Are Job Search Expenses Tax Deductible?

October 12th, 2018

Navigating a job search is notoriously time-consuming, but it can also be expensive. The old saying ‘You have to spend money to make money’ often rings true when looking for work.

As one of the top Seattle accounting temp agencies, Provisional Accounting understands the strain a job search can place on your finances, but many people don’t realize the federal government offers relief. Even if you’re not hired, you might be able to deduct some of your job search expenses from your federal income tax return, as long as you meet a few requirements.

To qualify for a tax deduction, you need to be looking for work in your current field, must not have had a notable break since your last job, and cannot be a first-time job seeker. Expenses reimbursed by an employer or third party are also not eligible.

Three Tax Deductible Job Search Expenses

Assuming you meet the above criteria, job search expenses that fall into these three categories can be reported on Schedule A of your 1040 tax return as miscellaneous expenses. You’re able to claim the costs that total more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.

Resume Costs

The expenses associated with preparing your resume are tax deductible, which can come in handy if you have yours written by a professional. If any employers request a hard copy, you’re also able to write off the cost of mailing your resume.

Travel Expenses

Looking for a new job in a different city or state can add up fast, but thankfully, you’re able to deduct these costs. Expenditures like transportation, meals, and hotel accommodations fall into this category, if the main purpose of the trip is your job search. However, you might still be able to deduct some expenses even if your job hunt wasn’t the main reason for the trip.

Placement Agencies

In most cases, employers pay the fees for a staffing agency. However, if you decide to work with a firm that charges job seekers, you’ll be able to write this expense off.

Need a little help finding your dream job in Seattle? Provisional Accounting is here to assist. Contact us today to access temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire openings with some of the area’s top employers.

Question: How Do I Tell My Current Boss I Found a New Job Opportunity?

June 29th, 2018

You’ve just accepted a job offer for a position you’re really excited about, so congratulations! Whether you worked with Seattle recruiters or happened upon the position by chance, a new job is a major life change.

There’s just one thing standing between you and your glossy new position — quitting your current job. Unless you’re leaving a seriously toxic work environment, you’re probably feeling nervous and a little bittersweet about delivering the news to your boss, but it must be done.

Five Tips to Tell Your Boss You Got a New Job

 

Make Sure They Hear It From You

By now you’ve already told your loved ones about your new job, but avoid shouting your big news from the rooftops until you’ve informed your boss. No matter how you feel about your manager, you owe them the courtesy of being the first at the office to find out about your impending departure.

Don’t Waste Any Time

The longer you wait to let your boss know you’re leaving, the more stress you’ll cause. Deliver your resignation as promptly as possible, because you want to be able to give two weeks’ notice. If for some reason you are unable to offer the standard period of notice, you better have a good explanation ready.

Be Gracious

Thank your boss for all the opportunities they’ve given you to learn and grow during your tenure with the company. Even if you can’t wait to get out of there, it’s always best to leave on a positive note. The business world is smaller than you think, so you never know who you will run into at another job in the future.

Briefly Explain Why You’re Leaving

Keeping with the tone of gratitude, this isn’t a time to air your grievances with the company. Your boss will almost definitely ask why you decided to leave, but keep your answer short and sweet. Simply say you’re sad to leave, but the new job is a better fit for your skills and interests.

Offer to Assist in the Transition

Keep bridges intact by volunteering to help your boss find your replacement. Chances are, the new person won’t be in place before your last day, but you can assist with writing the job description and sorting through resumes. In the interim, offer to help divide your tasks up among the team and provide training before your last day.

Ready to take the next step in your accounting or finance career? Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing is here to assist in your search for a new job in the Seattle area. Contact us today to find a find the right temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, or direct-hire position for you!

Morning Routine Adjustments That Set You up for a Successful Work Day

June 8th, 2018

It might sound a little cheesy, but your morning routine largely affects the rest of your day. Accounting jobs in Seattle — and everywhere, really — require a great deal of concentration, so you need to start the day strong.

If you’re operating like a walking zombie or rushing around like a maniac, you’re starting the morning on a poor note. A few simple adjustments to your standard routine can make a world of difference, so find out how to set yourself up for success.

Five Ways to Change Your Morning Routine for the Better

Stop Hitting Snooze

Some people jump out of bed without an alarm, but that’s not your style. You tend to hit the snooze button several times each morning, which seems like a win in the short-term, but really offers no benefits. When you’re woken up every five or 10 minutes, you’re not getting quality sleep, but you are making yourself late for work. By the time you finally get up, you’re forced to rush around in a frenzy to get out the door on time.

Eat Breakfast

If you don’t eat anything until lunchtime, you’re not doing your body any favors. You need fuel to get you through the morning, because without it, you’ll crash. Find a breakfast that works for you and make it part of your routine. This can be as simple as a protein shake, as long as it’s filled with nutrients that will keep you going strong until your lunch break.

Make Time for a Workout

Exercise always leaves you feeling energized, so switch your evening workout to the morning. Starting your morning with a sweat session will get your blood flowing and encourage you to be more active throughout the day. This is also a great way to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories with the same amount of exercise. Most importantly, getting your workout out of the way early will make you feel accomplished and proud, which is a great start to the day.

Create a Plan for Your Day

Make the most of your day by starting the morning with a planning session. Do this at home, on the way to work — only if you take public transportation — or as soon as you get to your desk. Write down everything you need to accomplish by the end of the day and prioritize it from most to least important. This will help you focus on top goals, so you don’t get sidetracked.

Tackle Your Hardest Task First

There’s always one item on your to-do list that is notably less appealing than the rest. Instead of having to dread this task all day, get it done first thing in the morning. Lifting this weight off your shoulder will boost your mood and fill you with a sense of relief. This will improve your focus, so you’ll be better equipped to complete the other responsibilities on your plate.

Thinking about looking for a new accounting or finance job? Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing is here to assist. Get in touch today to find exclusive temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire opportunities with top Seattle area employers!

 

The Rise of Storytelling and How It Can Improve Your Branding

May 31st, 2018

In the past, storytelling was reserved for novelists, but these days, everyone is getting in on the game. Businesses have started to realize the value of attaching a story to their brand, because it’s a great way to get noticed.

From small accounting employment agencies to Fortune 500 companies, businesses are putting more stock in storytelling than ever before. If your company hasn’t hopped on this trend, it’s time to get onboard. Learn what you have to gain by sharing stories with your customer base.

4 Ways Storytelling Can Improve Your Branding

Engage Your Audience

You don’t have to be a kid to sit back and listen to a captivating tale. Everyone appreciates a good story, so this is a great way get in front of your target audience. Use storytelling to explain problems your products and services were created to solve. Much more captivating than a standard advertisement, this is a stealthy way to boost your brand name, because people don’t necessarily realize they’re being marketed to.

Get Your Name Out There

When people hear a great story, they want to share it with others. Therefore, storytelling can help word of your business spread organically. You’ll tell your story to your client base, then they’ll share it with their own connections. Before you know it, your audience will be noticeably larger, just because your storytelling skills are on par. This will bring greater brand recognition, which translates to higher sales.

Build a Connection

Sharing a story is a very personal thing. It helps you forge a bond with customers, because it creates an emotional connection that goes beyond the standard customer-employer relationship. This allows helps customers relate to your business and feel a kinship of sorts.

Beyond that, a great story tends to stay in a customer’s mind. When they’re faced with a problem similar to the one described in your story, they’ll think of your company, and likely visit your website to buy the product or service that was created to solve the issue at hand.

Put Your Personality on Display

People enjoy working with a business that has a defined personality. Both the content you choose to share in a story and the manner in which you tell it speaks volumes about your company culture. Storytelling helps customers understand and relate to your brand. This builds trust and allows them to feel comfortable doing business with you.

If you need to hire accounting or finance talent, team up with Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing. We’re take pride in helping Seattle area employers fill temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire positions with quality professionals. Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you!

 

The Key to a Successful Interview Follow Up

May 25th, 2018

Post job interview follow up is a very delicate subject matter. Ideally, a status update would follow your promptly-sent thank you note, but it doesn’t usually work that way.

As one of the top Seattle accounting temp agencies, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing knows employers often drag their feet on hiring decisions. Delays are caused by any number of internal factors, but understandably lead to added stress in already anxious candidates. Checking in too much will make you seem like a pest, but failing to touch base at all can send the impression you’re not that interested in the job.

Thankfully, knowing how to follow up right isn’t actually that hard. The key to getting it right is to ask about the next steps at the end of the interview. In most cases, the answer will involve a timetable of events, which will help you plan an effective follow-up strategy.

4 Steps to a Successful Interview Follow Up

Follow these steps to craft a well-timed, perfectly polite follow-up email to the person who holds your professional fate in their hands.

Wait a Few Days

Hiring a new employee isn’t easy. Timelines are often adjusted throughout the process, so don’t panic if the day comes and goes without a word from the employer. Give the hiring manager a grace period of a few days before reaching out. If they respond and say a decision hasn’t been made yet, check back a week later — unless you were told to wait longer than that.

Maintain a Professional Tone

Many interviewers are great at making candidates feel comfortable. They understand the stress involved with the hiring process, and know relaxed candidates are more likely to let their true personality shine. You might be really excited at the prospect of working with someone so laid back, but don’t let your guard down. Being too casual can be a turn-off to even the most casual hiring managers.

Be Positive

Demanding a status update from the hiring manager is a great way to eliminate yourself from the running. Weave your sunny disposition into the text to reiterate your interest in the job. Focus only on the positive aspects of your experience, because no one wants to hire a candidate who displays a negative attitude before they’re even part of the team.

Keep It Short

Hiring managers are busy people. They don’t have time to read an essay — and won’t — so limit your message to a couple short paragraphs. Politely explain that you’re excited to be informed of their decision and kindly ask if they need anything else from you. Pushing further will make you appear desperate and annoying, which won’t get you very far.

Looking for a new accounting or finance job in the Seattle area? Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing is here to help! Contact us today to find a top local employer ready to fill a temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, or direct-hire position with a professional like you.

 

How to Improve Your Personal Brand to Make Yourself More Hirable in 2018

May 11th, 2018

Competition for top accounting jobs in Seattle can be intense, so you need the backing of a strong personal brand. When presenting yourself to employers, they look at the whole package — i.e., your personal brand — instead of examining just one aspect of your fit for the job,

These days a strong personal brand is a must to get noticed by employers. In this case, you are the product and your brand image represents how you want to be perceived by others. If your personal brand doesn’t currently align with the image you want to project, learn how to fine-tune it.

5 Ways to Improve Your Personal Brand

Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

If any aspect of your social media presence is publicly available, you better believe potential employers are checking it out. Separate your professional presence from your personal one, and put the latter on lock down. Make sure all content shared publicly aligns with the image you want the world to see.

Gain a Following

Present yourself as an industry influencer by sharing and curating content people want to read. Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to create unique, industry-relevant content on a regular basis. Post interesting information on your professionally-designated social media accounts at least several times per week, but preferably daily. The more you share, the more your profile will rise.

You’ll also want to launch a professional website. Include the URL in the bio of all your public social media accounts and incorporate a link back to the site in as much of the content you share as possible.

Send a Consistent Message

You want potential employers to be able to look at your website, social media pages, LinkedIn blog, and everywhere else you share content and see the same personal brand. If you send mixed messages, they’ll be confused as to who you really are and what you have to offer.

Always consider your brand before posting content, to make sure the information you’re about to share is consistent with your message. It’s also a good idea to use the same bio on sites across the board, tweaking it as needed to fit the parameters of each platform.

Focus on Networking

You might have the strongest brand in the business, but you won’t get very far if no one knows about it. Make a point to get out to networking events at least once per week, so you can broaden your contact network. The more people you meet, the greater your chances of finding the job you want.

Make Learning a Priority

Innovation is key at top companies, and this shouldn’t be any different with your personal brand. Take every opportunity to learn and grow, because the more you know, the stronger your brand will be. In addition to adding new skills to your resume, be sure to write about them on your LinkedIn blog and social media accounts.

Planning to embark on a search for a new accounting or finance job? Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing wants to help! Get in touch today to connect with leading Seattle employers looking for talent like you to fill competitive temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire positions.

 

New Year’s Resolutions Off Track? Here’s How to Get Restarted Toward Your Goals

April 30th, 2018

It’s hard to believe the first quarter of 2018 is already behind us. The first three months of the year flew by, and now you’re starting to realize you have made very little — or no — progress toward your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

As one of the leading accounting recruiting agencies in Seattle, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing knows most people don’t actually keep New Year’s resolutions, but you’re not most people. It’s never too late to start working toward your goals for 2018, so it’s time to get to work.

Four Ways to Get Restarted Toward Your New Year’s Resolutions

Revisit Your Objectives

It’s hard to focus on a goal you don’t really want. Perhaps you set New Year’s resolutions that sounded good in theory, but don’t actually appeal to you in real life. Take a long hard look at the objectives in front of you to make sure achieving them is what you really want. If not, cross those out and create a new set of resolutions you’re excited to complete.

Make Your Goals S.M.A.R.T.

Vague goals might look good on paper, but they leave too much room for slacking. Get the ball rolling by turning all your goals S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound. This creates a defined structure that holds you accountable for your success. Instead of having an ambiguous goal that can be started at any time, you’re faced with a very detailed goal that follows a set time schedule.

Focus on One at a Time

If you’re like most people, change can feel overwhelming — even the good kind. It’s very possible you’ve avoided working on your New Year’s resolutions, because you’re trying to take on too much at once. Avoid this by prioritizing your goals and tackling them one by one. Breaking them down into more digestible chunks will make them appear more approachable.

Get an Accountability Buddy

When working toward goals on your own, you only have yourself to answer to. Therefore, if you don’t meet a deadline you’ve set for yourself, it’s really no big deal. This can easily segue into procrastinating your way to 2019, so add someone else to the mix. Ask your mentor or an honest and responsible loved one to hold you accountable for completing your goals. Having another person invest their time in you will serve as a motivator, so you stop dragging your feet.

Is finding a great new accounting or finance job one of your New Year’s resolutions?

If so, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing has you covered. Get in touch today to connect with top Seattle employers looking to fill rewarding temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire positions.

 

Make a Great Impression and Turn Your Contract-to-Hire Accounting Opportunity Into Full-Time Work

April 27th, 2018

Contract-to-hire opportunities are a great way to see if you’re a long-term fit for the job, without an immediate full-time commitment. Now that you’ve landed a position of this nature through one of the leading Seattle accounting temp agencies, you want to keep it. You’ve experienced enough of life at the company to know it’s a place you see yourself for the foreseeable future.

Right now, all eyes are on you, so follow these tips to make a winning impression.

5 Ways to Stand Out at Your Contract-to-Hire Job

Dress Your Best

If you want to be treated like a professional, you need to dress like one. Don’t dress above the office norm, as this might make you seem like a poor cultural fit, but do show up looking polished each day. Present a well-groomed appearance and wear clean clothing free of stains, wrinkles, and tears.

Show Up on Time, Stay Late

Prove you’re a hard worker by coming into the office a little earlier than the rest of the team. This will allow you to get a head start on your tasks, so you have the bandwidth to take on additional responsibilities. Always volunteer if anyone needs an extra hand and keep working until the job is done — even if that means staying a little late.

Follow the Rules

You’re not a full-time employee yet, but if you want to be one on the future, you have to prove you’re up to the task. Adhere to all company policies and procedures at all times. Some of your colleagues might be a little more relaxed on the rules, but they’ve already carved out a full-time spot on the team and you haven’t.

Become Part of the Team

Your co-workers can have a huge impact on your future with the company. If they like you, they’ll champion for your full-time employment with the boss, and if they don’t, they’ll beg your manager not to hire you. Get in with the team by accepting invitations for lunch and happy hours, joining the group in conversation, avoiding gossip, and doing your fair share of work.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

No job is perfect all the time, but highlight your sunny disposition by smiling through your frustrations. When things don’t go your way, take a deep breath and maintain your cool. A positive attitude is infectious, so if you’re able to make the workplace a more upbeat environment, no one will want to see you go.

Searching for a rewarding contract-to-hire accounting job in the Seattle area?

Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing is here to assist. Contact us today to turn your career dreams into reality.

Career-Boosting Resolutions to Continue on the Path to Success

March 28th, 2018

If you think it’s too late in the year to set resolutions, you are very mistaken. Whether you skipped the process in January or the resolutions you did make are long forgotten, now is the perfect time to create a new set designed to enhance your career.

As one of the top employment agencies in Seattle, Washington, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing knows how crucial resolutions can be to career success. Having goals to look toward will get you on track and help you stay focused, so it’s time to get started.

Four Career-Boosting Resolutions

Figure Out Where You’re Headed

If your career history consists of an aimless collection of jobs, it’s time to focus and make a plan for your future. You can’t move up the ladder if you’re all over the place, so decide what you want from your career. Setting an overarching goal allows you to tailor your actions now to support your career aspirations for the future.

Make Networking a Priority

The right connections can propel your career to new heights. Expand your contact list by placing an increased emphasis on networking. Hold yourself accountable for attending a certain amount of networking events per week or month, because you never know who you’ll meet. You can also supplement this by using social media to network online.

Focus on Continued Growth

The business world changes quickly, so if you don’t keep up, your skills will become obsolete. Make learning a top priority by embarking on a constant quest for knowledge. This might involve going back to school for a certificate or degree, taking an online training course, or even just asking a colleague to teach you a skill they have that would be useful to you.

Eliminate Unproductive Habits

Moving forward in your career requires a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline. Take an honest look at your life, and if unproductive habits are keeping you from success, push yourself to make positive changes. When you’re no longer wasting time, you can spend it on activities that propel your success.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your accounting or finance career, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing wants to help. Contact us today to gain access to temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire opportunities with leading employers in the Seattle area!

 

How to Refocus Your Energy When Work Becomes Tedious and Uneventful

March 21st, 2018

Time has a way of standing still when you’re bored at work. Everyone has a tedious and eventful day now and then, but if this has become your standard, it’s time to do something about it. Battling this issue might simply involve a change in your routine or something more intense, like searching for new Seattle accounting jobs.

Either way, you deserve to have a job that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, so get to work and find a solution.

Four Ways to Refocus Your Energy When You’re Bored With Your Job

Switch Up Your Routine

Following the same schedule, every single day can quickly become monotonous. Work might be feeling tedious and uneventful because you’re tired of working on autopilot, not because you’re actually bored with the job itself. Stimulate your mind by changing something in your routine each day, so it feels less rigid, and each day stops blending into the next.

Branch Out

You’ve been in your current job for awhile, and you’re comfortable with all the duties associated with it. It feels reassuring to know how to complete every task on your list, but that can also make your job a little dull. Give yourself a fresh challenge by asking your boss to let you tackle a new initiative. This might involve joining a new project team or take on a new responsibility that excites you.

Learn a New Skill

If you frequently find yourself done with work before quitting time, do something valuable with your day. Find an online training course where you can acquire a new job-relevant skill. Learning something new is a productive use of time, and it will make you feel invigorated. Applying this skill to your current job might make it more enjoyable, and at the very least, it will look good on your resume.

Seek New Opportunities

You’re far too talented to waste your time at on a job that no longer satisfies you. If you feel like there’s nothing left to accomplish at your current job, it’s time to move on. Since you’re gainfully employed, take the time to find a new opportunity that perfectly suits your skills and interests.

Feeling bored in your current accounting or finance job? If you’re ready to make a career move, Accountingpros Recruiting + Staffing is here to assist. Contact us today to connect with a leading Seattle area employer searching for temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, or direct-hire talent like you!