Mcfrank & Williams

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Month: September, 2013

Early Career Development Programs

Workforce Locator™ has a data rich college search component that helps organizations find diverse early career talent for their Early Career Development Programs:

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School has published the following list of corporations with training programs

> A list of corporate training and leadership development programs for college graduates in areas of Finance, Management, Retail, Banking, Human Resources, and Marketing:

3M’s Development Programs
ABB’s Global Trainee Programs
Abbott’s Professional Development Programs
adidas AG’s Functional Trainee Program
Aetna’s Actuarial Training Program
Aetna’s Sales Professional Group School Training Program
AIG’s Development Programs
Training Programs and Co-ops
Allstate’s Life Actuarial Career Program
AT&T’s Development Programs
Aon’s Early Career Development Program
Avaya’s Sales Development Program
Avery’s Finance Leadership Development Program
Bank of America’s Development Programs
Finance Management Associate Program
Corporate Audit Rotational Program
Global Risk Management Associate Program
Global Commercial Banking and Global Product Solutions Analyst Program
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s IT Leadership Development Program
Bloomberg’s Leadership Development Program
Boeing’s Development Programs
Cardinal Health’s Rotational Programs
Chevron Training and Career Development Programs
CIGNA’s Development Programs
Citigroup’s Corporate Training Programs
Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Development Programs
ConocoPhillips’ Career Development Opportunities
Countrywide’s Associate Development Program
Cushman & Wakefield’s Career Development Program
Dow’s Career Development Programs
DuPont’s Career Development Programs
Eaton’s Leadership Development Programs
Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s Management Training Program
Ford’s Career Development Programs
Gap Inc. Career Development Programs
GEICO Leadership Development Programs
General Electric Leadership Development Programs
Genentech Career Development Programs
Genworth Financial Early Career Development Programs
GlaxoSmithKline’s Undergraduate Career Programs
Goodyear’s Finance Development Programs
Hilton’s Leader-in-Training Program
Home Depot Leadership Programs
Honeywell’s Rotational Development Program
HSBC’s Development Programs
IBM’s Career Development Programs
Intel’s Rotational ProgramsInternational Paper Company’s Sales Core Training Program
Intuit’s Rotational Development Program-Small Business Division
Intuit’s Rotational Development Program-Finance & Operations
John Deere’s Finance Development Program
John Deere’s IT Development Program
Marketing Representative Development Program
Medtronic’s Leadership Development Rotational Program
Johnson and Johnson’s Leadership Development Programs
JP Morgan’s Corporate Programs
Liberty Mutual’s Undergraduate Development Programs
Lockheed Martin’s Leadership Development Programs
L’Oreal’s Entry Management Program
Macy’s Training Programs
Marriot’s Management Training Program
McKesson Finance Rotational Development Program
Merck and Company’s Rotational Programs
MetLife’s Career Programs
M & T Bank’s Management Training Programs
Microsoft’s Academy of College Hires Development Program
NBC Universal’s Early Career Programs
Neilson Media’s Emerging Leaders Programs
Nestlé’s Development Programs
New York Life’s Actuarial Training Program
Nike’s Development Programs
Northrop Grumman’s Rotational Programs
Oracle’s Training and Development Program
Pepsi Bottling Group’s Sales Development Program and Operations Development Program
Pratt and Whitney’s Development Programs
Quad Graphic’s Training Programs
Random House Publications’ Associates Program
Raytheon’s Leadership Development Programs
Region’s Management Associate Program
Ruder Finn’s Executive Training Program
Safeway’s Training Programs
Sak’s Executive Excellence Program
Sears’ Full Time Undergraduate Programs
Sheraton’s Management Training Program
Simon and Schuster’s Associates Program
Sprint’s New College Hire Development Program
Time Warner’s Career Development Programs
Thomas Reuters’ Full-Time Programs
Traveler’s Developmental Programs
Turner’s Trainee Team Program
TJX’s Corporate Merchandise Training Program
UBS’s Career Development Programs
Vanguard’s Specialty Developmental Programs
Verizon’s Telecom Development Programs
Walgreen’s Management Training Programs
WellPoint’s Undergraduate Programs


HiPPOs and Veracity, Gartner, IBM, “V”s

Workforce Locator™ is a data source that’s more reliable than the highest paid person’s opinion…

I came across a well written piece from ImagingBiz dot com that cites a report by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, authors of Race Against The Machine:

> The managerial challenges of using big data are greater than the technical challenges, the authors believe. One of the most critical is silencing the highest-paid people’s opinions, or HiPPOs. When data were expensive and hard to get, relying on the intuition of upper-level managers made sense, but times have changed.

Here’s a link to Academia dot edu with a reprint of that report McAfee and Brynjolfsson wrote for Harvard Business Review:

> Exploiting vast new flows of information can radically improve your company’s performance. But first you’ll have to change your decision-making culture.

About Gartner’s definition of Big Data:

> Gartner’s Big Data Definition Consists of Three Parts, Not to Be Confused with Three “V”s:

This NetworkWorld slideshow ranks IBM as the leader among “15 most powerful Big Data companies”

IBM added “veracity” – another “V” to Gartner’s, volume velocity and variety, and IBM does a great job promoting IBM’s leadership position with virtual events and animations such as this one:

> Cultivating Big Data Adoption in Banking

IMO this article from TheServerSide dot com is worth reading as the writer expresses his POV about the four ‘V’s:

> Handling the four ‘V’s of big data: volume, velocity, variety, and veracity

> Veracity is probably the toughest nut to crack. If you can’t trust the data itself, the source of the data, or the processes you are using to identify which data points are important, you have a veracity problem. One of the biggest problems with big data is the tendency for errors to snowball. User entry errors, redundancy and corruption all affect the value of data. Your consulting firm needs to help you clean your existing data and put processes in place to reduce the accumulation of dirty data going forward.

See also:

> Leon Guzenda, founder of Objectivity discusses the 5 V’s of Big Data

> Let’s start with Value: Yes, there is a lot of big data out there, e.g. the many types of logs (Splunk) from M2M systems, location data, photo/video data, etc. At Objectivity we believe that inside your data there are relationships, either explicitly or implicitly hidden within data. And in those relationships lies the true Value of your data. Examples include telephone call detail records (CDRs, from/to subscriber #), network logs (TCP/IP logs, source and destination IP addresses), and web logs (clickstream data). Extracting this set of columns data can build a very nice graph. The question then is how to utilize this information to get commercial value out of it. The point about value is that there are lots of people collecting and storing big data, but what’s the point if you don’t know or have a plan how to use it. What’s its commercial value? How do you manage it? How do you know what you’ve got and where it is? Do you keep it forever, or delete it, or something in-between?

Pipelining: building talent communities

Workforce Locator™ serves recruitment companies such as staffing agencies and RPOs who source talent for their clients. Workforce Locator contains categorized data helpful to all those involved in professional recruiting who build talent piplelines.

These links below representing two postings from The Seamless Workforce, a blog by Yoh (technology staffing company, RPO) emphasize the value of building pipelines:

> Pipelining

> Sourcing is ultimately the key to a successful RPO program, especially when highly skilled, degreed, or certified professionals are required to fill open positions. When this is the case, most firms realize that they can’t depend on a soft economy to create an environment where the employer has all the power. With hard-to-find skills, this is simply never the case — no matter what the economy looks like. As such, in 2013 the markets will demand more aggressive talent community development and a greater focus on sourcing and pipelining. This will possibly become a breakout market segment that exists on its own but intersects with RPO.

> Talent pipelining without a workforce plan: Rabbit’s foot or four leaf clover?

Additionally, here’s a snippet from a Business Insider article that refers to IBM’s use of big data for their own pipelining needs:

> By mashing them together IBM’s big data consultants determined dozens of patterns, Dietrich said. Ultimately it helped IBM “look into sales pipeline” and determine “six months from now, do we have enough java programmers in Bangalore, enough [technicians] in Utah, enough database administrators in Zurich? We can start hiring and training in advance,” she said.


ADP reporting about data that “provides a critical glimpse into the future of a company’s workforce…”

Workforce Locator™ is an application that functions to support a user’s research goal. Workforce Locator can be used as a comparative assessment tool for organizations by returning data on the distribution of employment among industries and occupation density with precise demographics in each targeted area. This information may influence decisions about full-time staffing needs as well as help organizations to gauge the feasibility of hiring Business Consultants and/or Project Managers.

While it’s not necessarily logical to assume consulting and PM roles require highly experienced individuals (considering newer skill sets may be preferable for hands-on implementations of certain technology, etc.) it makes sense for Talent Acquisition Teams and Workforce Planning Professionals aiming to create a pipeline for consultants to focus on finding highly experienced people who, for various reasons, are more likely to be dependable as consultants. For instance, as consultants these can be people who will not pursue on staff positions because they have retired and therefore they are not dependent on employment that includes company benefits.

This press release by ADP (below) promotes the full ADP study, entitled Age and Retirement Benchmarks: Key Analytics that Drive Human Capital Management.

According to ADP:

> 28% of Public Administration Sector Employees to Reach Retirement Age

> The six industries studied ranged from a low of 9% reaching retirement age in the hospitality industry to a high of 28% in public administration.

I had retirees in mind when I wrote that Workforce Locator can help organizations identify business consultants and after reading the ADP press release I thought to have my posting include a suggestion that there may be wisdom in hiring certain former Public Administration Sector Employees as consultants because of their “inside” government experience.

At this point in time, I’m no longer confident the idea is wise – even as a general suggestion, since the preliminary research I did returned a law firm’s 2005 document with a cautionary headline that strikes me as worth sharing:

> “Revolving Door” Restrictions on Hiring Current or Former Government Employees: What to Know Before You Act

This is the law firm’s advice:

Here’s the ADP item:

September 26, 2013

ADP Research Institute(R) Study Shows 18% of U.S. Workforce May Retire Within Five Years

28% of Public Administration Sector Employees to Reach Retirement Age

ROSELAND, N.J., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — ADP(R) , a leading global provider of Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, today announced the findings of a new ADP Research Institute(R) report on age and retirement benchmarks in the U.S. workforce. According to the research, assuming an average retirement age of 61 years, as much as 18% of the U.S. workforce could retire within the next five years. The six industries studied ranged from a low of 9% reaching retirement age in the hospitality industry to a high of 28% in public administration. Other industries included in the study were manufacturing, healthcare, education and retail.

“While there is no guarantee that everyone who reaches the average retirement age will actually stop working, our research indicates several industries could be facing a significant loss of skilled talent over the next five years,” stated Ahu Yildirmaz, Sr. Director — Market Insights at the ADP Research Institute. “Retirement data provides a critical glimpse into the future of a company’s workforce. Businesses will want to assess how their own workforces compare to the averages and consider strategies for recruitment and training in order to replace the significant loss of knowledge, experience and company culture that can be expected.”

The number of workers reaching retirement age in the next five years varies widely across industries. Public administration and healthcare services can expect large numbers of employees to leave the workforce, given the fact that workers in these industries have average age of 47 and 43 respectively. By contrast the average age for hospitality workers is 34 and for retail 36.

“Benchmarks achieved through in-depth research give HCM professionals a new ability to tap the full talent pool and manage their most valuable asset — people,” according to Don Weinstein, Senior Vice President of Product Management at ADP. “The power of “big data” is a growing force in driving strategic business decisions.”

The analysis in this report is based on aggregated, anonymous, real-world data from approximately 52,000 U.S.-based organizations comprised of about 16 million active workers. The data is from the fourth quarter of 2012. The full study, entitled Age and Retirement Benchmarks: Key Analytics that Drive Human Capital Management, can be found at

Breaking Bad helped create new jobs in NM tourism

Workforce Locator™ offers an important feature; it allows searching by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) returning timely and accurate details. Nevertheless, depending upon desire for preciseness, a workforce planner might doubly verify information, since, as the closing paragraphs in the article I’ve posted here indicate, there are slight discrepancies when calculations used by some cities return different percentages than those numbers reported by the BLS.

About my Breaking Bad headline; it means there are only 5 days left to Vince Gilligan’s “Felina” – B**CH!

*Seriously, I don’t know if it can be said as absolutely as I wrote it, but there could be a connection between BB and an increase in New Mexico tourism jobs.

*Updated, September 26, 2013 – this PRWeb dot com snippet quotes Dale Lockett, President/CEO of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau and indicates my statement is a fair assessment…

> “We are reaching a new potential visitor audience that may not have considered Albuquerque for vacation in the past through shows like Breaking Bad. People want to come here and see the actual locations where the filming is taking place”

Here’s the article I referred to before mentioning Breaking Bad:

Tourism workforce makes gains as manufacturing jobs decline

Sep 24, 2013

Bruce Krasnow

There was a cynical retort at the end of the Clinton administration to counter his boasting that 22 million jobs were created during his presidency: “Yeah, I know someone who has three of them.”

Let’s face it, any new job is a good job. To have work means dignity and a place in society, and in this high-tech world, there is no such thing as a low-skilled job — cashiers, servers, taxi drivers, even hotel workers need to master high customer-service skills and new technology to stay employed.

Still, the challenges that came from the rise of the service and retail sectors during the 1990s are true in New Mexico today. Just look at the August 2013 employment report from the state Department of Workforce Solutions. That month saw a huge jump in the leisure and hospitality workforce — 4,400 statewide with most of those coming in the Albuquerque metro area.

At the same time, New Mexico continues to shed manufacturing jobs, and the government sector contracted again by another 3,100 jobs — with half of those in the federal government, which not only has better pay but also solid health insurance and a guaranteed pension.

The prerecession jobs peak for the tourism and hospitality sector was 88,300 jobs statewide in September 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That ceiling was reached in April, and preliminary numbers from August 2013 show the sector surged to 91,500 jobs — an increase of 6.3 percent from a year ago.

The growth might very well be temporary as the cool from Breaking Bad fades in Albuquerque, and the cultural tourists move on to the next hot venue. Still, it is a good thing because the average annual wage for a bartender statewide is about $22,000, while a machinist is $48,000. So how many jobs in tourism, hospitality, leisure does it take to replace one in manufacturing? Even a journalist can do that calculation: two, and that is not even counting nonwage compensation as health insurance and retirement.

• • •

Even though Alan Ball, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Santa Fe, has blogged that August 2013 residential home sales in Santa Fe were the best in 73 months, he is still proclaiming that the market has turned in favor of buyers.

“Our real estate market is still our real estate market, and it is not the same as the national scene, or any of the nearby metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Denver and Phoenix. Lots of the talk and chatter on a national level is about a shortage of residential inventory — a lack of homes for sale. … That is not the case in Santa Fe. Sales are up here, but inventory is up even more. … The sobering truth is: we are in a buyer’s market and now is the right time and place to price homes aggressively,” Ball wrote.

Still, for those who are in the business of buying and selling homes in Santa Fe, August was good. That month saw 177 residential sales, the most since June 2007, and so far, 2013 sales volume is 7 percent ahead of last year.

• • •

The city of Santa Fe uses a slightly different cost-of-living calculation when adjusting its minimum wage every year. But numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that over the last 12 months, the prices for all items tracked nationwide increased 1.5 percent.

When the city makes its calculations in January, it will use a formula based on prices in the Intermountain West — so it might be a bit more or less. But the national number would mean an increase of 16 cents in the Santa Fe minimum wage, moving it to $10.67 from $10.51.

Any adjustment made by the city would become effective March 1, 2014 — just a few days before the municipal election.

Report says “high growth” companies invest in mobility programs

Workforce Locator™ provides efficient functionality for many different workforce planning objectives – i.e., organizational expansion or consolidation, and helping to determine the feasibility of investing in mobility programs.

According to a survey released today, “high growth” companies employ a higher percentage of mobile workers and there seems to be a significant disparity in numbers reported for those companies versus the companies “experiencing low growth”.    

The source reporting this information is a press release by a company unrelated to McFrank & Williams’ Workforce Locator:

Growing Companies Invest More in Their Mobile Workforce

8th annual Total Employee Mobility® Benchmarking Report shows high growth companies invest more per mobile employee

WATERFORD, Wis., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The 8th annual Runzheimer International® Total Employee Mobility® (TEM®) Benchmarking Report released today shows that companies with high revenue growth (greater than 10%) invested more in their mobile workforce than companies with little to no revenue growth. High growth companies invested an average of $11,779 per mobile employee, compared with an average of $6,527 for low growth companies. The report also reveals that high growth companies employ a higher percentage of mobile employees than companies experiencing low growth. The results illustrate that mobility programs and investments are a key ingredient for growth.

More than 85% of survey participants reported ‘improved employee productivity’ after implementing enhancements to their mobility programs. Additional key findings of the survey include:

Companies using an expense management automation solution spent an average of $2,775 less per traveler than companies using paper-based reporting

Domestic relocation program spending increases are anticipated by 36% of respondents in the next year with 12% anticipating a ‘substantial increase’ in domestic relocation spending

Mobile device policies are not present in 37% of respondents’ organizations

The 2012 Total Employee Mobility Benchmarking Report, in its eighth edition, is published by Runzheimer International, the global leader in workforce mobility programs. It covers key areas of employee mobility including Business Vehicles, Business Travel, Mobile Device Management, Domestic Relocation and International Assignments.

“We’re pleased that the survey findings show that many companies recognize the need for and have implemented solid mobility management practices,” said Greg Harper, President and CEO of Runzheimer International. “The survey findings also demonstrate the opportunity for low growth companies to reevaluate their mobility management programs to ensure the right policies, processes, and investments are in place to enable growth. Our annual mobility report provides all companies the opportunity to measure their mobility investments and understand program performance relative to their peers.”

“Growing companies are investing more in mobile employees, and it is paying off,” Harper added. “This theme is consistent with prior survey findings, but it has never been as evident as in this year’s results.”


Jobs Growth: More Upside to Innovation Sectors

WorkForce Locator™ provides granular information enabling searches by metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and therefore leading you specifically where you can find concentrations of STEM talent or professional skills your organization needs.

As this WSJ article explains, job growth is brisk where talent resides – and that growth is not limited to STEM fields and other professional occupations.

The author writes:

> Using data on nine million workers in 320 U.S. metropolitan areas, I found that for each new innovation-job in a city, five additional jobs are created—not only in professional occupations (lawyers, teachers, nurses) but also nonprofessional occupations (waiters, hairdressers, carpenters).

Read the entire article:

September 17, 2013


The American labor market is recovering from a painful recession. But the recovery is geographically uneven. While some parts of the country are booming, others are still stuck in a deep recession. Two groups of localities have been doing particularly well over the past two years. Both are supported by fast-paced technological progress, but one has by far the bigger jobs-multiplier effect.

The first group includes cities endowed with a large number of highly educated workers and innovative employers—places like San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Austin, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis. The recession had less impact on these areas, and job growth has been brisk since the recovery began, thanks to sectors like the Internet, software, digital entertainment and biotech.

The most striking example is San Francisco, where the labor market for tech workers is the most dynamic it has been in a decade, average salaries are above their 2006 level, and housing prices have surpassed their pre-recession peak. In the past six months, Twitter and Yelp had to raise salaries to keep employees from moving to a fast-growing number of increasingly aggressive startups.

The second booming-economy group includes areas endowed with oil and gas—Oklahoma, parts of Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Here too the labor market is thriving thanks to technological innovation such as fracking, horizontal drilling and computer-based seismic imaging. The most striking example is western North Dakota. Like San Francisco, this area is becoming a magnet for workers attracted by raising wages and seemingly insatiable labor demand.

Despite some current similarities, these two groups offer vastly different models of economic development and their fortunes are likely to diverge in the long run. America’s brain hubs have been growing for three decades, and there are good economic reasons to expect that they will continue to grow. Recent history suggests that the growth of oil-producing regions will be reversed if energy prices decline.

Take the experience of North Dakota. Its private employment skyrocketed in 1979-80 when oil prices increased 300% after the Iranian revolution of 1979. But that employment declined throughout the 1980s, when oil prices receded, and by the end of the decade employment was almost back where it started.

Cities with a high density of innovative employers and highly educated workers have also experienced ups and downs, most notably the 2001-03 dot-com bust. But the trend in employment, wages and skills over the past 30 years clearly has been positive. The rise of America’s innovation hubs reflects a structural change in the American economy.

Since 1980, data show that the economic success of a city has been increasingly defined by its number of highly educated workers. Cities with many college-educated workers and innovative employers started attracting more of the same, and cities with a less educated workforce and less innovative employers—such as traditional manufacturing—started losing ground.

It is a tipping-point dynamic: Once a city spawns some innovative companies, its ecosystem changes in ways that make it even more attractive to others. For instance, the existence of Salesforce, Twitter and Yelp in downtown San Francisco increases the city’s appeal to other high-tech entrepreneurs, and makes them more likely to locate their companies there, along with tech workers from all over the world. Nationwide, high-tech employment has grown 25 times faster than the rest of the economy.

My research shows that scientists and software engineers are not the only ones who thrive as a result. Using data on nine million workers in 320 U.S. metropolitan areas, I found that for each new innovation-job in a city, five additional jobs are created—not only in professional occupations (lawyers, teachers, nurses) but also nonprofessional occupations (waiters, hairdressers, carpenters). For each new software designer hired at Twitter in San Francisco, there are five new job openings for baristas, personal trainers, therapists and taxi drivers. The most important effect of high-tech companies on the local economy is outside high-tech.

This matters for wages, too. In 1980, salaries for workers with a high-school diploma in Austin and Raleigh were significantly lower than the national average. Then those cities became important hubs for IT and life science, respectively. Salaries are 45% higher, and the gap keeps expanding. High-school graduates in Austin and Raleigh don’t work harder or have higher IQs. The ecosystem around them is different.

Most industries have a multiplier effect. But none has a bigger one than the innovation sector: about three times as large as that of extractive industries or traditional manufacturing. Clearly, the best way for a city or state to generate jobs for everyone is to attract innovative companies that hire highly educated workers.

Mr. Moretti is a professor of labor economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “The New Geography of Jobs” (Houghton Mifflin, 2012).

Remote Workers, Talent Development: read about a recent survey (fewer than three hundred participants) ranking these trends

Workforce Locator™ returns data that indicates where talent resides as well as which colleges are likely to graduate future talent. Once organizations learn if supplies are scarce or plentiful, workforce planners and talent acquisition teams can determine where to and/or whether they should build additional work sites, hire new employees, and/or focus on talent development for entry level and existing employees – and/or enable mobility for new and/or existing employees by creating opportunities that allow them to work remotely.

See this article to find out how working remotely and talent development rank in popularity according to the survey conducted by Boomer Consulting Inc.

Top Ten Trends from Boomer Technology Circles Summit

Posted by Terri Eyden on Sep 12 2013
By Jason Bramwell

Two hundred seventy-eight people made their way to Kansas City, Missouri, last month to attend the 2013 Boomer Technology Circles (BTC) Summit, which featured presentations on current technology issues, updates from accounting software vendors, and peer networking.

Hosted by Boomer Consulting Inc., the BTC Summit, which was held August 19 and 20, brought together talent development leaders, accounting firm decision makers, IT professionals, and business partners. The mission of the BTC program is to “promote collaboration that yields insight into actions firms can take in leveraging technology to meet business objectives.”

“The BTC Summit is always a yearly highlight for our members and the Boomer team, but this year it was elevated with the addition of nearly thirty talent development professionals,” Sandra Wiley, COO and shareholder of Boomer Consulting, told AccountingWEB. “These amazing individuals added wisdom and knowledge from the human resources and learning development areas of their firm. It was like an adrenaline shot for the entire conference.”

Boomer Consulting identified the following ten trends from the BTC Summit that accounting firm leaders should consider:

1. Remote workers. Along with a remote workforce come expectations, technology requirements, and strategies regarding current and future office requirements. During a pre-conference session, a panel discussed the importance of setting performance expectations in advance, providing comparable technology to what is available in the office, and setting space requirements – both remote and in the office. It was noted that several firms are reducing office space requirements to less than 200 square feet per employee due to the remote workforce and staff working outside the office.

2. Electronic signatures. Mobile technology and other industries, such as real estate, are driving the use of electronic signatures (e-signatures). Many firms are using these tools for engagement letters, workflow documents, and even internal agreements. Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, offers another big opportunity, but will the IRS accept e-signatures? There is currently an IRS pilot program testing e-signatures, and many think it will occur sooner rather than later. Look for e-signatures to become more accepted over the next year as firms recognize how it can streamline processes and shrink the sales cycle.

3. Growth in advisory services. Firms are seeing increased opportunities with regard to higher-level advisory services. The technology platform and business model are both important to providing higher-valued services. Boomer Consulting introduced the concept of Level 1, 2, and 3 services more than two years ago. When services from all levels are packaged and priced in a value-creation agreement, they become more valuable and cash flow is more predictable. Cloud tools, like, and accounting platforms, such as AccountantsWorld, Intacct, and Xero, are revolutionizing the back office for many businesses. Firms should take notice and upgrade or integrate their own systems.

4. Talent development. During a separate track at the BTC Summit, Rebecca Ryan, founder of Next Generation Consulting Inc., who was a keynote speaker at the conference, said firms that develop talent will escape commoditization and “avoid the race to the bottom” in fees. She asked talent development leaders, “What will you add, change, or eliminate to make your firm future ready?” Firms that develop talent can learn faster than the rate of change and can stay ahead of their competition. According to Boomer Consulting, many firms are pooling resources through the Boomer Talent Development Advantage and developing young leaders through the Boomer P3 Leadership Academy in order to have a competitive edge.

5. Mergers and acquisitions. Technology does play a significant role in mergers and acquisitions and should be evaluated prior to signing a deal. Successful firms say it costs $10,000 or more per full-time employee to fully integrate a merged firm. That is about one year of IT expenditures, according to the latest BTC metrics. There are many situations where brokers and advisors fail to estimate the importance and cost of technology, resulting in significant cultural issues after the deal is done. Spend the time and money up front to reduce or eliminate the issues associated with technology and training. A new trend is the acquisition of niche firms that are structured and capable of delivering business performance and strategic planning services.

6. Mobile devices. The past three years have brought thousands of mobile devices into firms. Firms are even developing their own apps for communicating with clients. Look for this trend to continue. The challenge is to develop programs that run on the traditional desktop or notebook and still scale to smaller screens. Along with change come concerns about privacy and security. Many firms are utilizing such tools as AirWatch, MobileIron, MaaS360 by Fiberlink, and Good Technology to assist and ensure compliance. The ability to locate and wipe business data from these devices while maintaining personal data is essential.
Five Notable Technology Trends

During the welcome address at the 2013 BTC Summit, Jim Boomer discussed the following five technology-related trends for accounting firms:

1. Cloud advisory services. “This idea of leveraging the Cloud to move traditional transactional client accounting services up to a transformational service allows you to provide higher-value advisory services,” he said. “We see a lot of firms trying to figure out what their road map should be, and we are finding it is not just about the technology. There are so many different aspects.”

2. Mobile workforce. “It is not just about technology, it is also about people issues,” Boomer said. “How do you manage people who you cannot see? How do you stay in contact and maintain a collaborative environment?”

3. Disaster recovery. “Unfortunately, we get kind of complacent when things are going as they should,” he said. “But when we have events, like Hurricane Sandy and the tornadoes in Oklahoma, it starts to open people’s eyes. We need to be planning and testing on a regular basis to make sure we are prepared should unfortunate events occur.”

4. Evolution of CIOs. “Whether it is movement to the Cloud or consumerization of IT, there are all kinds of forces that are really outside the control of the IT department that are forcing a transition for the CIO,” Boomer said. “It is a transition that needs support to go from being just technology savvy to both technology and business savvy.”

5. IT governance. “We are seeing this start to gain interest again,” he said. “Make sure you are setting IT strategy, establishing processes for budgeting, and not only aligning with the overall firm vision but the vision of each of the functional areas within the firm.”

7. The role of the IT leader. IT leaders used to be about the technical aspects of keeping the firm’s systems running. Today, they are being asked to be strategic thinkers, better communicators, project managers, process managers, leaders, and team builders. Their job descriptions and skill requirements are changing and will continue to change. Boomer Consulting said firms may want to consider Boomer’s CIO Advantage for their IT leader.

8. Desktop video conferencing. Internal collaboration as well as collaboration with clients is important in today’s digital world. What used to be expensive and prohibitive to smaller firms and their clients is now affordable and easy to use. Firms are using desktop video conferencing solutions, including Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Lync, and GoToWebinar, and various phone service providers, such as 8×8. These solutions save travel time, and the quality is excellent with high-definition cameras. They also reduce e-mail and encourage meaningful conversations.

9. Process improvement. Process improvement has been a stated goal in most firms for some time now. Looking for ways to do more with less became even more important during the economic downturn, and the concepts of Lean Six Sigma that started in manufacturing are now making their way into accounting firms. Firms are sending internal resources for training and certification in Lean Six Sigma or utilizing outside consultants to help them apply these principles to their practices. This is leading to increased efficiency, improved employee morale, and superior results as redundancy, wasted effort, and inconsistency are driven out of the processes.

10. Leadership development. Great leaders identify and develop their successors. This is still an issue in many firms; however, there is a push for programs that rapidly develop future and existing leaders with today’s team-building strategies. Clients are demanding services requiring teams rather than rugged individualists.

Jim Boomer, CIO and shareholder of Boomer Consulting and director of the BTC program, told AccountingWEB the 2013 BTC Summit was the firm’s best yet.

“Our extraordinary members, top-notch sponsors and exhibitors, nationally recognized keynoters, and the amazing Boomer Consulting team made this event an amazing success,” he said. “With firm leaders, technology professionals, and talent development professionals in attendance, this year’s Summit truly embodied the spirit of the BTC program of bridging the gap within CPA firms across the country.”

Create new telecommuting opportunities to accommodate individuals with disabilities

Workforce Locator™ enables workforce decision makers to find data relevant to determining the appropriateness of work from home arrangements – and certain organizations must now comply with new directives to prove they are making efforts to accommodate workers with disabilities…

*Just when is working from home a reasonable accommodation?

This court statement (as relayed in a law firm’s commentary) relates to EEOC v. Ford Motor Company:

*The court distinguished an “‘exceptional’ class of jobs that could potentially be ‘performed at home without a substantial reduction in the quality of . . . performance.’”

See this snippet from an item published on March 15, 2013, by another labor and employment law firm.

> Not all workplaces are well-suited to work-from-home arrangements. The technological ability to work remotely, however, may create obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related state laws; namely, “work from home” can in some circumstances arguably constitute a reasonable accommodation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopts this position and contends that work from home/telecommuting arrangements may be a reasonable accommodation even if working remotely is not available to other employees.


See this headline from the item posted to this blog on September 5, 2013:

>> Feds want 7 percent of contractor workforce composed of people with disabilities

Consider these important take-away points:

>> companies that fail to reach it must take steps to determine if there are impediments to equal employment, and “develop and execute action-oriented programs to correct any identified problem areas,” the Labor Department says.

>> If a company such as General Electric, which makes jet engines, also makes household appliances, the appliance division could also fall under the rule, he said.


March 15, 2013

How Flexible Are You? Stretching the Boundaries with a Remote Workforce

Authors: Laura Hayward and Brian Morris

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent decision to ban telecommuting has highlighted the issue of how employers of all sizes respond to technological changes that are redefining the workplace.

In addition to the savings of decreased overheard (in the form of office space, equipment, or otherwise), telecommuting may provide other tangible benefits. Indeed, recent studies suggest that telecommuting may increase employee satisfaction,1 decrease turnover (and consequently, recruiting and new employee training costs),2 and decrease absenteeism.3 It can also reduce an employer’s “carbon footprint” by eliminating the energy consumption associated with traveling to the workplace. However, these technological changes also impact how supervisors and subordinates interact, and the human component may lag behind technological advances. A recent MIT study, for instance, found that supervisors often look more favorably upon employees who put in “face time.”4

From the startup employer to the multinational corporation, the potential to telecommute creates new compliance challenges. For employers that decide not to offer telecommuting, working from home might remain a “reasonable accommodation” under state and federal disability laws that these employers must still consider. Employers offering telecommuting should ensure that their confidential data and intellectual property remain uncompromised. Monitoring the “work time” of telecommuting employees, especially for those paid on an hourly basis, creates its own set of difficulties. These are but a few of the issues that employers will wrestle with in adapting to technological innovation that allows employees to work from anywhere in the world. Proactively maintaining and periodically updating alternative working arrangement or telecommuting policies is essential to realizing the benefits, and avoiding the pitfalls, of the changing workplace.

Telecommuting and the American Workplace

The relationship of the employee to the physical workplace is rapidly changing. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2010 13.4 million American workers worked from home at least 1 day per week.5 This is up approximately 18 percent from 2005 (despite a two percent drop in the number of individuals employed) and constitutes nearly 10 percent of the American workforce.6 Moreover, home-based work for those employed in engineering, the computer industry, and science increased by 69% from 2000 to 2010.7 The western United States has the highest percentage of home-based workers (11.4 percent), perhaps partially due to its burgeoning startup culture.

In industries where telecommuting is common, permitting employees to work remotely may become a competitive necessity. In other industries, it may be a way to gain a competitive advantage. Either way, human resources staff and legal counsel should carefully manage the transition and day-to-day implementation of remote working arrangements.

Legal Complications

Work “Away from Work” and Equal Employment Opportunity

Not all workplaces are well-suited to work-from-home arrangements. The technological ability to work remotely, however, may create obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and related state laws; namely, “work from home” can in some circumstances arguably constitute a reasonable accommodation.8 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopts this position and contends that work from home/telecommuting arrangements may be a reasonable accommodation even if working remotely is not available to other employees.9 Employers that wish to have a general policy against telecommuting should keep in mind their potential obligations under state and federal disability laws. Moreover, they should be aware that entering into remote working arrangements with some employees may make denying such benefits to disabled employees more difficult.

Many employers offer telecommuting on an informal basis, but the absence of a formal policy can expose employers to potential discrimination lawsuits. Disparate use of managerial discretion in this regard may form the basis of disparate treatment or disparate impact allegations. Employers that maintain and evenly apply telecommuting policies are better positioned to avoid such claims.

Protecting Company Data

Telecommuting can exacerbate the challenges employers face with respect to protecting sensitive data. For example, some employers permit remote employees to access and create confidential information on their personal devices. By doing so, employers are less able to ensure disgruntled employees do not retain and disseminate confidential or trade secret information post-termination. In addition, consumer electronic devices generally lack the security necessary to protect against malicious hacking. The legal framework surrounding employee privacy and employer access to dual-use employee-owned electronic devices is complicated, and warrants attention should an employer allow employees to work on personal devices.

Employers whose business requires that they maintain strict privacy controls and/or whose primary asset is intellectual property should consider policies requiring the use of company-owned equipment when accessing or creating sensitive information. Employers should also have established procedures for the return of company property upon termination of employment. Such policies can curb ex-employees’ retention of private information, and the inadvertent disclosure to third parties (such as spouses and housemates) who may share devices.

Wage and Hour Compliance

A recent study found that employees who work from home add an average of 5 to 7 hours of productive time, often in addition to their standard workweek.10 While remote employees’ willingness to work hours beyond the standard 40-hour workweek makes telecommuting an attractive option for some employers, it comes with potential wage and hour complications.

The inability to monitor remote employees’ schedules makes it more difficult to prohibit off-the-clock work and to ensure compliance with overtime regulations for non-exempt workers. In some states, employees are entitled to overtime for hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a day and/or for working seven consecutive days. Thus, employers should remain diligent in monitoring remote employees’ schedules and working hours. In addition to overtime, employers should be aware of all applicable meal and rest break regulations and recordkeeping requirements in all jurisdictions in which they operate. The reality is that remote working arrangements require engaged human resources staff to closely monitor wage and hour compliance.

Is Telecommuting Right for Your Business?

Whether telecommuting and other flexible arrangements are good for a particular workplace is contextual. Employers considering these options should take heed of Yahoo!’s experience. Some news sources are reporting that Yahoo!’s decision to end telecommuting came after examining VPN logs which showed that many remote employees were not signing in.11 This shows that employers should not fall into an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality for both business and legal reasons. Moreover, the backlash against Mayer suggests that it is difficult to undo a corporate culture accustomed to flexibility and minimal oversight of its working arrangements. This, in turn, highlights the importance of being compliance-minded from the outset. Startups and growing companies are uniquely situated to mold a culture that helps remote employees remain productive even as they grow in size, and are accustomed to working with a compliance-minded management team.

Next Steps

This article discusses only a few of the many challenges created by the remote workplace. To capture the maximum benefits of a well-functioning remote workforce, employers should consider other issues, such as workers’ compensation, occupational safety and health, and state taxation. Thus, employers of all size can benefit from conferring with experienced employment counsel to evaluate their existing remote working arrangements, or to implement new ones. In addition, employers informally offering remote work options should create formal written policies.

Proactive employers will be well-positioned to adapt to the workplace of tomorrow – where boundaries are not defined by the traditional walls of an office.


*Refer to this link directly below for the commentary related to EEOC v. Ford Motor Company:

Labor Department’s 7% “aspirational utilization goal”

Workforce Locator™ is a research tool organizations utilize to assist them with compliance goals.

This article reports on the Labor Department’s emphasis of a numerical goal to influence employment of people with disabilities and mentions a related rule regarding benchmarks for hiring military veterans:

*Feds want 7 percent of contractor workforce composed of people with disabilities

By Stephen Koff, Plain Dealer Washington Bureau Chief

September 03, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It used to be dicey for a company to ask a job applicant if he had a disability.

But the federal government wants its contractors to start soliciting such information next year, in what should be good news for Americans with disabilities — but which worries some employers and labor lawyers deeply.

The government wants its contractors to work toward getting a workforce with 7 percent of employees with disabilities.

Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability, applauded the Obama administration announcement last week “for elevating employment of people with disabilities – the nation’s largest minority group, which includes a growing number of veterans – to the level of women and racial and ethnic minorities.” She said in a statement that “the hurdles for employers will not be a difficult threshold.”

But businesses and their trade associations said that while they, too, applaud the goal, they worry about whether it is practical.

“I work for a federal contractor company who happens to be in construction and real estate,” wrote Cynthia Grady, then the human resources director for the Miller-Valentine Group in Dayton, early last year. She has since retired. “There are very few disabled workers who will be able to perform the physical labor required for success in our building projects.”

Nearly $3 billion in primary federal contracts were issued to Ohio companies this fiscal year, government data show, and another $125 million in subcontracts. Every operation getting this money — military contractors, vehicle makers, research firms, security operators — will be affected when the rule begins around early March, although the Labor Department says it will allow time for transition.

One in five workers is employed by a federal contractor, according to some estimates. David Fortney, an attorney who served as acting solicitor in President George H. W. Bush’s Labor Department, says some estimates put it at one in four, especially when considering subsidiaries or companies related to government contractors.

That’s partly what gives him and those he advises, including the Society for Human Resource Management, concern. If a company such as General Electric, which makes jet engines, also makes household appliances, the appliance division could also fall under the rule, he said.

The Labor Department says it is not demanding that these companies actually have a workforce made up of 7 percent of people with disabilities. But it says it created this “aspirational utilization goal” to “give contractors a yardstick against which they can measure the success of their efforts in outreach to and recruitment of individuals with disabilities. More specifically, contractors should use the goal to measure the change in the representation of individuals with disabilities in their workforce.”

Explaining why, the Labor Department said in a question-and-answer document that “both the unemployment rate of working-age individuals with disabilities and the percentage of working-age individuals with disabilities that are not in the labor force remain significantly higher than for those without disabilities. A substantial disparity in the employment rate of individuals with disabilities continues to persist despite years of technological advancements that have made it possible for people with disabilities to apply for and successfully perform a broad array of jobs.”

So contractors will be required to prove they are making such an effort by keeping detailed records for review by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP. This means companies will ask prospective employees if they have disabilities — information that companies traditionally avoided for fear of discrimination lawsuits.

Under the new rule, that information must be solicited twice during the hiring process. Companies are also supposed to conduct self-identification surveys every five years to assess how well they are doing. This means asking current employees to volunteer disability data that they might not wish to share.

The American Community Survey, a tool of the Census Bureau, estimated in 2009 that 5.7 percent of the civilian labor force has a disability. But the survey used a narrower definition of disability than that of the amended Americans with Disabilities Act, which counts a disability as a condition that “materially restricts” a major life activity.

Furthermore, the 5.7 percent figure “does not take into account discouraged workers, or the effects of historical discrimination against individuals with disabilities that has suppressed the representation of such individuals in the workforce,” the Labor Department says in a guidance document. OFCCP adjusted upward after estimating the “discouraged worker effect” — measured by the American Community Survey as the percentage of the civilian population with a disability, or 7.42 percent.

It then set 7 percent as the goal.

The government maintains this is not a quota and says it will not penalize companies if they fail to reach the goal. But companies that fail to reach it must take steps to determine if there are impediments to equal employment, and “develop and execute action-oriented programs to correct any identified problem areas,” the Labor Department says.

The Society for Human Resource Management, in a 22-page letter submitted during the rulemaking process last year, warned that “many individuals with impairments may choose not to self-identify as disabled to their employer, even if they understand the parameters of the questions being asked.”

Some may not wish to make such a disclosure because they don’t want or need any special accommodation, said the society, which represents human resources officers nationwide. “Other individuals may mistakenly believe that they are not disabled, while still others erroneously will believe that they are.

“Further, there are significant groups that will not want to reveal their condition to their employer for fear of stereotyping and prejudice – regardless of medical privacy rules – such as those with a mental illness or with HIV. Requesting this data multiple times does not make the data more reliable – it simply increases the costs of collecting it.”

The Labor Department says the goal is worth the effort of the inconvenience or possible perceptions of intrusion.

“In a competitive job market, employers need access to the best possible employees,” Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in announcing the final rule Aug. 27. “These rules make it easier for employers to tap into a large, diverse pool of qualified candidates.”

In a related rule, Labor told contractors they also must set a benchmark for hiring military veterans — based either on the percentage of veterans in the general workforce or on their own benchmark based on the best available data. Eight percent of the workforce is currently composed of veterans, OFCCP said.

The veterans’ rule is less controversial.

*a somewhat different (meatier?) version of this report (by same author) appears with the following headline:

Feds’ new disability-hiring rule could broadly affect businesses, some worry

here’s a snippet of that version quoting Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability:

> “The issue is not so much recruiting but an issue of disclosure, and that has to do with corporate culture.”

> Employees have to “feel safe and trusting” and believe they will be embraced for their differences — and be accommodated, she said.

> The definition of disability under the new rule is the same as under the 2008 amended Americans With Disabilities Act, and “is very, very broad,” Glazer said. It includes conditions that would be debilitating if not for medicine or mitigating measures.

> “Hypertension,” Glazer said. “High blood pressure. People who have occasional seizures. Mental health issues. Anxiety. Depression. There just are so many things that fit under that category of disability that it’s really more a matter of, are people going to be safe disclosing their disability to their employer?”