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Career Story: University Accounting Manager

University Accounting Manager

Job Title: Manager, Accounting And Finance

Type of Company: I work for a university in Boston.

Education: BA, Industrial Engineering Management, Shaanxi Business Management Institute (China) •• MBA, Framingham State College •• Certificate in Software Applications, Computer Learning Center, Somerville, MA

Previous Experience: I worked as an instructor teaching an operations research course at a college in China for three years. Then I came to USA. After six months' training, I received a certificate in software applications and found my first job in US as a reporting specialist for a loan management company. While I was working, I enrolled in a part-time masters degree program in business administration. I have worked for four companies. My job titles changed from reporting specialist to financial analyst to senior financial analyst and now the manager.

Job Tasks: I'm responsible for a student accounting and finance department at a university. Our work involves a lot of reconciliation of numbers, systems and transactions. Our office's main functions are billing the students for tuition, room, board, medical insurance, and fees; collecting the payments from the students; calculating financial aid, and applying the grants, scholarships and loans to the student accounts. Because of the nature of the business, we interact with many departments: housing, medical, library, athletic and parking, as well as government financial aid agencies, banks, and loan companies. All these groups contribute some transactions to the student accounting system. And many have their own systems. Millions of transactions flow from one system to another. Our job is to ensure the accuracy of the transactions in the student accounting system.

As a manager in the accounting and finance department, I write and update the policies and procedures and assign tasks to my subordinates and check their work to ensure the accuracy. I train new people, advise my staff, and evaluate the staff performances annually. I solve problems and answer questions from other departments and outside agencies. I prepare reports and go to meetings to explain the status of tuition revenue, financial aid, accounts receivable, loans and etc. to the senior management team.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is presenting reports to the senior management team. You feel you see the whole picture of the business, and you are providing them with the valuable information.

The worst part is writing up your subordinate's performance review, because you want them to be motivated and also clear about the areas of the improvements.

Job Tips: Working in the accounting field you need to have the solid analytical skills which can be developed in college or at work. You also need to pay attention to details. You want to be familiar with the commonly used software applications such as Microsoft Office which get used on a daily basis in business offices.

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