Category Archives: Content Creation

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4 Steps to Better Meatballs

Category : Blog , Content Creation

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4 Steps to Better Meatballs!

Keep these simple rules in mind and you are on your way!

Keep it moist-use milk, cheese or veggies to keep your balls moist.

Pack in the flavor-Keep ingredients fresh and flavorful.

Surprise me-Add secret ingredients. Change it up sometimes. You can add different spices to take the balls in many directions: sweet, sour, or savory. Try different, types of ground meat or meat alternatives. It isn’t all about the beef you know!

Do not over-cook! If you overcook the meat, then you won’t be able to achieve rule number one, keeping it moist.

How do I keep from overcooking my balls you ask? Let’s review: utilize fresh, flavorful ingredients, including milk and/or cheese, eggs and breadcrumbs for a plump, airy ball.

Go long and be sure to cook those balls through. However, don’t overdo it! These balls do not need to be crisp on the outside, unlike the edges of a finely cooked burger.

You can mix it up, as suggested in surprise me. Here are a few of my standard ingredients for the better ball.  Top Grade beef, with a little fat, not too much, not too lean. Milk, shredded Italian cheeses, fresh, pressed garlic, very, finely ground breadcrumbs, fresh, finely chopped basil, pepper, salt, splash of worcestershire sauce, a beaten egg. Then mix and form balls by hand.

Balls can be formed in many, different, sizes, depending on personal taste. Be sure to make them uniform in size, so they cook through for the same amount of time.

The next pertinent question is: to dress or not to dress? Your balls may be the main dish, an appetizer, or part of a pasta dinner. Depending on the answer to this, you may dress them with marinara, a creamy alfredo, BBQ, or teriyaki sauce. You decide; similar to burgers, balls are very versatile and a fit for many an occasion ranging from casual to gourmet.

“Pardon me, but could you pass the balls?” Just like the Grey Poupon commercial, your balls will be in high demand. Speaking of, mustard is another great ingredient to add into the mix or spread on top!

Now, you are well on your way to mouthwatering, pleasing balls every time!


******Why is this post on a marketing website you ask? Well, first, as an example of our content creation. Second, to show how voice and tone of passage can influence the message you are trying to send. And third, the content may seem completely off-topic, but if it catches their attention and keeps the reader engaged you have the opportunity to take the audience where you want them to go. Maybe this entire post was leading up selling Grey Poupon? So, this is one way to put in product placement without feeling sold to. ******************

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Why are there so few women in STEM?

Category : Blog , Content Creation


Why are there so few women in STEM?

We are all hearing about STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) in education with the fairly, recent push to fully incorporate it into the public school system. Now, even in Kindergarten, they have hands-on STEM projects every week to work on. Despite these efforts, there continues to be a lack of female presence in STEM occupations. This fact has not gone unnoticed by major figure-heads and influential speakers on women’s issues.

Hillary Clinton is not blind to this reality and is calling for change. In a speech she gave at San Jose State University she stated: “We must focus on how we can help women and girls break through ceilings that hold them back,” Clinton continued “It’s the unfinished business of the 20th century.” Reported the San Jose Business Journal.

Is Hillary right? ABSOLUTELY! Statistics reported by the US Department of Commerce, state that women represent only 24% of the STEM workforce and the overall number of women receiving STEM degrees has continued to decrease.

Hilary Clinton encourages female students to major in STEM fields

Further, in another report from the US Department of Commerce conducted in 2011; “only one in seven engineering workers is female, while only 27 percent of computer science jobs are held by women.” To add insult to injury, women are reported to graduate college at higher numbers than their male counterparts, however, they are much less likely to graduate with a STEM-related degree (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.)

We are left wondering why?

There are so many variables that go into the why of this issue: confidence, gender roles, accessibility, to name just a few. According to Heather Huhman with Forbes “The problem starts as early as grade school. Young girls are rarely encouraged to pursue math and science, which is problematic considering studies show a lack of belief in intellectual growth can actually inhibit it. In addition, there exists an unconscious bias that science and math are typically “male” fields while humanities and arts are primarily “female” fields, and these stereotypes further inhibit girls’ likelihood of cultivating an interest in math and science.” Heather Huhman makes a very accurate and strong point here and there is further study to support her position.

There have been many studies conducted to show that girls start off strong in these areas, but with lack of support by teachers and parents, once in high school, girls are no longer leading the boys. “Teachers fail to see girls’ raised hands, and limit their interactions with girls to social, non-academic topics. Boys may be expected to lead the pack in these areas and when a girl shows a proficiency in STEM subjects it can be seen as trivial and fleeting.” Teachers are not the villain here, however, more likely societal gender roles have set this bias in place.

For more information on this issue refer to Teaching for Gender Difference by Dale Baker It is an eye-opening account of what happens to young girls in the classroom.

How do we solve this problem?

First off, I believe we are on the right track offering STEM education at a much younger age. Reaching children at a young age and building their interest and thusly, confidence in these sometimes difficult areas.

Second, I think we educate teachers to encourage young girls to follow their interest in STEM. No teacher is trying to be bias, however, training and awareness of such biases can help alleviate them in the long run.

Third, I think we make access to higher education in these field extremely incising to woman by offering grants and scholarships to gain a bachelor’s in these fields of study. Women are a minority in these courses and as such, deserve recognition and incentive to pursue an advanced degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.

Corporations can also weigh in by encouraging female applicants, offering internships and placing female college students or entry-level employees with a mentor to guide them in their career advancement.

Those are just a few ways we can direct change on this issues. The first step is awareness and there are in fact a lot of programs in place to address this issue.

A few of those include:

National Girls Collaborative Project

The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) encourages young girls to begin a career in a STEM field. They accomplish this by offering several publications on the matter of the lack of female presence in these career fields. And act as a collaborative group consisting of many organizations across the country.

Association for Career and Technical Education

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), is the largest association of its kind, addressing pedagogical issues in technology education. The association provides resources for teachers of these subjects and is highly involved in advocacy work. They in fact lobby policymakers on behalf of improving technical education in schools.

Association for Women in Science

The Association for Women in Science, or AWIS, is a professional organization for women who work in STEM jobs. They offer many resources for women working in these fields such as continued education, literature, workshops in addition to coaching and mentoring services.

There are several other organizations for women in STEM careers and many to help get females in these fields.

For a comprehensive list please see:

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Social love

4 Be’s of Content Creation: Less Ego More Love

Content Creation: Less Ego More Love

What is the coming wave of content creation?

Identifying, creating and sharing your company or brand through culture. I think these lessons can be applied to life as well as business content.

This is done first off by checking your ego at the door. Know who you are and echo your values, goals and personality through the tone of the content.

Michael Brenner, the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred sums this up well in  his post How To Build A Culture of Content

“The simple fact is that the best way to sell more stuff is to help your target audience better than anyone else. And the worst way to try and reach your target audience in today’s digital, consumer-led world is to try and sell yourself directly. Ads are what we try to avoid.”

Through my experience and research, I have come up with the following simple components of Culture Content:

  • Be aware
    • Listen to your customers.
    • Know who and where they are.
  • Be relevant
    • Stay on point. (I, all too often diverge.)
    • Topic of interest to your customer segment.
  • Be helpful
    • Answer all customer questions and comments.
    • Share your knowledge and expertise.
  • Most of all Be yourself
    • Transparency-Make the invisible visible. (Take a peek under the kimono, so to speak!)
    • Authenticity- Facilitate genuine and relevant engagement.

Marcella Chamorro (2012) writes in To Be or Like to Be-The Need for Authentic Online Marketing in the Age of the Ultra-Informed Consumer.

“Consumers who feel engaged and hold positive association with an organization’s authenticity are more appreciative of the brand’s interactions, and much more willing to recommend it to others.”

Ultimately, this is what we are striving for through our social media campaigns, customer loyalty and evangelists to spread the digital word-of-mouth.

As these components of communication can easily be applied to our personal lives, perhaps it holds true that we should treat our customers like friends or at the very least welcomed guests in our home.

In closing, one last brilliant quote from Michael Brenner

“It takes executives who embody this spirit – living and breathing the notion that your brand is more than what you sell.”

Here at Solter Consulting you will find that we do what we say and say what we do and mean it!

Let us know how we can help your business grow.


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Content Creation

Category : Content Creation

Here is a small sampling of client content we have created:

8 Easy Steps for Winning at Small Business Mobile SEO


Small business owners have a lot to manage when it comes to owning and operating a business. These days, understanding the role the Internet plays in how customers search, find, and buy products and services is an absolute necessity for survival. As part of that equation, embracing the power of online marketing and understanding how mobile search can drive business growth is critical as well.

Let’s back up. Google’s algorithm update, dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” rolled out in the summer of 2015 and prioritized mobile-friendly websites in searches. This was brought about by the fact that local search queries occur more frequently on mobile devices, with those searches typically leading to a sale or impromptu visit more quickly than others.

How do you learn if your site is mobile friendly? Start with Google’s Webmaster Tools – they provide a simple test to see how your website shows up in search results.

Once you’ve done the test, follow these eight simple steps to ensure your website (aka, your business) is mobile SEO ready:

  1. Is your website responsive? The information contained on your site needs to provide a user-friendly, visually-appealing experience across any device – including computers, smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Here’s an example:
  1.  Think like your customers. Don’t build your website for your preferences. Develop it with your prospective customers’ needs in mind. Think about what they are looking for when they pick up a device to search for something your business offers – and build it accordingly. Also, be sure to use strong and short keywords to help them find your business quickly.
  2. Focus on the user experience. Mobile searchers are looking for quick solutions. When developing your mobile website make sure that buttons and clickable areas on your site are easy to find and are easily manipulated with just a thumb. Place your call-to-action at the top of the page, and limit the amount of information you require to be input into forms and fields.
  1. Quality design counts. To ensure a top-notch user experience, focus on creating navigation for your site that is easy to use, is appropriately spaced, and has plenty of “tap-able” targets. This will ensure you’ll always have happy searchers. Google craves text that is readable without needing to tap or zoom. As such, make sure the fonts you use and other design elements are visually-appealing and easy to use.
  1. Users want speed. A quick loading mobile site ensures that people find what they want, when they want it. Use HTML5 and avoid anything that stops your site from loading quickly (i.e. pop-ups, overly large imagery). Also, be sure your site design accommodates simple swiping motions and finger taps.
  1. Get to the point. “Real estate” on smaller screens is limited, so make sure the content on your mobile website is crafted to make the most of that space by making the information your customers need immediately accessible upon landing on your mobile site.
  1. Don’t forget click-to-call buttons. People use local search because they are interested in visiting your business. Whether you own a law firm, a dental practice, or a restaurant, the fewer hoops they have to jump through to connect with you, the better. Including a click-to-call button on your site makes it as simple as a single click to do just that.
  1. The devil is in the details. While this may sound obvious, this is oftentimes the most overlooked part of local search optimization. Think about the essential information your customers need – such as your full business address, business hours, images of your business, directions, and phone numbers. Accuracy and added detail here will help increase your ranking in local searches.

This should get your mobile website moving in the right direction. If you are unsure how to tackle mobile search optimization on your own, the team at YP℠​ will be happy to help.


Changing Careers: How to Successfully Navigate a Career Pivot at Any Age

In part because employers and human resources professionals tend to box you into the last position you held – and question why you want to make such a large leap in job titles – making a big career change is rarely easy.

As a former teacher, I want to shake these HR professionals up a bit and say “What exactly do you think it takes to be a successful teacher? I AM a leader, project manager, mentor… I’ve shown extreme flexibility, the ability to multi-task and emotional intelligence… I’m everything you’re looking for!”

“The job description should read: Have you ever been a teacher? Well, then you are awesome and can do anything. You’re hired!”

But they don’t… and we career changers remain frustrated.

Why do People Change Careers?

Changing careers can be traumatic, so why upset the apple cart? Why put yourself back at the starting line?

For me the why was multi-faceted. I found little job satisfaction in working retail, administrative and hospitality jobs. I wasn’t paid well enough to leave my young children in daycare all day. My unique thoughts and ideas weren’t heard or valued. There was really no upward trajectory. I then taught for several years and that felt different; it was very satisfying but extremely difficult to work with children all day and come home to my two as well.

For many reasons, I needed a change. And I think many young careerists, despite different circumstances, feel the same way.

What Do I Want to Do? And Who Needs What I Do Well?

I thought long and hard in regard to my career options.

For me, it was fairly easy to decide where I belonged: I know my mind needs something that moves fast, is ever-changing, creative both visually and mentally, incorporates storytelling, building relationships and is collaborative by nature. Plus, I like math. I like analyzing things. I like seeing tangible results for hard work.

So I asked myself: What type of opportunities, or companies, consider all those skills a high priority? Who needs me?

And those are the questions you must ask yourself: What do you do really well that also makes you happy? And who needs exactly what you do well?

Do You Have the Right Pedigree?

Once I decided what I wanted to do. I looked into the ‘How’. How do I make this happen? How do I learn the skills I need to be successful at delivering brilliant marketing strategy from creation through execution?

I looked at online marketing programs. The program that fit me the best was New Media and Internet Marketing with the University of Denver. My first course was Web Analytics 2.0. BINGO- I loved it! Originally, I was only going after a certificate, but the classes were so well done with professors who worked in the field; and the University of Denver was seamless, extremely efficient in their process that I continued onto the Master’s program and enjoyed every minute.

No matter what you think you want to do, or how good you are at your chosen profession, employers will still look at your pedigree. On paper, do you have the right skills? The right education? The right experience and contacts? Figure out which holes you have in your career profile… and fill them.

The Case for Entrepreneurial Spirit

The world no longer revolves around a traditional 9-to-5 job. And many career changers have not only accepted this fact; they’ve embraced it as a way to launch their new career.

Having a bit of entrepreneurial blood running through me, I immediately translated the skills I learned in class into a business. I started a boutique agency. I serviced many small businesses providing website creation, social media strategy, content creation, website analytics and SEO – a buffet of `a la carte digital marketing services for the small business owner.

Now, when you start out you may have to wrangle your mechanic, hair dresser and pet sitter into becoming clients. You may need to barter for free and discounted services in exchange for your expertise, but it is a starting point and a “resume builder;” soon you will be on your way to paying clients, all while amassing experience.

The moral of this story: don’t focus on just finding another job… instead, find a way to produce income that leverages your skills and niche. And know: your entrepreneurial spirit may be the way to get where you want to go.

After several years, I can honestly say that I love what I do. I have a very flexible schedule (perfect for the working mom.) Each client is special and unique and I am living the American dream running my own business. And I can say with all the self-awareness possible: I am one old dog that did learn new tricks… and my career change has been a huge success.

I wish you the same success on your journey to find fulfilling work – and a great career!


The 4 G’s of Exceptional Leadership

I recently started working here at Switch & Shift, and I find myself surrounded by a League of Extraordinary Thinkers and speakers on change leadership, rebellious thought, and Career Wealth. I challenge myself to “Awaken the Leader in Me”, inspired by the leadership book by Mitesh Khatri.

I know many other people must be in the same boat as me if the topic warranted a book to be written. Working closely with the posts on Switch & Shift, I can’t help but be influenced by the words and thoughts of our great social leaders.

It has forced me to ask myself: ”What does it take to be an outstanding leader? And what characteristics in particular do I think I possess, and what do I need to work on?”

Qualities of a Remarkable Leader

  1. Grit

I recently ran across two posts about Grit; one here on Switch & Shift  – The Modern Abuse of Grit – and another on INC. – The 7 Habits of People with Remarkable Mental Toughness – by Jeff Haden.

I am intrigued by the concept of grit. It is a seldom used word, but a quality many leaders, past and present, have in spades. In my mind, grit equates to fortitude, resilience, and gumption (ah, another G!) and the ability to take risks and recover from them if need be; the ability to get back on your feet no matter what you’re fighting.

  1. Grace

Grit is not the only quality of a remarkable leader. Gracein some ways the opposite of how we picture grit, is also a quality of remarkable leaders. Grace seems feminine and delicate in the face of grit. Grit conjures up images of Clint Eastwood in his Mexican poncho, chewing on a cigarillo in the classic film, The Good, Bad and the Ugly.

In stark contrast to grit, grace makes one think of an angel. Grace is not only fluid movements in body, but in mind. Knowing what to say, and when, is an essential trait of a leader. Grace is sure-footedness in mind and spirit, confidence without cockiness. An ability to see the whole picture without prejudice. It is fair-mindedness, coupled with an open mind and an open heart. Can you think of a better quality for today’s leaders?

  1. Growth

Growth is a most necessary component of phenomenal leadership. No one was born being a leader. I agree that some children, even as babies, seem to exhibit initial leadership qualities. And there are individuals who inherently possess an uncanny ability to get people to listen, admire and follow them. Not every great leader was born this way however. The best leaders experience tremendous growth throughout their lives, personally and in their careers. In turn, these leaders know through their own growth, how important it is to give their employees or followers the opportunity to evolve and strive to reach their potential as well.

  1. Gratitude

Gratitude rounds out my 4 G’s of Exceptional Leadership. If you have grit, you earned it through working hard to achieve your goals despite life’s obstacles. Along the way, you differentiate yourself from others by developing grace; an ability to know what to do and say with kindness and clarity. These characteristics are acquired through personal and professional growth. And if you have traveled this road you most likely have much gratitude for where you are and the path that brought you here.

Great leaders show this gratitude in many ways; through mentoring and giving back. Thought leaders share their wisdom and act as mentors to those who find knowledge and comfort in their words and actions. Highly successful innovators are aware that they got some lucky breaks along the way and, in fact, they alone are not responsible for their prosperity. Further, they acknowledge that being on top today does not define you, nor does it mean you will stay there. Be thankful for the moment and all the small steps that got you there along the way.

In assessing my own leadership path, I give myself high marks in two of the four Gs, with an average on a third and low on the fourth. Which Gs you ask? Well, I’m not telling; we are all a work in progress and my goal is to improve every day. Some days the change seems incremental, while on others noticeable strides are made.

We all get where we are going in our own way and in our own time. I hope to see you on the road!

What is a W-2?


Simply put, a W-2 is a tax form your employer sends you, known as a Wage and Tax Statement. Sounds simple, then why are there so many boxes and codes? Familiarizing yourself with the most important parts of this form can help you understand the income you made, taxes you paid, and prepare you for filing your tax return.


Most taxpayers are considered employees and will receive a W-2 from their employer(s) by February 2, 2015. In addition to the wages, salaries and tips you made, the W-2 reports the amount of federal, state, and other taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you are not considered an employee, then your income will be reported on a different form. Independent contractors typically receive a 1099-MISC.


Your employer withholds money from your paycheck for federal income taxes. When you prepare your tax return, you compare the amount withheld to the amount of tax you owe. If too much was withheld, you get a tax refund. If too little was withheld, you owe additional taxes.


This is the best part of using TaxAct – they deal with all of this for you. Our easy to use software helps you enter this data in the right place and we do all the calculations for you. If you’re the curious type, here’s what the most frequently used boxes mean.

  • Box 1:Wages, tips, and other compensation. This is the amount of your total taxable wages or salary being reported to the IRS for federal income tax purposes. This amount includes any wages, salary, tips you reported, bonuses, and other taxable compensation.
  • Box 2:Federal income tax withheld. This is the total amount of Federal Income Tax withholdings from your paychecks. This represents the amount of federal taxes your employer has withdrawn throughout the year.
  • Box 3:Social Security wages. Box 3 reports the total amount of wages subject to the Social Security tax.
  • Box 4:Social Security tax withheld. This box reports the entire amount of Social Security taxes withheld from your paychecks. Usually, the Social Security tax2 is a flat tax rate of 6.2% on your wage income, up to a maximum wage base of $117,700 (for tax year 2014).
  • Box 5:Medicare wages and tips. Box 5 is the amount of wages subject to the Medicare tax. Medicare wages includes any deferred compensation, 401(k) contributions, or other fringe benefits that are excluded from the federal income tax.
  • Box 6:Medicare tax withheld. This is the amount of tax withheld from your paycheck for the Medicare tax. The Medicare tax is a based on a 1.45% flat tax rate of your total Medicare wages.
  • Box 12:Deferred Compensation and Other Compensation. Box 12 will have a single or double letter code followed by a dollar amount. It can report many types of income, such as a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or a Health Savings Plan (HSA). Often box 12 is for your information only. Here’s a detailed list of box 12 codes.

There are several other boxes on your W-2 that may have information in them, but boxes 1 – 6 are the most common. If you have data in those other boxes, enter them into Common Form and we’ll deal with them appropriately.


When you finish your tax return and get ready to file it, remember that a copy of your W-2 must be attached. If you e-file using tax software then your W-2 information is sent along with your tax return. However, if you are filing by mail then you need to include a copy of your W-2 in the envelope.



The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest


Recently, some folks here at Common Form began a virtual journey across the U.S. to find the Top Accounting Schools in each region of the country. As a follow up to our two previous rankings, The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the West and The Top 10 Accounting Schools on the East Coast, we braved tornados and the Wicked Witch of the East to find the top schools in the Midwest. While we didn’t find Oz, we did find accounting gold spun out of straw.

The criteria used to evaluate these schools include:

  • Job placement rates and average starting salary for graduates
  • Awards and recognition
  • Faculty and staff
  • Funds generated and allocated for research

We present to you the very best that the Midwest has to offer in accounting education,The Top 10 Accounting Schools in the Midwest.




Starting our list off in fine form with a ranking of #10 is Northern Illinois University, College of Business. This mighty Illinois business school beat out two well-known alternates to secure its rank in our top 10 list. “Finish the Fight!” Well done Huskies! What sets this university apart is the offering of a Master of Accounting Science in Leadership.  A rare degree taught by their notable faculty. This program provides students with leadership skills and the ability to effectively make important business decisions. Having the distinction of being ranked #1 in Illinois by Businessweek for providing the greatest return on investment (calculated by salary earned per annual tuition dollar spent). A degree from NIU is money well spent.  Students from NIU are expected to make a mid-career salary of $ 120,000 with 94% being offered employment upon graduation.



Next in the line-up with a solid #9 is University of Missouri, Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business and they MIZ BIZ! 2014 was a memorable year for the university, marking the 100 year anniversary of the school’s existence. This birthday hasn’t slowed down the University of Missouri a bit, even if it is a centenarian, as they recently launched their Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program. This is a highly selective entrepreneurial program for students including a 10 week paid summer internship. University of Missouri didn’t stop there. The year was also notable for faculty member Elaine Mauldin, as her research on audit fees was published by the Wallstreet Journal. All this bodes well for students with an advanced degree from Trulaske, as they can expect an average mid-career salary of $125,000,with 96% of students finding employment soon after graduation.



Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business pulls in an honorable #8 in our ranking. The Master of Science in Accounting program boasts that it “readies students to become leaders in the accounting industry.” The Eli Broad College of Business ranked #13 in the Accounting Degree Review 2014 Best Accounting School Super Ranking. This ranking combines BusinessweekPublic Accounting Report, and U.S. News & World Report and that is why it is super! Research plays a role in deciding those rankings and Michigan State College of business takes it quite seriously with 6 research centers total. Two of which include the Center for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Entrepreneurial Finance (CVCPEEF)  and the Demmer Center for Business Transformation. The school is also known for the Ernst & Young Communication Center which offers students career preparation, so it comes as no surprise that 99% of Eli Broad graduates find themselves quickly employed with an average mid-career salary rounding out the $92,000 a year range.



Indiana University – Bloomington, Kelley School of Business is Breaking Away from the pack as these Indiana Hoosiers earn the highly coveted lucky #7. The accounting program has also been recognized by U.S. News and World Report and TaxTalent as a top 10 graduate accounting program. The curriculum at Kelley School of Business “mirrors real-world situations.” Students are expected to participate in consulting projects in cooperation with top corporations. Kelley accounting faculty is unrivaled by other larger institutions. Patrick Hopkins was honored by the American Accounting Association for his research uncovering companies that hid poor accounting practices to make their bottom line look better than it really was. With remarkable faculty like Patrick, students are well prepared to take on a career in accounting and are highly sought after for a close to 100% employment rate and an average mid-career salary of $103,000.



The University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business is located in Northern Indiana and while there is no hunchback lurking in the school bell tower, legend has it that you can still hear echoes of “Rudy, Rudy” being chanted through the stadium corridors. These “fighting Irish” do business as well as they do football, earning a respectable #6 on our list. The Accounting department is recognized for its Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE), whose objective is to “strengthen the bridges between accounting research, accounting education, and accounting practice.” According to Public Accounting Report and TaxTalent Mendoza College placed 4th in the nation and is a highly favored institution among tax hiring authorities. It makes perfect sense, that 99% of Mendoza College graduates had an immediate job offer and enjoy an average mid-career salary of $119,000 a year.



University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business comes in at #5 and that is no Field of Dreams! UI is located in the small percentage of the state that is not dominated by farmland. The Tippie Master of Accountancy program puts the power in the hands of the students with four concentrations from which to choose.  Offerings are in Financial/Auditing, Management Information Systems, Managerial Accounting, or Tax. The Accounting department faculty is top in their field. Many have been recognized for their pace-setting curriculum. Ramji Balakrishnan is a bit of a Tippie celebrity on campus with many acclaimed published works in the accounting field, including “The Influence of Institutional Constraints on Outsourcing,” published in the Journal of Accounting Research, 2010. 48(4): 767-791. Due to the stellar preparation, Tippie students who took the CPA exam for the first time had an excellent CPA pass rate of around 75%. Graduates of UI often earn an average mid-career salary of $86,000 annually. 93% of students are employed upon graduation.



Don’t be confused by the name, you won’t see any farmer’s tans at the Miami University (Ohio), Farmer School of Business. This business school is nestled in the Ohio Valley just miles from Cincinnati and has earned the #4 spot on our list of 10. Farmer School of Business is no novice to this type of recognition. The graduate accounting program routinely falls in the top 20 of Public Accounting Report’s list of top programs. Farmer is extremely competitive only accepting 20-25 students each year. They are well-known for their Experimental Learning including the Center for Business Excellence (CBE), which serves as a bridge that connects faculty, their students and external stakeholders. Another Farmer innovation in education is the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Case Competition, which prepares students by requiring them to work in teams to solve hypothetical problems relating to taxes and tax code. It is no wonder that graduate employment rate is 98% with active recruitment by “The Big Four accounting firms.” Their average mid-career salary runs around $81,000.

Depaul (1)


Winning the bronze medal is DePaul University. This school is the highest ranked Chicago business college according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2014 national rankings of undergraduate business programs. The graduate school was named for Charles H. Kellstadt, the former CEO and chairman of Sears. Roebuck & Co, in 1992. The Accountancy program is credited with three programs ranked in the top 10 according to corporate tax hiring authorities surveyed by The college’s Master of Science in Taxation program was ranked No. 2, Master of Science in Accountancy program was ranked No. 3, and the undergraduate accounting program placed No. 6 nationally. Graduates of this fine institution become part of a close-knit alumni network in the accounting field. It follows that an impressive 90% of graduates find themselves gainfully employed within 6 months of graduation and on average earn a mid-career salary of $120,000.



Second place is The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business. Earning Fisher this distinction is its unprecedented student-faculty ratio of 3-to-1. This individual attention helps students excel and exceed even their own expectations. Fisher College of Business does not only set the pace for learning, their research centers are impeccable.Charles A. Dice Center for Financial Economics is just one of 10 extraordinary research centers setting the standard for innovation and best practices. The College of Business enjoys a ranking of 11th and 12th in U.S News & World Report and Public Accounting Report, respectively. Another aspect of the program that sets the Buckeye’s apart is its flexibility. 78% of the coursework is made up of electives. Students can pick and choose from: financial reporting, managerial decision making, finance, taxation, and auditing. The school has a strong job placement assistance program FisherConnect. Graduates can expect calls from top firms such as: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, Limited Brands, and Chase, putting the post-graduate employment rate at 92% with an average mid-career salary of $96,000 a year.



The blue ribbon goes to the third Illinois business school in the line-up, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, College of Business. University of Illinois, the second centenarian on our list has been running a remarkable accounting program for 100 years. The university is  in the news not only for putting their controversial mascot Chief Illiniwek to rest, the business school ranked in the top 3 in both U.S. News & World Reportand Public Accounting Report. Maybe their next mascot should be King ROI, as they were ranked #5 in a national survey for educational return on investment. Additionally, University of Illinois is leader in research. Two highly regarded research programs on campus include KPMG & UIUC Business Measurement Research Program which supports research on new measurement, reporting and assurance concepts. The V. K. Zimmerman Center was originally known as the Center for International Education and Research in Accounting (CIERA). It remains a leader in the nation conducting research on the study and teaching of international topics as they relate to the field of accounting. 98% of graduates quickly find themselves employed and enjoy a highly successful career in the business world, earning an average mid-career salary of $100,000. Bravo University of Illinois!

If you enjoyed The Top Accounting Schools of the Midwest, stay tuned for our next journey through the southern part of the country to find the Top 10 Accounting Schools of the South. It is not all BBQ and Big Hair, many of the country’s finest business institutions call the South home.



Get Fit to Lead: 8 Leadership Development Goals [Infographic]

It’s that time again; we’ll be ringing in the New Year, making resolutions and promising to get in better shape. Here at Switch & Shift we challenge you to get your Leadership Skills in shape. We can support you along the way with our blog chock full of tips and leadership ideation.

Let’s get this year started with this infographic, courtesy of the folks at Michigan State University; if their Professors are any example of their development training, we are indeed in good hands!

Highlighted in this infographic are the Habits of Successful Leaders. It is always a good tactic to lead by example. Find a mentor. 64 percent of corporations are speeding up leadership development and 44 percent are increasing spend on executive education, signifying that now is the time to take action and sharpen our thought-leadership.

8 Leadership Development Goals

Preparation, Character, Principles, Personality, Performance, Experience, Expression, and Influence create a line up as powerful as the Big 10 Champion Spartan Football Team.

Follow the Steps to Action and you are on your way, and check back with us for your daily dose of Leadership Mental Wealth.

Habits of Successful Leaders
Infographic by Michigan State University, earn your Strategic Leadership & Management Certificate

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Switch & Shift-The Human side of Business

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Friendly Submission Reminder…

Hello Leaguers,
This is your friendly reminder that we have you scheduled for a monthly article submission for the 15th of January.

We know how busy the holidays are; if you are unable to meet the January 1st deadline, do not fret. We understand and are always happy to receive submissions later in January, but please let us know.

We are planning more activities for Leaguers to network and get to know one another in the near future, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, please join our closed Facebook group

There are also some new additions to our Leaguer community we will be introducing to the group in the New Year.

We are currently scheduling posts 2-3 weeks out, so please note new posts may not run for a few weeks after submission. If you require specific dates for a particular post, please reach out and we will accommodate if possible.

Our leader tip this month is to get creative, ring in the New Year by doing something different to change your perspective. Try on a pair of crazy socks or something that isn’t your norm to help you think outside of the box. Predict a trend for 2016, coin a new term, think from a different perspective, #creatementalwealth.

Some of you requested writing prompts, here are some hot topics in the Leadership arena:

  • The future of HR – is it really doomed?
  • People Centric HR Departments that Work
  • Using Tech Effectively for HR
  • How to Evolve HR Department to be more people centric – where does the change begin?
  • How will Millennial Managers impact work culture? (the oldest are turning 36 this year!)

Not inspired to write? We are continuing to enrich our content, so infographics, video blogs, slide shares and alternative types of content are welcome.

We wish you a safe, healthy and magical holiday season.

Thank you again for all that you do and being a part of making Switch & Shift a top leadership blog.


Charmian Solter
Switch & Shift



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This keeps you in the driver’s seat.

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Give us a call, what do you have to lose?

Reach out to Jeff and schedule your FREE Telecommunication solution consultation.

We do the research for you. We handle the bid process and present your team with all the options available in order to make an informed decision that best fits your business needs.

“The nicest guy in Telecom”

Jeff LaMirand:

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Unified Communications

Five reasons to replace phone, fax, etc. with unified communications

by Robert Cini

What is UC? It’s the confluence of five capabilities into a single communications system. They are:

  • IP telephony, or voice communications over the Internet.
  • Instant messaging, or communicating in text format over a range of devices such as smartphones and PCs.
  • Conferencing, or a combination of audio, video and visual information sharing among individuals at different locations.
  • Unified messaging, or the sending/receiving of voice mails, emails, faxes and so forth across a variety of devices such as smartphones and PCs.
  • Presence, or the ability of end-users to communicate their current status, as well as specifying how and when they can be communicated with.

Rather than your business needing an array of separate telecommunications tools, such as a fax machine and a desktop phone handset, UC systems bring all of these elements together into a single, integrated entity.




Connectivity Consultants, LLC
Austin, TX

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Summer is Fast Approaching!

The school year is drawing to a close and it is time to start thinking Summer Vacation!

As soon as you book your summer vacation, you think about your dog, cat, hamster or fish that has to stay home and miss out on the fun. Poor Fifi! But with Amy’s Pet Butler, they will have a summer camp of their own!

Hugs, scritches, walks and activities make Amy’s Pet Butler the most requested pet sitters in Lakeway and Cedar Park.

Book Now! Our calendar get filled up fast.

Your Friends are Our Friends!

With our Refer a Friend Program, anyone you refer, who uses us for 3 or more visits will earn you 10% off of your entire scheduled pet service.

It doesn’t get better than that!

Professional Pet Sitting

Amy: (512) 797-6764

Stacy: (512) 560-6087

Keeping Pets Cool in the Summer

The summer in Texas sizzles! Here are few tips to bare in mind to keep your favorite, furry friends comfortable and safe this summer.

1. Don’t leave your pet in the car unattended.

That quick stop to pick up dry cleaning can turn into 30 minutes when you run into your best friend Sally. It only takes a few minutes for your pet’s temperature to elevate to an unsafe level.

2. Make sure your pets that stay outside in the yard have plenty of shade and fresh water at all times. 

You pet needs some form of shade to take respite from the Texas heat. Dogs can only cool down by panting and through their paws, so keep a supply of water on hand for the entire day. Perhaps even hose them down at some point.

3. Summer is Mosquito Time! Mosquitos can be a carrier for Heart Worm, which when not caught in time can be lethal to your pooch.

Your vet will tell you more, but many flea preventions are combined with Heart Worm protection.

We love your pets like they are our own!




Amy’s Pet Butler
Cedar Park, TX

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