Sometimes it pays to take a field trip out of the office.

A little while ago, Alexandra DeFelice, my partner-in-crime at Accounting Tomorrow, and I took a subway uptown to visit Weiser in Manhattan. While there, we got a tour of their offices, saw the bullpen where the newbie tax accountants were working and talked with a partner about a few of the firm's mentoring programs.

Alexandra wrote about one of those programs in detail on Accounting Tomorrow, describing how staff filled a void in the firm by simply taking action and creating an initiative that they needed.

How did the idea come about?

At a happy hour.

Casey Barnes had just finished his first tax season, so he joined some colleagues at a bar to unwind and debrief about the experience.

Not that unusual. But the result of that camaraderie was something extraordinary for the firm - the "Buddy System." Barnes and his colleagues realized that their experience as first-year rookies would have been easier and better if a peer just slightly ahead of them in the firm's hierarchy would have taken them under their wing and showed them the tax season ropes.

Barnes sent an e-mail to Weiser's HR department, and HR gave Barnes the leeway to run with it. So he turned around and e-mailed his class members, asking if they would be on board with assisting a new round of newbies in the fall when the firm does its hiring.

The group had two criteria for the program: It had to be informal, and they wanted to pair the first-year members with someone close to their age. "When you get older in the audit world, you lose focus that coming out of college you're scared as hell," Barnes said. "We wanted someone who just experienced it. They tend to listen to someone closer to their age. If they're six, seven years older, you listen, but do you really hear them?"

At Accounting Tomorrow, we love hearing stories like that, and it's exactly what you'll find on our site. In other news, here's a roundup of recent blog posts:

* CCH released a new white paper, Recruiting and Keeping Up-and-Coming CPAs at Your Firm, which reminded me of a lyric by rapper Ice Cube, "You better check yo'self before you wreck yo'self." The research found that CPA firms could be doing better in retaining young professionals with four-to-seven years of experience. A lot better, in fact.

* Another survey released by Schwab found that young adults were a little flabby when it came to financial fitness. The research found that two thirds of young adults between the ages of 23 and 28 consider financial fitness more important than physical fitness. Doesn't do much for the nation's obesity problem, does it?

* And Alexandra addresses why she doesn't have a personal Facebook page. Admit it, you've been dying to know why some sampling of the younger generations don't have one. And now you have the opportunity to get a glimpse as to why - at least from one particular perspective - only on www.accountingtomorrow.com.

We are still seeking submissions. If you've got ideas, we want to hear from you. Contact us at tomorrow sourcemedia.com. Or find us on Twitter and Facebook. Introduce yourself and we'll befriend you. We promise.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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