I am an Accounting Manager for a privately held holding company.
How would you describe what you do?
I manage a team of accountants who are responsible for the financial support of the various businesses we own. This can be something simple like payables and receivables or something challenging like an acquisition or multi-state tax reporting.
What does your work entail as an accounting manager?
Problem solving, employee development, and strategic planning. Since we don’t live in a perfect world there are always problems. As an accounting manager, you will be expected to either have the answer, know who has the answer or be able to figure out the answer. Accounting is a field that many people do not understand so they will come to you for those answers. Managing a team is a rewarding and challenging. Employees are either improving, static or declining. You want to challenge and provide opportunities for those who are improving, push those who are static and either improve the declining employees or get them out. While managing the day to day, you also have to think about the future. This involves partnering with upper management to understand where the company is headed and then being proactive so that when changes occur, the financials are not trying to catch up.
How did you get started?
I started out at as an accountant, doing many of the things I manage today. Having done those things certainly gives me an advantage compared to other task which I haven’t done.
Accounting is like blood in your body. Everybody needs it and no one cares about it until something goes wrong.
What do you like about what you do?
I like being part of the solution and working with other people. Solving problems that prevent success is very rewarding.
What do you dislike?
There are things you have to do that are boring. It’s part of the job. But this is very little of my work so you take the good with the bad.
How do you make money/how are you compensated?
How much money do you make as an accounting manager?
After more than half a decade in the business I’m making $80,000 salary. Depending on the company and location an accounting manager can make $50,000 to $100,000 plus. It will depend on years of experience, industry, skill set, size of the company, number of staff, etc.
How much money do you make starting out?
In today’s market (2011), mid to upper $30’s is good. If you decided to do public accounting you’ll probably start in the 40’s. However, working in public accounting will probably mean you make less per hour because you will work a lot more hours the first several years. I chose not to go down this path because everyone I knew in public accounting was trying to get out.
What education or skills are needed to be an accounting manager?
I have an accounting degree and a C.P.A. – this isn’t required but it’s preferred. Having a degree or certification does not guarantee that you know everything…..it just creates a base line of knowledge that others can grasp.
What is most rewarding about this job?
The challenge and feeling of accomplishment when it’s overcome.
What is most challenging?
Managing other people who are not like you. It’s hard to think like someone else, know what drives someone else, or know why someone else does something. But you’re responsible for these people so you have to learn to work with them where they are and where they come from.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
It’s a great career with lots of opportunity. Accounting is like blood in your body. Everybody needs it and no one cares about it until something goes wrong. The demand for accounting will only go up because financials are becoming more and more complicated. It’s not for someone who wants attention and needs the spot light…..go into sales if you want that.
How much time off do you get/take?
It’s progressive with years working. I think the first year was 1.5 weeks and after 5 years it ws 4 weeks.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
That accountants do a lot of math. If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide……you can do accounting. We use computers more than anything today so the whole “bean counter” sterotype is out-dated.
What are your goals and dreams for the future?
Continue to work my way up, perhaps be CFO of a company one day.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
Accounting is a great field to be in. It provides a very well rounded understanding of the way businesses operate and in turn is a very transferable skillset.