During a staff person’s first two to four years, most of their professional focus is on applying the professional skills studied in school, developing technical mastery for their selected discipline, preparing deliverables for clients, and working as a contributing member of a team. Generally speaking, a staff would be assigned tasks within a project or job.
The expectation for a new staff joining the firm out of college would be that they progress to senior after three years as a staff. As with all expectations, it is possible for staff to progress at a different pace.
The application of the following performance expectations may vary greatly during a staff’s first several years. For example, a research memo thought to be above average for a first year staff might, at best, be average for a new senior. Professional performance expectations are very similar and may stay constant between levels, but what changes is how they are applied, or the complexity of the problems being solved.
- Project professional image, maturity, self-confidence and positive attitude.
- Effectively communicate and work well with team members and client contacts.
- Handle all client engagements with confidentiality and discretion.
- Demonstrate basic understanding of the client’s business and accounting system.
- Understand the client’s basic accounting policies and transactions and demonstrate a basic knowledge of their interrelationships with financial information systems.
- Communicate ideas for potential management letter comments to immediate supervisor and assist in drafting any relevant comments.
- Be aware of other services offered by the firm and some situations where they may be of benefit to the client.
- Assist in basic planning activities for the engagement, which may include the following:
- Complete fieldwork on all assigned sections, as follows:
- Ensure that any professional, technical, or client service problem is resolved promptly in an environment of mutual respect.
- Develop a balance of healthy curiosity and professional skepticism.
- Adhere to budgets (consideration given to factors outside control of staff) and meet deadlines.
- Suggest improvements in work process for assigned areas.
- Communicate status of your work to your immediate supervisor.
- Review prior year financial statements and other relevant information.
- Prepare a budget for the current year.
- Prepare the engagement letter, confirmations and PBC list.
- Set-up of files.
- Prepare neat and orderly working papers.
- Use and update programs for assigned sections.
- Perform self-review of work to avoid working paper review notes.
- Address issues that arise in connection with assigned areas.
- Promptly and properly clear review notes, tie-up loose ends on assigned areas, thoroughly document open items, and update electronic files.
- Working papers should be well documented and conclusions should be supported.
- Present completed working papers for assigned areas, including sign-off of each procedure in the program, on a timely basis.
- Prepare financial statements with supporting detail and complete related checklists, including the financial statement disclosure guide.
- Prepare tax return(s), as required, with supporting working papers.
- Keep immediate supervisor informed of progress and significant developments relative to assigned areas on a timely basis.
- Identify issues that may require the prompt attention of your immediate supervisor.
- Consult with others in dealing with difficult situations.
- Provide reasonable estimates to complete your assigned areas.
- Communicate openly, frequently, and candidly and listen effectively.
- Utilize firm personnel and reference materials in the resolution of issues.
- Complete research assignments on less complex accounting and auditing issues and propose solutions.
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of a client’s business transactions with a view towards both audit and tax implications.
- Develop basic awareness of accounting practices and auditing matters.
- Develop knowledge of technology and promote its use; is proficient in the use of both the firm’s software and other commonly used packages.
- Actively seek on-the-job training to understand own role and responsibilities specific to each engagement.
- Develop a general understanding of common tax issues that may impact a client.
- Seek opportunities to improve technical and management skills through continuing education, seminars, etc.
- Manage time effectively.
- Keep in-charge, manager and/or partner informed of engagement timing and performance against budget.
- Keep office aware of your location on a daily basis.
- Complete time sheets and expense reports on a timely basis.
- Monitor annual hours charged – budget to actual.
Practice and Personal Development:
- Pass the CPA exam and become certified.
- Demonstrate maturity, poise, and self-confidence in dealing with client and firm personnel.
- Initiate and be receptive to both formal and informal performance and development feedback.
- Begin to develop relationships and a contact network with clients and referral sources.
- Become aware of, and more knowledgeable about, the range of services offered by the firm.
- Engage in practice development activities, as appropriate.
- Participate in recruiting activities, as appropriate.
- Demonstrate professionalism.
- Accept responsibility for personal development.
- Understand and actively support the Firm’s Mission, Vision and Core Values.
Email your résumé to Eileen Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org with the position you are applying for in the subject line.