Annual review a chance to look forward and back

I had my annual performance review Friday afternoon. I knew what to expect, because it’s basically the aggregation of each job review we get throughout the year. Job reviews are a solid lead indicator for the annual appraisal. Reviewer comments are cited and my performance is compared to expectations.

It also afforded me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the past year with a manager and a partner, my goals for the future and anything else that was on my mind related to my career trajectory with the firm.

I’m feeling very comfortable running audits as the senior in charge, I noted. For me, being in a position with greater responsibility provides the motivation to do great work. In the coming year I will find myself more frequently in this role.

I also noted that I want to work on larger audits, including public companies. The closest I have come to a public company is a co-operative, which is widely held and therefore the risk level would be similar to public companies. I’ve also done a couple inventory counts for a public company. Slim experience in what I see as an important step in my development.

In summary, I’m looking forward to increased responsibility, hopefully on new, exciting and bigger clients with more complex accounting. I need to keep challenging myself.


Forced ranking at accounting firms?

Francine dishes on forced ranking at GE and the Big Four:

That is, compared to their peers, they don’t have the right stuff right now and their performance, although fine, is not as fine as the other 90%. So, with a poor rating instead of a positive rating, your choices are slim. No raise, no bonus, no ability to transfer, and a less enviable position at the negotiating table as far as a severance package when you do finally realize you have to leave. Oh, and don’t forget, with a poor rating on your record, there’s no rehire… […] One thing for sure. The standards for achieving success in a Big 4 firm are pretty clear. Conformance, Competence, Collegiality, and Chargeability.

The idea of forced ranking doesn’t sit well with me, as it sounds pretty harsh towards those unlucky few at the bottom. It makes sense that there are the best and worst performers at the top and bottom, and that most are average, but to fire or demote or otherwise retard the careers of those at the bottom doesn’t.

It is nearly impossible judge in this subjective manner whether the bottom few at your firm aren’t better than the average (or top) at another firm? Sort of depends on how good the hiring is at each place.

With new online and automated processes at some firms, there isn’t even the old signing of the review to signify acknowledgement and acceptance or rebuttal to signify disagreement.

At my firm, we use online forms to complete job and annual appraisals. It’s appraisal time right now actually as I would imagine it is at other firms, and I should be hearing about when mine is sometime in the next couple weeks. I’m looking forward to it!