Job Title: Controller Of A Medium-Sized Technology Business
Type of Company: My company is a digital production company that focuses on outsourcing to our location in Costa Rica. We offer website design and maintenance, online advertising and banner production, as well as email marketing campaign generation and support.
Education: BA, Business and Accounting, University of South Carolina
Previous Experience: I started as an production associate for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company where I was able to move up to AP manager and lead and head a team of a dozen that processed accounts payable for three locations across the southeastern US. I then accepted a position as controller for a start-up technology firm. I have been with that company now for 5 years and have experienced the business growth from several hundred thousand dollars per year in revenue in 2004 to an estimated $28 million in revenue for the current fiscal year.
Job Tasks: In my position, I support the CFO on a daily basis. Depending on what is happening at that moment in the business, my tasks can change. Mostly, though, I focus on client contracts and reviewing them for delivery to the CFO. I confirm that the bill rates are acceptable and fit within a margin range so that the business can generate a certain level of profit from each contract signed. I review legal language and terms, cancellation terms and other key points to ensure the company is protected. I do all of the billing for our clients, verifying time reports completed by our staff and submitting those in several different formats in the form of invoices. I also assist in sales pipeline tracking and verification.
Our executive team meets weekly to review new sales opportunities and I assist in confirming that certain required items have taken place and are completed. We do this in order to bring a sense of realism to our sales and revenue projections and above all to ensure that we have pre-qualified deals before we start counting our chickens. This initiative drives our business and tells us when to hire or if we have people not billing. This report and the focus we bring to it is how our CFO and CEO manage the business.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best and worst parts of my job are its rapid-fire pace and evolving responsibilities. While it is never boring and no two days are the same, that can be both good and bad. When you work for a company that's expanding rapidly, there are few nights, weekends and holidays that you don't have to work. Every day is exciting and educational, but stressful at the same time. It is a life style and career choice to work in a fast-paced business like mine, but I could not see me doing anything else...especially a 9-5.
Job Tips: My advice would be to do as many internships in the areas that you are interested pursuing a career in. Things are not as glamorous as they seem and internships allow you to sample the job world. The more you experience and try out, the better chance you have of making the right choices for your career.
Additional Thoughts: I absolutely love my job and wouldn't change a thing, which most people cannot say. I found an amazing opportunity with a small no-name company 5 years ago that allowed me to gain the experience and knowledge that most people would have to work 10+ years to do. My CEO told me in my interview that the experience I would receive with him would allow me to do anything in any future company I went to work for, and he was right. By working for a start-up I had to "wear many hats" and do jobs across the entire business which allowed me to understand the company as a whole. I learned operations, finance, sales and most importantly management and how one relies on and drives the others.
The most important quality to have in a position like mine is the ability to adapt and change to meet the current needs of the business. Flexibility in both my personal and professional life has been key. My job has been my life for most of the last 5 years and I have sacrificed a lot personally. In the end it was worth it. We went from 3 employees in the US and 20 offshore to now 25 in the US and 400+ offshore. We are the largest digital production services agency in the world and to be a part of that and to grow a company to that level has been an amazing experience and one that puts me light years ahead of others in my field. While its not for everyone, anything else seems boring to me.
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