private: Criticizing colleagues in front of others or gossiping behind their backs can make you look bad. Address issues with coworkers privately and with respect.
  • Take a break: When irritated by coworkers, take a minute to collect your thoughts before responding.
  • Keep the grooming at home: Don’t do personal grooming tasks at the office, and if you must, take it to the restroom. Grooming at the office can offend your coworkers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Volunteer with the VSCPA!

The Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) is seeking volunteers for the 2012–2013 membership year! VSCPA volunteers span many different backgrounds, interests and professional concentrations. Your time commitment is up to you!

You can use your valuable professional expertise to help your community or gain experience in an area where you're not so familiar. Volunteer opportunities are available in the following areas, among others:
  • General Committees
  • Task Forces
  • Leadership Appointments
  • Conference Planning
  • Public Service
  • Legislative
The deadline to sign up is Feb. 3, 2012. Thanks for helping the VSCPA!

Top 5 Most Popular Articles: Nov. 5–11, 2011

Here are the five most-read news articles on! Articles are taken from the VSCPA News and Professional News sections and are ranked by unique page views.
  1. 272 Members of VSCPA Recognized in 10th Annual 'Super CPA' Contest in Virginia Business Magazine
  2. SEC Chief Accountant Criticizes AICPA's Private-Company Resolution
  3. Lifetimes of Service: Bradshaw, Cochran Join VBOA
  4. IRS Temporarily Delays Tax Preparer Fingerprinting Requirement
  5. Experts Discuss Fiscal Responsibility at VSCPA Town Hall Meeting
Check back each Friday for updated rankings of the top stories on

Monday, November 7, 2011

Election Day Is Tomorrow! Are You Ready to Vote?

Virginia residents and voters with Virginia absentee ballots: Election Day 2011 is nearly upon us! The VSCPA urges you to vote and make your voice heard tomorrow. Visit the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) website for information on polling locations and more.

To help you make your decision, the VSCPA’s Elections page has a wealth of voter information, including searchable databases of information on candidates and ratings from watchdog groups, as well as links to several news websites where you can get the latest election information.

Thanks for participating in the democratic process!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Employers Seek Teamwork, Verbal Communication in Candidates

According to a new survey, the ability to work with a team is the most sought-after “soft skill” for employers hiring new college graduates.

Among employers who responded to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2012 survey, teamwork and verbal communication are the top “soft skills.” Decision-making and problem-solving skills, the ability to obtain and process information and the ability to plan, organize and prioritize work rounded out the top five.

Nearly 75 percent of employers said they use grade-point average (GPA) to screen new graduates, often placing the cutoff point at 3.0 or above.

Employers, what do you look for when filling a job opening? Are there "soft skills" that are more reliable indicators of future success?