Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Accounting Majors can Learn from MLB: Accounting Manager Position with Boston Red Sox

I stumbled upon this position today and thought about all the students I meet who want to work in sports.  Professional sports management is a tough road.  Usually you have to have to work in a nonpaid internship and if that works out you might progress to a job with long hours and low pay.  You have to pay your dues to move up - almost like working your way up through the minors.  Check out this posting to see what the BoSox require for an accounting manager and read my comments below which are in red which coincide with highlights I have made in yellow:

The Accounting Manager will be responsible for all aspects of the month-end and year-end close cycle procedures. This individual will also be responsible for all revenue accounting and the related A/R process. In addition, this role will support the FP&A group by sharing detail analysis of monthly P&L variances.
YOU need to know the who accounting cycle!  You need to learn financial analysis!  Take those ratios seriously.  Take every opportunity to interpret and analyze financial statements.  Work a financial statement analysis course into your studies.

• Review, reconcile and record all revenue-related activities (e.g. tickets, concession, sponsorship, parking, and MLB related entities)  Here's a lesson for you - multiple streams of revenue make these entities successful!  Accountants need to understand how we make our money!!!!

• Monthly close:
o Ensure accuracy of all transactions and research large variances to budget and prior years
o Review all balance sheet accounts to validate amounts and presentation
o Prepare monthly financial statements (P&L, balance sheet, & cash flow) and consolidating information for parent company
o Review all non-standardize GL entries and adjustments
o Assist in recording of accruals
o Perform P&L variance analysis and communicate results to FP&A group
• Ensure proper accounting of all capital expenditures, including player acquisitions, while meeting with cost center managers to manage future spending forecasts
• Supervise all aspects of the A/R process and manage deferred revenue accounts
• Develop a detail understanding of cash inflows and outflows in order to forecast short and long-term cash needs
• Establish and maintain balance sheet and cash flow trend reports
• Prepare budgets and recognize net income for all special events (e.g. concerts.)  Here's some management accounting stuff.  Your ACT212 (basic management accounting, business finance, and Cost accounting will help you here!)
• Prepare and submit MLB, club, government and other questionnaires
• Assist with documenting and developing proper accounting policies and control procedures  I tell my students - please take any content or discussion of internal control procedures very seriously - IC is the domain of accountants.  Management institutes them, accountants and auditors must test them and rely on them!
• Manage and prepare all supporting documentation for GAAP audits and tax calculations  Don't tell me flow charts and other forms of system documentation aren't important!
• Provide support for special projects or other miscellaneous analysis as required. More management accounting stuff - "special projects" will really spice a job like this up.  How much net income can the Sox realize from a Paul McCartney or James Taylor Concert at Fenway?  What is the bottom line impact of raising ticket prices?  What-if analysis, break-even points for new Fenway and Sox ventures, etc. etc.  Good stuff!

Bachelor’s degree in accounting required.  - Get your degree!
• Minimum of four years of accounting experience with direct experience in monthly close cycles and financial audits.  As I tell my students - you will need about 10,000 hours of experience before you can seriously aspire to be an accounting manager of controller for a large organization.  That 10,000 hours is about 2,000 - 2,500 hours a year for 4 to 5 years!  When you get the interview question - where do you want to be in 5 years; "think" about the expert level you need to be at!
• Strong proficiency in MS Excel and various accounting software packages required.  Get that expertise in MS Excel now! If you aren't there yet - try the Atomic Learning that we have via myCourses.  it will bring you up to speed with Excel.  You need to be a crackerjack with Excel!
• Should be able to demonstrate a detail understanding of GAAP.  GAAP is not just something we study.  Knowledge of GAAP will payoff. GAAP will get you into the major leagues - not just with MLB but with all organizations that need to have financials in compliance with GAAP!
• Must demonstrate an ability to effectively manage multiple priorities under strict deadlines. Reliability and the ability to juggle/multi-task while meeting hard deadlines is so important.  You can develop those habits and skills now.
• Candidates must have strong verbal and written skillsWhat have I been telling you guys?  You need strong communication skills.  Not just communication skills but STRONG verbal and written skills. Take those class PPT/oral presentations seriously.  Speak up always - ask questions and make appropriate comments in class.  Take those homework and exam essays very seriously.  Learn how professional writing works and practice it in your emails, reports, papers, etc.  Strong communication skills are derived through practice. Practice, Practice, Practice. You need to be able to write and speak well as an accountant.  That too will launch you into the major leagues.