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Get Reference From Boss Who Fired You For Finance/Accounting

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It's often hard to get a decent reference from someone who has just fired you. It often helps if you draft ideas for him or her to review, as Charles has done here. He outlines significant accomplishments, strengths as a manager and employee, reason for leaving, and personal characteristics--a great package.

2121 Eastern Ocean Avenue | San Ramon, CA 75944
H: 415-363-8630 | C: 415-809-2566 | cwhite@aol.com

November 12, 20—

Mr. Timothy Henning
California Home Health Care
24 Sandpiper Road West, Suite 1400
San Ramon, California 75944

Dear Tim:

Thank you for your offer to act as a reference for me. I believe it is important for me to be able to provide a reference from my last job. As I mentioned, most prospective employers prefer to speak personally to the reference rather than being provided a written document. Should the occasion arise, I would like to request that you be willing to speak personally to a prospective employer.

I am following the recommended procedure by contacting each of my references and sharing with them a brief outline I have developed for each job. Having such an outline available serves as a convenient tool to jog the memory and organize thoughts when a call is received. The outlines cover the following key factors:

  • My strengths as an employee and manager.
  • Significant accomplishments achieved during my tenure.
  • The reason for leaving the job.
Of course, I want to ensure that the appraisal is honest and one with which you are in agreement. At the same time negative comments should normally be avoided.

Please review the attached outline for my job with CHHC. It parallels what I am communicating in my written materials (resumes, marketing letters) as well as what I say in interviews. I'll call in a few days after you've had a chance to review the material.


Charles D. White

Charles D. White
General Business Manager

July 20— - October 20—

Charles was hired through a search conducted by a national retained search firm, interviews with senior company finance and operations personnel and a review by Rohrer, Hibler & Replogle, Inc--a national executive appraisal firm.


1. Brought the accounting organization from chaos to a high level of professionalism.

  • handled consolidation into new center
  • released poor performers
  • upgraded staff, recruited nine new people
  • coordinated successful implementation of several new systems (accounts payable, payroll, fixed assets)
  • set up internal controls and procedures
2. Improved quality of accounting records and reports.
  • accurate and timely closings
  • clean FY20— audit (per Arthur Andersen)
  • created reports by subunits (board reports, statements)
3. Excellent job of handling the yearly budgeting project

  • (20— & 20— fiscal years).
  • provided historical data and tools for assisting managers
  • one of only a few zones to completely fulfill requirements for content and timing
4. Significantly improved the yearly physical inventory project.

  • wrote detailed instructions for field staff
  • sent accountants into the field to observe and assist the count
  • provided instructions and oversight for the reconciliation by accounting staff
5. Spearheaded purchase and training of staff on PC's, maximized use of PC's for routine or repetitive tasks.

6. Improved human resources support for zone.

  • hired excellent personnel specialist to support zone in hiring and compensation/
  • benefits matters
  • encouraged improvement in hiring practices to reduce turnover
  • cleaned up personnel records and fulfilled corporate data requirements for new retirement plan, 401K plan, and payroll system


1. Organizational skills.

  • thinks through a task
  • gathers and allocates resources
  • follows up to ensure completion as planned
2. Recruitment skills.

  • a good judge of people
  • careful to do the background and reference checks
  • trusts his judgement, willing to present people with new challenges
3. Innovative.

  • likes challenges
  • enjoys bringing order from chaos and improving techniques
4. Positive attitude to technology.

  • tries to maximize use of personal computers and other office automation equipment
5. Keeps lines of communication open with subordinates.

  • highly regarded by his staff


1. Good business sense developed through broad experience in several industries.

2. An excellent analyst.

  • researches questions in a logical manner
  • digs into details, good at manipulating data
3. Does not make hasty or politically motivated decisions.

4. Good personal work habits.

  • focuses on organizing the task
  • meets deadlines
5. A good communicator.

  • expresses thoughts clearly
  • equally comfortable preparing written or oral material


Charles was hired to be the general business manager of the whole Tustin processing center, supervising accounting, accounts receivable, data processing and personnel. I initially limited his scope to supervision of the accounting group because this was the area where we had the greatest deficiencies which needed attention.

Subsequently, the home office revised the organization model to be used in each of the regional processing centers. The General Business Manager position was eliminated. Supervision of the center was split between as existing manager of receivables and a zone controller. Job specifications for the zone controller--education, experience and salary grade--were below those possessed by Charles. Consequently he was released.


  1. High level of dedication to his work.
  2. Strong personal values of honesty and integrity.
  3. A stable family life--a wife with a professional career and two young children.
  4. Excellent education.
  5. Professional appearance and manner.
    Even tempered--handles stress well.

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.