Purpose Through Operating Values

I recently returned to Haskell & White after focusing on my family for 13 years. When I left, I didn’t know if I would return, but happy to say I am back working with clients at Haskell & White, an Orange County CPA Firm. The Firm’s operating values were a strong driver to bring me back to Haskell & White. The Firm’s founders had documented their operating values when I worked at the Firm earlier. It was important to know I would be going to an Orange County CPA firm that incorporated them into their daily actions. After all, I had been a part of building them. “Finding your purpose” in your life is a hot topic right now, and these operating values provide the guideposts on that journey of finding my purpose. Returning to my career at a firm that serves clients with these operating values as a guidepost is comforting and helpful.

I break down each operating value and why it’s important to me.

Ethical Behavior – Probably considered a given at any public accounting firm, as the profession requires an 8-hour course to be taken every two years, and a specific ethics exam is part of the CPA certification process. A rigorous process evaluates each client, ensuring we work with clients who value our work and operate with integrity. At our Firm, this value guides our behavior and client acceptance policy. I admire this at Haskell & White since the clients contribute to how employees experience work, just as working with your colleagues can affect it.

Excellence – Pushing to do my personal best is vital to me on every project I manage. Working with a firm that also puts excellence among its guiding values is essential. Our clients seek advisors that can help them with complicated business challenges where technical excellence is required, and this spurs me to keep learning and taking on challenging projects.

Valuing People – The partners recognized long ago that people drive our success. By consistently recognizing the team, from spot bonuses to team bonding events and timely performance reviews to ensuring exposure to various industries, valuing people is paramount.

Firm members are encouraged to pursue a life-work balance, and from my vantage point, I see Haskell & White making that accessible for people in public accounting. I appreciate the technical innovations and the flexibility that allow me to work a hybrid schedule to help achieve that work-life balance. Gone are the days when you must come to an office every day of the week.  The work is demanding, but there’s no reason not to be able to succeed here and at home.

But we don’t just value our people; it’s about valuing our clients. I have always had a high sense of customer service, and I appreciate my role in training professionals starting in their careers.

Constant Learning – I’ve always viewed this as a sub-component of Valuing People and Excellence. It is tough to deliver either of those elements without providing an atmosphere of constant learning. If you’re ready for the challenge, there’s no end to the opportunities to learn. Without communication barriers between partners, managers and staff, everyone is encouraged to reach out and ask questions when they don’t understand something or want to bounce an idea off someone. I’ve never felt restricted or limited in what I can learn here. But the learning isn’t limited to the technical side. Achieving success in public accounting also requires many “soft skills,” such as organizational skills, marketing, and participation in community service, and there are opportunities to learn all of those here.

Success – Success is subjective and can be measured in so many ways. At Haskell & White, success is measured from many angles.  We want our Orange County CPA firm to be successful, but Firm leadership knows that will be achieved only when our clients succeed and our employees succeed.

I am now back at Haskell and White, and I feel like I am in a better place than ever before to contribute to the Firm’s continued success. There is a lot of talk about purpose these days, and everyone seems to be searching for it. If you don’t have a defined purpose, how do you know if you are on the right path? If you are considering a career move or want to talk about your options, reach out to me. I am more than happy to chat about my experience.


Career Detour

Fifteen years into my career, I had just been promoted to principal at Haskell & White, and I was about to make the most difficult decision in my career. Conversations around work-life balance were not as commonplace as they are today, and I was not seeing how to create harmony between my responsibilities with work and my family. The best option at the time was to put my career on hold and focus on my family full-time.

Usually, people taking detours from the well-defined career path of public accounting do not return to the industry. My promotion was an achievement, and I was on track to reach a level that most women do not attain. Statistics show that most women don’t reach senior positions in public accounting or become a partner in a public accounting firm.

I loved serving my clients as a business and advisory consultant at a local accounting firm and investing time to contribute to the Firm’s success. Deciding to take that “moment” to focus on my family was difficult for someone so career-oriented, but I knew it was right. The team at Haskell & White supported me, and at the time, I didn’t have a plan for coming back.

Understanding that your job is not your identity was an important part of my journey and took some time to understand. It’s a healthy view, but not an easy one if your career drives many of your choices. I enjoyed contributing and participating in the business world and making the decision to prioritize my family meant that I wouldn’t get the recognition for those contributions that I enjoyed.

In the Summer of 2021, the partners at Haskell & White had an opportunity for me to work on some projects on a contract basis. This sounded like the perfect way to test the waters and see what my next chapter would look like as my kids were older and more independent. My story doesn’t end there.

That contract assignment made me realize how much I missed working with clients and the challenging work of public accounting. In December of 2021, I had the opportunity to go back to Haskell & White in a consistent role with the Firm. I knew it would be a transition, as public accounting is constantly moving as regulations and laws change. Technology has evolved, so going back to a local accounting firm with a supportive environment was paramount on my journey back into this world.

I am now back at Haskell & White, and I feel like I am in a better place than ever before. I know now I won’t miss out on the important parts of life, as I can arrange my responsibilities for work and my home life in a way that works for me and make sure my contributions to the Firm and myself are valued. Sometimes career detours can be scary, but sometimes they are exactly what you need.

Reflecting on my journey over the last ten years, I appreciate returning to Haskell & White’s supportive and collaborative culture. If you are looking for an excellent opportunity to grow your career, consider joining a local accounting firm that can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Mental Health & Remote Working: Strategies for a Healthy Balance

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I am reminded of the importance of understanding mental health and how it relates to the working environment. Working from home during the pandemic opened a new view for many of how work gets done.

As we emerge back into our (somewhat) regular routines, we are experiencing yet another shift as the future of work is changing. It is vital to consider the impacts on your mental health for the working options available, whether remote, hybrid, or working in the office.

Remote Work and Its Effect on Mental Health

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) conducted an online survey of 1,000 remote workers between March 26 and April 5, 2021. Many employees working from home say they experienced negative mental health impacts, including isolation, loneliness, and difficulty getting away from work at the end of the day. While there are certainly benefits and perks of working from home, it also means that more workers are feeling lonely and isolated.

My Work from Home Journey

I wanted to share how our Orange County CPA firm supports our professionals and advice for those working remotely or in a hybrid situation. I have chosen to work from home and navigate the new workplace dynamics during this exciting time of change!

Working from home allowed me to take on additional responsibilities from home, as my wife’s position required strict hours in the office. I was able to build some flexibility into my day as long as I met client demands. Excelling in client services means being available. As long as I could build this availability into my day while working remotely, I could also make time to take care of my family.  This certainly presents its own challenges as the responsibilities may extend into the evening hours. This requires discipline to stay on task, whether that task is taking care of the family members or getting actual work done for our Orange County CPA firm.

After reading this, I hope you gain a new idea or two to improve your working environment, whether in the office, hybrid, or remote. At Haskell & White, we recognize the evolving working environment. Companies that master the hybrid work environment have advantages over those that do not. While the remote working environment creates further flexibility in working arrangements, it also creates additional risks of isolation and potentially depression.

Strategies to protect your mental health while working remotely:

1. Utilize the mentoring programs your company has in place.

At Haskell & White, everybody at SD and OC CPA firm is assigned a Professional Development Counselor (PDC) responsible for their development path. This person helps us stay connected to our CPA team while mentoring us as we grow and advance in our careers. Constant touch points and check-ins between employees and their assigned coach/mentor are an essential part of the process. It is one of the critical functions of our professional development program. If your company does not have a mentorship process in place, ask for a mentor that can guide you in your career.

2. Take breaks and unwind.

Without your commute to break up your day, when do you decide to stop working? It is important to give your mind a break from work so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be productive. It’s important to make sure to stand or take a walk at regular intervals so you do not sit at the computer for a long time. Working at home does not naturally add a lot of walking to your day, so, make sure to build in those breaks to go outside and get some steps.

3. Connect with your co-workers.

At our Orange County CPA firm, we use Teams. The chat and video features are a great way to connect with others in the firm throughout the day. For those local to Orange County, we can attend in-person events and training sessions to balance working from home.

4. Create a routine.

Following a routine each day helps keep people organized. If you need to be away from work during the regular business day, make sure that time is reflected on your calendar so that co-workers know when you are available.

5. Prioritize self-care.

Make sure to schedule what you love or what makes you operate at your best. Schedule time to exercise, engage in social activities, or to invest in your hobbies.

6. Create a dedicated workspace.

It’s important to have a space set up with multiple monitors, a camera, and a microphone for video calls that are set up and ready to go for each workday. If you are fortunate enough to have a separate room for your home office, it can help you stay productive and focused. If you do not have a separate room, create a space dedicated to your work to create some separation from the other activities in the home.

7. Take time off.

It can be tempting to work all the time when you are at home, but it is vital to take vacations and time off to relax and rejuvenate. Make sure to schedule time away throughout the year and use that time to disconnect from work and focus on your personal life. Vacations and time off are crucial for maintaining good mental health.

I appreciate the flexibility to explore this uncharted territory of remote work and help others along the way as we work in a hybrid work environment.

If you are looking for a great opportunity to grow your career while maintaining your overall well-being, consider joining the Haskell & White team.


Harnessing Your Superpowers

Several years ago, a now-retired partner posed an interesting question when she first joined the firm. She asked – What is your superpower?

Without hesitation, I answered “teaching, coaching, mentoring” as it has become clear to me throughout my public accounting career that being a successful auditor and business advisor required the ability to train and develop other team members.

The public accounting profession requires constant learning. The renewal of our CPA licenses requires it for a good reason; the business environment and the rules are constantly changing. Many years ago, when I worked for a national firm, I was tapped to teach at their annual staff training conferences. That experience led me to become a part-time professor at California State University, Fullerton, where I taught an auditing class each semester for 21 years. I realize that those overt teaching examples are just the most visible examples of how I utilize my superpower every day. Not a day goes by that I do not have an opportunity to teach something to a team member, impart knowledge to a client or non-profit organization that I serve, or assist someone with mapping their future in our profession, specifically at our firm.

If you pursue a career in public accounting, your education will not end once you graduate college or complete the CPA exams, so ensure your future employers have a strong training program.

At Haskell & White, it’s part of our Mission “…to provide unparalleled levels of coaching and leadership for our personnel such that all stakeholders prosper.” Helping each team member develop their superpower is essential to our Mission. Haskell & White does this by providing opportunities that are of most interest to them. Individuals can work with different industries and business structures while they hone their skills in auditing or tax.

Each person at Haskell & White is assigned a professional development counselor to help advise on career development. All our employees have access to our partners and senior team members with our open-door atmosphere. We help in setting and achieving goals that affect both professional and personal development. Through our process of career development, each person will teach, mentor, and coach each other in our Haskell & White community. The variety of experience, technical training, and professional development prepare you ultimately for your role as a valued business advisor. “Advisor” is synonymous with coach, mentor, and teacher.

If you are looking for a dynamic, growth-oriented environment, Haskell & White may just be the place for you. At Haskell & White, we help you harness your superpower to build your career and future.

View our open opportunities here.


10 Years Later: 10 Reasons Why I Still Love Working at Haskell & White

This May (May 29, 2022, to be exact) will mark my ten-year anniversary at Haskell & White, a Southern California CPA firm. With all the publicity surrounding “The Great Resignation”, and particularly its impact on the public accounting industry, I’d like to share my top – 10 reasons why I still love working here – and why I plan to stay for many years to come!

1. Opportunities – When I started my Haskell & White career as a brand-new audit Senior, the thought of moving up into the Firm’s management group seemed like a far-off dream. There were so many smart people above me – surely I would never know as much as they do. But one thing the partners consistently promised was opportunities. The opportunity to learn, the opportunity to work on challenging clients, and the opportunity to be coached by the best and brightest that the Firm had to offer. It was up to me to seize those opportunities, but if I did, I would also have the opportunity to earn promotions and grow my career. Now that I am a Principal at the Firm, I can say without a doubt that the Firm held up its end of the bargain.

2. Coaching & Mentoring – It’s hard to grow your career without others who are willing to invest in you. Early on, I was fortunate to work with individuals in the Firm’s leadership who would coach me in a way that pushed me to be better. It was never about criticizing me or my work, but rather showing me how to do the work better. Now I have several mentees at the Firm and it’s my responsibility to provide coaching and learning opportunities for them. This cycle of coaching is no accident – it’s consistent with several of the Firm’s operating values, including Valuing People, Constant Learning, and Success.

3. Giving Back – I’m a Millennial, and a phrase you may have heard describing Millennials is “Purpose over Paychecks”. While paychecks are great, we also want to know that we are doing some good in the world with our work. Everyone in the Firm’s management group is encouraged to join a non-profit board. The Firm has been recognized many times for its generosity and community involvement, including by Civic 50 Orange County (2021, 2019 and 2018) as well as CalCPA’s annual Public Service Award (2019), among others. The Firm also supports my board service at the UCI Diabetes Center. I take pride in working for an award-winning accounting firm that values social responsibility.

4. Culture – One of the biggest reasons I accepted my position with Haskell & White in the first place was the promise of a different kind of CPA firm. Coming from a large firm, the culture I knew could be best summed up by “The 5-Minute Rule”. This meant that you stayed at work five minutes past when your manager left. It was joked about, but it was true! The culture was that of being a warrior and working more hours than the next person, regardless of its impact on your family or personal life.

Haskell & White values teamwork and quality over hours. The Firm recognizes that happy employees are more productive employees. Firm leadership values a diverse set of backgrounds and opinions, and also values retaining its employees. This again goes back to one of the Firm’s operating values – Valuing People.

5. Work/life balance – This is perhaps the most overused phrase by recruiters in all industries, but particularly in public accounting. I don’t know of any public accounting firm that doesn’t advertise work/life balance, yet over the years I have met countless over-worked and out-of-balance accountants! I was newly married when I started my Haskell & White career, so it was extremely important to me to work for a firm that would give me the opportunity to pursue both my work and my family goals. This is not to say we don’t work hard – because we do. But our busy season compared to what I was used to at my previous firm is night and day. If it wasn’t, I would not still be here ten years later.

6. People – When you value your people, you get to work with a whole bunch of really great people! I have learned so much from so many of our people over the years. With a focus on hiring people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets, I have had the opportunity to work with some incredibly smart and talented people. And, with our regular Firm functions (from days at the beach, to happy hours, to holiday parties, etc.) I have had the opportunity to get to know my co-workers on a more personal level, and am happy to call many of them my personal friends.

7. Leadership – After coming from a firm where none of the partners knew my name, I think Firm leadership may be the biggest differentiator, because it impacts every other area on this list. From going to Ducks games with partners, to supporting my career growth, and even just stopping by my office to ask how I’m doing – Firm leadership fosters an environment of growth and inclusion.

8. Challenging Work – I wouldn’t be satisfied with my work if I wasn’t constantly challenged. From non-profits, to tech and biotech companies, to manufacturers and distributors, to real estate entities, to publicly traded companies, our client base runs the gamut. Which means the technical issues we work on change daily, from complex debt and equity transactions, to revenue recognition, to assisting clients with M&A advisory services, etc. Our clients expect us to not just be auditors or tax preparers, but to be trusted business advisors. Adding value to clients’ businesses is the most challenging – and fun – part of what we do.

9. Quality – Quality is not always the most fun thing to talk about, but it is imperative as a PCAOB registered firm. Not a week goes by where we are not having a discussion or training geared towards maximizing the quality of our work. When people are making investment decisions based on the financial statements we’re opining on, quality has to be a top priority. With five consecutive clean AICPA Peer Review reports and a history of outstanding inspection results from the PCAOB, Haskell & White has proven its commitment to quality for over 30 years. I take pride in working for a Firm that has earned a reputation for high-quality work.

10. Training – It’s nearly impossible to produce high-quality work without high-quality training. Every year we have many live training classes – from new staff workshops all the way up through complex technical topics. The Firm also subscribes to an on-demand training platform so that any member of the Firm can take training anytime on just about any topic. We also host trainings for our clients. From our SEC Roundtables, to our Annual Non-Profit Conference, we keep our clients abreast of the latest accounting and financial reporting developments.

After reflecting on the past ten years at Haskell & White, I have a lot to be thankful for. If you work in public accounting and want to have an honest conversation about what it’s like to work at our Southern California CPA firm, let’s talk!


Internships: Setting Up Your Career for Success

What is it like to be a Haskell & White Intern?

Our accounting internship is designed to give students an accurate picture of the day-to-day life of a staff accountant. Interns receive the necessary training to utilize the software, understand the specific responsibilities and collaborate with team members to complete tasks associated with a current client engagement. This first-hand view to work directly with an engagement team can be especially beneficial in confirming a career path.

Haskell & White focuses on serving middle-market companies. As an intern, you will work side by side in exciting areas such as real estate, life sciences, technology, manufacturing, and distribution. At Haskell & White, you have the opportunity to see multiple industries and work with different companies with different legal structures that are publicly traded and privately held. We also serve many pre-revenue companies in the life science industry that are in capital raise mode.

The pace is fast and very exciting! All this equates to a richer experience for you. In addition to industry specializations, we also focus on helping our clients with transactions such as initial public offerings, raising capital, merger and acquisition transactions, and private equity investments. Join the fun and see how exciting a career in public accounting might be for you!

What’s my commitment to the Haskell & White internship program?

We will schedule several days of required training in January of 2022 to set you up for success as an intern. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other interns and the team from Haskell & White. Each intern will create their ideal schedule with 16-20 working hours dedicated to the internship. This schedule will be built around their class schedule and other commitments during the hours between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Interns will be asked to keep to a set schedule for the duration of their internship. We are flexible and understand an important test or assignment may require some adjustments. It is about communication, and we can pivot with you.

When can I serve as a public accounting intern?

Haskell & White offers internships two times a year, from January through April, in both our audit and tax departments, and in the summer, the tax team has a second opportunity to work with our group.

How to Apply

One of these first steps on your path to excellence is an internship at a public accounting firm. We provide an exceptional experience and one that will set you up for greatness. Accounting Internships and staff accounting applications are available here on our website. Please submit your resume for consideration.

We are looking forward to meeting you and hearing about your career goals. Apply here for an accounting internship in Orange County


Your Public Accounting Career Isn’t on Hold: How to Find Success at an Accounting Firm in the New Normal

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced many unprecedented challenges and opportunities to the professional service sector. On the podcast Beyond the Resume, our director of recruiting, Nancy Weber-Brough, recently shared how Haskell & White has managed to find continued success in the new economy, and offered tips for people seeking employment at an accounting firm.

As Nancy discussed, the keys to our—and our clients’—success are flexibility and creativity. By utilizing new technology and embracing a remote work culture, we’ve seen increased revenues and actually improved quality of life for our employees. Nancy also stressed the importance of creating a collaborative workspace. It’s critical to support employees during these difficult times, whether that means coaching them on time management or banding together to support those who have been directly affected by the pandemic.

If you’re seeking employment at public accounting firms in Orange County (or elsewhere), here are some tips from Nancy to help you stand out.

  • Communication is key. Working at an accounting firm has always required excellent communication skills, but the move to remote work has made them more important than ever. Employees must be adept at communicating both in-person and virtually.
  • Get uncomfortable. The new economy requires employees to engage in creative problem solving and adapt to new technologies more than ever. Candidates who actively seek out opportunities to grow their skillset and engage with new ideas are highly valued.
  • Pivot and prosper. We anticipate that many of the changes introduced in the “new normal” are here to stay. Whatever your experience level, approach these changes as opportunities that you can capitalize on, rather than hoping things will go back to the way they were.

To listen to the full interview and get an inside look at Haskell & White, click here.

Interested in working at Haskell & White? We’d love to hear from you! Check out our open positions.