Interview: The First Year in Accounting

This fall, I sat down with a few of Insero’s audit staff to discuss their experiences during their first year in accounting at the firm. Here is what they had to say:

Erin Heizyk: What about your first year at the firm was surprising or different from what you expected?

Erica Cratsley: I was surprised about the responsibilities that new staff are given. We are given the chance to interact directly with clients from day one as well as constantly take on more responsibility and ownership over the work we are doing.

Edwin Hoefler: I was surprised by the number of people and industries I was able to work with during my first year. I have gotten the opportunity to work for each manager and partner in our audit practice and have had direct interactions with them during the process.

Shannon Allen: I was surprised by how many happy hours and fun events the firm hosts outside of work. I think it’s awesome to get together with everyone and have fun together instead of relationships being strictly work only.

staff in a conference room ready to discuss their first year in accounting

Erin Heizyk: Are there any aspects of the job that took some time to get used to?

Shannon Allen: I had a general idea of what busy season would be like, but with no prior experience I’d say that’s something that took me a while to adjust to. Along with that, getting adjusted to working full-time was a something that took me a couple of months to get used to.

Erin Heizyk: Have you had support as you made the transition from student to full-time employee?

Shannon Allen: I’m pretty impressed with our mentor and advisor programs. It’s extremely helpful as a first year to have someone I can go to ask questions, discuss my schedule, and help manage stressors that come with being a first year and learning something completely new.

Marissa Budwey: The advisor program has been something that really impressed me at Insero too. I have had an ally that I could go to about anything from the moment I started. I had no idea how much I would like having someone that I can talk to about my schedule, career path overall, even the little questions that I was afraid to ask anyone else. They also give us feedback that is passed down, and it is comforting to talk to my advisor about my feedback opposed to someone I don’t interact with constantly.

Erin Heizyk: What stood out to you during your first year at the firm?

Shannon Allen: I’ve appreciated how helpful everyone I have worked with has been. It’s comforting knowing that questions are encouraged and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Along those lines, I am surprised and happy that there is an open door policy around here. I figured that work I performed would go up the chain of command and I wouldn’t really ever interact with managers and partners until I was at a certain level. However, I’ve worked with and received help from multiple managers and partners. There’s a big push for first years to be more open to talking to and working with management instead of feeling like we can only go to select people for help.

Erica Cratsley: Everyone has the opportunity to be involved with out-of-town clients that require some travel. The best part about this is how much we are encouraged to make the most out of personal time in new cities. For many of these jobs we work regular hours and then get to see the city at night. The Audit Department even has a Summer Picture Challenge, which shows how much Partners and Managers expect us to be making the most out of our travel opportunities.

Marissa Budwey: The people that we work with at all levels trust us but are great about on-the-job training. We aren’t expected to know everything walking in the door, we have great group training but I found I have learned most on the job with my peers and managers teaching me. They don’t just tell you how to complete a workpaper, they encourage you to understand the process, why the steps are being completed, and explain how each step fits into the big picture. I started at the firm as an Intern, and by the end of my internship, I was taking responsibility for entire employee benefit plan audit files, not just doing the mindless work I assumed I would be doing.

Adrian Black: One thing that I think stands out about Insero is how much the partner group shares with the firm. I had no idea how much information would be shared with us on through firmwide communication calls. We get regular updates on new clients, events that the firm is participating in, the goals that the partners have set and what is being done to reach those goals, and noteworthy updates from each department and major committee.

To learn more about what it’s like to work for Insero, benefits, and current openings, click here.

Infographic: 8 Reasons to Work for Insero

In recent years, Insero has consistently been named one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today and Best Companies Group. This annual list recognizes 100 top firms across the U.S. We have also been selected as one of Rochester’s Top Workplaces by the Democrat and Chronicle and Energage and one of Central New York’s Best Places to Work by Business Journal News Network and BizEventz.

With locations in Rochester, Ithaca, Corning, Cortland, and Watkins Glen, we cover much of the state of New York, but rest assured that at Insero you’re not just a number, you are an individual with aspirations. We work with you to craft your career to match your interests and future plans. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our employees have to say!

Need a few more reasons? Check out the infographic below, and visit our website at www.inserocpa.com/career to take your career to The Highest Standard.

8 Reasons to Work for Insero Infographic

Infographic Reads:

Top 8 Reasons to Work for Insero

It’s no secret that Insero & Co. has been consistently ranked locally and nationally as a great place to work. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

Our People

At Insero, our people are our greatest asset. From partners to interns, we hire the best people and cultivate a culture of open communication, teamwork, and trust, so that co-workers feel like family.

Balance

Work-life balance is one of the keys to happiness and success. Insero’s generous paid time off and flexible scheduling can help you achieve that balance, and our travel bonus programs provide compensation for time spent on the road.

Your Comfort

You should be comfortable where you work. That’s why at Insero, we encourage employees to decorate and make their workspace their own and our “dress for the day” philosophy allows for a more relaxed dress code (including jeans) depending on daily activities.

Recognition

We appreciate a job well done. That’s why Insero is committed to recognizing our employees’ good work in a variety of ways, from spot bonuses and formal evaluations to Spotlight, our peer recognition app.

Your Health

From annual flu shots, healthy snacks, and standing desks to team sports and active outings, Insero’s Wellness Committee supports a variety of ways to help maintain your health. We also offer a variety of competitive health insurance packages with options for vision, dental, and savings account dollars.

Your Future

Your individual strengths and interests should help guide your career. By utilizing your advisors, crafting individual development plans, and participating in various training programs and leadership opportunities, you can identify and achieve your personal goals. In addition, our Innovation Committee is committed to gathering feedback and exploring new ideas to keep us all moving forward.

Education

Insero is dedicated to making sure you get the education you need throughout your career, including assistance with CPA exam costs and a CPA license bonus. Our Training Committee also supports ongoing education through our tuition reimbursement program, continuing professional education, association memberships, and soft skills trainings.

Community

We take pride in giving back to the community. All employees are encouraged to take part in community service. Whether it be a monetary donation on behalf of the firm or time off to volunteer for a cause, Insero’s Charitable Giving Committee is dedicated to making a difference.

American Heart Association Recognizes Insero for Workplace Health Achievement

Scientific, evidence-based instrument rates and recognizes workplace health programs and workforce heart health

The results of the American Heart Association 2018 Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced today and Insero & Co. CPAs achieved Bronze level recognition for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero & Co. CPAs has over 130 employees in five locations throughout New York State.

American Heart Association 2018 Workplace Health Achievement Bronze Level Recognition Badge

The American Heart Association created the Index with its CEO Roundtable members, a leadership collaborative of more than 40 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health. The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs. A unique feature of the Index is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data.

More than 1000 companies completed the Index assessment this year and, of those companies, 75% received either Gold, Silver, or Bronze recognition. Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition in the Index and help their workforce move toward ideal heart health.

“Insero is partnering with the American Heart Association to create a healthier lifestyle in and out of the workplace,” said Kristi Tarantelli, Recruiting & Employee Relations Specialist for Insero & Co. CPAs. “We are honored to receive Bronze level recognition in our first year of participation, as companies often only achieve completion status in their first year.”

“We see this as evidence of our commitment to wellness. Throughout the year our Wellness Committee is coming up with various initiatives to promote health and well-being including stress management, nutrition, physical activity, and education. In addition to participating in the Index, we also worked with the American Heart Association to launch indoor and outdoor walking paths to encourage our employees to stay active during the work day.”

Insero and the American Heart Association launch walking paths as part of workplace health initiative

The Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their workplace health programs as well as the overall heart health of their employees. Unlike other existing organizational scorecards, the Index also scores companies on the heart health of their employees based on Life’s Simple 7® – the Association’s scientifically validated definition of ideal heart health. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index assessment is grounded in data-driven science and a quality improvement framework. According to the Nielsen 2016 Employee Health Survey, robust and comprehensive strategies for wellbeing are associated with positive impacts on employees’ health.

To learn more about working for Insero & Co. CPAs, visit our careers page.

2018 Reader Rankings Names Insero Top Winner in 7 Categories

Rochester’s 2018 Reader Rankings celebration was held on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Leading up to this event, the Rochester Business Journal and The Daily Record spent months collecting more than 3,800 nominations followed by 46,000 votes in 87 different categories including accounting, finance, education, real estate, technology, entertainment, and top employers. This voting process culminated in the celebration event, where the top winners in each category were revealed.

 

“The room was really packed and many local businesses were present,” said Nancy Catarisano, Managing Partner of Insero & Co. CPAs. “It was an exciting evening and I was proud to represent our firm in accepting our awards. It was a privilege to be able to accept these on behalf of everyone on our team.”

Lisa Fitzsimmons and Nancy Catarisano of Insero & Co. display award certificates presented at the 2018 Reader Rankings ceremony in Rochester

Insero & Co. CPAs was recognized at the celebration as Top Winner in 7 categories:

 

Best Accounting Firm

Best Overall Company to Work for (76-250 employees)

Best Company Culture

Best Employee Recognition Program

Most Innovative Workplace

Best Overall Leadership

Best Training Program

 

Insero was also recognized as a Top 8 Winner for Best Forensic Accounting and Insero Wealth Strategies was recognized as a Top 3 Winner for Best Wealth Management. For more information on the awards and winners, click here.

 

“We would like to say thank you to all of our clients, employees, and friends of the firm for taking the time to vote for Insero,” said Catarisano. “We are honored to have such great support in our community.”

2018 Reader Rankings Top Winner Certificates presented to Insero & Co. CPAs by the Rochester Business Journal and The Daily Record

Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is an accounting and business advisory practice with five locations serving New York State. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to government agencies, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, and businesses ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services, and real estate. For more information, visit www.inserocpa.com.

Insero Named a Rochester Metro Area 2018 Top Workplace

Insero & Co. CPAs has been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The firm, headquartered in downtown Rochester, has been one of the top five companies in the small business category each of the last five years, and is the only accounting firm to have been named to the list every year since inception. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution and connection, just to name a few.

2018 Top Workplaces Logo, 5 Year Winners 2014 - 2018 by D&C Digital, part of the USA Today Network

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

“We are thrilled to receive this honor for the fifth year in a row,” said David Mandrycky, Director of Human Resources at Insero. “Our people are our most important asset and our client service success can be directly attributable to our team. It takes a commitment from everyone to foster the type of environment where people are fulfilled and excited to come to work each day. We owe many thanks to our entire team for upholding this focus and making Insero such a great place to work.”

Insero currently employs 130 professionals in five locations including Rochester, Ithaca, Corning, Cortland and Watkins Glen. The firm has repeatedly been recognized nationally as one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today and Best Companies Group and was also named to the inaugural list of Best Places to Work for Millennials.

“Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” Claffey said. “It’s an achievement organizations have worked for and a distinction that gives them a competitive advantage. It’s a big deal.”

About Insero & Co. CPAs

Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is an accounting and business advisory practice with five locations serving New York state. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to government agencies, colleges and universities, not-for-profit organizations and businesses ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services and real estate. For more information, visit www.inserocpa.com/career.

About Energage, LLC

Headquartered in Exton, Pa., Energage (formerly known as WorkplaceDynamics) is a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools that help leaders to unlock potential, inspire performance, and achieve amazing results within their organizations. The research partner behind the Top Workplaces program, Energage has surveyed more than 47,000 organizations representing well over 16 million employees in the United States.

7 Interview Tips for Accounting Students

Fall is a busy time for many of us. The kids are going back to school, businesses are gearing up for year-end, and college students are getting ready to interview for their first post-grad jobs. Here are my top 7 tips for how to prepare for and conduct yourself during an interview.

Job Interview for Accountant

1. Research the company – impress the interviewer by taking the time to learn about their organization

Utilize the following resources to research the organization:

    • Newspaper and magazine articles
    • Recruitment/employment literature (often available in school library or career service office)
    • Call the company & ask them to send you some company literature prior to your interview
    • Annual reports
    • Internet (visit the company’s web site, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
    • Talk to others who work for the company

Below are recommendations on the type of information you can research about the organization:

    • When was the company founded?
    • Where are their corporate offices located?
    • What does the organization do?
    • What are its products and/or services?
    • Has the organization been growing?
    • What are some of the organization’s latest achievements or awards?

2. Know your skills and qualifications and how they relate to the position for which you are applying

    • Take time to identify your individual strengths
    • Write down your strengths and think of how these strengths can benefit the company
    • Create a list of things you have accomplished in your career to date (or accomplishments from school) that you are particularly proud of

3. Prepare a brief list of questions to ask the interviewer about the organization and position to convey your interest

Examples of questions to ask during the interview:

    • What are some goals for someone in this position?
    • What would you expect one to have accomplished in the first 3 months on the job?
    • What computer systems/programs would this person work with daily?
    • What is the company culture like?
    • What do you enjoy about working here?

4. Be prepared for questions an interviewer might ask

Behavioral-Based Questions

    • In your current position, what would be one accomplishment that you are most proud of and why? What specifically did you do to accomplish this? What obstacles did you run into?
    • In your current/last position, give me a specific example of how you dealt with a recent customer service issue/complaint? How did the customer react? Was the customer satisfied?
    • Tell me about a more challenging team project that you were involved with. What was the project? What was your role? How did the team function? If you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Fact Finding Questions

    • Tell me more about X?
    • What specifically did you do?

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

Role-play interview questions with a friend or conduct a mock interview with a college career service professional. It may seem awkward at first, but it will definitely help you to become more comfortable in the interview process.

6. Pay attention to your appearance

    • Dress professionally & conservatively – a suit is always best
    • It is always better to be over dressed than under dressed
    • Avoid displaying visible body piercings or tattoos
    • Keep your nails neatly trimmed and clean and avoid flashy nail polish or nail jewelry
    • If you wear a coat to the interview, hang it up (do not wear it during the interview)
    • Do not chew gum during the interview

7. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes

What hiring Managers are looking for in a candidate:

    • Verbal and written communication skills
    • Willingness to learn new skills (flexibility)
    • Evidence of achievement & participation
      • Community involvement – sports, clubs & organizations
      • Work experience
    • Personal qualities
      • Ability to get along with others
      • Positive approach
      • Confidence, neat, professional appearance, motivation
      • Clear & realistic goals, enthusiasm
    • Computer Literacy (MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Email, Internet)

Factors which may lead to rejection:

    • Overbearing, overaggressive behavior
    • Too soft spoken, timid, poor grammar/slang, swearing
    • Lack of interest/enthusiasm
    • Overemphasis on salary/job hopping
    • Being unwilling to start in entry level position
    • Speaking negatively about past employers & supervisors
    • Lack of eye contact
    • Arriving late for interview (Things happen – if you are late, explain tardiness upon arrival)
    • Poor personal appearance

I hope you have found these tips helpful, and look forward to a busy fall full of successful interviews!

 

Insero Named Best Accounting Workplace for Sixth Consecutive Year

Insero & Co. CPAs was recently named as one of the 2017 Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today for the sixth consecutive year. Accounting Today has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees. Insero is the only firm in New York state to have been named to the list each of the last six years.

“We’re thrilled to receive this honor for the sixth year in a row,” said David Mandrycky, Director of Human Resources at Insero. “We owe many thanks to our entire team for upholding our focus on our people and building an environment where people are fulfilled and excited to come to work each day. Because of this focus, our reputation across the state has grown, employee turnover rate is well below the industry average and we are an employer of choice on the college campuses. That, in turn, benefits our clients, who appreciate being able to work with the best people. It’s truly a win-win.”

Best Accounting Firms To Work for 2017 Logo from Accounting Today

This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best 100 employers in the accounting industry, benefiting the industry’s economy, workforce and businesses. Companies from across the country entered the two-part survey process to determine Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, analyzed the data and determined the final ranking.

“The firms on this list represent the best workplaces in the accounting profession,” said Accounting Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Hood. “They are outstanding places to build a career.”

For more information on Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for program, visit www.BestAccountingFirmsToWorkFor.com.

Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is one of the largest accounting and business advisory practices serving New York state. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to corporations, individuals, government agencies, colleges and universities, not-for-profit organizations and businesses ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services and real estate. For more information, visit www.inserocpa.com/career.

Insero Named Best Accounting Workplace for Fifth Consecutive Year

Insero & Co. CPAs was recently named as one of the 2016 Best Accounting Firms to Work for by Accounting Today for the fifth consecutive year. Accounting Today has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees. Insero is the only firm in New York state to have been named to the list each of the last five years.

2016-07-11 18.27.44 HDR-2

“We’re thrilled to receive this honor for the fifth year in a row,” said David Mandrycky, Director of Human Resources at Insero. “We owe many thanks to our entire team for upholding our focus on our people and building an environment where people are fulfilled and excited to come to work each day. Because of this focus, our reputation across the state has grown, employee turnover rate is well below the industry average and we are an employer of choice on the college campuses. That, in turn, benefits our clients, who appreciate being able to work with the best people. It’s truly a win-win.”

This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best 100 employers in the accounting industry, benefiting the industry’s economy, workforce and businesses. Companies from across the country entered the two-part survey process to determine Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, analyzed the data and determined the final ranking, which will be announced in November of this year.

“The firms on this list represent the best workplaces in the accounting profession,” said Accounting Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Hood. “They are outstanding places to build a career.”

For more information on Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for program, visit www.BestAccountingFirmsToWorkFor.com.

Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is one of the largest accounting and business advisory practices serving New York state with offices in Rochester, Ithaca, Corning, Cortland and Watkins Glen. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to corporations, individuals, government agencies, colleges and universities, not-for-profit organizations and businesses ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services and real estate. For more information, visit www.inserocpa.com.

Insero Named a Rochester Metro Area 2016 Top Workplace

Insero & Co. CPAs has been named one of the 2016 Top Workplaces in Rochester by the Democrat and Chronicle. The firm was also honored with a Special Award for Ethics, described by the phrase “This company operates by strong values and ethics.” The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.

2016 Top Workplaces Award Winners

Vincent Leo, Nancy Catarisano, and David Mandrycky

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Insero & Co. Named one of the 2015 Best Accounting Firms to Work for

Insero & Co. CPAs has been named one of Accounting Today’s 2015 Best Accounting Firms to Work for. Accounting Today has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees.

“As the only firm in Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region to be named to the list, everyone in the firm is very proud of this accomplishment,” said Managing Partner Nancy Catarisano. “This is the fourth straight year we’ve received this honor, and we are looking forward to reviewing the input from the survey and carrying on our tradition of making the firm an even greater place to work.”

Our Partners

This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best 100 employers in the accounting industry, benefiting the industry’s economy, workforce and businesses. Companies from across the country entered the two-part survey process to determine Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for. The final ranking will be announced in December of this year.

“The firms on this list represent the best workplaces in the accounting profession,” said Accounting Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Hood. “They are outstanding places to build a career.”

For more information on Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for program, visit www.BestAccountingFirmsToWorkFor.com.

Rochester-based Insero & Co. CPAs is one of the largest accounting and business advisory practices serving New York state. A full-service public accounting firm, Insero provides attest, tax and consulting services to individuals, government agencies, colleges and universities, not-for-profit organizations and businesses ranging from privately held family businesses to multi-national corporations. These clients represent many industries, including service, manufacturing, distribution, high-tech, telecommunications, education, social services and real estate. Insero also specializes in outsourced staffing solutions and employee benefit plan audits. For more information, visit www.inserocpa.com.