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Education is king.

Charles Osaki has been in public accounting for 28 years as an audit professional and then a human resources and stalling" director. He is a principal at RBZ and leads the human resource, training and marketing functions. He's also co-chair of CalCRA's Accounting Education Committee, a member of the advisory committee for the master of taxation program at CSU Northridge and a volunteer leader for the Hoy Scouts of America. We caught up with Charlie to get his thoughts on the above, and on another one of his passions on-site education.


What are the benefits of in-house CPE?

Flexibility, effectiveness and economics. In-house CPE has enabled us to designate ''training seasons" between the busiest times of our practice. We provide assurance and tax sendees in seven niche areas, so our training needs are substantial. We need to address technical needs of our clients and stay on top of emerging issues. In-house training allows us the flexibility we need to incorporate that input into course content. Also, course fees and travel costs are less with in-house CPE.

Why the Education Foundation?

The Education Foundation understands our needs. For instance, they have the instructor work directly with us so we can modify the content to meet our specific needs. In situations where we had a topic we wanted taught in-house that was not offered by the Foundation, they have always identified a suitable instructor for our course. The Foundation has really become a training partner for our firm a resource hub of sorts fin-instructors, course content and training materials.

How do you see your partnership with the Foundation growing?

First, we developed a soft skills curriculum and have started to use the Foundation as a resource for this particular facet of our firm-wide training program. They helped us find a resource for two interpersonal-communication courses. The other area is administrative. As our training seasons become evident, the Foundation will be able to help us ensure that we schedule recurring courses in advance so we can identify appropriate electives and topics.

What are the greatest education needs for recent college grads?

Verbal and written communication. The ability to take a complex matter, break it down and communicate it so that it can be understood by others, whether they're accounting savvy or not, is a real gift.

What would you change about undergraduate accounting education?

The need to achieve substantial equivalency with other states, which will allow mobility for California CPAs to practice in other states, is a critical change on the horizon. Through the passage of AB 819, California will require 150 hours of college education along with some curriculum requirements that are yet to be determined. The effective date is 2014. This is a good thing for California practitioners.

What attracted you to CalCPA's Accounting Education Committee?

I wanted the chance to work directly with a few (acuity members I knew were on the committee. 1 have come to appreciate the issues that educators lace and the importance of the need for practitioners and educators to communicate with one another about how to resolve those issues.

What are your goals as committee co-chair?

It's critical that the AEC's goals and activities are consistent with that of the CalCPA Board. My co-chairs, Valerie Milleron (CSU Chico) through 2009 and now. Chrislynn Freed (USC), have been essential to getting a diverse group of people to identify agree and work on relevant educational and career-related issues facing public accounting. One of our other goals is for my co-chair and I to identify and recruit committee members who represent faculty at both public and private universities throughout California. We also want a fair representation of public accounting firms and private companies that hire accounting graduates.

What is the key to a good HR policy?

It's essential that the nature of human resource policies are communicated to employees in a clear and timely manner and that they understand the importance of the policies to the employer. Merely referring to the employee manual without an explanation of why the policy is in force and how it's tied to their own behavior will not motivate high performance or promote an interactive firm culture. A good human resource policy drives desired behavior consistent with your company's mission statement.

What do new hires want ... besides money?

Clarity of their role in the organization. New hires want to feel they are part of the firm and express that they are looking for a stable environment in which to prove themselves. Candidates also inquire about how many hours we work during busy season and whether we sponsor a work visa. These areas reflect a desire for advancement, sustaining high performance and a work/life balance. Also, international students continue to comprise a large portion of the hiring base.

What was it like volunteering at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree?

It was a terrific experience. We had between 7,000 and 8,000 adult volunteers to help make the event a memorable one for the 37,000 boy scouts attending this event. I learned that to provide food, infrastructure, medical care and transportation was a heroic undertaking. Another memorable moment was when my son, Trevor (a new Eagle Scout), spotted me in a crowd and yelled, "Dad!"
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Title Annotation:finalentry
Publication:California CPA
Article Type:Interview
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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