We are all Big Brother, and We are all Watching

It’s 5:15 PM and I hear that dreaded unmistakable klaxon signaling my doom. I look at the caller ID and my fear is confirmed. “Hi honey” I start to say hoping to defuse the situation but I have to speak more and tell her that I won’t home for dinner. She informs me of her disappointment, that this has happened too much this week but she says her good-byes. I try to focus on my computer, trying to recall where I was.  My manager comes by, “She’s really upset with you lately, maybe you should go home and I’ll let Brenda work on this.” I smile at her and thank her for understanding. As I’m walking to my car, wondering if I should pick up flowers, I wonder – “How did my manager know she was upset with me?”

Big data is crossing into every corner of business. Recent developments have the computer search transcripts of sales conversations, diagramming the sentences to determine a persons tone and if they were being aggressive. The implications, however, go further than sales calls. Many firms are establishing departments to monitor insider threats.  These monitor employees emails, social media and telephone communications for information leakage but also a person’s demeanor. If one is found to be too aggressive or too forthcoming they can be re-trained or terminated.

[The group monitors] for ethical and compliance violations by its employees… monitors the incoming and outgoing email traffic of particular groups or individuals. The purpose is “to understand if we have a high-risk area that we need to look into”.

These systems are also looking for patterns in other ways. For example by monitoring if certain systems are queried more often than others. This might indicate a hacker has targeted this information. The fact a query has been made is more significant than the actual query itself.

Does big data mean we should stay off of our phones? Does it mean we should avoid social media? These are questions that are difficult to answer but the most logical approach to use common sense and always follow your companies guidelines for handling information. Is this too Orwellian for you? Let me know in the comments.

Source: Big Data, Smaller Risk

Keep the conversation going

Can we learn anything from the recent (and not so recent) transitions of late night television hosts? In fact we can. There is a lot of insight that can be gained and added to our professional lives.

Moving on isn’t always a bad thing, in fact presenting a fresh perspective is a great way to keep an audience or client. In the article Mark Koziel gives us three points to learn from these retirements.

  • Leveraging technology
  • Supporting emerging leaders
  • Presenting a diverse and broad perspective

I particularly liked the first one.  Koziel describes how the new hosts keep their audience engaged outside of the show with social media. For example, Jimmy Fallon uses twitter to get material for the show, and when haven’t you seen a clip from some show on Facebook – linked from YouTube.

Using these technologies, late night hosts are not only engaging younger audiences, they’re keeping the conversations going beyond the timeframes of their television shows, ensuring publicity at any moment of the day.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on these lessons and find ways to keep our clients engaged in our business. Use social media to keep the conversation going between visits. Keeping us forefront in their mind, will keep steady business coming to your door.

3 Late Night Comedy Trends that Mirror the CPA Profession via AICPA Insights

How to reduce stress at work – AICPA

Feeling burned out? Let’s take a break to recharge our batteries and refocus our work. Sheon Ladson Wilson offers us some advice on how young CPA’s can de-stress their workday.

Wilson offers six points:

  1. Find out exactly what your bosses want from you
  2. Don’t take on too much work
  3. Have reasonable expectations for yourself
  4. Create a more relaxing physical environment
  5. Don’t forget to exercise – and take some time out from work
  6. Give yourself small rewards throughout the day

The first two are particularly interesting. Often times I like to take the ball and run with it, only to find out there was an easier way or my supervisor had different expectations.

[ask] whom she can contact for additional information, how the task was completed previously, and the expected outcome. “I like to know in advance what is considered a good job”

By knowing upfront the task your undertaking you can plan and save yourself a lot of stress. Wilson offers us some practical advice on how to improve our professional lives and life-work balance. So let’s all let out that deep breath and get back to work.

Source: How to reduce stress at work – AICPA

Always take the call…

When you’re searching for the next position in your career it’s important to be willing to work with executive search firms to help place you in the right position. In his article John Touey explains the importance of working with these search firms and also offers some practical advice to would-be job seekers. By following his advice one can hope to find that golden opportunity.

Touey offers four points of advice:

  • Always return the [executive recruiter’s] call
  • Research the field
  • Get a referral
  • Look for opportunities to strengthen your personal brand.

We can boil these down in a couple of ways. By talking with the recruiter you can tell them what you want. Of course to do that you’ll need to know what you want to do and how that can fit in with the industry or company you’re targeting. This is something you can’t do alone and so work with your connections in your network to find a recruiter who can help you and lastly always keep growing and improving your image through speaking, writing or blogging and so on.

Remember, the search firm works for the employer, not you. The only person who truly has your best interests at heart in the recruitment process is you.

With these tips under your belt you can put together some steps to increase the value of your personal brand. Making yourself more attractive to future employers and hopefully fulfilling your professional goals in the process. So next time opportunity calls – pick the up the phone.

Source: Don’t Miss Your Next CFO Job Opportunity