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  • Always Make Promises - The Atlantic on Nov 23, 14
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Gmail - Gmail Help on Sep 11, 14
  • Priest Holmes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on Sep 07, 14
  • Martellus Bennett of Chicago Bears suspended after practice fight with Kyle Fuller - ESPN Chicago on Aug 06, 14
    • petulant
  • 28 Problems Every Type-A Person Will Understand on May 23, 14
    • 23 Problems Only Kids Of Immigrant Parents Will Understand
  • The Wall Street Journal - Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News & Video - Wall Street Journal - Wsj.com on Sep 27, 14
  • Recent Filings | Hilltop Holdings on Mar 03, 14
  • Why So Many Big 4 Professionals Fail To Lead on Dec 29, 13
      • 1. We experience so much more than we consciously realize

         

        Our conscious minds have a very limited capacity compared to our subconscious minds. In his book “The Art of Learning”, Josh Waitzkin discusses how we only truly absorb a fraction of what we experience, and even then, what we absorb is truly a unique “window” into what really happens.

         

        Every experience can offer you countless new lessons – but only if you take the time to pause and reflect on the experience.

         

        And this doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Here are some suggestions for how it can be done with minimal investment of time:

         
           
        • Spend 15 minutes at the end of the day and ask yourself “what did I learn today?”
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        • At the end of each week, spend 30 undisturbed minutes to reflect on the experiences you had that week. Focus on the best things and the worst things that happened; that’s where the greatest potential lessons lie.
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        • At the end of the year, spend an afternoon reflecting and evaluating what happened to you during the year. Recall your successes, failures, goals you achieved, and targets you missed.
      • Engagements and Projects

         

        When you join a project team or an engagement, you should prime your conscious “window” of focus by asking:

         
           
        • What experience do I want to gain from this engagement?
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        • What experience can I ideally gain from this engagement?
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        • How can I make sure the people who supervise me provide me with the opportunity to gain those experiences in this engagement?
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        • How can I make sure they recognize and record the experiences I gain through this engagement?
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        • How can I use this to lead to other experiences I want to have in the future?
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        Today and Tomorrow

         
           
        • How often do you pause to reflect on your experiences?
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        • How do you record what you’ve learned?
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        • How do you evaluate your year?
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        • If you decide to make reflection on your experiences a discipline in your life, how will you do it?
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        • How will you instill the lessons you’ve learned here to your children, so that they can benefit from it for the rest of their lives?
  • How To Write Audit Tick Marks - The Big 4 Playbook on Dec 29, 13
    • First let me show what typical documentation in a tick mark will look like:

       

      X Firm (Insert whatever firm you are working for) obtained from Dan Smith, Assistant Controller, the invoice XYZ Company received from ABC Company for the purchase of the chainsaw. X Firm matched the invoice number, date, and amount with the accounts payable selection. Invoice appears reasonable. Further, X Firm received from Mr. Smith the check stub and bank statement related to the invoice selected.  X confirmed the check was for the invoice selected and noted the date of the check was after 12/31/XX. X Firm matched the check to the January XXXX bank statement as well. As such, X Firm confirms the invoice was paid after 12/31/XX. Appears reasonable that this selection is included in the ending accounts payable balance.

    • First let me show what typical documentation in a tick mark will look like:

       

      X Firm (Insert whatever firm you are working for) obtained from Dan Smith, Assistant Controller, the invoice XYZ Company received from ABC Company for the purchase of the chainsaw. X Firm matched the invoice number, date, and amount with the accounts payable selection. Invoice appears reasonable. Further, X Firm received from Mr. Smith the check stub and bank statement related to the invoice selected.  X confirmed the check was for the invoice selected and noted the date of the check was after 12/31/XX. X Firm matched the check to the January XXXX bank statement as well. As such, X Firm confirms the invoice was paid after 12/31/XX. Appears reasonable that this selection is included in the ending accounts payable balance.

      • Whoa, there’s a lot to take in there. So let’s break down the key elements of what to include:

         
           
        • Note who is performing the testing (X Firm)
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        • Note who you received the evidence from and what their title is. You only need to state this once in the tick mark.
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        • Document all evidence documents you received.
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        • State how you determined that the evidence is reasonable in your mind.
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        • Lastly, conclude why or why not you think your selection is reasonable.

    4 more annotations...

  • Keys to being a Top-Rated 1st Year | Big 4 BoundBig 4 Bound on Dec 29, 13
      •  2) Develop a systematic organization method – or use my technique

         

        On my desktop, along with a ton of other random stuff (although I prefer to keep things orderly)

         
           
        • “Current Client” – A folder for whatever client I’m on. I usually put it separate from other folders/files. I also drag it to the quicklaunch menu in windows for quick acces or if I have other screens open and don’t want to go to desktop.
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        • Clients – Here I keep a folder containing folders I used on past clients. When I roll off the engagement I move the files here. Never delete anything.
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        • Temp – I keep a “temp” folder for items that I don’t really need to organize, but I just don’t want them to clutter my desktop. This is usually if I need to email someone something and have to save it somewhere first.
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        • Reference – I keep files from training or company guidance that may be relevant. Also controls the testing matrix and those types of things
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        • Pending items – This will be a big help and I wish I had this sooner. What I usually do is take whatever sections I’m assigned on my current client, take the prior year file and somehow get it into a project management mode in excel. (Depending on your firm’s software, it may be easy to do). For each test and file that was in the workpapers last year, I put it in a row in excel (Obviously things may change, but you won’t be expected to know when a change in audit strategy is needed for a little while). I do is keep a running check on what is finished and what I will need to complete it. I will also list questions I need to ask to complete as well as whatever is pending the client . I like to put something like “sent request for XYZ detail 8/21/13.” You can get creative with color coding green/yellow/red ect. This sounds basic/overkill but you will soon realize how important organization is.
      • Within the client folders, I have a folder for controls testing, substantive testing. These two will hold the bulk of the documents for a client. I also in this main client folder I keep:

         
           
        • Trial balance, PY trial balance
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        • Financial Statements
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        • Assignment Schedule – a schedule of when my sections are to be complete. Usually given to you by a senior when you start the engagement.
      • Within the controls or substantive folder I have a sub-folder for each process, such as fixed assets, expenses, revenue – whatever I’ll be working on. Within those folders, depending on how many tests we do for each section, I will have a subfolder within them. So for example substantive procedures over fixed assets I might include:

         
           
        • Fixed Asset Rollforward
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        • Construction in Progress
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        • Depreciation
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        • Valuation/Impairment

    3 more annotations...

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