Tuesday Video: The Business of Charity

One of my classes is Accounting for Not-for-Profit Organizations.  Last week we watched this thought-provoking TED Talk by Dan Pallotta:


Start Now


When I met with Jason Deshayes, he gave me a lot of great advice, but one theme really stood out: don’t wait.

He mentioned joining non-profit boards early in his career–not waiting until he was a senior or partner (which, a decade later, he is).

And he suggested that if you are a senior staff member and you are wanting to move up to being a manager, don’t wait.  Start doing whatever manager-type duties you can right away–take the initiative and the responsibility even before you have the title.

He said that something he has learned over the past decade is that even though you do have to let all the conditions come together on some things, you should never believe that “it’s not your time.”  Don’t wait for someone else’s idea of “your time”–write your own course!

Being an AICPA Legacy Scholar has motivated me to start making professional connections, and to try and set myself up to become a future leader in the field–even before I have earned all the credits to sit for the CPA exam.  For instance, I’m really interested in the sorts of conversations going on among current CPAs (especially young CPAs), so I follow people on twitter, follow firms and organizations on LinkedIn, and read blogs like the one at Thriveal.com.

The hashtag #aicpagc13 started showing up in my twitter feed this past weekend, along with some really great quotes and insights from speakers and panels at the meeting.  So I tweeted about how great that was, and I was quoted in CPA Tom Hood’s Storify the next day.  Pretty cool!

I’ve also started looking into CPA exam prep materials and test info; even though I can’t sit for the exam until next summer, I sure can get a head start on studying for it.

So my advice for today is: if you have an ambition to do something–start now.  In whatever way you can.  It all adds up.

Tuesday Video: On Creativity

I had lunch today with one of my poet friends, which reminded me that in addition to being an accounting student extraordinaire*, I used to be am also a poet! My friend was in town for a governmental accounting workshop–in addition to writing poetry, she also does the books for a scientific operation up in Santa Fe. We talked and laughed about how hard it is to get into the creative mindset on the heels of hours and hours of accounting-type work.

On that note, this Tuesday video segment will be dedicated to one of my favorite Ted Talks on creativity: Elizabeth Gilbert on Your Elusive Creative Genius.

Maybe once I’m done with this Three Exam Week, I’ll see if I can’t return to a little bit of creative work.

*Emphasis added

On Superheroes


If it seems like I have been a little quiet this week, it’s because I was working on a problem I couldn’t solve. I had to prepare a fictitious company’s corporate tax return and all necessary schedules and forms, given a trial balance and a few notes. And when I say I couldn’t solve this one, I mean that I couldn’t solve it alone.

Luckily, I was working with a team. And it was a team of superheroes. Every time somebody hit a dead end, nobody else gave up. I was absolutely thrown out of my comfort zone. And due to that very fact, I learned more during this one week doing this one assignment than I know how to quantify.

After countless hours, emails, and revisions, we submitted our return this morning. And this afternoon the professor wrote back with our grade:


I’m not used to having a question I can’t answer myself. I entered that disconcerting place, I came out the other side, and I emerged with the confidence born of overcoming.

It turns out that not-knowing can sometimes be the best door.