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Career Story: Chief Financial Officer For A Digital Production Company

Chief Financial Officer For A Digital Production Company

Job Title: Chief Financial Officer

Type of Company: My company is a global leader in digital production. We work with ad agencies and direct to clients in the production of content, design, and development of web-sites, advertisements, and email campaigns

Education: BS, Public Accounting, Husson University (Bangor, ME) •• MS, Taxation, Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ)

Previous Experience: I worked in public accounting for over two years before joining the private accounting sector and working in insurance for the next eight years. I rose through the ranks in publicly and privately traded companies, including a chemical company, a container vessel company, a franchise conglomerate and, later, in financial services. I am now the CFO for a digital production company.

Job Tasks: As the chief financial officer, I report to the Chief Executive Officer and am responsible for all accounting, treasury, tax reporting, and day-to-day functions of the finance team. I work with the Board of Directors on business and financial strategy and provide them with information on the company's financial and operational status.

I also serve as the head of global operations. In this capacity, I am responsible for human resources, facilities, information technology, insurance/risk management and legal. We have operations n the Unites States and in Costa Rica, so this part of my job requires me to travel and to broaden my purview to encompass more than finance.

A typical day is never actually "typical." On the operations end, I coordinate and oversee all legal proceedings with our external counsel. If we're involved in lawsuits, either as defendants or plaintiffs, I am the one at the front working with the attorneys to determine the best paths to take. We also deal with company registrations as we enter new states.

In human resources, I do not generally get involved in day-to-day personnel issues but help instead to develop policies and practices company-wide. And since we deal with the employment laws of two countries and many individual states, this is never a boring part of the job.

The Information Technology division is responsible for the personal computers, intranet servers and the company network, and of course for their security. While I have a team to work on more mundane tasks, there are always attempted virus penetrations or something that requires my attention and perspective.

In finance, I review all payments and sign the checks, review and approve payroll so the employees can get paid, deal with complex accounting and tax issues, and provide guidance to the CEO and to the sales and production teams. Every day, we are looking at new deals, joint ventures, or business opportunities. These other departments rely upon my insight into the deals to ensure our profitability and cash flow needs are considered. Only when we have agreement by all parties do we proceed.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I am involved in all aspects of the business. I see all of the client activity, experience all of the national and international cultural differences, get to meet wonderful people and am proud of the many accomplishments we've made and continue to make to build a stronger organization.

The most difficult part of my job is doing all of this with such a small staff. With the economy where it is today, we are limited as to the number of "non-billable" personnel we can have or our profitability would suffer.

Job Tips: If you are going into finance, don't limit yourself to financial or accounting courses. It is imperative that you have a good understanding of all aspects of the business and the industry. An understanding of human behavior is equally valuable, as we deal with individuals every day, and not just via email or text.

Try to get some experience in operations or in a non-financial role in the early stages of your career. I did, and that experience has played a big part in my success as a financial leader.

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