News and advice on business etiquette — October 2014

Advice on separating business relationships from social ones. Plus, news on how accounting ranks in the newest career popularity surveys and more.


Q: Is it ever appropriate to invite a client out socially?

A: Work-related coffees, meals, events and trips are one thing, but you could find yourself in a jam if you invite business clients to your after-hours activities. "These days, generation X and Y employees are all about mixing business with pleasure, so befriending a business connection is a common corporate conundrum," says Julie Blais Comeau, an etiquette expert and author in Ottawa. "Some companies have rules that discourage this — think of the sharing of insider information and repercussions such as displaying favouritism and the possible breach of confidentiality agreements."

If there are no HR rules in place about weekend golf games, trips to the local pub and girls’ nights with clients, it’s best to avoid turning a professional relationship into a social one. Says Blais Comeau: "My recommendation is to invite or accept invitations with caution. If you have doubt about remaining objective and being able to conduct business as usual, it is probably best not to participate in activities that don’t have a business agenda."

— Lisa van de Geyn


Props for the profession

Accounting and other financial fields are among the top-10 hottest careers for university graduates and midcareer professionals, according to an annual ranking by the University of California, San Diego Extension. Based on current employment numbers, projected growth, median salary and workplace environment, accountants/auditors placed No. 3 on the list, following computer systems analysts and market research/marketing specialists. Other hot careers include management analysts (No. 4), cost estimators (No. 6) and financial analysts (No. 7).

University graduates

One accounting-related occupation, however, is among the 10 most endangered positions, according to job search portal CareerCast. Tax examiners/collectors join mail carriers, farmers, meter readers and others as casualties of technological streamlining, which allows employers to hire fewer staff.

— Tamar Satov


Employee exodus?

Managers may want to keep an eye on the size of their staff lotto pools. According to a US survey for recruiting firm CareerBuilder, 70% of workers say they would leave their current job if their numbers were drawn and they won the lottery. While that may not be surprising, the troubling part for employers is that about one in five of those winners wouldn’t provide any notice before packing up their offices. Some 13% would resign on the spot, 3% would use it as an opportunity to tell off the boss and air their grievances and 2% would simply fail to show up for work the next morning without formally quitting. Harsh.

— TS