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 Date: 10/28/2014
 Doors Open: 6:00pm 
 Location: Biltmore Hotel 
  2151 Laurelwood Road 
  Santa Clara, CA 95054 
 Presentation: "Financial Planning for Personal Use" by Jane Louie 
   Cost:Day of Event at the Door 
  $40 members 
  $50 guests 
Discount rate, register and pay using Paypal here 
  $35 members 
  $45 guests 


  Jane Louie - "Financial Planning for Personal Use"


Jane will cover budgeting and planning on various triggers including - retirement (disengage), disability, death, discharge, and divorce.

Jane Louie is a Trusted Advisor and Broker of Executive & Employee Benefit Strategies, Financial Services and Insurance, who's experienced and passionate in serving businesses and individuals for over 10 years in the Insurance & Financial Industry, and 15 years in Business, Systems and Management Consulting. 

Jane provides comprehensive insurance and investment solutions, to public and private sector businesses, associations, multi-generational families, and individuals. 

She helps people to improve, protect, save and grow their income, manage costs, be prepared and resilient to changes in their health, careers, family, and life.

<Register Here>

(click on a Sponsor to be directed to their website)



- September Membership Meeting Recap -
What Makes a Good Leader?
The Secret to Happiness at Work Is the Right Job for Enough Money
6 Financial Planning Misconceptions --  Debunked

The Cost of a Bad Hire - And How to Avoid It


Nicole Letellier

AFWA - Silicon Valley Chapter President

Every year, September is the month for our AFWA National Conference. This year it was in New Orleans. What a great place to hold a conference. In addition to the professional workshops and meetings, attendees were able to enjoy visiting the French Quarters. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but we had our chapter delegates to represent our Silicon Valley Chapter. I can't wait to meet with them to hear all about the great innovations and ideas they are ready to share with us. I am sure they will be eager to discuss what they have learned during the networking session at our October membership meeting. 

For me, September is audit time. Working in the non-profit sector, my organization goes through its yearly annual independent audit. This means having to show my books, explain transactions, and having my journal entries scrutinized, all of which keeps me on my toes all year around. I don't want to get caught by my auditors for not having my books in order. As much as it is disruptive and time consuming, I believe that the process of going through a yearly audit promotes internal control implementation and monitoring, as well as keeping up with GAAP pronouncements and industry standards. At the end of the audit process, our organization is issued their audited financial statements, which are useful for our contributors, donors, and investors. I take pride in having a clean audit. Being a member of AFWA, helps me to keep up with GAAP, industry standards, and best practices through our speakers and networking. I have found that I can get answers to my questions simply by networking at the monthly meeting. There is so much knowledge assembled in a room filled with female accountants and financial professionals, that I have found it to be one of the best networking events I can participate in.

Our speaker this month will talk about financial planning for business use. I am looking forward to learning more about financial planning to bring that knowledge to my organization and our employees.

I hope you will join us and I am looking forward to seeing all of you at our next membership meeting on October 28th at the Biltmore Hotel & Suites in Santa Clara.



Our Board President-Elect Eileen Perry, Scholarship Chair Susan Wright, fellow members Lois Vega, Monika Miles and myself were able to take part in this year's annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

What a great opportunity to network with other women from other chapters across the country and explore the culturally rich French Quarters, Garden District and surrounding areas of New Orleans. 

The conference also had great keynote speakers and CPE topics and members were able to discuss chapter interest topics such as Recruitment, Networking, Board Development and strategic planning during the Member Exchange. Not to mention taste testing the jambalaya, gumbo, beignets, and po boys; the conference was a blast!

We took part in the AFWA Foundation's Amazing Race fundraiser, which was a historic landmark scavenger hunt down Royal street. The foundation raised over $18,000 from the conference!

Check out some photos below and more on our Facebook Page!



Pictured from left to right: Eileen Perry, Edronda Guiriba, Lois Vega, and Susan Wright. 

We sat down with our lunches, ready for the bylaws forum to start!




Lois Vega, Edronda Guiriba and Eileen Perry were the Silicon Valley chapter selected delegates to vote on the bylaw changes and test out new hand-held voting devices. Voting results were counted and projected on screen immediately, which was a new experience from prior years.




Pictured here is one of the keynote speakers Jen Mueller of Talk Sporty To Me, showing off her Seattle Seahawks Superbowl ring with Eileen Perry. 





The night before the last day of the conference, the San Jose members, San Francisco past president Maryann Boller and Ann Berg from the Wyoming chapter enjoyed dinner at the renowned Commander's Palace in the garden district. We even got signed copies of the menu by our chef!






The conference ended with the Excellence in Accounting and Finance Awards and presentation of the 2014 Award Winners. This year's National President's Award went to two distinguished members: Karen Jacobson of the Ames Chapter and Cheryl Heitz of the Flagstaff Chapter. Congratulations! 

Click here to meet the winners!




Next year's locations and dates were also announced - 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
October 26th-28th, 2015


Save the date and watch for updates! 



Edronda Guiriba

AFWA - Silicon Valley Newsletter Chair


 Don't forget to like our Facebook page for our latest updates!

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AFWA Silicon Valley members and guests attended September's membership meeting for an update on the Affordable Care Act from our own board membership chair, Amrit Dhaliwal! We were all well informed on the effects on small businesses, the different taxes and penalties and timeline of the act.




OCTOBER NEWSAccountability

By Berranthia Brown, CMI, AFWA National President
October 8, 2014

One definition of Leadership I find interesting is the "art of leading others to deliberately create a result that wouldn't have happened otherwise".


But it's not the creation of results that makes a good leader. Good leaders are able to create results by enlisting the help of others. They are able to turn things around in companies, organizations and groups. As a member of AFWA, I have had the opportunity to be mentored by various "good" leaders throughout the years. Each of these individuals have influenced me to become the leader that I am today as your National President. Each of you has the opportunity to build your leadership skills at the local and national level of AFWA.


So you ask yourself, what characteristics do I have of a good leader?


Self-Awareness - A good leader knows their strengths and weaknesses. You know when things are going great and when you've had enough and you're overworked. You know your capabilities and your limitations, which allows you to push yourself to the max. Reminder: allow yourself the opportunity to say "YES" and learn something new and stretch yourself.


Self-Direction - A good leader knows how to get things done, how to organize tasks and how to avoid procrastinating. You can make decisions quickly if necessary, but also know when to slow down to consider all the options. Don't forget: keep track of your direction and progress.


Vision - Good leaders have vision! They know how to work toward a goal that's bigger than themselves and sometimes this is more inspiring than personal gain. As AFWA worked this year to develop our Strategic Plan, each board member considered the long term vision for the growth of the organization then determined two key focus areas for the year. Get going: develop your own visions - for yourself personally and professionally as well as for any groups you are involved with, including your AFWA chapter.


Ability to motivate - Leaders don't lead by telling people what to do, they lead by helping people to help themselves or the team. The key to cultivating your own desire is to help others. Remember: when someone knows that you want to help them, they in turn want to help you.


Social Awareness - Understanding your network and the key influencers in that network, is another key to leadership. Who has the most clout, in the organization and who are the movers and shakers that can move the group? Think about: what circles do you have influence or can gain influence to assist with visions and directions?


Good leaders understand their mental process and how to direct themselves. They are more in touch with what they are passionate about and naturally care about others. Leadership is more about "soft skills" than "hard skills". One who can understand the bottom line is just as important as one who can get others to perform at their best to create an outstanding organization.


I encourage you to become more in tune with your strengths and weaknesses, get involved more in AFWA and build your leadership skills!


from Entreprenuer
by Joanie Connell
September 30, 2014

Job fit is important. Employees generally say that enjoying their job is more important than salary, as evidenced by higher rankings of satisfaction compared to salary in job satisfaction surveys.


According to the 2008 GMAC study, conducted right in the middle of the financial crisis, MBA alumni ranked job fit as more important than salary for employee retention.


Obviously, salary is important up to a point. People will endure a lot to make ends meet but, according to a study conducted by Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus of psychology at Princeton University, once people earn enough, money does nothing for happiness. No matter how much you make, it is better to be happy at work than to suffer.

But how do you know if you will be happy at a job? Unfortunately, college students and recent graduates typically do not know what a particular job is really like because they have not worked in the field yet. They also are not typically aware of their own personality traits, work styles, motivations or how they match the demands of the careers they've chosen.


Students often choose their careers because of financial reasons, academic interests, aptitudes and/or parental guidance. What they might fail to consider is the "fit" component of personality, motivation, work style and so on. The cost of being dissatisfied with a career and having to change can be very high financially and psychologically.Sometimes it's better to not take the job than to take it.

What's worse, the reason people tend to fail at a new job is because of lack of fit, particularly with the company culture. Not only is this bad for the employee, but the employer also incurs great cost when an employee fails. In fact, Dr. Pierre Mornell's rule of thumb from his book is that it costs as much as 2.5 times a person's salary to replace them. According to the Social Security Administration, national average wage index for 2012 was $44,321.67. That means it can cost an average of over $100,000 for a bad hire.


There are several things employers can do to encourage job fit.



<Read More>

from Forbes
by Sheryl Nance-Nash
October 7, 2014


In this era of DIY, we've grown accustomed to doing professional-level work on our own, whether it's concocting "Top Chef"-worthy weeknight meals, renovating our homes or crafting up a storm.

After all, can't you learn most things nowadays by pulling up a YouTube tutorial?


But not everything can be properly captured in a five-minute video-especially when it comes to something as important as your finances. When your money and future are at stake, there's nothing wrong with asking for a little help.


"Some folks think because they picked an investment or two in their 401(k)s that they are qualified [to be their own adviser]," says Holly Wolf, a chief marketing officer for a bank in Chester Springs, Pa., who has worked with professional financial planners for about 20 years. "You may be able to repair your car yourself or fix your own roof, but you probably don't have the expertise to watch your money like a hawk."


Wolf first reached out to a planner when she realized that she and her husband were doing a good job feeding their nest egg-but not enough to help it grow. "When we started investing, we had no experience and I needed someone to guide us," she says. "We had the savings part down, but not how to make our money work for us."


But not everyone is as ready and willing to reach out for financial guidance: A survey by Charles Schwab found that one in three people don't seek any outside input when it comes to managing their money.

And, in large part, that could be due to some prevalent myths and misconceptions people have about using a financial adviser.


So in honor of Financial Planning Week, we're helping to bust some of those mistaken notions in the hopes that you'll be less tepid about seeking advice for your own money goals.

<Read More>

The Cost of a Bad Hire - And How to Avoid It
from Accountemps, a Robert Half company

As a manager in a hiring position, you know of the high stakes involved in recruiting new accounting and finance staff. Land a talented and engaged employee, and your team is happier and more productive. But if you make a wrong move, you and your staff will be paying for that mistake for months, if not years, to come. Here are some ways the cost of a bad hire can add up:

* Decreased employee morale. Almost all (95 percent) chief financial officers polled for a Robert Half survey said a bad hiring decision affects the morale of their team. When a new employee isn't up to par, the rest of the team has to pick up the slack and may quickly become resentful.


* Extra attention. Poor hires need regular supervision, which eats up time you don't have. The survey found that the cost of a bad hire is 17 percent of a manager's time - hours that could be better spent on growing your business.


* Losing clients' trust. The cost of a bad hire can grow exponentially if that worker is in a customer-facing role. Inadequate interpersonal skills or lack of experience is bad news for client relations.


* Damaged bottom line. Bad hires can cost dearly in more ways than one. You've paid their salary and benefits, yet received nothing in return but hassles and headaches. And if they make mistakes when compiling financial statements, your company may have to postpone a quarterly earnings announcement, which can lead to tumbling share prices and apologies to shareholders.

To avoid paying the cost of a bad hire, the best course of action is to be proactive and thorough during the recruitment process.

1. Start with an effective job description
Not only does an airtight job description lead to an accurate job posting, but it can also discourage applicants who don't meet your requirements. The better the job posting, the stronger your candidate pool will be.

2. Look within
When recruiting, don't neglect people whom you already know and who know your company:
internal candidates. They're tried and true, and are a good way to avoid the cost of a bad hire.

3. Get outside help
A great way to minimize risk when recruiting and hiring is to work with a staffing agency. A
specialized finance and accounting firm frees up your time and helps ensure a good and timely
hire. Another good strategy for avoiding a bad hire is to specify that the position could be temporary to full-time.

5. Verify, verify, verify
Some accounting and finance candidates look promising on paper and sound great in person, yet are not all that they seem to be. Avoid trouble by doing due diligence before making a job offer. This means taking the time to check references and even conducting background and credit checks, if appropriate.

The cost of a bad hire is painful and high, especially for a small business. There are many risks and uncertainties in the accounting and finance sector, but recruiting doesn't have to be one of them.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.




Pictured from left to right, front row: Jeanne Kourmako, Nicole Letellier, Wendy Matthews, Eileen Perry, Nicole Sheets. From left to right, back row: Marvel Khan, Diane Ollila, Julia Beckland.

President - Nicole Letellier

President - Elect - Eileen Perry

Secretary - Nicole Sheets 

Treasurer - Wendy Matthews

Program - Diane Ollila

Membership - Amrit Dhaliwal

Scholarship - Susan Wright

Newsletter/Web - Edronda Guiriba 

Hospitality - Jeanne Kourmako

CPE Compliance - Marvel Khan

Immediate Past President - Julia Becklund 



Click here for more info about the Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors.



Chair: Diane Ollila


There is an excellent line-up of programs for the Silicon Valley Chapter this year, and most of them qualify for CPE!  Check out the line-up as we have engaged some dynamic and outstanding speakers.

Speaker: Jane Louie
Presentation: Financial Planning for Personal Use

Speaker: Monika Miles
Presentation: Public Speaking

Annual Holiday Party
Location: Old Spaghetti Factory in Downtown San Jose

Speaker: Kyle MacLeod
Presentation: Revenue Recognition

Chair: Amrit Dhaliwal


  • All Levels of Accounting & Finance
  • Bookkeepers
  • Corporate Accounting Finance
  • Public Accounting
  • Management & Educators
  • Recruiters

If you would like to join the Silicon Valley Chapter of AFWA, follow the link to our National website:



Please feel free to complete the application or forward a copy to someone you think would benefit from joining our Chapter.




  • Prestigious status of professional affiliation
  • National contacts for networking and professional information
  • Forum for CPE
  • Scholarships
  • Leadership opportunities in supportive arena
  • Subscription to Accountability e-newsletter 
  • National and regional conferences at a discounted rate
  • Access to Career Center
  • Access to AFWA's LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter groups and National online membership directory
  • Discounted membership to the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA)
  • Discounted products and services through affiliation agreements
    • CPA review courses, CCH tax & accounting books, Long Term Care Insurance and Bank of America credit card.

Hospitality Chair: Jeanne Kourmako
CPE Chair: Marvel Khan

Reservation and cancellation policy: 
Reservations or cancellations are requested by noon on the Friday preceding each meeting.  Email Jeanne to reserve or cancel. The goal is an accurate count for the hotel.  Unreserved members (not guests) incur a surcharge of $5.00.

Reserved members or guests who are no-shows will be billed if not cancelled by noon the preceding Friday. We do want you to come to the meetings and reservations are helpful but if you have to cancel let us know beforehand to avoid incurring the cost of the meal. WE ACCEPT CREDIT CARD PAYMENT AT THE DOOR.


Volunteers are always welcome at our monthly membership meetings. Lend a helping hand to make our monthly events and meetings even more interesting while building a great network and forming new relationships.


CPE credit is available for participating in any of our qualified programs.  See Marvel for more details in person at the meeting.


Chair: Edronda Guiriba

Send in your articles!


We encourage our membership to submit articles of interest for our monthly newsletter.  Please make your submission under the following criteria...

  • Prepared as a Microsoft Word document
  • Photos in JPEG format
  • captions are okay, no imbedded text, please

The newsletter is prepared and distributed on a monthly basis.  Visit our web site at www.afwasiliconvalley.org.  If you have questions regarding articles to submit or about the newsletter, email the newsletter chair, Edronda, at EdrondaGuiriba@gmail.com



There are four sponsor levels of contribution established for the scholarship fund.
Sponsorship up to $150.00  
Sponsorship up to $300.00 
Sponsorship up to $500.00 
Sponsorship $750.00 or more

Share the information! 
See Susan Wright for more details. 

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 Founded in 1938, AFWA/ASWA provides women in accounting and finance the leadership, education and networking opportunities needed to achieve their career goals. Celebrating 75 years as the only organization that solely represents the interest of women in the entire accounting and finance community. The organization's mission is to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal,
professional and economic potential and to contribute to the future development of their profession.