6 things you should never store on your work computer

If you're storing personal material on your work computer, you could be setting yourself up for some serious trouble.
"As a general rule of thumb, keep all your work and private computer use separate," Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of "The Humor Advantage," told Business Insider. "If necessary, ask what is permissible and use a portable flash drive to store any private items you need to access from a work computer."
Kerr said that, while laws vary between jurisdiction, your company may have rules about computer use. When it comes down to it, it's better to err on the side of caution.

"It protects you and your firm," management expert Andrew Wittman told Business Insider. "If you take work home and use a laptop, dedicate a laptop for work."
He said that during his career in law enforcement, he witnessed an occasion where a police officer's professional notebook was admitted as evidence in a trial.
"He had notes from several cases and lots and lots of personal items," Wittman said. "Beyond embarrassing, it opened him and the department up to potential liability."
Wittman said that the same thing can happen to anyone if they store personal items on their work computer.
Here are some items you should avoid storing on your work device:

Personal photos or videos

"Your work computer is for work," Résumé Writers' Ink founder and career expert Tina Nicolai told Business Insider. "It's always smart to keep personal separate from business. You're not getting paid for your personal time."
So saving password lists, banking information, kids' school transcripts, medical records, or personal photos is generally a bad idea. It could send the wrong signal to your employer.
Kerr also said that your supervisors may be concerned about you consuming valuable storage space and putting the device at risk for viruses.
Plus, if you lose your job, you could also lose your information forever.
"If you're ever let go from a company, standard policy is to have you leave immediately," Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and author of "Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad," told Business Insider. "You probably won't have the time to remove files that should have never been on your work computer in the first place."

Inappropriate materials

Nicolai said that there's only one thing worse than saving personal photos on your work computer — saving nude personal photos on your work computer.
Make sure your work device remains free of any sort of inappropriate material.
"It may seem obvious, but stories abound over employees being caught storing porn on their work computers, completely oblivious to the fact that their IT department was fully aware," Kerr said.

Video or computer games

There's no good reason for most people to have video or computer games downloaded onto their work computer. That will just send your boss the wrong message, according to Kerr.
Plus, in some cases, you could open up your device for spyware or viruses.

Anything related to your side job

Keep your side hustle information stored on your personal devices, not your work computer.
"If you are moonlighting and are concerned about your employer finding out, then obviously you should avoid storing anything connected to another job of your main work computer," Kerr said. "I know of one situation where an employee accidentally sent the wrong attachment to her boss, a contract with a similar name she was working on at her second job."

Anything revealing questionable humor

If a joke or video is too offensive to share in the office, it's definitely not a good idea to store it on your work computer.
"More and more companies are concerned about legal issues related to workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, so any humor that might be deemed offensive could land you in hot water," Kerr said. "Even just saving offensive emails that contain racial or sexual humor has, in some cases, been used to justify disciplinary action with some employees."

Anything deemed highly confidential by the company that you aren't storing in a safe manner (or authorized to even have access to)

"Again, it may sound obvious, but there are countless stories of even high-level politicians getting into hot water or even losing their jobs because they were careless with confidential or classified information," Kerr said. "But it can happen at any level of an organization."

3 career steps for accounting clerks




Working As an Accounting Clerk

Accounting clerks are responsible for maintaining and reviewing financial records of a business. Typical accounting clerk duties include:
  • Performing data entry tasks for accounts payable and accounts receivable processes
  • Calculating interest on loans and credit accounts with financial databases and spreadsheets
  • Preparing financial reports
  • Organizing and reconciling company accounts and investigating any discrepancies detected
  • Supporting the work of certified public accountants (CPAs)
To succeed as an accounting clerk, you will need a number of skills, including:
  • Bookkeeping and record-keeping
  • Strong communication skills for dealing with co-workers and customers
  • Good organization skills for monitoring and working with a number of financial documents
  • Critical thinking skills for solving problems
  • Math skills and attention to detail when working with financial documents
  • Ability to exercise discretion when handling confidential documents
  • Computer literacy, especially for financial and common office software. You should be able to use basic Microsoft Office programs and QuickBooks. Understanding payroll, performance analysis, and depreciation programs is also helpful.
Many accounting clerks have a high school diploma or an associate's degree. Those with a bachelor's degree have a greater earning potential and more opportunities for career progression. Certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers can also improve salary and career opportunities.

Next Steps: Junior Accountant

The experience accounting clerks gain assisting accountants often makes transitioning to ajunior accounting role easy. Many responsibilities overlap between these two positions, including preparing financial reports, reconciling financial statements, and making sure financial records are up to date. In addition, junior accountants may be responsible for the following tasks:
  • Suggesting ways to improve performance of accounting department
  • Handling taxation issues and preparing tax reports
  • Completing financial audits
Junior accountants need similar skills to accounting clerks, including good problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills. They must be able to work efficiently and accurately.
Some accounting clerks may be promoted to junior accountants with time and experience. However, earning more qualifications is the best way to advance to a junior accountant role. As a junior accountant, you should have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, commerce, or business administration. Gaining your master's degree is preferable for new hires, although if you've been working as an accounting clerk, your experience should help you transition without an advanced degree.

Next Steps: Auditor

Working as an accounting clerk or a junior accountant will expose you to auditing procedures. If you enjoy this specialized area of accountancy, you may want to pursue a career as an auditor. As with junior accountants, auditors need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field.
While accounting clerks and junior accountants deal with all facets of accounting, auditors have a much narrower focus. They need the following skills:
  • Analytical skills to process data, break down reports, identify problems, and reach necessary conclusions
  • Good communication skills for working with auditing clients and co-workers and documenting audit results
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet auditing deadlines

Next Steps: Certified Public Accountant

For many people interested in accounting careers, working as a certified public accountant (CPA) is the goal. The experience you've gained working as an accounting clerk and junior accountant can serve you well in this role.
While other accounting professions are flexible and accept candidates with a range of qualifications, all CPAs require CPA certification. Requirements vary from state to state, but usually, CPAs need to:
  • Complete 150 semester hours of postsecondary study in accounting or a similar area of study
  • Complete at least two years of work experience in accounting
  • Pass four CPA exams within 18 months
Meeting these criteria requires a significant commitment of time, but many employers will give some flexibility to their employees pursuing CPA qualifications. CPAs must complete further studies in most states to maintain their CPA licenses.
CPAs are accounting leaders, so good management skills and public-speaking abilities are important. CPAs should also show strong business acumen and a commitment to learning by staying up to date with accounting and tax practices.
Enjoy your time as an accounting clerk. With hard work, you can use this job as a great way to investigate a variety of careers in finance.


Looking to ace your job interview? Wear this color

Not sure what to wear to a job interview? You might want to play it safe — and classy — and simply don black.
According to a recent job applicant survey conducted by recruiting software firm SmartRecruiters, a whopping 70 percent of hired candidates wore mostly black clothing to their interview, while a mere 33 percent of rejected candidates wore black.
The survey included 180 successful applicants and 1,800 rejected candidates.

Jerome Ternynck, CEO at SmartRecruiters, tells MoneyWatch that job seekers should carefully select an interview outfit that reflects the company culture where you're interviewing.

"You have to match [your outfit to] the company culture. If you show up in jeans at Citibank, it may not be well-received."

Once you make it to the job interview, it's important to make a good impression — and quickly.
In our story "Employers' Top 5 'Instant Deal Breakers' for Job Candidates," we report that 50 percent of employers say that within the first five minutes of an interview, they can decide whether or not a candidate is a good fit.

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This one easy question is the key to a successful interview

One single question and your answer will set you up for your next job.
Whether you are a baby boomer or a millennial or even a Gen X or Gen Y label, you will change jobs somewhere between 7 and 15 times in your lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52% of college-educated workers will hold more than 10 different jobs 26% will hold 15 or more in their lifetime.

The good news is that our brains protect us from that scary process by burying most of the memories (just like childbirth or moving across the country). The bad news is that you will be faced with that process and more than likely be in an interview state. On average it takes between 6 and 12 weeks to land a new job and I you can muster 2-3 interviews per opportunity and you generate 3-4 opportunities . . . you get the math.
As you head into the process, I want you to answer one simple question about your strategy - is the wind behind you or blowing at you?

This simple question to yourself will set the tone for the entire process and ultimately determine what the end result will feel like.

I am Mr. Networker and as such have hosted humans of every age, gender, nationality and personality. I have also managed business sizes from 3 to 300 and all of the hiring responsibility that comes with that executive role.

There are two types of people who show up:

1. Those that come with an attitude I describe as the pursuit of gain, and

2. Those that share with me an attitude described as the avoidance of loss.

I borrowed this high-level concept and revelation from a recent Tim Ferriss podcast with Debbie Millman. Go listen, its amazing to here her share her journey.

I am a huge believer that you bring positive energy to as many situations as you can muster. The interview process is by far one of the key areas to bring that approach. Part and parcel of that high energy approach is a lean-in, unparalleled pursuit of gain. I am here to rock your world and I will add value to your company/department/division.

Too many show up in my office with a deer-in-the-headlights approach. Do you think that your unfortunate ending to your long career at XYZ and the glory and year-after-year promotions to middle management are key to your next step? That is a look back approach and I feel like it is an avoidance of loss strategy. Your only thought is to recreate that old magic.

Believe me, I am empathetic to your position. But that is yesterday's news. Its time to fully embrace the pursuit of gain; the one interview strategy that makes all the difference in the world.

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